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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

PR Firms Must Think Like A Blogger

Tonight is one of those nights where the buzz is building all over the internet about the release of Google's IM client. Rumor has it that it will be called Google Talk, there are screenshots showing this out there already, but I prefer to call it Google IC [Instant Communicator]. I say that because it's suppose to have not only IM capabilities but also voip capabilities as well.

Where do PR firms fit into the Google Talk Release?
Well, PR firms are all talking about how to connect with bloggers and how to get bloggers to talk about their clients and that's about it. Sure a lot of them send out emails, some even a bit personalized per blogger, pitching bloggers with why their client is worthy of a post or two on the blogger's blog. Because these emails are just about the only way PR firms contact bloggers, their success rate is dismal at best.

It's not the execution that dooms these PR firms, it's their context. There is rarely a relationship between the rep at the PR firm and the blogger and that goes against everything bloggers stand for. Bloggers [like me] are all about the relationship. Without solid relationships there are no trusted sources and without trusted sources there are no scoops and without scoops there is no buzz surrounding new product launches in the blogosphere.

Sue MacDonald runs the PR department at Intelliseek and a week or so ago we were chatting about this very subject. She said something that every media buyer, PR manager, and even bloggers need to know.
as a 22-year-reporter who was ont eh "pitch" end of many pitches, I'll tell you this. The people I listened to the most, when they tried to "pitch" me, were people who already knew me from previous contact, or offered me information without jamming it down my throat. The "public relations" and "media relations" parts of the job are more about the "relations" and less about the public/media part.

How true she is. In fact, when Intelliseek released the latest version of BlogPulse a few weeks back, I was nearly the first person to break the story with an exhaustive review of the blog search engine. I don't say that to toot my own horn but rather to explain why I was able to be the first with the in-depth information on their new search engine. It's quite simple really...

I had stayed up til 3 and 4am several nights in a row with Intelliseek's CTO Sundar Kadayam working on testing and bug trapping as well as offering my feedback on features and tools for weeks prior. I was and still am very interested in what the BlogPulse team is up to because I love search technology and data analysis. The guys at Intelliseek know their stuff and have a no fluff mentality. Because of all these reasons I was "given" the right to talk about BlogPulse before anyone else.

What's my point?
Tonight as the blogosphere and newsworld are reeling about the much anticipated press release from Mecca [I mean Google] about Google Talk, we should think about the roots of a rumor. Rumors start with seeds and Google is good at planting those seeds with those they trust and whom they have strong relationships with. One of the reasons the Google branding is the most valuable of any online is because of the relationships Google employees have, it's a company culture thing. They don't just have some of the highest profile A-List bloggers as a result of their purchase of blogger but they also have the social networks that follow those individuals and thousands of other smart and talented folks at Google.

Just as I'm typing this I've been pinged by GMAIL because Jason Shellen is asking me to authorize him on my Google Talk buddy list and two other folks are IM-ing me telling me talk.google.com is finally alive... see it's all about relationships and it's super duper exciting.

By Jason Dowdell at 11:31 PM | Comments (0)

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