Blogger Relations for Click.TV

    April 17, 2006

I’ve watched, read, and commented on any number of blogger relations efforts, from Andy Abramsons oustanding work with the Nokia n90 to Edelman’s controversial outreach program for Wal*Mart (here, here, and here.

I figured it was about time to stop watching from the sidelines and try my hand at this myself.

Last night, I took the first public steps in a blogger relations program for my client, Click.TV. A batch of emails went out to bloggers and video bloggers inviting them to participate.

This is the first time I’ve ever done work with a startup-my clientele is generally in the Fortune 1000 range-but when the company’s founder and president, Mike Lanza, demo’d the product for me, I was genuinely excited. Combine being a believer in the product with a desire to try my hand at a blogger relations program, and it was a no-brainer.

I must admit to a certain amount of trepidation, since blogger relations is a new field and everybody who tries it is feeling his or her way around. For example, I sent the emails out under my name so I could coordinate the responses, leaving Mike free to manage the business. I did this fully aware of Weblogs CEO Jason Calcanis’s response to a PR person who sent out a well-crafted pitch (in my and Jim Horton’s opinion:

If you want to be credible in the blogosphere please do not have your PR people beg for links…. beg for links yourself! Blogs about being authentic and direct. You don’t have PR people write blog posts for you and you don’t have PR people lobby for links come on people, get with the program.

You can read the entire pitch here.

Horton, one of the best and most thoughtful PR pros I know, doesn’t think the pitch was done badly. The PR person disclosed her relationship, Jim observes, and wasn’t pushy. Today on episode 129 of The Hobson & Holtz Report, Neville and I will talk about who should send out a blogger relations pitch.

In any case, the response so far to my email has been entirely positive. Although I’ve heard from only a handful of the people I contacted, they’re all influential and highly-regarded bloggers. It helps that the product itself is interesting and compelling. Click.TV, as I said in my email, “puts an end to the pause/play nature of video. Producers create comments in the video that function like bookmarks so viewers can hop around a video as they wish. Second, on sites that integrate Click.TV code into their web pages, viewers can add their own comments, making online video a community experience.”

Still, I’m waiting for somebody to take issue with the approach. The early positive responses, along with Andy Abramson’s nod of approval (he graciously peer-reviewed my plan), are encouraging.

The blogger relations program consists of a blogger relations blog (in the n90 mold; I’ll provide a link when it’s officially open for business) and early access to the Click.TV tools so bloggers and video bloggers will be able to create their own Click.TV-based videos. They’ll be able to show off what anybody will be able to do when the Click.TV sharing site launches down the road.

I’m going to continue blogging my experience with this project for a couple reasons. First, as is the case with nearly everything I blog, writing about it helps clarify my thinking. Second, I’m hopeful a chronicle of the project will be useful for others who decide to undertake a blogger relations program. Third, I hope it will help provide complete disclosure and transparency about the project. And finally, it doesn’t hurt Click.TV if I write about it here.

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Shel Holtz is principal of Holtz Communication + Technology which focuses on helping organizations apply online communication capabilities to their strategic organizational communications.

As a professional communicator, Shel also writes the blog a shel of my former self.