Friday, February 4, 2011

Becoming a Better Blogger and Public Relations Professional: Managing the Client Relationship

My interview with Carlo Ople set the stage for more insight coming from the client's  side (whether they are public relations, corporate, chef, among others) and shared experiences on how bloggers / PR professionals tend to go out of line in their approach.

It made me reflect on the times that I may have also taken the blogger-PR-client relationship for granted especially when you are in a stage where clients seek for your services rather than the other way around. If you have done something wrong, the time to do necessary repair is now.

This is a post that I shall update regularly based on feedback received. May this help those of us who always strive do a self-check in our conduct as a blogger and / or public relations professional.
  1. Avoid making threats such as a negative blog post or rant in social media against your current or prospective client.

    Your prospective or current client, depending on their stature, have access to public relations people, fellow bloggers, Internet marketing players, and media professionals who can share this "perceived threat" they got to others even if the blogger's identity was not revealed. However, as it passes on, more information gets added and may get exaggerated.

  2. Calibrate or end contracts peacefully

    In some situations, a client agreement can change halfway for one reason or another. This includes a deal not pushing through due to a management decision. Some bloggers / public relations professional accept this graciously while others freak out.

    Worst, because of perceived threat, a service is availed of or maintained on either from the blogger or public relations side to avoid the negative scenario. It is like "We are friends as I don't want him or her to write negative stuff about me, product, company".

    Some may even be afraid to terminate a business relationship because of this. Worst scenarios can possibly happen just for the client to have a "reason" to exit such as tapping a 3rd party to expose a perceived negative practice.

    Learning how to accept "rejection" gracefully is a skill needed in order to survive in business.

    I remember a former client who never gets angry to a staff or consultant for their shortcomings. He will just move on, not burn bridges, and won't say anything damaging to others. But certainly, the next time he calls asking for advice or help, the staff or consultant is usually willing to help out.

  3. Decency

    No matter how popular you are as a blogger, don't let it get to your head.

    For example, in dining with a client, observe how they order before making yours. Offer to give a share in the tab especially if you are the one who suggested the place or ordered a very expensive meal. Be sensitive on other people's budget.

    In ex-deals, strive to give something back of higher value especially if you are already in a situation where it will be awkward to say "no" to you.

    Be careful that your actions don't go against the principles or standards that you communicate to others. For once it does, it disappoints and ruins the image.
Are we ready to professionalize?

For bloggers who generate income through this medium, I guess the next question is, are we ready to professionalize? It is inevitable that the marketing and advertising industry will set blog marketing and advertising guidelines sooner or later.

Do we want to proactively craft guidelines or wait for others to do it for our niche? Do we respond individually to proposed guidelines? Or do we respond as a group (perhaps a Professional Bloggers Association)?

Be careful

I guess no blogger / public relations professional goes high-up in the ladder without criticism or negative feedback on their actions. You won't be able to please everybody. Your actions or what you say (directly or through 3rd party) at times can also be misinterpreted. In the end, just be careful.