by Carol Bryant
Do you get tired of PR people sending you pitches and not knowing the tone of your blog? Maybe you get a pitch from a PR professional who has read your blog but you just aren't sure how to reply. Some days I've wanted to pull my hair out, thinking, "you DO realize I blog and this is a career for me, not a hobby, right?"
I like to foster relationships with PR agencies and Public Relations pros. In the BlogPaws community right now, a discussion on the topic has arisen, so I dedicate today's blog post to this topic: How to respond to a PR pro when you get pitched.
If you are so inclined, let them know as a member of the BlogPaws pet blogger network (indeed, we are a network), that you are indeed open to developing a relationship with them. Sometimes I get asked, "well what exactly is BlogPaws? How you might reply to PR differs from how you might reply to say, a fan on Facebook or a family member. BlogPaws
is a media company and online community site for pet bloggers, pet enthusiasts,
pet and non-pet people on Twitter and Facebook and brands eager to tap into a
growing, vibrant, vocal community of serious writers, bloggers, and tweeters.
What sort of questions should brands (i.e., PR Pros) be asking bloggers – you can lead the discussion towards one of these areas:
* PR pros should be inquiring about their blog, what they write about, who your target audience is IF they didn't already.
about where their brand might fit into your blog and how this would benefit YOU, the blogger.
* Try and
develop a relationships as future partners instead of just trying to get you to post on something.
BlogPaws co-founder, Yvonne DiVita, says that bloggers are the new celebrity endorsers. We are. Think about it: We are spokespeople. Audiences and purchasers of products of ALL sorts look to pet bloggers for their information. I use pet bloggers for a wealth of information, and if someone whose opinion I trust and respect gives a "paws up" to something, I take notice and want to know more. I buy.
In fact, I've learned about more products of both the pet and non-pet type from bloggers than anywhere else. I just purchased Q-tips to use on my dog's paw pads because of something I read on a pet blog. So we are an influential crowd. This we know.
So for me, PR is not the enemy. In fact, good PR folks know how to develop relationships. They have something to offer bloggers and we, in turn, are the trusted bloggers that deliver the messages they so very much want to get across.
How do you handle PR folks?
There are many reasons someone might send a press release or guest post to a blogger. They may be promoting their own website/product/brand, promoting a client’s website/product/brand, be someone’s secretary saddled with the task, or be contracted through the various ‘hire a blogger’ networks. Many of the people who contact us don’t have a clue, which gives “PR people” a bad name at no fault of their own.
We also need to be patient with those who are making an effort to work with us (and not with those who aren’t willing to). This is new territory for marketers and frankly, many of them aren’t cut out for the blogging world. Even if they are, a lot of them don’t realize that it’s a different playing field. Hopefully things will improve once companies realize that they need professional bloggers & writers on their marketing team.
Thanks to the discussion, I’ve created a form letter in response to serious inquiries to guest post and took a second look at my guest posting guidelines to make sure they were clear.
I’ve found that people who are interested in building a relationship with me will respect my guidelines; those who are only interested in dumping and running do not. Thanks to the discussion, it’s much easier to identify which people belong in which group.
Thanks for this great post!
You bet, Kimberly. I get to pitch and be pitched, so I get to see and interact with both sides of the coin. I am grateful you inspired my post today. See, and this is how good networking works. Bloggers rock, yes?
loved the discussion online and LOVE the post here!
I value my PR contacts…it is easy to sniff out those who are legit and those who are not…PR folks can be (and SHOULD) be our friends!
Thanks, Caren. It is a two-way street with PR pros and bloggers, like any relationship. So, too, that means there are some duds and not so stellar pitches, too.