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Want to talk to bloggers? Act like a human.

So, you want to approach some bloggers for your campaign. How do you go about it? Should you treat 'em like journalists? Or like activists? (Short answer: Both. And neither.)

There's some great advice over on this corporate-PR advice site. Above all else, be a real person.

Constructed and flat statements will be called out as "spin" and you will be accused of not addressing the issue. Remember, companies and organizations are made up of humans, so act like a human, not a computer delivering a line of programming.

Let me add a #8 to their seven tips:

Always, always, always disclose who you are and whether you're being paid. There's nothing more exciting for a blogger than discovering that they've got a paid flack flacking on their blog. Time and again here at P&T, we've noted when staffers get fired for being stupid and trying to be anonymous.

Recently, I've been doing a lot of blogger outreach for Senator Ron Wyden. In a 10-day period after the release of his health care plan, I probably posted 300 comments on 200 blogs. In every single case, I wrote something like:

First, some full disclosure: I'm managing the Stand Tall For America website for Senator Wyden. I'm a website developer, not a policy wonk - and I don't speak for the Senator or his staff. Any errors are my own.

And then I proceed to talk about the issue, answer questions, clear up misconceptions, and invite 'em over to the site. I don't do it with copy-and-paste text either, I directly address statements made by the blogger or the blog commenters.

It's a bit more work, but it's more fun - and by acting like a human, you get all kinds of respect. More than a few times, someone has said, "Thanks so much for dropping by and answering those questions - and thanks for disclosing that you're being paid."

(Hat tip to Michael Turk at TechPresident.)

Posted on March 29, 2007 in