Last Thursday at Communicate Magazine’s ‘Social media in a corporate context’ Cision UK’s own Paul Miller hosted a Q&A panel session with some of UK’s most influential bloggers in their field: urban lifestyle blogger Ollie Opanipekun from BNTL, communications blogger Jamie Gavin from InPress Online, parenting blogger Jennifer Howze from jenography and technology blogger Richard Trenholm from crave.
Initially they seemed a diverse bunch. BNTL wants to express a passion for street fashion and urban lifestyle, and its contributors, Opanipekun included, simply just want to “show off” their latest purchases. Gavin blogs for his agency, sharing industry knowledge with his network. Howze founded the Times’ Alpha Mummy to connect with the parenting community, motivation that led to her co-founding Cyber Mummy and Brit Mums. Trenholm sits within the mighty CNet stable, and as such is as close to establishment as blogging has (yet) come.
On the session’s key discussion point, however, there was consensus. When Opanipekun mentioned that Nike’s approach to influencers was more targeted, more specific, than that of PRs, he struck a chord with the other panellists. Dedicated events, swag, even good old email – all are workable, the bloggers said, provided they recognised the recipients as individuals. (Trenholm was in a minority in his willingness to wade through a stuffed-inbox of press releases to find the story he needs, but aligned with the group in insisting that these releases should be accompanied by the links and attachments he, personally, needs.)
Although this is harder work than list building-by-numbers, a more considered approach pays richer dividends. The panellists were impressed by those pitches that showed an understanding of the culture of their particular niche, pointing out that that kind of knowledge is for life, not just a single campaign. More creative pitches, such as seeking feedback rather than a more mercenary demand for coverage, were said to create the kind of emotional foundations on which long-term relationships are built.
None of this is new, or even specific to bloggers – see, for example, our recent advice on journalists’ top PR pet dislikes – and how to avoid them. New individuals working within new channels demand fresh thinking, but the fundamentals of communications best practice remain intact.