The Problem with "Blogger Relations"

14 September 2007

I just left the following comment on a post Antony Mayfield made calling for the end of the practice generally known in our industry as "blogger relations" and thought it would be worth re-posting here too. Antony picks up on a discussion kicked off by Tom Coates rejecting the practice of pitching news to bloggers in the same way PR agencies do to the media.

I’m not sure that "blogger relations" (a term I have a problem with anyway) is doing the damage to the industry’s reputation (do we really have one worth mentioning anyway?).

If anything, I think the link you posted to is generating a healthy and much-needed debate about our industry amongst people who do not work in it and therefore don’t see what we actually do day to day. It’s also not a new debate – I recall something a year or two ago in the US when a prolific blogger there was similarly outraged.

In my experience, PR people only learn by making mistakes. You can tell them something until you’re blue in the face, but it won’t mean anything until they get their asses raked over the coals by their client or boss for doing something dumb.

So actually, let’s get them doing *more* "blogger relations", let’s have more exposes like this one, and let’s have more naming and shaming. Only then we will weed out the people (including clients trying to force their agencies to include bloggers on a media list) who see online networks as just another channel down which they can shove their messages.

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3 Responses to “The Problem with "Blogger Relations"”

  1. Tom Coates

    You know, you’ve actually just convinced me that I should do something I’d been resisting doing. I think you’re right. Organisations only learn by their efforts back-firing. As a result, I should probably make one of their efforts back-fire very very publically. Then perhaps the industry would listen more effectively.

  2. Niall Cook

    Thanks for dropping by, Tom. You might also want to check out the Bad Pitch blog ( They aim to "out" some of the worst blog pitches.

    Not withstanding that, I still think there is a need for a standard system for any blogger to register their opt-in/out preferences, similar to the Telephone Preference Service here in the UK. At least then we would have something to call people out on, rather than relying on very flaky privacy/data protection laws that only apply in specific markets.


  3. David Phillips

    There is a case for clients to be involved ‘hands on’ in social media before they contemplate the commercial applications. Not only can they see how easy it is to expose their shortcomings but also to see the time and effort required to plan, manage and evaluate what many see as a ‘low cost’ activity and the hard work required in maintaining high quality.

    Social Media is not easy and they really do need to know how demanding it really is.

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