Many privately-owned businesses don’t allow cameras inside. The blog, People of Walmart, which publishes unflattering pictures of Walmart shoppers, makes such policies completely understandable. Still, not everyone who shows up to a business establishment with a camera has a snarky blog or ill intentions.
Several months ago, I walked into a wig store in Oklahoma City and asked to speak with the owner. I had long-admired the colorful wigs in the window, positioned on mannequin heads as they were. I asked him if I could shoot pictures of his great store for my blog. I told him that most of my traffic came from Oklahoma City, where his store was located, and that I received about 5,000 hits a month. He absolutely refused to let me take pictures.
If I were a reporter for a newspaper, this is probably not the outcome I would have had. Bloggers are still suspect to many people, and so they must work harder to establish credibility. As public relations pros rely more and more on bloggers to get their story out, they need to coach their clients on how to deal with bloggers if they show up unexpectedly. Moreover, PR practitioners can offer to help bloggers refine their pitches so they have more success. By helping the blogger, it will help fortify a long-term relationship. PR practictioners should regard bloggers as unofficial members of the press.