Today we conclude our two-part LexBlog Q & A with Toby Bloomberg, the Internet marketing specialist behind Bloomberg Marketing and the Diva Marketing Blog.

In part 1, which went live yesterday, Toby described the origin of the "diva" brand; today, she details the PR industry’s role in the blogosphere, bloggers as journalists and more.

3. Rob La Gatta:In an interview last year with Stephan Spencer, you said bloggers “want to be part of an on-going collaboration or partnership.” This seems like it could be a great opportunity for public relations firms, yet their presence in the blogosphere still seems quite limited. Do you think the PR industry is poised to become a larger presence in the blogoshere any time soon?

Toby Bloomberg: Absolutely. Many large and small agencies are blogging today. Some are tapping into “blogger relations” to create online word of mouth buzz for their clients. Unfortunately, some of those blogger out reach efforts are resulting in negative rather than positive posts.

The challenge for many agencies entering this space is to accept social media as a credible marketing/PR strategy and not leave it totally in the hands of junior account managers. The world of blogs and social media is perceived as a Gen X/Y world. While the Millenniums may have grown up in this world, there is more to developing a blog, Web 2.0, social media strategy than knowing how to set up a Facebook page.

Where the PR and advertising agencies tend to get it wrong is not understanding that this virtual world is comprised of hundreds of communities…[and] that each, as I call them, “village”, has its own culture and norms. Cultivating a blogger relations strategy involves more than an email blast of a press release. It involves understand and respecting the cultures.

See the rest of part 2 after the jump.

4.Rob La Gatta: In 2005, you were excluded from Daimler Chrysler’s journalist blog on the grounds that they didn’t consider bloggers to be established journalists. Think that would happen today? Has the business become more welcoming to bloggers?

Toby Bloomberg: You’ve opened a very interesting discussion. Let’s start with Daimler Chrysler’s Firehouse blog concept. Yes, I think that might occur today. However, in all fairness, it wasn’t that I was a blogger that precluded me from access but that Diva Marketing didn’t have a focus on cars or the auto industry. Soon after that post you’re referring to I was given access to the site. Ed Garsten, the editor of Firehouse blog, told the back-story in an interview he did for Diva Marketing.

Is business more welcoming to bloggers? Some are and others don’t perceive the value. Recently one of the most respected and loved brands, Target refused to respond to a blogger’s questions:

“Unfortunately we are unable to respond to your inquiry because Target does not participate with nontraditional media outlets,” a public relations person wrote to ShapingYouth.”

Are bloggers journalists? Should they be considered as journalists with the same access to information? I’ve never pretended to be a reporter (though I do think it would be very cool to have access to press passes and those cute jackets with zillions of pockets .. could be a new Diva look!). However, many blogs “Google well” and have a loyal community that trusts the opinions of the blogger. In terms of influencing customers and other stakeholders, it’s a different world than even three years ago.

5.Rob La Gatta: If you could start your blog all over again knowing what you know now about the ins-and-outs of the blogoshere, what would you do differently?

Toby Bloomberg: If I knew that Diva Marketing would become one of the first blog brands, I would have created a branded look and feel right out of the box. I would have managed the expectations better through the design.

[…]

I also would have thought more carefully about how to structure the categories. I’ve been asked by more than one person when is “the book” coming out. If the categories had been structured as chapters it would be easier to develop.

Taking a cue from journalism, Diva Marketing is positioned less of a “hard news” although there are hard punching posts, however, the voice positions it as a “features” read which gives it a slightly different niche from other blogs. I’ve started an internet radio show, Diva Marketing Talks, as an extension of the “brand.” I’m also playing a bit with video – vlogs. After four years, I’m exploring where does Diva go? How far can I leverage the brand and continue to provide value content merged with fun?

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