The Tuesday following the Passover I received an invitation to attend a breakfast meeting at the Durban Country Club hosted by eThekwini Municipality's Communication's Unit. I haven't been to a blogger's event in a quite a while and this time around I saw a number of new faces who come from all sectors of the blogging milieu. I always attend events like this with an open mind because it's always an opportunity to learn something new. The municipality was launching this initiative as an intervention of social media bloggers to market, educate and inform the public about various campaigns. The municipality's objective is to partner with bloggers to promote eThekwini as a place to live, work, study, visit and do business.
Bloggers are key to this message because the city plans to build a location brand through coherent communication to put the city ahead of its competitors in this fiercely contested territory. The partnership is also an endeavour to make more information known to residents. With authenticity and pride bloggers have the tacit task of attracting investment and tourists.
There was also a discussion around bloggers using their platforms to develop Durban as a brand. This would need the city to meet bloggers halfway because in order to prosper, the city has to harness social media and use the power of blogging to develop the city.
Two important things I learned about how bloggers should engage certain entities, especially those wanting exposure on your blog are: a press release is not ideal because it doesn't come across as authentic and it sounds as a sales pitch. Rather give the blogger an experience and then they can write about it, that way the piece comes across objectively with a personal touch. The other was: what's in it for us? The relationship has to be balanced and beneficial to all involved. That way the city is represented and portrayed in a positive light and bloggers are given an incentive and are motivated to tell the city's story.
There will be more events of this kind so that all the right bloggers are invited and their knowledge and expertise are engaged and utilised.
Durban has a story to tell and it isn't what you've witnessed in the news lately.
PG: Man to man, generation to generation.