Wednesday, March 08, 2006

PR Industry's Auto-Erotic Asphyxiation

The blogosphere is abuzz about the NY Times piece that describes Edelman's blogging campaign for Wal-Mart.

I tend to think that Edelman's intentions and approach were, for the most part, appropriate - but as often happens in a Wild West-style new market, mistakes are made and rules are broken.

Edelman's intent was laudable: to create an ongoing dialogue with bloggers who have shown Wal-Mart some sympathy, and to incent further blog-love via the promise of news tidbits that they would not find in the mainstream media.

The approach was spot-on: Edelman first took the time to READ the bloggers' works (much as the journalism community implores PR to do more often!), and then fed into the bloggers' egos by promising them some scoops. I wonder how MSM journos will respond to this revelation!

Where I think the PR industry at-large is going to get tripped up in "blogger relations" is in expecting this woolly new media to behave itself. When I cheekily suggest that Blog Relations could be akin "Auto-Erotic Asphyxiation," my point is that we are dashing headlong and happily into a provocative new sphere, with little foresight into "where this could take us."

In the case of Edelman/Wal-Mart, I can't say for sure whether mistakes were made, nor that rules were broken, by the agency or its client. But it's a 3-way relationship: client, agency, media. In this case, the media contacts are "amateurs" who not only don't need to play by MSM rules, but in fact will purposefully flout them.

In the end I think the PR industry will look to this as a case study for "how snafu's happen." And we ought to privately thank Edelman's crew for going bravely where we all have just begun to tread.

For Richard Edelman's take, click here.

1 Comments:

Blogger Kami Huyse, APR said...

I couldn't agree more. I think that this is something we will have to look at. I am asking for a list of lessons learned at my post of the same subject. We need to learn from this.

March 08, 2006  

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