I have read an interesting post earlier this week about Dave Fleet, a public relations professional based in Toronto, who was recently targeted by Molson a beer company who were looking to hold an event with free beer readily available.

Dave says the reason why Molson approached him was as they put it “to get to know folks in this space”. I actually think that’s very honest as there are a lot of companies and brands who don’t know anyone in the social media world and honesty is always the best policy.

He describes their approach as working for the following reasons:

  1. They pre-established a relationship with him
  2. They communicated casually with him
  3. They proactively reached out when they saw an opportunity that would genuinely benefit both sides
  4. They contacted him through the tools that he used
  5. They didn’t ask him to write anything about their products in return. They explicitly said he wasn’t expected to write anything about the event (Brew 2.0)
  6. He wrote a post about their blogger outreach
  7. Twenty odd people drank the free beer all night and will likely tell their friends all about it

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my beer as much as the next man but it has got me wondering if blogger outreach programmes are really as effective and targeted at the moment as they could be?

Does a blogger outreach programme really benefit from engaging with PR bloggers? Do our comments have a direct impact on the brand – in this case a beer? Do people really give a toss what our opinion on a brand is? Or does it matter how big your blog is and how widely read it is?

I myself have been targeted for blogger outreach on a number of occasions and I don’t find it offensive (if done well) as I do it myself on a daily basis for a number of clients. My colleague, Stuart Bruce regularly receives mobile phones, coffee machines, new books – some of which he writes about and some of which he doesn’t.

I suppose the question I am asking is the same as that of Heather Yaxley on her blog she asks: “So why are PR bloggers the target for this type of programme?  Just because I can leave a digital footprint, is that worthy of a company’s time in targeting me?  Is this really the future for PR online?”

Lets look at it this way, one person blogged about it. The post was then commented on by more than nine people to date. Then Heather, Neville Hobson and several other PR bloggers including me also commented about it creating quite a large online conversation.

I think this campaign was a good start for this brand and its got them some good exposure in a space where previously they had none.

I personally liked the fact that they responded to comments and questions really quickly which gave the whole thing a very personable and informal feel. Whether it will have a direct impact on the brand or indeed sales is yet to be seen but surely it can’t be a bad thing – as Neville so eloquently puts it “it’s a terrific example of smart blogger relations.”

About Chris Norton

Chris Norton is the founder of Prohibition and an award winning communications consultant with more than twenty years’ experience. He was a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University and has had a varied PR career having worked both in-house and in a number of large consultancies. He is an Integrated PR and social media blogger and writes on a wide variety of blogs across a huge amount of topics from digital marketing, social media marketing right through to technology and crisis management.