A Conversation with Matt Meeks of Warner Bros. & Independent Consultant Jeremy Pepper
By UCLA X425 Student Jackie Feldman
It’s clear that understanding how to use and leverage social media is a skill set that all PR practitioners will need to know in the future. That is why I asked our guest speakers last week about pitching bloggers — I think it’s imperative that agencies start training junior staff to understand how to best engage with them.
With my questions to Matt Meeks and Jeremy Pepper, I wasn’t looking for advice on how to craft a pitch; I already understand the need for brevity and to be targeted in my outreach. What I’m trying to understand is the relationship portion of the equation, because that seems to be something many PR folks (myself included) have trouble with. During the discussion, I was most intrigued with the wide range of questions (instead of answers) that came to mind. Here are a few I’d like to get answered before the end of the course:
1) As with traditional media, it makes sense that if you build a relationship with a blogger, you will likely have more success pitching them. But unlike traditional media – which is concentrated in NYC and LA – bloggers are all over the country and the world. So how can we develop those personal relationships?
2) Should agencies send staff to key conferences in order to develop those relationships… or will we just have to settle for virtual relationships instead?
3) Will PR reps ever bring clients to meet bloggers face-to-face the way we do with deskside meetings at traditional magazines? Do bloggers even want to be pitched this way?
4) With traditional media, writers are paid by their publication to write. As a result, they have an incentive to interact with PR reps, because we help fuel story ideas and provide experts, products, etc. But for bloggers, what is their incentive to help promote our products? I think that’s why we see so many bloggers asking for financial compensation, free product or giveaways in return for coverage, and that’s really not what traditional PR is about, right?
I’m hoping to get a better understanding of how we will build relationships with bloggers, what standards we should use in outreach and how we should train junior staff , as this is clearly something all PR practitioners will need to know moving forward in our industry.