Jason Falls already wrote about it, so I might as well confess, I participated to the Chevy Volt influencer outreach program at SxSWi. The best part was that I'm a vegetarian and I still decided to go to the Salt Lick to spend quality time with Chris Barger and the GM team.
I even agreed to do a short video interview after dinner to talk about the conference and my take on the Chevy Volt, which I did not drive. The team helping GM gain visibility for the car marker new initiatives are doing a great job getting the word out about the new models and the value props of driving the car.
Chevy's outreach is a good example of why the relations part of PR matters. Both the GM team, and the Fleishman-Hillard team, the car maker's agency, reached out to people in their networks. Relationships matter even more in crowded situations like SxSWi this year (I'm told attendance was up 40% from 2009).
Also, check out Chevy Team Detroit, an initiative designed to talk about the people and the experience of the contest -- not the car itself. Putting emphasis on the people and their relationships and story is Marketing and PR in new media.
If you're thinking about a career in PR, pay attention to the agencies and people who are doing it right. Remember that each one of us, no matter where we sit in an org chart, has an opportunity to change the game -- and help gain visibility for a product or service with the right people.
Why insist on mindlessly pulling email addresses from people you have not taken the time to get to know? A note on this point, reading someone's blog or saying that you read it, is a good intro only when you demonstrate emotional intelligence after than sentence.
What will get you found?
- a rote pitch right after a custom opening
- not demonstrating knowledge of the very thing you pitch
- following up to a pitch a mere day later with the "so are you going to write about this?" note
- not responding to a question from the person you pitched for weeks
- reaching out after a post, then not delivering the information
I wrote about these points a few times before. It's so easy to meet people, be interested, and participate today. The Chevy influencer outreach is an example of why working through relationships will get you better results than doing a cold pitch.
Let's open a dialogue, help me understand. Why is this still the exception? What do you find difficult about building relationships with bloggers?
[Disclosure: while I have issues with American auto makers designs, which is the reason why I would not buy one of those cars, I liked Chevy's approach. Chevy’s arrangements at SxSWi included transporting me to the airport, and to and from the the dinner invitation to join several other bloggers and notables from the social media space including Jason Falls, David Meerman Scott, C.C. Chapman, Liz Strauss, Steve Garfield, and more. I received no payment or promise for writing this.]