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Bloggers And PR: How To Plan The Perfect Date

05/17/2014 12:58 EDT | Updated 07/16/2014 05:59 EDT

2014-05-13-RachelandRebecca.jpg As a public relations professional at Dunn PR, I reach out to B.C.'s media and blogging community on a daily basis. My interest in bloggers started years ago when I was amazed by the influence and following these writers and photographers were building online.

Vancouver's Miss 604 was one of the first bloggers I worked with and I still think that is very cool!

Today, blogger relations is a part of many PR campaigns; even though the concept and relationships are not new, the love affair can turn sour in a hurry.

Recently, blogger Marc Smith organized a Blogger+PR speed dating event, so both groups could talk openly about how to communicate effectively with each other.

At the event, both bloggers and PR pros identified key relationship tips to ensure a happy marriage. Here are some highlights:

From the bloggers:

• Read the blog and find creative ways to pitch ideas based on the blogger's interests, and what their readers enjoy. We were thrilled to learn about YoyoMama.ca 's focus on not only the kids but also the mom.

• There is no guarantee the blogger will write about a client or product just because you send free stuff. Make sure your deliveries and materials are suitable and personalized.

• Think creatively. If a blogger writes almost exclusively about technology, look for a unique way for him/her to experience your particular product. For example, how can a tech blogger like John Biehler experience the tech component of your client's lifestyle projects?

From the PR pros:

• Since PR professionals are hired to develop media coverage for clients, we often don't have access to a budget, nor do we feel comfortable asking a client for budget for advertorial posts. Sometimes we will recommend these posts to clients, but we tread carefully in this space.

• Personalize! Make sure the blogger is front and center as you reach out to him/her with an idea or invite. A handwritten note or tailored pitch goes a long way.

Recognizing something you know they enjoy is key! We recently worked with BosaFresh and Spud.ca on personalized food deliveries to show off Bosa Properties' temperature controlled rooms, resulting in great profile for the new initiative.

• Make it easy for bloggers to tweet, post, and buzz about your product, brand, or pitch. Include hashtags, easy-to-use photos, links and all the tools needed to quickly upload to their platforms..

Like any relationship, open communication and considering each other's needs is key. If you follow these guidelines, chances are you'll enjoy a long friendship.

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