As blogging becomes more popular, you might be approached to give an interview to a Blogger (aka Writer, Journalist) so they can create a story about you or your business for their blog. Here is some etiquette on giving the interview and interview follow-up that I have learned by working with various media and publicity personnel over the years in traditional media. I have updated it here to apply to social media as well.
1. Everything is on the record. Bloggers are typically very good interviewers and they will ask you to provide the highs and lows of your business. The Blogger will also assume that everything you say is okay to print. So, if you do not want something in print, don't say it.
2. Make time for the interview. Typically, a Blogger is on a time schedule to make a deadline. If you can provide the interview when they call you, that is typically most effective. You can ask the Blogger to schedule the interview at another time, but this can lose momentum. You want your story to get out immediately. A third party endorsement is great publicity. So try to make time for the interview as quickly as possible. You may lose the Blogger's interest, or get smaller exposure, if you delay.
3. Be honest and intimate. Bloggers are like bloodhounds. They can sniff a story and don't appreciate bull. Be honest. Be yourself. It goes a long way. They can tell when you're holding back information. Try to give the Blogger a nice new tidbit of info that nobody has written about you or your business before. Maybe a new revelation you've had, an award you've just received or a new client would be something to talk about.
Reveal something sort-of intimate or personal, like an "inside scoop" or breaking news or developments. If you make a mistake and say something personal that you don't want in print, tell the Blogger that right away. Say, "Oops, I didn't mean to say that. Can you make sure that stays out of print?" Yes, this goes against the "Everything is on the record" point I made above. But Bloggers want to be able to come back to you later-on for more stories, so they don't want to damage their relationship with you. They will recognize your mistake and respect your wishes, usually (unless you are the former Mayor of Vernon and you are fudging receipts, lol.)
4. Follow up with information or photos quickly. Bloggers are usually working with inspiration, or a timeline in mind. I write when I feel inspired. Then, I want to get the story posted as soon as possible so I can rest easy and feel a sense of accomplishment. I'm not as organized as other Bloggers who have a story plan and a publishing schedule. No way. So when I ask someone for a logo or a photo, I want in NOW. (Sorry, I'm a Type A personality.)
Additionally....a story looks better with a photo. In fact, your story gets greater exposure with a photo or video and has more credibility. If you can provide large web resolution photos to the Blogger for their use with the story, it will get you more mileage.
In terms of information...if you don't have it at your fingertips during the interview, tell the Blogger you'll get it right away and then do it. If you can't get the information you want right away, let the Blogger know when you can get it and see if that timeline is adequate. Maintain your integrity as a good source of information by updating the Blogger about the status of that information or following through with it.
5. Thank the Blogger publicly. Once the story is published, leave a comment on the blog endorsing the story or adding something extra to it. Tweet or retweet the story on Twitter. Promote the story on Facebook and/or leave a Facebook comment. These are great ways to build links and traffic back to your website, to show appreciation to your local Blogger who took the time to write about you, and to "toot" your own horn.
Blog interviews are now the new "media" interview. They are important and necessary for promoting your business. Bloggers are often looking for new, refreshing stories, so don't be afraid to approach them about your business.
Have you given a blog interview lately? Leave a comment at the bottom of my blog with a link to the story. I would love to read it.
Thanks for reading my blog.