Today I followed a few links from Twitter to discover the most unfortunate public fight between a mom blogger and president of a PR firm. It’s not pretty. I’m not going to link to either post because I’m sure both parties just wish the story would die. I do, however, want to address PR professionals and mom bloggers about how to work together where everyone is happy at the end of the day.
PR Professionals: Tips for Working With Bloggers
1) Read the blogs you seek to pitch. I mean, actually read the blogs and not just the last three posts.
2) Follow the bloggers you want to pitch on Twitter. People are different on Twitter than they are on their blogs. You’ll be able to glean insights about a blogger’s tastes and personality that you otherwise wouldn’t catch if you only read their blog.
3) Never pitch bloggers in a mass email. Personalize and individualize your pitches. Last month I spoke to a group of PR professionals from smaller firms and their main concern was they don’t have time to personalize emails and instead opt for mass emails. In a nutshell, I told them they need to make time. They don’t have a choice and neither do you.
4) Always address bloggers by name.
5) Build a relationship with bloggers. If that means going to conferences and networking until you’re blue in the face, or even taking bloggers out to dinner without pitching involved, do it! Increasingly, PR professionals who dance best are those who pay attention and form key relationships.
6) Quality is better than quantity every time.
7) Understand this: Every mom blogger is different.
8) Resist pushing unusual requests on bloggers even though you know some will comply. For example,
- Do not require bloggers to tweet or “like” your client’s product in exchange for a review. In fact, don’t require anything in exchange for a review. Bloggers ultimately make the decision whether they want to review a product or not, even if a product has been sent to them.
- Do not require bloggers to use certain keywords and link to a specific site page in their review. They’ll word their review any way they wish. Remember, it’s a product review, not a SEO shill post.
- Do not ask moms to review a product from a high res image.
9) Don’t hound bloggers for review posts. It’s fine to follow up, but don’t hassle bloggers about a $25 product.
Mom Bloggers: Tips for Working With PR Professionals
1) PR firms, for the most part, do not pay for product reviews. Why? Most of their clients only understand traditional media and would freak out if they knew their PR firm is “buying” reviews. However, if a PR firm asks you to do things that go beyond a basic product review like tweeting, liking, creating video, penning a series of blog posts about a campaign or product, then they need to pay you. I repeat: If anything goes beyond the basic product review, they need to pay you!
I and other mom bloggers are imploring you to get paid for your work, but that doesn’t mean product reviews.
2) It’s OK to charge for giveaways. I know product reviews and the obligatory giveaway have been coupled for a long time, but if you don’t want to run a giveaway for free, that’s OK. Giveaways boil down to free advertising for a brand, plus they are a pain to facilitate.
3) Be sure to be friendly, but firm with PR professionals, especially those you disagree with or who send you a terrible pitch. After all, they are people too and, believe me, the PR world is very small. It’s smaller than the mom blogging community and you know how we talk!
4) Don’t pass around PR professionals’ email addresses and phone numbers. Even though they pitched you doesn’t mean they want to be hounded by 100 of your blog friends.
5) If you demand a fee for your work, whether it’s consulting or being a part of a large, extended campaign, be sure to be able to prove your worth.
6) Even though a lot of PR people don’t read About Me pages, it’s your job to spell out the types of pitches you will and will not accept.
It’s unfortunate that PR firms and mom bloggers are starting to experience missteps. It’s my hope that my advice above will help the two parties make the dance work.