Saturday was a day of blogger immersion. We had breakfast at Brennan’s with Darcy O’Neil. Lunch at Bourbon St. with Gabriel Szaszko and his lovely wife Joanna, then dinner at Arnaud’s with Jeff Morgenthaler and Jay Hepburn. Our objective was to get first hand input on how suppliers can work with bloggers…what their needs and interests are. Basically all gave the same answer…acknowledgement and respect. So many suppliers take the wrong tack in working with bloggers…mass mailings with samples of product supported with a lecture on how wonderful the brand is.

These guys (these guys?!….us!…I’m a blogger too!) undestand the commercial needs of business and want to write about brands. But just like old world journalists they expect brand and PR folks to do their homework. Read the blog to get an understanding of the interests and bias of the author. Participate in the conversation on an ongoing basis with comments, reciprocal links, and contributions that add value…not just talk about a brand. It’s not a one night stand, it’s a conversation.

Darcy’s all about metrics…he’s a chemist at heart and at work and while he acknowledges how widely read his blog is, he’s really interested in just the facts. Gabriel’s a journalist. Like me he keeps Strunk and White at the ready, appreciates it when people write in complete sentences and take the time to at least run spell check before asking for a favor. Jay’s a brit that has signficant virtual presence in the U.S. but a very limited physical one. Just getting samples is a challenge. And Jeff? Well, Jeff’s unique. When I asked what his needs are and ran down a long list of things we could do for him, his answer was “yes”.