14 May 2009

Bloggers and Photos

I've written about this before (...somewhere, but I can't find it) and it's been on my mind again recently...


Tip for PRs: Listen up guys. If you really want to know which buttons to press when it comes to bloggers, then there is one button in particular. The bloggers' g-spot. PHOTOS


Bloggers have a weakness for photos because they need them to 'dress' their posts but, unless they are blogging for a magazine or newspaper, they don't have a picture editor or photo library to draw on. Most are working solo and don't even have an account with an online library, so they have to pick up 'legit' photos where they can.

I'm not really talking about sending press releases with jpeg attachments (although that is certainly more use than a release without attachments, especially if you use SMNRs) because that is 'push' technology and bloggers are notoriously arsey about being bombarded with releases. Nor am I restricting the subject to just photos. It could be video or audio clips.

I'm thinking more about the 'pull' side. How PRs and marketing depts deal with requests for images.

I spend quite a lot of time emailing - sometimes phoning - people all over the world to ask permission to use an image from their website. The problems come with the way that request is processed, because speed is everything.

When a blogger asks about an image it's for a blog he is writing now and which will probably be published in around 30 mins. It's not like an article for a newspaper or magazine, whose deadline is tomorrow, and could be published a day or a month later. A blogger is the commissioning editor, the writer, the sub-editor and publisher all in one, so the interval from the article's inception to the presses rolling can be counted in minutes.

One particularly troublesome area for me is media resource centres. In my field, travel, that can be online picture libraries for cruise lines, airlines, aircraft manufacturers, national & local tourist offices, etc etc. Invariably there is a registration process which takes at least 24hrs. Even the quickest and most efficient picture library administration can't turn my application into an active login in a matter of hours if they are asleep on the other side of the world when I'm writing my blog. On Monday this week, knowing that I had a post in mind and would want a photo for it, I filled in the registration for a national tourist office picture library. It is now Friday, and I still don't have a login.

I can't see any way around this, unless interested parties set up niche pre-registration schemes for bloggers and/or journos. Eg PSA for the cruise industry, ANTOR for tourist offices, APRO for airlines... manage their own list of logins for accredited bloggers. Bloggers apply to be on the list, participating media centres and photo libraries receive updated lists and add the logins to their user database. Then a blogger can use his single username/password for any participating media centre.

I'm going to trial this for the British Guild of Travel Writers. I told you at the beginning I had been thinking about this :)

We already have a similar scheme for World Travel Market. Each year WTM invites journalists to pre-register for their press passes, and then to supply business cards or letters from editors for accreditation. Last year we agreed with WTM that since BGTW members are already fully accredited, we supply them in advance with a list of our members which is imported into their database so that when a member fills in the online registration, they are automatically accredited - they don't need to fax photo-copies of business cards, etc. (Note to self: must prep this year's list!)

I'm going to invite our BGTW members to give me a prefered password and username if they want to join the list, and then invite any of you out there who have an online media resource to ask me for the list if you'd like BGTW members to visit it.

It's worth a try.

Now, all I need is a photo to go with this post.... 

Any suggestions?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Postscript...

Well, I was about to attach a glorious photo of the Austrian Tirol to this post, simply because they hosted a brilliant press function at the Austrian Embassy last night, and they turned around my registration for their photo-library (I'm going through my media resource logins and updating old ones that no longer work) in a record 3 hours!

...but their service is restricted to '5 free downloads' ! So I'm not wasting one here! 




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