Because part of what I do for clients is media relations, this article from eMarketer caught my eye. Not just for myself and my clients, but also for police departments seeking to expand their reach via social media.
I briefly worked for a sheriff candidate’s campaign. During that time I researched political bloggers local to his area. I wanted to know what the issues were related to the county budget, crime problems, corrections, and general political atmosphere.
I see a lot from public information officers who want to “tell our own story.” However, those who rely on the department blog, press releases and social network sites might be missing out on a valuable opportunity: local bloggers, who are (as the eMarketer article points out) just as much a part of the media as the newspaper and TV stations.
Not just political bloggers, though they may be among the most valuable; but also the business bloggers, the parenting and education bloggers, even the entertainment bloggers.
Business and parenting bloggers, for instance, might appreciate an inside look at the new curfew meant to curb teenage shenanigans downtown at night. Education bloggers might want to know what you’re doing about internet safety. And while entertainment bloggers won’t want to put a damper on their readers’ fun, they might be open to working with you on some good PSAs.
The trick lies in developing relationships with them, as you would with any other reporter. This involves reading — and commenting on — their blogs, perhaps even taking them out for a coffee-and-brainstorming session.
Of course this can be time consuming; I run into this problem myself. But in communities where the police relationship with traditional reporters is on shaky ground, the bloggers just might be the key to a more receptive audience. (That is, unless they’re likewise suspicious, in which case you probably have a few things to solve before you wade into relationship-building.)
Do you include local bloggers in your media outreach? How does it work for you?
Image: Inti via Flickr