Engaging Bloggers: Strategic Considerations
Tap into the communication reach of bloggers and other people
who write about your public report. This can increase the number of instances
in which your public report, and other products or priorities of your
Collaborative, are mentioned in Web sites and online publications.
- Blogs are
an important part of media. Online culture is now a routine part of mass
media and related communication, as technology enables nearly anyone to
contribute opinions and ideas to the community discourse. Print and online
newspapers, for example, have fewer traditional reporters. Many online
newspapers include blogs as a regular feature, either by paying a person (often
a reporter who used to be an employee of the newspaper) to write original blogs
or by pulling content from external sources, including independent blogs. Some
independent blogs may be popular enough to consider them as viable channels for
getting information to target audiences and the public. Two ideas for
identifying which blogs might be important communication channels for your
- Read your local online papers to identify the
authors of the regularly featured blogs.
- Search http://technorati.com/blogs/top100 to
identify the most popular blogs in health care or in your region.
are independent reporters. Anyone can write a blog, but some bloggers can
get more attention to their writing than others. A number of newspapers have
hired reporters who are former employees to write a blog for the publication;
however, many bloggers do not come from a traditional media background. Some
are medical professionals with a knack for writing; others are community
writers with a strong interest in health care. Some have had bad experiences
with health care and hold a grudge. While in the past there were generally
understood rules for professional relationships between organizations and
traditional reporters, the range of types of bloggers is large, so the rules
for working with bloggers are less standardized.
communication is important to engage bloggers. Given the independent nature
of most bloggers, building a constructive relationship is likely to involve
less structure and more personalized, direct communication. For example:
Sending a news release to some bloggers is acceptable, but likely insufficient,
as traditional media relations can seem overly structured or seem like "spin."
Send the news release, but then take time to follow up with a personalized
Email or phone call to explain the key messages and discuss the blogger's
reactions or questions. There is great value in meeting in person to begin
building the relationship and it is best to do this early, rather than waiting
until you are pitching an important story.
- Be real.
Being willing to engage in real discussions is likely to be interpreted by
bloggers as a sign of respect and trust. Don't be afraid to admit what is
challenging or where compromises have been needed to make progress with the
public report. Trust is a two-way street: just as the blogger wants honest
information from you, you will hope the blogger writes about the news in a way
that is true, includes some (or all) of your key messages and isn't exaggerated
Go to Toolkit Resource 6b for an
Email template to connect with one or more bloggers to discuss the upcoming
release of your public report.
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