PR agencies, pay attention

posted in: Blogging, Public Relations, Rant 0 comments
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.


Dear Blogger,


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.

Thank you.

Best regards,
PR Executive Muppet
Muppet Communications 
M-3-19, Plaza Muppet  
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603. 1234 5678
Fax: +603. 1234 5679

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.

Regards,
Alison

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!

Alison

Alison

Alison

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  • July 1, 2011 Natalie

    Ha ha you get'em girl! “Dear Blogger” LOL…cracked me up!

  • July 16, 2011 Alex P.

    Hi Alison!

    Great reply back! (I found you on the Mom Pledge).

    I recently received a similar email. Difference; they referred to me by name, BUT my OLD blog name (which was NEVER associated with my current email that they used).

    I called them out on it as well and told them if they wished to send me a item to actually review, I’d be more than happy to do it. But that I wouldn’t do it for a company I had never heard of and never had any experience with.
    Alex P. recently wrote…Family Fun @ Safari NiagaraMy Profile

    • July 16, 2011 Alison

      Glad you called them out – PR agencies really need to pull their socks up. Thanks for stopping by!

  • July 16, 2011 imperfectmomma

    Girl…you said it perfectly! I hate when these PR firms just send out mass emails like that. Though, I must admit I never have the courage to respond to them. Never know what to say exactly. I applaud you! Stopping by from the Mom Pledge blog hop. Love your site!
    imperfectmomma recently wrote…The Facts Of Life…no one warned me aboutMy Profile

    • July 17, 2011 Alison

      Thank you – this response needed to be sent! And thank you for stopping by, nice to meet you!

  • July 17, 2011 Rusti

    love this. I haven’t gotten any emails requesting product reviews (with or without product) but I DO so love the flyers and letters I get in the mail that are addressed to “Mr. Rusti S” ummm… yeah, no. OBVIOUSLY they don’t know me… or that I’m NOT a mister, but in fact a missus. (is the spelled right? I don’t know that I’ve ever spelled out Mrs. before… hmmm…) I totally loved it though 🙂 You told them off ever-so-politely, I love that you have that ability 🙂 you go girl!! XO
    Rusti recently wrote…Rockin’ The BabyMy Profile

    • July 17, 2011 Alison

      Haha, thank you for thinking it was polite! I think I made my point 🙂

      Also? I’ve been addressed as Mr. Alison too. LOL.

  • July 17, 2011 Carolyn (temysmom)

    I can’t begin to tell you the amount of pitches I have gotten within the last 2 months that had absolutely nothing to do with me or my blog. I get pitched baby products ALL THE TIME. My “baby” is 6 years old and no longer wears diapers or uses a bottle or pacifier.

    I also get sent press releases asking me to share them with my readers. Ummm…. NO! I will review a “product”, not a piece of paper.

    I might take your lead and write back to some of these people instead of deleting their emails.
    Carolyn (temysmom) recently wrote…DIY Office Redo with Glidden – the "Before"My Profile

    • July 17, 2011 Alison

      Thanks for stopping by Carolyn!

      I deleted the first email they sent a few weeks before I received it again – yes, they did actually send it to me again! I just felt the need to respond!

  • July 27, 2011 Mrs. Weber

    So awesome, Alison. Glad you took the time to respond like you did. I sure hope that PR person learned their lesson. People like this are sure not helping the few of us out there who practice PR the RIGHT way!
    Mrs. Weber recently wrote…7 PR Tips for Working with BloggersMy Profile

    • July 27, 2011 Alison

      I hope so too, or I’d have wasted 20 minutes composing that email! PR folks who do it the right way? They’re like sapphire diamonds – precious and rare 🙂

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