One of my colleagues at Topaz, Doug Haslam, led a discussion with Bryper (Bryan Person) on blogger relations and some other stuff (that the session's really long title was supposed to convey)... Really the session was PR in the new media landscape and it was led by two people who are down in the trenches on a regular basis.
The session began with examples of failures.
Bryper works for Monster and shared a story about blogger relations going amiss in Ireland. I hadn't heard this whole issue before, but I guess a Monster employee in Ireland send out a mass spam email. A well-read blogger received the email, got a nasty response from the person who sent it and posted about it. Then some Monster employee thought it wise to comment on the blog post from work--and the IP address was traced and exposed... The post and the comments attracted a lot of attention--the post got over 500 diggs.
@dougH shared a story of a past Topaz client. The client got some unfavorable coverage and an employee took matters into his own hands... Astroturf happens. But the company didn't think think it was important to apologize for the employee and state their blogger policy (apparently the employees weren't supposed to commenting on behalf of the company). It took them entirely too long to realize that the blogger was, in fact, worth apologizing.
What's the point?
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New PR= Old PR
Form pitches don't work because PR is about relationships.
PR people can stimulate conversations. PR people can be involved in conversations on behalf of a client. But you have to be honest about who you are.
The take away (yet again): Transparency. Why is this one so hard?