As a blogger myself I will be the first to admit that I am not a journalist. I do not write for an accredited news source and I do not go out and get the breaking stories. I give advice and I voice my opinion on various different websites on various different topics. In no way, shape, or form do I expect to be considered a journalist. While some elements may overlap—the ability to write, be creative, communicate effectively—the professions are certainly different. I have come to find that both bloggers and journalists are very passionate about their jobs, and in many cases are very passionate about making sure the distinction is clear to everyone.
Nonetheless, bloggers and journalists have begun to need each other. That’s right: Gone are the days of immature battles and snooty comments. It seems as though it is quite clear why bloggers need journalists. Journalists supply the news for which bloggers base their opinions. So why do journalists need bloggers? It is a somewhat new concept, but several reasons have developed in the recent past:
Why Bloggers Aren’t to Be Ignored
- Social Media – Bloggers understand social media better than most. They have tons of connections from all over the world, and in many cases their connections are all pointing toward a certain niche. If you want to get an article involved in social sharing and you can find a successful blogger in your niche, you’re all set.
- Visibility/Rankings – Believe it or not, there are lots of blogs out there that are actually ranking higher than big name publications on search engines. Because these blogs are so visible, they have a lot of power. If they say something negative about your column or your paper, people are going to hear about it. In other words, it’s a good idea to get to know the bloggers in your niche in case there is ever a disagreement.
- Collaboration – Bloggers will often be happy to write content for a journalist in exchange for a link back to their blog. More importantly, bloggers are usually willing to accept content from journalists who are looking to improve the SEO of either their column or personal website. In other words, bloggers are flexible, and they can help. They don’t always have an employer breathing down their back with any rules.
Once you are ready to work with bloggers, it is important that you take the time to really understand what it is they do. This may sound obvious, but many journalists are actually a little out of their element when it comes to reading and finding blogs. However, if you can keep these three things in mind you’re sure to spark a successful relationship with a blogger:
Take it from a Blogger: How to Work with Bloggers on Their Turf
1. Before reaching out to a blogger, research a few different blogs.
There are thousands and thousands of blogs circling the web, so it’s tough to know where you should reach out. Unfortunately, this is the way it is—you have to research and do a little homework if you want to find what you’re looking for. Make sure that when you see a blog you like, you click “about” so you can see exactly what the blog discusses. Then go to the blog’s social networking pages to see the kind of networking they have started. For a journalist: typically the more the better.
2. Consider starting your own blog.
Journalists can actually make great bloggers. It can give you a break from the constant news stories and usually repetitive writing style. This will also make a world of difference when it comes to connecting with bloggers. If you spend time commenting on other’s blogs and connecting via social networks, you are sure to be welcomed by the blogging community.
3. Strike a balance between what you need and what you can offer.
Bloggers generally love to help journalists, but they do not appreciate being given a long list of things to do. Journalists should have something to offer in return, such as a mention in their column. Treat it as if it were a formal business proposal. It may sound obvious, but I have heard stories from many bloggers who say journalists just send something over with nothing but a “please post on your blog.”
I think that in general people have blown the whole “bloggers vs. journalists” out of proportion. The two professions are not competing against one another, nor do the two really have a problem with the other. People like to pin the two against one another as if there was some heated feud, but the truth is the two professions can work together nicely. Although bloggers have tapped into the ways journalists can help their jobs first, journalists are slowly beginning to realize that bloggers can help them just as well.
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