I started this blog as a space for ME. As a space to write, to share, to connect, to rant. Facebook just wasn’t doing it for me .
I did not start this blog to make money, get free products, sponsored trips, or fame. If I talk about a product or service or company, it’s because I choose to, of my own free will, expressing my own opinions.
If anyone has read my blog, they’d know that. They’d have gathered that, just from skimming a few posts.
Especially if you’re a public relations executive. Now, I am particularly hard on practitioners of PR as I used to be one. I like to think I was a damn good one too. Therefore, it really irks me when some people make a mockery of the practice of PR.
I received an email recently from a local (Malaysian) PR agency who shall remain nameless. I’m not that bitchy.
We are pleased to introduce to you [somethingortheother] by [local jeweler} the latest jewellery from their [somethingortheother] Collection.
For both young and young at heart, [somethingortheother] is one product you can’t resist sharing with your readers!
Please find as attached news release and picture for your use. Should you have any enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us.
This was my reply. After I stewed for oh, 2 minutes:
Dear PR Agency (and here, I deliberately do not use your name and you will see why),
You clearly do not read my blog, or pay attention to the email address to which you sent your blatant mass email to.
If you did, you would not have addressed me as ‘Dear Blogger’. You would have at least had the courtesy to address me by name.
Secondly, you did not even take time to get to know me, before pitching your client’s products to me. Do you know what I write about? Who my readers are? How many readers I have? What other social media I am involved in?
And if you had taken the time to know me, you would know that I would NEVER write a blog post about a product I see and read from a press release. I am not media. I am not a newspaper or magazine or website looking for content. I am a blogger, who writes in her own time, working on her own content, engaging with the blogging community on my own. I don’t get paid to do this, I do this because I want to.
If you wish for me to review a product, a product will have to be sent to me for review. Is that not standard PR practice? Especially for bloggers? I don’t get paid to write on my own blog, why would I possibly want to regurgitate your press release using up real estate on my blog?
If you had taken the time to look at my blog at least once, you would have had the opportunity to come to the following conclusions and NOT pitched these ‘[somethingortheotherproduct]’ to me:
- I do not wear jewelry, nor do I have a child I can bestow these things onto (my son is only 18 months old – if you read my blog, you’d know).
- I used to work in public relations. I worked in marketing. I know how PR works. How you are doing it? Doesn’t work, and frankly, is disrespectful to me as a blogger and a writer.
- I write about motherhood, about my son, about my experiences in blogging, about food, about life, about funny things. I do not post about jewelry that a local jeweler has released because some PR agency sent me a press release and photos.
- I am not your typical Malaysian blogger, out to make money. I don’t even have Nuffnang ads on my page. I also do not write reviews. Not that I’m not open to it but it has to be done the proper way.
- My readers are made up of Americans and Canadians. I don’t think they’ll be interested in [local jeweler].
- You clearly did not read my disclosure policy page.
This is just for your reference, as clearly, after this email, I’m pretty sure your agency will not be sending me any more product pitches. Consider this a free lesson in PR if you will.
- Always read the blog you’re considering first. Read the About Me page. Read a few recent posts to get a feel of what the blogger is about, what they are interested in, whether they’re a good match to the product/ service.
- Always contact the blogger in question first, before pitching, either via email or phone call. Introduce yourself, explain why you’re calling. Ask for information such as readership, reach, their ‘policy’ about doing product reviews.
- Cultivate this relationship. Meet up, text, chat via Messenger, Twitter, Skype, whatever. But have a conversation first. Get a feel for the person who is going to go out there and write about your client and their products/ services.
- Remember, bloggers are doing all this in their own time, they’re not paid to blog. When you ask someone to review a product, respect that they are doing this voluntarily. It takes up their time. It takes up space on their blog, which they make way for.
I think I’ve given you much more than you have given me – other than a blog post. I reserve the right to reprint this email and my reply, in my blog. I will however, leave out your agency name and your name.
Tell me, was I too harsh on this agency? Should I just be grateful anyone would consider me for a product ‘review’? Or just tell me I’m fabulous and you think I’m right. Tee hee!