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.