The PR/Blogger Relationship: Notes from PRSA Travel and Tourism Conference

by Chris on June 2, 2010

More on the relationship between public relations professionals and bloggers, based on my time spent at the PRSA Travel & Tourism conference in Aspen last week.

I spoke at PRSA Travel & Tourism conference in Aspen last week, as part of a panel entitled “Reaching Key Influencers Where They Live (Online).”

I felt lucky to be included in that definition. Of those of us on the panel, which included Kara S. Williams of The Vacation Gals, Johnny Jet and Rich Beattie of Travel + Leisure.com, I definitely have the smallest audience, even if I had the most traditional media experience.

As I wrote earlier in the year, my relationship with public relations professionals has evolved over time. I came away from the conference believing that the public relations community has embraced new media at a faster clip – and more enthusiastically – than the traditional media community. There are a lot of journalists out there who would be stunned at how sophisticated online marketing has become

Of course, from a blogging point of view, things look a little different. For those who have become successful in the blogging world, the outreach efforts that PR people have made seem haphazard at best, and occasionally insulting at worst. The “push” model that dominated interactions with mainstream media for years simply doesn’t work with bloggers, who value relationships and conversation more.

Here are a few takeaways off the top of my head from the conference. I’d love to hear other people’s take on the issue.

For PR professionals:

1. Educating your clients has to be the priority. During the conference, I talked to several professionals who would love to work with bloggers, but the powers-that-be on their accounts still don’t see the value. Some of the presentations at the conference proved that real-life success stories are out there. Educate, then emulate, perhaps on a smaller scale so you have some results to bring into meetings.

2. Realize that the economics of freelance writing has changed. A few people voiced concerns that it seems that bloggers are just out for freebies. The reality is that print outlets have cut back their freelance budgets, and the amount of money that writers are receiving for stories has diminished (Demand Media, which now provides travel content to USA TODAY, pays its writers between $10 to $15 a story. That’s less than you can make at a temp job). So even established freelance writers are angling for better comps, if only to make their work financially viable.

3. Blogging is niche marketing in the extreme. Kara made the point that not all blogs are created equal. It’s so true. There are so many blogs out there, each with a different focus and a different audience. That’s a tough research hurdle, but it also means that you can target your outreach very specifically to consumers who might actually stay at your property or visit your destination. And remember that blogger content lives on in SEO for a long time.

4. Focus on the environment and the conversation, not the numbers. I asked one PR rep why she had invited me on one particular trip, as my blog  is on the newer and smaller side. She told me that she liked the look of the blog, as well as the atmosphere that I had cultivated with the comments (the fact that many of my readers are other media types was also a factor). This is why you should always READ the blog thoroughly before starting a conversation. (Not reading someone’s blog is the number one complaint that I’ve heard from other bloggers). 

5. You can influence the reach of online content. Bloggers love it when you repost, tweet or stumble their posts. Many of the PR people who are active on Twitter, such as Angela Beradino (@CoTravelGirl) and Meg Nesterov (@thenotoriousmeg), and Facebook (props to Amy Walters Weirick) understand this. More eyeballs on my blog is good for me AND you, if I’m writing about your property or destination. It’s a perfect place for bloggers and PR people to work together.

For Bloggers:

1. Bloggers still have a reputation for amateurism, which in some cases is well deserved. I’ve witnessed some behavior from bloggers on press trips this year that would make your hair curl. The more professional we become, the more seriously people will take us. So please think twice before you indulge in counterproductive – or illegal – behavior.

2. It can’t just be about the freebies. Keep in mind that ROI rules the day in the PR world. Your foremost question when you go into a trip should be, “How are you going to add value to the equation on behalf of your readers?”, not “How much swag can I get?”

3. Understand how the old model worked. Yes, the world has changed. Traditional media is less relevant (irrelevant?). The old way of doing business doesn’t work. Blah blah blah. You still should be aware of what came before, if only so you understand where the PR people you are working with are coming from. At the largest news organizations, freebies still aren’t allowed and it can take up to a year for a short and breezy placement. Consider how scary it can be for a destination to encounter bloggers who speak their mind, who post and tweet their immediate impressions and elaborate on the smallest details. It’s much harder to control that kind of message so PR people are taking a leap of faith when they enter the fray.

4. Marketing needs to be more sophisticated. Gary Arndt of Everything-Everywhere , which garners the highest audience by far of any independent travel blog, has drawn up a marketing PDF for his blog that rivals the rate sheets put out at a magazine. It’s professional, sophisticated and written in language that PR professionals understand. He’s speaking at TBEX next month, and I hope he talks more about it.

5. Continue to organize and push the envelope. I was still at USA TODAY last year when Kim Mance organized the first TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) conference in Chicago. I remember reading the tweets and thinking that we at the paper could learn from the entrepreneurial mindset that drives the blogging community. I can’t wait for the second TBEX in New York later this month. Even though travel blogging will remain a secondary career for me, I know that I’ll learn a lot from the bloggers who are leading the community – and that their innovation will appeal to PR professionals as well.

My full presentation can be found at slideshare.net, another tool that I discovered at the conference.

This is a conversation that should continue, particularly as we head into TBEX, so please leave your thoughts and insights below.

| Chris Gray Faust is a veteran journalist, travel expert, social media butterfly - and editrix of this site. Like what you read? Check out her writing, editing and social media services.

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

@CoTravelGirl June 2, 2010 at 11:06 am

Love how well this post covers both sides of the issue; I’m collecting questions right now for the #TBEX10 panel on this subject, and would love to hear from PR and bloggers on what they’d like to hear asked?

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Chris June 2, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Angela, you are the poster child for PR people who get it. I’m always learning from you online and at PRSA – and I can’t wait for your presentation at TBEX! I think you’ll be able to give bloggers real insight into how it all works from your POV.

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Ronny Stoddart June 2, 2010 at 11:18 am

Many good points, Chris, and thoughtfully presented. However, I take exception to the notion that traditional media is less relevant (irrelevant?). Two recent Pew studies found that 99% of stories linked to in blogs come from traditional media. And 95% of all new information comes from traditional media. What’s more, pageviews at the top 25 newspaper markets hit an alltime high of 2 billion in April, up 11% from the previous month. So despite our financial challenges, traditional media still a huge influencer and gaining in online traction by the day.
Great seeing you in Aspen.
Ronny

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Chris June 2, 2010 at 11:45 am

Ronny – Yes, your PRSA presentation was called Traditional Media: Why It Still Matters. And if you want to put in a link to a presentation with your stats, I’m happy to oblige. We all know that USA TODAY is the top of the media food chain, and that bloggers are further down on most PR professionals’ lists.

But the point of that whole bullet item wasn’t a slam on traditional media. After all, many of the skills that I possess today came from 20 years in the newspaper business (I worked at papers before USAT, as you know). The bullet point was to remind bloggers that a system existed before we came along, and we should be as patient as we can be as the PR industry works to keep up and educate their clients.

Remember, though, how my panel answered the question posed to us on how we received our information. To a person, our panel mentioned Twitter, as well as sites such as Mashable, PaidContent, etc. And I don’t see a lot of mainstream media journalists driving the conversation there.

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Gary Arndt June 2, 2010 at 12:39 pm

1) Most of the links which go to large media sites from blogs deal with news or politics. I seldom see it in other niches such as travel, technology, sports, or celebrity gossip, all of which are very large niches. In politics and hard news, old media outlets still rule. In niches, not so much.

2) The problem with old media today isn’t their reach or influence, especially online. It is their business model. Big newspapers still garner large audiences because of their brands. The problem with Newsweek isn’t the traffic it brings in, it is the fact they have offices in Manhattan and employ over 400 people. If someone were to start Newsweek today, it would employ no more than 12 people and would have a very small office with writers working remotely.

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Roland Alonzi June 2, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Chris – a great post that I’ll certainly share with my colleagues. On the “irrelevance” issue, here’s my take: no matter what the Kindles and iPads of the world provide, there’s just too many people who enjoy unfolding a crisp newspaper and reading it on the way to/from work.

I think that the print outlets will find a way, eventually, to utilize other delivery methods if they can give up a little control.

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Christine Gilbert June 2, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Gary has done a great job with his blog, but I want to take exception with one thing you said, “Gary Arndt of Everything-Everywhere which garners the highest audience by far of any independent travel blog” — I’m curious at how you arrived at this conclusion? Unless you have access to Gary’s traffic logs and the logs of the other top 100 travel blogs, then I’m not sure you can even guess at where Gary falls as far as traffic goes.

If you’re referring to Alexa or Compete scores, these are estimates. When I had my baby, I had the highest traffic month ever on my blog, probably through some lucky stumble magic. But my Alexa fell. Why? Probably because I and my blogger friends who have the toolbar installed (and allows Alexa to count my clicks) didn’t visit as much. Even my compete score fell. The scores don’t come close to matching reality.

Just be careful in putting too much faith in those numbers, and besides NomadicMatt.com has very close scores to Gary’s. I think we can have this conversation — and I think Gary has important things to say — but let’s not put more weight to any one voice based on dubious stats. There are lots of folks kicking ass out there.

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Chris June 2, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Christine – You are right that the Compete and Alexa numbers can be inaccurate (Alexa numbers are based on their toolbar, which is used more by techies than the general population). Both Kara and I mentioned that in our PRSA presentations. That’s why I had that bullet item pointing out that PR professionals should look at the environment of a site to decide if they want their property or destination to live there, instead of just going after people with low Alexa scores.

And no offense to your site, or to Matt’s or to any other blogger out there. Gary happened to share his marketing sheet with me and I thought it was a brilliant idea that others could copy, that’s all. That’s one reason that I’m looking forward to TBEX so much – blogging is the type of field where you can really take concrete examples from other people and apply them to your own site. Hope I’ll get to see you there!

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Christine Gilbert June 2, 2010 at 4:11 pm

I will be at TBEX and I’m sure this conversation will be extended into that event!

I didn’t mean to imply that Gary was manipulating Alexa or any other service. I think he has a hugely popular blog. I just don’t want so much emphasis placed on those numbers… so I’m glad that you and Kara were clear on that. To me, that qualifier put the focus back on the numbers, sending the message that Gary’s statement is validated because he has high scores. I think Gary’s validated by who he is and his reputation more than Alexa.

But it sounds like we’re on the same page. 🙂 Look forward to meeting you at TBEX!

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Gary Arndt June 2, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Let me shed a bit of light on the use of Alexa/Compete data.

If you look at any given website and their respective data from Compete/Alexa, it will almost certainly be wrong. That does not mean that comparative use of Alexa/Compete is not useful. It does mean you need to know how they work to extract useful information from it.

What you need to know about both sites:
1) There is such a thing as the law of large numbers. If you have a blog with a small audience, you wont have enough of a sample size to get an accurate sense of the size of the audience. Most complaints about either service come from people with small audiences (under an Alexa rank of about 100,000) because they are the ones that have the largest error in their audience. The bigger the audience, the more accurate the measurement is.

2) Because the estimate of traffic for a single site is off, or even if the estimate of every site is off, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t valuable for comparing similar sites in similar niches. Because the same sampling techniques are used, they can show a ballpark of relative traffic values, which can be useful for comparison.

What you need to know about Compete:
http://www.compete.com/resources/methodology/

1) Compete uses a system similar to Nielsen or Arbitron ratings, but with a significantly larger sample size. I would say this makes it more accorate than many of the audience estimators used in traditional media.

2) Compete only measures traffic in the United States. It is useless for sites which primarily get traffic from outside the US.

3) Compete only issues data once per month and Compete rank only reflects traffic from the previous month.

What you need to know about Alexa:
http://www.alexa.com/help/traffic-learn-more

1) Alexa measures traffic from data obtained from people who use the Alexa toolbar on their browser. People who install this tend to be more tech savvy, so sites which attract technical users are over sampled. Technology sites, meta blogs, video game sites, etc. have very high Alexa ranks respective to their actual traffic. Trying to do cross niche comparisons is pretty much useless with Alexa.

2) Alexa rank is a running average of the previous three months. Data is updated every day. Alexa rank can change a bit every day unlike Compete rank which only changes once per month.

3) No matter how much traffic you have, a brand new blog will never have an Alexa rank which reflects its true traffic during its first three months for the above reason.

Conclusions:

1) Alexa or Compete estimates of traffic are almost always within an order of magnitude, ie: they wont be 10x off the mark. If it says someone has 10,000 uniques in a month, they almost certainly do not have 100,000 or 1,000. They could have 20,000 or 5,000. That is still a big error, but it isn’t a 10x error.

2) The more traffic a site gets, the more accurate the data becomes. This is especially true for Compete.com data. If you have an Alexa rank below 100,000, you probably will see greater errors in their estimates. As the sample size gets bigger, the errors will get smaller.

3) You can use Compete or Alexa to compare the traffic between two sites, so long as you are just using it for a ballpark estimate. An established site with an Alexa rank of 50,000 is almost certainly has a larger audience than a site with a rank of 500,000….assuming they are in the same niche (that part is important). Comparing anything with an Alexa rank over 100,000 is useless. 200,000 should be considered to be practically the same as 500,000.

So basically, you can get useful information out of Alexa and Compete, but you need to be smart about it and know how they both work and in what ways errors are created in their sampling.

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Chris June 3, 2010 at 11:24 am

Gary – Thanks for posting this. It’s very helpful to those who don’t know the basics of those numbers.

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Christine Gilbert June 3, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Gary,

To quote the big Lebowski, “That’s like your opinion, man”

In my experience it’s been off not just by a single multiple but over time when my traffic has jumped 2-3X the volume month over month. I’m not a little site, it should be better, but it’s not.

Besides only 12 travel bloggers even break 100,000. 12. Out of what, 2,000+ TBEX members?

On compete scores: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/competecom-metrics-an-interview-with-jeremy-crane

http://travelblogsites.com/

So yes, it’s great for comparing a 10K site and a 100K site. I use the toolbar everyday to judge sites. But it’s not as granular as you propose and for instance, I don’t think we can tell if you or Danny Choo have more traffic. Chris’s original statement was about your traffic volume against other bloggers. While we can tell yes, you have a lot, I’m still not seeing evidence that we can pinpoint who has “the most” or by how much. That was my point.

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Gary Arndt June 3, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I never said it was granular. In fact I said it is within an order of magnitude and can be off 2-3 fold.

As for most travel blogs being under a rank of 100,000, you are correct. As a niche, travel blogs do not get much traffic compared to other areas such as technology, pop culture, sports and politics.

As far as Danny Choo goes…

Danny Choo isn’t a travel blog and I’m not sure why it was ever listed as one to begin with. As he describes it himself: “Danny Choo resides in Tokyo and writes about life in Japan and Japanese pop culture which includes anime, figurines, dolls, cosplay, games and everything else that comes under the genre.”

If you include Japanese pop culture, why not include Perez Hilton as a travel blog as it deals with American pop culture? Or politics or music or sports which all deal with culture?

If a site about pop culture is a travel blog, then the word travel is so broad as to have no meaning.

As far as comparing traffic, yes it is a bit of a black art if you don’t have the analytics for every single site. Alexa and Compete are the only tools we have. You yourself said you use them, and that is because as flawed as they are, they are the only thing available. You just need to know how they work and in what ways they can be wrong and be in error…and they are in error which I think I made clear.

Every complain I’ve heard about Alexa and Compete starts with “my site does X and it didn’t record it”. As I stated above, if everyone is getting errors, then it still can be useful for cross site comparison even if it is wrong for any given site, so long as the same sampling was used for every site.

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Chris June 3, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Christine & Gary – I hope you both have the Alexa toolbar installed. ‘Cuz I have a long way to go to get my number down! 🙂

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Christine Gilbert June 4, 2010 at 3:08 am

Chris-

Sorry for hijacking your thread. I think you did a wonderful job on this piece and apparently Gary and I need to battle this out over drinks at TBEX. I hear Bootsnall is buying.

Cheers!

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Christine Gilbert June 4, 2010 at 3:07 am

Gary-

It is a “black art” and I understand the tools are limited. That’s why I objected to her original statement. You still haven’t presented me anything that can quantify the volume difference between you and the 10 nearest bloggers.

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Abby June 2, 2010 at 3:27 pm

This really helped me some things in a different way. I come from the magazine world, mostly women’s mags and the celeb weeklies, and I’ve somehow landed in Costa Rica. My travel blog is very much a secondary thing for me, a vehicle to be able to write whatever I want! But the only reason I can afford to do so is my other work. Admittedly, I’m just now learning the ins and outs of blogging… My blog has already led me to some bigger projects, but I’m so excited to learn more at TBEX regarding how I can better use my blog itself. I’m so excited I decided to go — it was a bit on a whim!

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Kara @ The Vacation Gals June 2, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Chris –

We are aligned on so many schools of thought on the PR/blogger relationship — was a pleasure to serve on the PRSA Travel & Tourism panel with you!

And to clarify what you said to Christine, indeed, I pointed out that Compete & Alexa can be used for traffic estimates — and that Compete only takes into US traffic, doesn’t allow for subdomain measuring. They can and should be used for baseline/ballpark info, I think.

For example – a PR friend asked me to check out the blog of someone who wanted a 4-day resort stay for his family. He had just started a family-travel blog — it had all of 5 posts, he had launched it maybe a week prior and his Alexa ranking was 22,000,000 (yes, 22 million — didn’t know numbers went up that high). Red flags everywhere!

I am a STRONG proponent in transparency of numbers — I always tell any PR person or potential advertisers that I will happily send them a screenshot of The Vacation Gals’ Google Analytics for accurate traffic numbers.

See you at TBEX!

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JoAnna June 2, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Thank you for your thoughtful post.

I studied PR in school, and though I never worked in PR, I remember crunching numbers about the newspapers and magazines with the highest reach.

Now, as a travel blogger, I have a different perspective. As a person who interacts with my readers, I believe that there’s something much more personal about blogging that can reach an audience, even if it is a smaller one than newspapers. My readers are engaged in my content, asking me specific follow-up questions on how they, too, can do something or experience a place. Instead of just reading about some whimsical, far-off destination, people know me and know that if I can stay somewhere or do something, so can they. I’m constantly recommending places for people to visit or eat or stay based on my experience. But I can’t afford to do all of these things on my own. With support from people working in PR, I can continue to widen my travel horizons and thus provide more services as the travel ambassador many people have come to think of me as.

I’m really excited to talk more about this with people at TBEX. We seem to be at a weird, cutting-edge time with this issue, but I think it’s an important issue, and I think that together bloggers and PR firms can both come out ahead in our respective fields.

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Chris June 3, 2010 at 11:23 am

JoAnna – You’re right on target with this. The US Travel Association put out a study called Traveler’s Use of the Internet in 2009, which found that 1 in 4 travelers rely on “Word of mouth” while making travel booking decisions. I believe that bloggers, as well as PR pros well versed in social media, can become “trusted friends” who help influence those decisions. You’re also right that this is a cutting edge time – the ways that readers are receiving information are constantly changing, and we’re all figuring out how to keep up! TBEX will be awesome!

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Judy Wells June 2, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Great points, Chris. Do share TBEX with us; I’ll be getting new hip so can’t make it. By the way, that foto from Mexico brought back many a good memory!

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Chris June 3, 2010 at 11:19 am

Judy – I plan to do quite a bit of blogging from TBEX. I think that many of the speakers’ presentations will be of value to freelance writers, as well as bloggers. I’d love to see more interaction between SATW and TBEX, honestly!

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Krista Parry June 2, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Excellent summary Chris. Your five tips for PR peeps are spot on. I am still amazed that some of my peers refuse to see bloggers as “media”. It’s about Influence people!

You are a rock star and I am so glad that we were able to meet. I look forward to seeing you at TBEX!

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Chris June 3, 2010 at 11:25 am

Thanks, Krista! It was great to meet you as well! You did such a good job of tweeting the conference. See you at TBEX!

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Spud Hilton June 2, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Great stuff, Chris. Well reported and well-written (some of us still value the old skills that usually came with the the old model).

Looking forward to TBEX if only so I can pick your brain again (this time not in a dive bar with one light bulb).

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Chris June 3, 2010 at 11:20 am

Looking forward to it, Spud! Glad we’ll be able to catch up.

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Kara @ The Vacation Gals June 2, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Agreed on being asked often for travel advice. That was one point I wanted to make last week at the PRSA Travel & Tourism Conference, but took out of my power point due to lack of time.

Bloggers are often quoted in the media as travel experts. My Vacation Gals and I (and many, many other website owners) show up in travel stories on CNN.com. FoxNews.com, MSNBC.com, etc. as sources. Another great reason why PR might want to work w/ bloggers (i.e. invite on press trips).

And we are considered travel experts by our readers and friends — at TVG often get emails from readers asking about best places for girlfriend getaways, family trips or honeymoons. Heck, my daughter’s teacher came to me w/ questions about what to do on the Big Island this summer!

My point (of yours I’m echoing): Our reach does not end with one or two (or more) blog posts after returning from a destination.

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Chris June 3, 2010 at 11:55 am

Kara – That’s such a good point, particularly as “word of mouth marketing” continues to spread. When I was at USAT, the paper did a internal survey that found, increasingly, that readers were saying that the news “finds” them, either through Facebook, Twitter, email home pages, what have you. It will be interesting to see how this trend continues.

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Jody June 2, 2010 at 10:00 pm

This is a really great post with so much information both in the article and the comments. I,too, will be at TBEX; would love to meet you.

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Chris June 3, 2010 at 11:55 am

Thanks, Jody. Would love to meet you too. My time at TBEX will be super short – just Saturday and Sunday, but I can’t wait to meet everyone.

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Jennifer Rudolph June 3, 2010 at 10:43 am

Chris,

Thank you so much for providing notes from, and for, both sides of the journalist/PR relationship. I look forward to sharing your comments with my PR committee, especially the bit about educating your clients. From the PR professional’s perspective, there can be a lot of ‘justifying’ to clients and senior executives when working with bloggers.

Hope to see you in Colorado again soon.

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Chris June 3, 2010 at 11:59 am

Thanks, Jennifer! I would love to figure out ways that bloggers can continue to make their case for legitimacy in a way that clients will understand.

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Brigitta Kroon-Fiorita June 3, 2010 at 10:48 am

Great to read all these posts! I enjoyed all panels in Aspen and can’t wait to hear and learn more at TBEX. From a PR-industry perspective, remember it is not always the PR professional who does not believe in the value of (travel) blogs; we have to deal with a client base, who in many cases still want to see their product in traditional media, with ad value attached! We are constantly “educating” our partners and clients (mostly in Europe in my case) and are looking for as much back-up as we can via Alexa, Quantcast and other tools. Nothing is perfect of course, but the more back-up we have,the better we can inform our clients.

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Chris June 3, 2010 at 11:27 am

Brigitta – It’s all about the client for you guys, and I think that bloggers could do a better job of understanding that it’s not always the PR professional who has the final word. I’d love to hear more on how we can work together to make travel blogging a more “legitimate” outlet, from a client POV.

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Amy Kemp June 3, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Chris –

Thanks for the post, especially since I had to miss part of your PRSA presentation for a conference call.

I still find it interesting that even though the term “key influencers” was used for the panel, we (both media and PR folks) focused almost entirely on bloggers instead of casting a wider net to include online folks who haven’t traditionally been considered media (tweeps, facebook likers, youtube advocates, etc).

I think PR peeps need to think beyond the traditional definition of who is a media member (traditional and nontraditional) and start thinking about who’s an influencer or advocate and then start treating them as media. Your stat about word-of-mouth “finds” is so critical. PR peeps need to constantly be focused on who is “broadcasting” and “reporting” our destinations and resorts and then figure out how and where and all the while be very nimble and flexible in this dynamic world.

It’s a fascinating topic and I’m looking forward to TBEX and continuing the conversation (here, there, everywhere).
Thanks, Amy (@SkierGrrl)

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Chris June 3, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Amy – Sure, online influencers go way beyond bloggers. I’ve always wondered why no one talks more about the “destination experts” in the TripAdvisor forums. Those forums get tons of questions every day, and there are volunteers who are answering everything from the best tour to take in Rome to specifics about hotels in Turks & Caicos. Most of those people are volunteers who are only loosely connected to the professional travel world, while others are savvy hoteliers, tour operators or CVB operators who have figured out another way to drive the conversation.

And if you look at Twitter, many of the most popular Travel Tweeps aren’t journalists OR bloggers – they are travel agents or people in travel PR. That’s why I think it’s so important for PR professionals to realize that they can make a difference by getting involved in social media.

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Lisa Gerber June 3, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Hi Chris,
Excellent post. From a PR POV, educating my clients on the value of blogs/bloggers is my biggest obstacle. I was JUST doing that yesterday to a group of 10.
I really appreciate your look at both sides. We so often hear about the ridiculous things PR people do, and how ignorant they can be. Yes, that happens. At the same time, we have to remember we work in partnership, with shared or complementary goals. Mutual respect in the relationship can mean a mutually beneficial relationship for a long time. Those are the relationships that make me realize how much I love my job.

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Emily August 25, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Chris–very insightful post, and I think both bloggers and PR professionals have a lot to learn from this! I think both sides have some unprofessional folks, but that happens in any industry. I look forward to PR companies becoming even better at working with bloggers and understanding the power of social media.

I do want to mention that Demand Studios pays writers $20 for each USAToday.com travel article (though they sometimes pay just $10 or $15 for articles for their other sites, like ehow.com). I still think that’s painfully low. I just wanted to point out that all of those USAToday.com pieces pay $20, which can be compared with BootsnAll and Matador, which usually pay $25 per piece. I’ve written a few of those USAToday articles, and was ashamed for writing something for such a pittance (especially when I worried I was taking away work from staffers), but I really wanted USAToday.com clips in my portfolio. It’s a pickle.

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Federico January 18, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Hi Chris,

I have to say I just found your blog and have liked your style and presentation. As a travel blogger myself ( I bet you don’t know about me either lol) these are good tips you are giving, and have to agree big time with you when you say “bloggers have a reputation for amateurism”. And frankly, deserved. How many travel blogs are there out there? Most of them begin as a way of telling personal stories and only a few become something more. This said almost all are making a bit of money here and there, thus conveying a personal message of success.

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