Last time I was “franked”, it was for “squiring” a client around town or something along those lines.
This time it was for blogging. Well… not so much for blogging as for providing information to bloggers on behalf of clients – exactly the same way, as a PR professional (or flack), I provide information (press releases, backgrounders, story ideas/tips, etc.) to main stream media or ‘MSM’ as referred to in the Frank article.
I’m a subscriber to eFrank, but I don’t read it religiously. Both times I was “franked”, someone had to tell me about it. Maybe there have been other times that I’m not aware of? Doubt it though.
Being slagged a little by a “magazine” that doesn’t put bylines on its articles by no means bothers me — sometimes the articles are funny when they don’t go too far over the line. Other times I feel a little dirty (like after leaving a strip club) after reading Frank.
Anyway, I saw the article (which ran a couple of weeks ago) as an opportunity for another post on blogger relations. I did my last post on this topic after reading Ted Demopoulos’ post on Blogging for Business titled How to Pitch a Blogger.
I’m in public relations (which of course involves a great deal of media relations) and the firm I work for, Thornley Fallis, for more than a year now has been paying a lot of attention to social media (blogging, podcasting, etc.)
With more than 60 million blogs worldwide, how can we afford not to pay attention?
Thornley Fallis represents a few defence industry clients and I manage the accounts.
As part of ongoing public/media relations for these clients, 8 or 9 months ago, I came across The Torch, a blog focused on the Canadian military. I made contact to introduce myself, identify the relevant clients I represent, ask about their interests and offer to provide information that I think may be of interest to them. The same way I would if the Globe and Mail or CTV assigned a new reporter to the defence beat.
Here’s a post Joe Thornley did around the time I first contacted The Torch and here’s a post on Blue Blogging Soapbox, which has an author or authors in common with The Torch, about what they learned about Thornley Fallis after checking us out when I contacted them.
Back to the Frank article, “Blogshite: The Torch” (it quotes Joe’s post, so whoever wrote it must be a fan of Pro PR). The article suggests that I and Thornley Fallis have some privileged relationship with the authors of The Torch, that they post whatever I send them about my clients and that they attack any mainstream media (listing: Daniel Leblanc, Globe and Mail; David Akin, CTV; Mike Blanchfield & David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen) that write less than favourable articles about my clients and their products. None of this is true in anyway whatsoever.
The funny thing is, I in fact have less of a “relationship” with anyone at The Torch than with the journalists mentioned above. I’ve never met or even spoken to any of The Torch authors on the phone. Email only.
On the other hand…
I had coffee with Daniel Leblanc a few weeks ago, when he started covering defence again for the Globe.
I’ve been emailing and talking on the phone with David Pugliese for likely 4 years now and I worked with his brother for 3 years or so when I was in government. I still have lunch with him periodically.
I read David Akin’s blog daily, we exchange emails from time to time, we’ve spoken on the phone and I’ve set-up interviews with him for clients.
Yes, The Torch has posted some stuff that I have sent them. I’ve also sent them stuff that they haven’t posted. The same way as main stream media sometimes write stories from releases I send them or do interviews that I pitch them, and other times they don’t.
As the blogosphere and social media continues to grow, I think I and my colleagues at Thornley Fallis are taking the right approach on behalf of our clients.
As Ted Demopoulos suggests in his post How to Pitch a Blogger: “Address us by name. Make it clear you’ve read our blog. Be on friggin’ target!”
As I said in my post, after reading Ted’s: “Really not much different that pitching a ‘traditional’ journalist. Do some research to figure out their ‘beat’/area(s) of interest and personalize the contact.”
Some media outlets (e.g. CTV, Toronto Star) and some journalists (e.g. David Akin, Paul Wells) are embracing social media, others aren’t. It will be interesting to watch how all this evolves and be part of it.
Thank you Frank magazine for providing the inspiration for this post.