PR and Bloggers

Edited May 26, 2014 – I can’t believe so many years have passed since I wrote the below post, but I had to pop in for an update as I think PR agencies pitching to bloggers have gotten out of control! I appreciate a well-written, relevant piece of news or opportunity, I truly do, but my blog email inbox is overflowing with pitches on topics such as gasoline, financial surveys, and online dating for the 65+ crowd – none of this is relevant to my blog in any way shape or form. I guess these agencies are buying lists and just spamming out their message, but man, it makes me a little sad for the state of the publicist. I can’t tell you how ofTEN I get Dear Mr. Meghan or Dear “Wrong Name Here”. I work in PR, and I wouldn’t dare send a pitch without doing a little research first. Other major annoyances? Being thanked in advance for covering their client’s news and being reminded about theit email 12 hours after I receive it. Bloggers often have other jobs! And go to sleep! If we don’t respond the same day, don’t panic. We may actually not be ignoring you.

Is the protocol now just to get to as many breathing bodies as possible and then bombard with as much news as possible? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments!

Good morning! Some of you may have already read and commented on this post over at Pop! Marketing; I apologize for the duplicate content. I haven’t been able to eat – or lift my head for long – in the past two days, so food blogging is out! I have gotten a few wonky, totally irrelevant PR pitches that really annoyed me over the past few days as well, so thought the below post was appropriate to share. I would love to hear the worst or best pitch you have ever gotten. Discuss!

 

Bloggers – question for you:

When a brand or agency reaches out to you, which do you prefer?

A. A personalized pitch that includes some sort of information relevant to your blog content, perhaps even an offer for a sample or event invitation.

B. A massive press release addressed to Dear Blogger (or worse, a name other than your own which has happened to me multiple times) with no indication of how or why the information included may or may not affect you.

I thought so.

I have been waist-deep in all sorts of PR campaigns lately, some with traditional media but most with digital influencers, my fellow bloggers, and a few things came up this week that kinda made me purple in the face. And made me realize that a lot of traditional PR and business people don’t quite get it.

Incident 1: I was working on an event and potentially involving bloggers and someone said in an email: “Businesses invite bloggers to events for really cheap because if they do so, they know they will get a positive review.”

My response? 1. Bloggers are often invited to events at a discount (but usually for free), but they most certainly will blog honestly and will have to disclose that the event is free. I am sure there are bloggers doing otherwise, but the large community I have come to know and love? If it’s not great, they are going to say so or not write about it.

Incident 2: I was working on some news releases, and it was suggested that I go after bloggers and basically blanket the blogging community with the information.

My response? No. I like to do my homework when it comes to each and every blogger. And thank goodness for that! A quick scan of a blog can tell you that maybe that popular blogger would have been the perfect fit for your news two months ago, but something like an illness, death, job loss, or move may have happened that completely changes his or her focus. It happens more often than you think, and I am always grateful I took the extra time to research instead of being embarrassed or even worse, hurtful and insensitive.

The one thing many PR people forget is that, unlike major media outlets, bloggers are first and foremost people. Do your homework.

I won’t budge on the way I pitch to and interact with bloggers. I would far rather engage with a handful than alienate a large mass by being impersonal. Being on both sides of the blogger/PR relationship has shown me the integrity and hard work bloggers put into their blogs. And, at the end of the day, when I need a restaurant recommendation or other piece of advice, these are the trusted influences I am going to for help.

Your thoughts?

 

Share
  1. Leeanne’s avatar

    Oh, I have so much to say on this issue. But I’ll keep it short.

    If a pitch email has my name misspelled, they’ve lost me in a matter of seconds. Attention to detail, please.

    Spelling, grammar and style are also very important to me. Maybe overly important, but I’m a journalist and a writer and I find it completely unacceptable when I get something with the headline “Your Invited.” Or the dreaded peak/peek/pique, or palate/palette/pallet.

    Targeting is so important, like you said. As I’m based in Hartford, working for a media outlet that’s very focused on “hyperlocal” news, it makes no sense to invite me to parties and events in New York. Or Boston. Or even Fairfield County. Way too far out of our coverage area.

    I personally wish PR folks wouldn’t push press dinners, samples or freebies on journalists; we can’t do any of that and it’s very uncomfortable to have to decline everything, repeatedly. I know bloggers have more freedom in that area.

    Reply

  2. Emily @ A Cambridge Story’s avatar

    This is SUCH a great post and it’s so wonderful that you have insight into both sides of the coin here. It rubs me the wrong way when I receive PR blasts that are impersonal. I typically try to connect events and products to real stories about food – and I’m not necessarily inclined to plug an event without good reason.

    That said, I love the opportunity to attend dinners, restaurant openings, etc. So, I think there is the potential for mutual benefits for both PR agencies and bloggers – it just has to be done right.

    Reply

  3. Michelle Collins’s avatar

    I love this post! At Eversave, I’ve also been on the other side of having to contact bloggers for different promotions, giveaways, etc. I’ve never once had the desire to send a blanket, impersonal email to a group of bloggers about something that might not even be relevant to most of them. I sure as heck never respond to an email where the PR rep has obviously never read my blog. And I agree – credible bloggers always disclose when meals/products are free, and write honest reviews about them.

    Reply

  4. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic’s avatar

    Great post. Working on the agency/social media side, I am exposed to both sides of the situation too and I agree that the PR people and marketers who reach out to us should do a little more research before sending a blind proposal. That’s one way to build good relationships and also a tried and true good marketing practice.

    Reply

  5. Michelle’s avatar

    I love that you are on both sides of the issue. Unless a pitch is informative and really has to do with my blog, it is a simple delete for me. On top of which, PR companies need to coordinate. I sometimes get the same email three or four times from different people in the same company!

    Reply

  6. Lindsey @ BeantownEats’s avatar

    I remember when you posted this on Pop! and I thought it was such a great point of discussion. I recently had a discussion with a PR woman who started her own company because she was tired of having her prior firm operate under some of the “traditional” (I would maybe say old-fashioned) blanket marketing techniques that really aren’t appropriate anymore and don’t work for so many outlets they are trying to reach out to. And the email I got from said PR woman was very personalized and I really enjoyed the interaction with her.

    Reply

  7. Jean | DelightfulRepast.com’s avatar

    Mr Meghan (just kidding, couldn’t resist!), I’m glad you mentioned about bloggers writing honestly and disclosing. I always do that. If it seems that all my reviews are positive, it is simply because I am so very selective about what I will accept for review. I only accept products/services that I expect to like. If there is something about it that needs improving, I don’t hesitate to point it out. It is important to me that I give my readers solid information that they can trust.

    Reply

The Foodie Blog Roll
new restaurant
WordPress SEO fine-tune by Meta SEO Pack from Poradnik Webmastera