In the last few weeks I have been gazumped by PR requests. Email after email vying for space on my blog.
I often find myself in a quandary.
As a blogger, sometimes the information is totally irrelevant. I don't want to know about it. And I fathom a safe guess that my readers don't either. So I politely decline. Or lately, I just ignore (which seems terribly rude, but I have time-VS-email issues people - as I am sure you do too).
I've worked on my blog for over four years. I'm not just going to toss it away to be one big merry commercial. I must maintain its integrity. For my readers - and most of all, for myself.
And on the flip side, I've worked in PR for almost 13 years (my oh my, old old old).
I know what it's like working in-house and agency side. Clients want results. They don't want to hear excuses. They want their brand in bright lights, they want column inches, they want pixels. They want the world.
So I really want to help those who are pitching to me. I do. I want to help them.
But if PR pitches to bloggers continue the way they are now - things are going to roll backwards. Or implode.
The blogger in me questions every pitch sent my way. And I use the word "pitch" incredibly loosely here, because most of the time, all I am receiving is a generic:
"Dear Lexi, [insert gushing paragraph here about how much I love your blog]"
or worse to me still - an embedded email that I can't even view half the time. Or just crap. I mean come now - seriously. Read my blog. I don't want to try your doggone baby purees because - I do not have a baby. And you could lazily scroll through my top posts to discover this for yourself. I'm not asking you to do my family tree and trawl through reams of geneaology. Nope.
Even worse. Inaccurate emails. Emails with titles: Interview Opportunity. And then I scroll through to look for who the interview is with - and there's nothing. Or some dubious subject matter. I could rattle off a heck of a lot. But for everyone's benefit - I won't.
I've just asked to be removed from their mailing list instead.
I know working in PR is busy. You have to measure your success. You must be accountable. And you have clients barking at your heels. But respect the blogger.
So this is to those working in PR who want to learn about pitching to bloggers. Who really value quality content. Who really value an engaged audience. And who really want to do the right thing by their client.
1. READ READ READ: Read the blogs you want to pitch to. Would you pitch blindly to someone in 'ye olde media'? If you answered yes, then you need to step away from your emails, and take a good hard look at yourself. I don't mean read four years of PottyMouthMama - but really, just become familiar with what I talk about, who I am, and if you truly think your brand is something that's going to fit in this space. And then you can start to build a relationship. KEY POINT!
2. WHO'S THAT CHICK? Find out my name. It's not rocket science. There's a reason why direct marketing companies pay thousands of dollars to access databases so they can tailor their communications to recipients. My name is not 'Blogger' - thank you Mum and Dad. It's not even PottyMouthMama. It's Lexi.
3. STOP SENDING GENERIC EMAILS: Please. For everyone's sake. You're wasting a lot of emails, as well as your time, my time, and everyone else's time. If you send out generic pitches - look at your ROI. Bet you're not getting much bang for your buck.
Don't do blanket mail outs. Tailor absolutely everything.
In my role as PR Manager, I've chosen to work with a handful of bloggers who I respect, trust and admire. Unfortunately, I don't currently have a budget to pay them. However, I offer them unique angles, I offer them exclusives, sometimes I might send them a gift. But I never ever expect anything in return.
Your client is not a charity - and the blogger owes you nothing.
4. EMAIL BOMBING: I get a lot of emails every week. I'm not being cocky. A lot of them are spam. *Shudder* And some of them are from PR professionals, forwarding their original email because they haven't heard from me, and they want to check I received their email. And they've done a search and I haven't written anything about their client/product. Why not?
Because I don't want to. Because it doesn't fit with my blog.
There should be no sense of entitlement.
Unless I want to. Unless I think my readers want to hear from you. Otherwise, I won't write about it.
5. SPONSORED POSTS: I started writing sponsored posts for shoe money. Clearly I don't buy a lot of shoes because I don't do a lot of sponsored posts. And I will only ever do a sponsored post if I truly believe it's cohesive with my blog.
The struggle with keeping my blog pure - and the need - and sometimes want - to make a little extra pocket money - it's a fine line. But when I do a sponsored post - I try to maintain my voice. I try to keep it relevant.
6. PRODUCT REVIEWS: If you want me to review your product, well then it's a pretty good idea if you send me a sample. I am on the mailing list of one PR practitioner - and at the end it always says: "if you want samples, let me know". Not once, not twice, but at least four times I have replied saying "yes please send me a sample so I can try it for myself and legitimately write about it". And each time she replies "Sorry all the samples are gone." Well then BOOM! I'll make your emails be gone from my inbox. Simple really.
7. TIMING! Inviting me to an event is nice. It is. And thank you. But give me a bit of notice. Four days notice to drop everything for lunch? Yep. Not coming. I've got a busy life and I can't shuffle things at that late notice either. Same applies for sending me media releases. Don't send them to me on the day whatever you're spruiking happens. I'm a busy woman - as are all bloggers. I'm not usually struggling for content. And I won't drop everything to bang out some paras on your product on the day. Nope.
**BONUS TIP: If you are inviting me to an event, please make sure I live in the city the event is taking place in. Unless you're willing to cover my travel and accommodation costs.
For more on this topic head over to Edenland.
image - me with Allen's Retro Party Mix teeth. Because I can. It's me in PR mode.