The important relationship between journalists and public relations practitioners is undeniable. Whilst the full spectrum of reputation management services span beyond newspaper print, many heads of communications are still graded by coverage they’ve achieve in the role. It’s not uncommon for bonuses to be dependent on this.
Perhaps that’s partly why bloggers can be so easily forgotten? At worse, dismissed as mavericks without license to represent a subject matter. Historically blogging was expected to rival the newspapers, in reality blogging sits comfortably alongside the mainstream, often run by journalists who have gone freelance.
If you’re trying to talk to a business seriously about bloggers, then the type of industry matters. A few years ago I was managing blogger engagement programmes for tourism boards that involved flying social media personalities halfway around the world. The pot of money was six figures long, and public relations practitioners could often gain free trips on the ‘travel circuit’ to exotic places.
Compare this to financial services and there is a stark contrast. Some businesses will get along with bloggers, understanding their importance immediately. Other companies may look at you strangely trying to comprehend blogs, frankly the internet in general. How long will this latter reaction last for though? In my view give it another 5 years; in that time regulators may have finally caught up fully with the challenges and opportunities online presents (perhaps more on this in another blog post).
As a blogger myself, admittedly one with less ‘free’ time to publish as I did nine years ago, there is a real value working with organisations. At University blogging allowed me to financially fuel parties and not feel too pressured to work retail. Having a big name tied to your blog is valuable and it’s not always about money, even having an expert guest poster available helps meet the demand of frequent content.
There is nothing wrong about being a maverick. In fact, being so obsessed about a subject to spend hours writing about it can only point to a love affair. In many ways this makes a blogger a more valuable asset than some journalists, who understandably when managing the pressures of a modern newsroom, may struggle to understand the specifics of a subject.
There simply isn’t enough time a day to focus on a particular niche. Whereas a blogger will make a name for themselves by championing a subject that mainstream news may only provide a top-line overview of.
In the end though, this isn’t a case of a media relations or blogger relations. Both journalists and bloggers are valuable, often a freelance journalist may run a blog on the side. This is a case of educating organisations of the importance of influencer programmes.