The verdict in the class action lead-paint litigation "The People of California v. ARCO" was being appealed. The defendants which had been convicted included Sherwin-Williams. Jones Day is the law firm representing Sherwin-Williams in all the lead paint litigation.
I'm considered an "influencer" in lead paint litigation. That is, what I say on this blog and my legal blog about the legal and public policy issues involved is considered as more credible than what those directly involved put out there. That's why influencers have been so important in the public affairs loop.
Therefore, the public relations agency representing the defendants emailed me what I assume was material related to the appeal. I never opened it. That's because I wasn't approached in the appropriate manner.
And because I wasn't, I was ticked off. What I did blog later about "People of CA vs ARCO" had nothing to do with the merit or lack of merit in the positions of the defendants. The influence game can and often does backfire.
So, how should public relations representatives reach out to influencers?
Well, it's very much like networking. They should tell me what's in it for me. Then they should highlight what aspects of their cause, services or product would be useful for my blogs.
Professionals don't invest in networking because they love the folks in the loop. The objective is to establish the unique kind of trading post only made possible through networking. Members are supposed to benefit from the network in ways in which they couldn't outside it.
Another aspect of influencing the influencers is also like networking: It's slow and focused on the long term. The initial outreach is casual, not wild-eyed. In essence, those needing our voice should begin getting acquainted long before they need us.
For example, they could track our blogs, Facebook page, tweets, and posts on Medium and LinkedIn Pulse. Now and then they could comment, like, share. Then they, as is said, get down to business.
Can ham-handed outreach to influencers be hurting those involved in lawsuits? The intersections of the courts of public opinion and the courts of law have their own powerful voodoo. In "Pao v. Kleiner," the legal defense team read all the tweets during the trial and responded to many.