On a recent East Coast swing to visit various media on a TurboTax media tour, I had the pleasure of spending some social time with a very prominent journalist. It was the first time we got to hang for a while outside the more official desk side briefing.
Besides getting to know the writer better, I also got to talk at a more philosophical level about public relations and journalism. Well, maybe â€œphilosophicalâ€ is a bit of an exaggeration but we had a good chat about things in general.
One question this writer asked was how different it is dealing with a traditional (although this writer also blogs as well) media pro vs. a blogger. Increasingly our profession is interacting with and developing relationships with bloggers.
It was the first time a top-level member of the media asked me that question. It was a great question especially since it was coming at an event we held where primarily bloggers were present. It showed a great understanding of the changing landscape of PR and the intersection with social media and the blogging world.
My answer was straight forward as I always approach the two almost exactly the same. Of course there are some differences, but the bottom line is I handle the relationships the same. For a reporter or a blogger, the person sitting on my side of the phone has to provide timely information, background and help the reporter/blogger do their job. In addition, we must protect and promote the image of our employers and scope the consumer need or problem weâ€™re solving.
There are some professionals in our field who think dealing with many bloggers is a waste of time. They lose sight of the bigger picture. Influencers come in all shapes and sizes. They write at the New York Times, Wall Street Journal or the Washington Post. They also write personal finance blogs, Mom blogs and technology blogs.
This writer is also tied in very well to social and does a good job playing in both traditional and emerging media. The journalist is just one that â€œgets it.â€ There are many of them and they understand how bloggers have become influencers as well.
We have to treat all of our contacts in journalism and the blogosphere the same way. Above all else, we must discuss relevant content that can help them do their jobs.
I do believe bloggers have helped make more traditional journalists more accessible. While they canâ€™t answer every reader or have relationships with everyone, savvy journalists are adapting and changing. Itâ€™s refreshing and will help ensure the Fourth Estate survives its current painful condition.
As a former reporter, perhaps I have a unique perspective. Perhaps not. But, traditional media are still vital to continue a dialogue about our companies and products.Â Additionally, bloggers are an increasingly influential customer advocate. They can coexist and compliment each other. They both advocate for the consumer which keeps companies focused and honest.
My job is to make sure I forge good relationships with both.