Blogger Outreach: How to avoid an ASBO

August 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Anti Social Blogger Outreach

Research is vital in order to understand the opportunities – as well as the boundaries – when incorporating blogger outreach to a campaign. Research also helps avoid blushes, negative coverage and possible law suits as standards, such as disclaimers, become obligatory. So where do you start?

There are two types of bloggers out there: those which are receptive to your communication and those which are not. The bloggers who are open to your efforts can be split into two: 

  • Ones that are purely journalistic and linked to a publication
  • Ones that are not linked to on or offline magazines or newspapers yet keep an agenda of reporting in their own style and beat

Both of these categories attract audiences by delivering independent views, reviews and personal opinion. In addition they are often open to comments in response to postings (an opportunity in itself if etiquette is adhered to).

Proceed with utmost caution with the second category however, which will almost certainly not be happy to get your press release, comment or offer to interview XYZ of ABC inc.,… let alone politely take your follow-up call to see if they’ve A) received the information or B) are going to do anything about it. Here’s a cautionary tale (and one I wholeheartedly agree with)

This blogger prefers to stick to his or her own opinions and doesn’t appreciate being disturbed. There are a few examples out there of bloggers who have dissed PR and marketing people getting in touch. Sometimes even going so far as to name and shame. I see no gain in resurrecting these as examples or further embarrassing the targets of such humiliation ~ but let’s avoid doing it in future.

However they do have a point! While the majority of us that work in this sector may consider such naming and shaming an unfair ASBO label, these hermit bloggers have a point, and a right, when you consider their reasons to blog: for their own agenda – not yours.

For example: You wouldn’t approach the deli counter at the supermarket and ask the attendant if they’d like to interview your client that makes cheese. If you did you’d likely be met with dumbfounded gazes insinuating that you’re A) mad B) obviously don’t understand that they’re there to advise on humus and olives and C) why the hell would they want to interview Mr Y of Cheese Inc.? Same thing with the private bloggers out there, proceed with caution. Getting publicly basted is not the objective. If in doubt – move on.

So how do you know which is which? There is no easy shortcut. You have to do the research. There’s a checklist below to keep in mind. Bookmark this page for easy future reference (bookmarking shortcut: hold down the CTL and D  keys):

  • Check out blog owner’s profile
  • Do they invite opinions, news or express interest in hearing from others?
  • Are there questions at the end of posts inviting feedback?
  • Have they previously written about products or services similar to those you’re approaching them with?
  • And if so, was it a positive or negative write-up? If not – perhaps best to leave well alone.

The last thing you want to do is catch a non-receptive blogger on a bad day and have their wrath vented, about you and/or your client, like wildfire online. While you could say, once upon a time, that yesterday’s newspaper is today’s fish and chip wrapper it’s simply not so anymore. Online reputations tend to linger forever.

Found on a Wiki page, and in the true sense of the term, here are some less conventional uses of ASBOs as listed by a report to the Home Office:

  • Two teenage boys from east Manchester forbidden to wear one golf glove, as it was a symbol of membership of a particular gang.[35]
  • A 13-year-old forbidden to use the word “grass” as a term of abuse in order to threaten people.[35]
  • A 15-year-old forbidden to play football in his street.[35]
  • An 18-year-old male was banned from congregating with more than three youths, and subsequently arrested when he entered a very popular youth club. The subject scheduled for that day was how to deal with anti-social behaviour.[35]
  • The first farmer to be given an ASBO was instructed to keep his geese and pigs from damaging his neighbour’s property.[35]
  • The oldest recipient of an ASBO, an 87-year-old man who was abusive to his neighbours.[35]
  • The youngest person to be threatened with an ASBO, a two-year-old boy accused of kicking a football at windows over a fence 7 feet (2 m) high and verbally abusing residents when asked to stop. This, however, turned out to be a police error.[36]
  • A woman was forbidden to make excessive noise during sex anywhere in England.[37]
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