And that's how you should treat them.
I've been ridiculously swamped lately but I had the opportunity to meet several bloggers last week for work. I'll let the bloggers speak for themselves on what they thought of the visit. But as I had more network-y type discussions with them, I kept coming back to the thought I had years ago - bloggers, particularly many online moms, are amazingly entrepreneurial.
I saw this report in the Washington Post that discussed about the breadth of women-owned private businesses. I suppose entrepreneurship among women is to be expected - it's fairly common among any group that has experienced bias in the workplace. But while I hesitate to define any group beyond the terms the group uses to self-identify, if I could find a common thread among all the bloggers I met last week it was entrepreneurship. All but one either owned her own business or collaborated with other bloggers in a business venture. The remaining blogger, an academic, also showed many of the characteristics of an entrepreneur - leadership, creativity, passion and drive.
I don't know about all bloggers, but I know many started writing online because they needed to strike out on their own. They were independent thinkers. They value their own time and intellect. And they have no tolerance for crap. As next-gen PR flacks like me want to engage bloggers and others who communicate online, I think it makes sense to think of bloggers perhaps a bit less as beat reporters and perhaps a bit more as entrepreneurs who are looking to engage in something worth their time.