Dave Taylor and Doyle Albee from Metzger Associates will present a new series: Social Media For Skeptics. The first series will be: “The Care and Feeding of Bloggers,” and will be held Tuesday, May 19, 2009 from 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM MT at Gordon Biersch in Broomfield.

Pitching a blogger is like pitching a reporter — a reporter who can and will publicize and criticize and rationalize your every word. So, can you pitch a blogger to cover a story for your company or client? Yes! But do it wrong, and you might just end up like Lois Whitman (we’ll tell you who Lois Whitman is and what she did at the session!).

Dave and Doyle will cover:

- The basics
- What’s the same between pitching reporters and bloggers — and what isn’t
- Examples of a pitches gone wrong
- What to do if you make a mistake

The cost is $45 for PRSA Members, $59 for non-members and $35 for students. Attendees can register here.

21 Responses to Social Media for Skeptics: The Care and Feeding of Bloggers

  1. Lois Whitman says:

    if you are going to tell my story, dont you think you should talk to me first or are you going to make it up?

    I have a friend of mine attending this meeting to make sure that my name is not being used in any inaccurate or any inappropriate way.

    Thank you

    Lois Whitman
    917 822 2591

  2. Doyle Albee says:

    Lois: Thanks for the comment. I’m looking forward to meeting your friend. Please have him or her say hello! My point when I tell your story — which I’ve done before — is not to say who was right or wrong. I can’t really know, since I wasn’t involved. The point is to show just how far south an interaction can go and how public it can be. I’m looking forward to the conversation and would even welcome a chat before our session. Thanks for reaching out!

  3. Lois Whitman says:

    You are a competitor dishing on me. Is this what the PRSA is all about? Trying to blemish my name? You have been trading off my name using it in speeches to make yourself look authoritative. . You could have had the decency to call me for the actual facts. Shame on you.

    The bottom line of my story is that I emailed press releases to a list of high profile bloggers signed up for a trade show. They didnt know their names were being issued to publicists. So I took the heat for an entire industry. Many of them are now closefriends.

    What you are doing is inexcusable and highly unprofessional. In all of my years as a publicist, I never said a bad word about another PR professional.

    And before I sign off, let me tell your members that if you end up like Lois Whitman, you are not doing too bad. This guy makes me sound like I am sitting homeless in a box on 58th and the Avenue of the Americas in NYC. Instead, we own over 8,000 square feet in one of the most expensive districts in the world. We must be doing something right

    Check out the WSJ Today. The Classical Archives story is all ours.

  4. Doyle Albee says:

    Lois: Congratulations on all your success, which is the point of this session exactly: even a seasoned PR pro can find themselves on the wrong end of a confrontation that can live a very long time online. When I say “end up like Lois Whitman” my reference is to this story:http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/12/18/meet-lois-whitman-the-poster-child-for-everything-wrong-with-pr/. That’s a disturbing situation for anyone to be in, and we’re going to spend some time discussing that and other examples. When I tell your story, I present just what you said in your comment, and show what can happen when we do things that seem pretty innocent on the surface. As you found, even a private email conversation can find itself on a very well-read site. It’s something that didn’t happen just a few years ago.

    Sorry you think I’m “dishing on a competitor,” and you’re right — that’s not what PRSA is about, nor is it my intent. What I think PRSA IS about is to examine our practices as an industry and openly discuss situations like this. As you note, the entire industry was indicted here, and I believe an important discussion is to understand this can happen to anyone and discuss some ways to possibly avoid it. That’s good for all of us individually and for the industry as a whole. When I discuss this topic, I note many examples like this, including issues I’ve run into personally. They’re never in a “get a load of this person” way, but to invoke discussion into what might be done better next time.

    By the way, I was pretty sure you weren’t homeless. Not sure what I said that made you think I was inferring that. Sorry you took that away somehow. And nice hit in the Journal, by the way. That’s an interesting service, and I’m sure your client was very pleased. Thanks for the conversation, and I’m looking forward to meeting your friend at the session.

  5. Dave Taylor says:

    Lois, I’m a professional blogger. Yes, you read that right, blogging pays the bills. I also sign up as press or media for major conferences in the new media and CE space, including the Consumer Electronics Show, CEDIA, and many other events. I get on those press lists – by choice – and I also then winnow things down so that completely off-topic pitches aren’t wasted on me.

    I am glad to report that just about every single PR agency I have worked with has been pleasant, cheery, and even smart about their response to my request to be removed: I often get “what *is* your beat, and how can we connect you with some of the companies we work with?” I am glad to engage in that manner and see that as a savvy, professional response. To me, that’s how it should be done.

    So far, no-one has accused me of being a newbie, “just a blogger” or otherwise been disrespectful or rude to me. Thankfully. I would not be amused and it’d be very, very hard for their client companies to ever get on my radar screen in the future.

    Nonetheless, as Mike Arrington and his team revealed in his blog entry on TechCrunch, there are still people in the PR industry – and related marketing and sales spaces – who need to learn that they’ll be better at their jobs and produce better results for their clients if they learn how to respect and interact professionally with the new media community, whether they be bloggers, podcasters or even “live twitterers”.

    So, yes, Lois, I think you’re a splendid example of how to interact – or not interact – with high-profile online bloggers.

    And, just as much, I would be quite interested to hear and share your side of the story with our audience too. Please, email me — d1taylor [at] gmail — and we’ll be happy to make it available to our attendees if your communique is appropriate and professional.

    After all, ultimately the huge difference between old-school PR and modern public relations is that now it’s all about *conversation*, about two-way communication, not just standing on the proverbial capital steps with a megaphone.

  6. please, please, please live stream this event.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Doyle, good job staying classy in the face of extreme arrogance and ignorance. I think your perspective is the right one and we can all learn a lot from Whitman’s experience.

  8. Cold says:

    The part of Lois’ story that gave me the heebie-jeebies was when she admitted she’d just left 45 messages at the NYT and WSJ.

    Really? Forty-five messages at two publications?

    Plus: A real New Yorker would never call Sixth Avenue “Avenue of the Americas.”

    Just sayin’.

  9. Rich Brome says:

    Yes, it’s annoying when any journalist or blogger receives a pitch that is 100% irrelevant to them. However, that’s not what caused my interaction with Lois Whitman to become such a big deal.

    The big deal was her vile, insulting reply to my simple request to be removed from her list. There is no excuse for that kind of language in *any* business correspondence. I’ll admit that I could have been more gracious and polite in my original request, but I don’t think I was rude, and my request certainly did not justify her response.

    Her actions were also transparently self-serving, to the point of being offensive. Here are three examples:

    1. In that first direct email reply to me, she said “I just visited your web site. I would hardly call your blog a publication.” Then, after that insult, her very next words were: “However, you do have very interesting content and we have lots of client you would like to know more about to help you in your endeavors. Call me.”

    In the same breath, she insulted me and then tried to pitch me. My publication is worthless, but she wants her clients featured in it? Really? That’s not just bad PR, it’s bad human relations.

    2. Her follow-up email to me was to ask me for the names of any “real” journalists she might have offended. She then called them personally to apologize. She never called nor emailed me any kind of apology. Thank you, Lois, for continuing to spit in my face. How hard would it have been for her to type the words “I’m sorry” in that follow-up email to me? But no, she seemingly went out of her way to *not* apologize to me directly.

    3. Apparently, she posted a public apology to me. I just learned of this today. I’d say ‘thank you’, but I find it curious that she only posted it to her blog, and never contacted me directly to apologize. That makes it a bit disingenuous. Clearly she only cares about her public image and what other, “real” journalists think of her. I’m still the insignificant gnat not worth her time.

    If you’re looking for the PR lesson in all of this, there’s no special PR trick to dealing with bloggers or “new media”. I don’t need my ego stroked, and I don’t expect to be treated the same way as someone from the WSJ or NYT.

    I do, however, expect a basic level of human decency. I expect that from everyone I do business with, not just PR people. Lois Whitman could have taken her own advice and used the “delete” button on my first email, but instead she went out of her way to insult me, and then continued to insult me with her subsequent actions.

    If you want to be a good PR person, you can start by simply being a good person. Be nice. Treat me like a real person.

    I know that the vast majority of PR people do exactly that. I like 99% of the PR people I work with, I really do. :-)

  10. Jim Dissett says:

    Good advice, Rich (i.e., “be a good person”). On top of that I’d add: Treat every person the same — whether it’s a reporter from the NYT, a blogger online, the CEO of an important client or the janitor at your place of business. No one person is more important than any other when it comes to protecting (and projecting) your reputation. That’s not just common courtesy. It’s common sense.

  11. Lois, why don’t you come to the event, instead of sending a friend? Would be a great way to help clear the air a bit!

  12. Lois, I’d also like your thoughts for my blog Scatterbox, Field Notes on PR and Strategic Influence. (www.stevensilvers.com)

    I have (ahem) slightly fewer readers than Dave Taylor, but I’ve made enough money to take my wife out without making her order from the lunch specials. I get media inquiries, releases and pitches all the time now. So I’m really interested in your take – from your own fingers — on how to avoid being scalded by the Internet’s siren call.

    My two cents, by the way: I’m sure Mr. Albee’s intentions are sincere, and that he’s referring to you as a public figure in context to your exposure in news and social media. I wouldn’t consider these folks to be competitors, but you nonetheless have a legitimate gripe about other PR people promoting their expertise at your expense – perceived or otherwise.

    I hope you’ll drop me a note at scatterbox @ stevensilvers.com.

    Cheers.

    steve

  13. Jeff Julin says:

    Interesting discussion all around. I do believe it is important to learn from others experiences, but when questioning others work or outcomes, it is important that we have the full story and we are careful not to turn a phrase (for effect) that can be mis-leading or hurtful when promoting such learning opportunities.

    On how social media is changing public relations, I think effective public relations has always been a conversation—we just have more efficient tools now, thanks in part to social media.

    Finally, it is very disappointing to me that communications professionals would use “anonymous” names when posting, and even more disappointing to me that PRSA Colorado would post them. If I don’t know who you are, I don’t have context for your opinion. Click here to read about PRSA’s stance on anonymous blogging/posting. PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS ADVISORY PS-8 (OCTOBER 2008)

    I would challenge the Colorado Chapter to enact a blog policy that does not allow for anonymous commenting.

  14. Jeff Julin says:

    O understand my link to a PRSA Practice Advisory didn’t work so use this link.

    http://www.prsa.org/aboutUs/ethics/psaPS8.html

  15. Elaine Ellis says:

    Jeff – You raise an excellent point regarding anonymous commenting. The Social Media Committee will discuss that at our next meeting.

  16. Lois Whitman says:

    I am out of the country for two weeks. I would love to discuss this when I get back at the end of this month. I am absolutely willing to have an open dialog.

    Thank you for reaching out

    Lois

  17. [...] now the PRSA, always willing to eat their own, is holding a seminar called Social Media for Skeptics: The Care and Feeding of Bloggers in Colorado. The description: [...]

  18. Laura says:

    The site is not letting us register.

  19. [...] But Monday brought a fresh post on Whitman, as her experience will be a talking point at a Colorado event entitled, “Social Media for Skeptics: The Care and Feeding of Bloggers,” being held in Broomfield on Tuesday, May 19th. The event, hosted by blogger Dave Taylor and Doyle [...]

  20. Joy Meadows says:

    Wow — who knew the PR industry had its very own Mark Cuban? All kidding aside, perhaps part of the seminar should discuss knowing when to use the good old fashioned telephone? Social media is great, but one can’t read tone and intention as clearly and as this all demonstrates, online tempers can burn hotter. Should be an interesting event.

  21. [...] blog, TechCrunch, this week carried a blog post about a PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) social media seminar which aims to look at how to engage bloggers. Part of the seminar will discuss how a New York based [...]

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