Blogger Relations – Cossette Convergence – VIDFEST 2008 – Barefoot, Trgovac and Bollwitt

I am going to attempt to liveblog Rebecca’s, Kate’s and Darren’s presentation. Check frequently for updates. I may also be live-tweeting.

2.14pm – I have Wi-Fi, have settled in the back and just said hi to Heather Watson (aka Hez) and have introduced myself to Kate Trgovac. Trying to set up for liveblog, I’m a little scattered. Too much socializing too little focus. Sorry if my Tweets are a bit uncoherent. Saw Jenn, Monica, Gus – such a pleasure to see you guys.

UPDATE 2:35pm – Panel is starting with a little bit of context on what a blog is and some stats on blogging. Apparently, female teens are starting blogs earlier than their male counterparts. The moderator is introducing each blogger.

UPDATE 2:40pm – What do you want

- How to manage blogs and relationships with bloggers?
- Relevance of blogs to older audiences?
- The use of micro-blogging and latest trends in blogging
- How bloggers become more recognized in an increasing noisy environment
- Leverage that bloggers can use to promote a new social movement
- How to monetize your blog


Kate keeps four different blogs (a lot of them, laptop blag reviews).
There is just A relationship – developing relationships with people that are excited about the product
There are 3 reasons why I blog

1. EGO – It is great for me, I blog because I like that people value my opinion. It is really interesting. A lot of bloggers are driven by ego. I did not start to be famous.

* Tip – Flattery works

2. COOL TOYS – My cool toy budget isn’t as big – I started blogging about this and I spend time now with the stuff. Printer, laptop bag. If you have a product, devote some of the media spend budget sending products to the

* Tip – Send the blogger stuff (SWAG)

3. BLOG ABOUT THE ONLINE COMMUNITY – I love blogging to reach out to the community. If you give me stuff that I can give away to my community, all the better!

* Tip – Benefit to my community


* Target inappropriate – If your stuff is relevant to my blog, then I may actually do it, but if not, then NO.

* Excessive content – Keep it focused. Don’t give me a lot of details!

For most bloggers this is NOT their day job, so as someone who is pitching, you have to plan the campaign so that the bloggers can work and then fit your product into their schedule.


I got a day job because of my blog.

These are my thoughts (Rebecca’s) – What do I look for when someone is pitching me.

Never do a Dear John kind of contact

Dear or Dear webmaster

Targeting who you’re pitching to.

I’m a married woman, if you send me a press release about a dating site, I may not look at your site or your stuff.

Expect honesty

Listen to your audience, whether the review is good OR bad.

Check your stats

Look for those who you haven’t even talked to yet.

Positive example – Just write a winery review (Osoyoos) and the next day, the winery owners offered wine bottles and offers to come visit and a guided tour.


This has recently been in the news (the issue of bloggers relations).

Chris Anderson – Editor WIRED Magazine – The Long Tail

Last year he wrote a blog post in which he posted a black list of more than 300 PR marketing people who had been spamming him.

Darren used a second example that I completely missed thanks to loss of WiFi

Third example – ELBOWS Music Blogger List

Authenticity and transparency. We are supposed to be more transparent (bloggers)

It’s not the best solution (blogs) but we’re trying.
It is a semi-public communication device.

The web loves vigilante justice. One of several risks.

If you do bloggers relations, if you do it right you’ll be doing well.

Appealing to bloggers’ self-interest.

Terrific book – “Made to Stick” – Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs.


How long did it take you to build the readership you have now?

Rebecca – Four years. Putting myself in there. Emphasis on the offline.

Does the mainstream media come to you?

More traffic – little traffic from the mainstream media comes.

Do you find Facebook attractive – as you’re a blogger – do you find that there is any interaction?

Kate – I get a little bit of traffic. Over the long.

Darren – Has done some research – kind of no, Facebook is this place that is somehow silent. Practically speaking – people don’t want to leave Facebook when they’re there.

Other sites do they direct you some traffic?

Darren – That traffic is not particularly sticky. Digg and StumbleUpon.

Kate – Tonnes of traffic through StumbleUpon.

Some sites do seem to work on Facebook

Darren – yeah, some places work, some others don’t

Do you need to post at a certain rate

Rebecca – Posting speeds variable.

On my company site – 3 times a month

On my personal – Up to 6-8 times a day

Weekend goes down – especially when it’s sunny. Then it comes back (the traffic)

Kate – Same phenomenon.

It’s bigger

Darren – Aim to twice a week

I used to blog more (two posts a day) – almost never post on the

Hez – Follow up question – Reblogging – microblogging – is there such a thing as “too much”

Darren – Twitter – define – wee little blogs with 140 characters limit

Kate – Tumblr – similar to Twitter and super simple – it’s life streams, where it aggregates Twitter – Flickr – live streaming into one

There *is* a real risk.

I post my Del.ici.ous bookmarks -

Kate – You can “cheat” and post links but you need to add some content, some find it valuable.

- Also networking capability – you get the feed – there is some amazing content of that.

Rebecca – Delicious – the great thing is that bookmarks are online.

Darren – two more things

a) What are the current and trendy things?

Microblogging is trend 1 and

Live streaming – FriendFeed – assemble all of your streams

FriendFeed can help you personalize.

What do you do with negative feedback and what can you do as a corporation – what does a blogger do with the negative feedback

Rebecca – As a corporation, you can’t ignore the negative stuff. Not everybody is going to like your product. But if you have a corporate blog and you have negative reviews, listen to this. Next blog post – “we listened to what you said and here’s what we suggest you do”

Darren – You got to dive in and not ignore it.

QUESTION – You were early adopter – how do you help the corporate bloggers get recognition

Kate – PetroCanada – they started a blog – gas prices and fuel efficiency
- The way they started out was reaching out to other people in the US
- Who is talking about fuel efficiency and gas prices
- Those blogs are going to be more popular for a while
- Do you need it to discuss the issue on your own terms.

It’s not an overnight thing at al.

Darren – Tenacity and original, valuable content – the blogosphere is a necrochamber – fascinating research every day.

If you are writing a corporate blog – depending on what your blog

MEC – Ethical sourcing blog – their goal is not to be the most popular, their goal is to answer questions – establish expertise around this topic – becoming the most popular.

In blogging, you make money as an exception, not as a rule.

Rebecca – linking back, leaving comments

Darren – this is hard – but voice matters – people want to know (and think they know the people behind the blog) – voice and writing ability can differentiate.

UPDATE 3.23 pm – The problem with trying to liveblog is that speakers talk WAY too fast AND people who are asking questions ask them in a very quiet voice. Speak *slowly* (speakers) and ask questions loudly (participants in the session). Ok thanks :)

You can be arrogant or funny, but you have to have your own voice.

How to find the best blogs, how to find the highest multiplier effect

Those who are of interest to your client, not so much the big guys.

You want to find the right ones – the ones that are relevant

Thinking about the phrase – building the relationship, then the content

The most popular blogs in the world have these demands to write stuff – you can try to find the blogs that are very, very specific to what YOU are working on

** I couldn’t capture the last comment that Kate made **


Should each one of the experts have a blog or several blogs

Darren – Start with one blog with multiple authors. Some people want to do it because they like it, some see it as an obligation. The really important thing is to highlight INDIVIDUAL authors. Put a photo, put their photo. The readers will get to know them “oh, here is Janice”

Kate – PetroCanada – group blog but very personalized. Provide feeds. Provide an RSS feed for EACH author. So each person can subscribe to whomever.


What would you guys say if any one of these people wanted to talk to a blog

Kate – Do it in a really small scale. Read their blog.

DaveO – The most awesome blogger in town  – Question to Darren – you have creative ways of pitching – give us some ideas

We never pitch anonymously. Send enticing, fun, intriguing stuff. Be very creative.

Kate – the mail stuff (in printed mail form) – it’s not just mail, it is personalized, relevant and creative.

Would it be fair that people make a more substantial, authentic pitch for a blogger

Darren – Yes, read the bloggers’ blog at least for the duration of the campaign.

Mass marketing continues to die, apparently

Darren – be humble about this – work from the assumption that the influencers, the bloggers online DO NOT NEED YOU. If you work from a position of humility you will be more successful.

Rebecca – Mass marketing – company in Toronto – pitched me before – pitched me again – and then they said “we can’t send you the stuff b/c you participated 6 months ago” – well now Rebecca does NOT want to do it. It’s kind of silly, the strategy of Matchstick – I mean, you CAN’T participate in more than two campaigns a year? Give me a break.


Ok, I now need to check where I am headed!

Related posts:

  1. The elephant in the room: Disclosure and transparency in blogger relations
  2. The business case for good blogger relations with high-traffic bloggers
  3. VIDFEST 2008 – Vancouver International Digital Festival 2008 is now
  4. What I’m up to today: LaunchParty, TechVibes job fair, Green Drinks, VIDFEST 2008
  5. Third Tuesday Vancouver May 2008: Darren Barefoot

Comments (2)

[...] Raul live blogged my panel with Kate and [...]

Dave OMay 27th, 2008 at 11:22 am

rock on Raul!

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