In this day and age of social networking, many PRs are now beginning to rely too heavily on email and instant messenger to sell-in their stories to the media. Gone are the days of the telephone and the hour long lunch briefing. Now it seems, we are becoming guilty of broadcasting our messages through round-robin emails and Tweets.

Is there any talent involved in sending an email? Is this really PR? Surely PR is about building relationships and connecting with influencers? But, how can you build a rapport with a blogger if you only contact them via email? Aside from the dreaded ‘are they going to feature your story?’ question, what else do you really know about that person?

Email is great as a follow-on platform, but it should not be the central tool that we use to build relationships around. Phone calls and face to face meetings help us build personal connections with journalists and bloggers. It is these things that help us get to the heart of what types of stories and assets truly ‘turn journalists on.’

Remember the famous BT ad slogan ‘it’s good to talk’. Well, BT got it spot on! Picking up the phone and talking to influencers is a vital part of building long-term relationships. As an agency, we try wherever possible to pick up the phone and talk. We even developed a ‘following our call’ day, FOC for short. This went down a storm in the office and helped incentivise people to get on the old dog and bone instead of automatically using email to make media approaches. FOC has helped us nurture a whole database of influencers within technology, marketing and consumer fields.

What’s more, we have even setup our very own blogger meetup group! Our first event is scheduled for 29th June at Marketing Week Live. In between serving up our delicious immediate future cupcakes and tea, we will be networking with all types of savvy bloggers, tweeters, forum owners and Facebookers to find out how we can help them.

It’s not just a one way street when it comes to communicating with influencers; we believe in giving bloggers information that they need and want. So, during our meetup we are going to be discussing the art of engagement and the online relationship between influencers and brands. The exhibition itself will also be full of seminars showcasing the latest tools and technology to help bloggers make their websites more effective.

Talking is the best information gatherer we as PRs have at our finger tips. Social media is a fantastic resource to use and one that we should all implement within our influencer relations, but it needs to be married with traditional relationship building skills. It’s good to talk and as PRs we don’t seem to be doing enough. So why don’t we all have a FOC day!

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