Feb 20, 2013
Dear PR/Social Media Reps, I Love You, I Hate You
Dear PR and Social Media Reps:
I love you, and yet I hate you. I appreciate working with 99% of you, but the other 1% of you make me cringe. Those 1% of you make it so difficult for me to work with, and form relationships with the other 99% of you. I get a little email shy, and I don't want to be. I want to love all of you. So...I am sharing a few tips with you. You need to know these things, because I am guessing I am not alone. I am guessing there are (many) other bloggers who feel the same way. So...let's get this all out in the open, so you know where I am coming from, and perhaps maybe, just maybe, we can be on the same page....
I love you. I really do.
I love working with you, bringing new products to my readers, trying out new products for myself and my family. You make me aware of these products. You sometimes send me these products to try. Those of you who "get" bloggers, and what we do, make our jobs so much easier. You respect us, you follow us on Twitter and Facebook, you re-tweet our stuff. You are the cats pajamas and better then sliced bread. Really. You are that awesome 99% that I want to hug on a daily basis. It's your naughty cousins, that awful 1%, that make you all look bad.
I hate you too.
You want something for nothing from me, but you don't even follow me on Facebook and Twitter. I, and my blogger colleagues, are just a press release re-publish service to you, and nothing more. You send and send and send, but don't have the professionalism or courtesy to respond, when I email you back. Then, you wonder why I no longer read your emails and delete you? You have the nerve to email me again, asking why I have not responded to you, when you've never responded to me? What? Who does business like that? I realize that you are some big fancy PR rep, and I am just some lowly Mom blogger (snort), but guess what? I've seen your kind, and I can delete an email faster than I can break a nail.
You think I work for free too. You have big advertising budgets for print and television media, but expect me to promote your product for free. Hmm. Do I look like I am working 10 hour days out of the goodness of my heart? Do you really think my husband would let me get away with that? Do you think I am some bored housewife looking for a hobby, and you are going to fill that void? Time is money baby. When I work on a single blog post an average of three hours, I am not doing this to pass the time. You get paid for your services, and I expect to get paid (in some way) for mine, even if it's a $10 product and a thank you or re-tweet.
Or (and this is really one of the lowest of the low) you flatter me with emails, telling me how wonderful my writing/photos/recipes are, you send me your product, and when I do a bang-up job promoting it, you only re-tweet and follow those "bloggers with the big numbers" and ignore me. You don't even have the decency to use your little finger and hit the re-tweet button for me. It's all about you. Except I don't do "all about you."
I know, I know. Those of you (awesome, incredible) PR reps in the 99% (cough, Hilary), who love and appreciate bloggers, cannot even fathom that such a creature exists, and yet they do. Oh yes, they do. Two examples:
PR Rep A sends 3-4 press releases out for the same product. Blogger ABC contacts them with questions, and would like to feature the product, but personally reviews each and every product that she talks about on her blog. PR Rep A never responds to her inquiry, but three weeks later, sends a whole new press release for Blogger ABC to possibly publish on her blog. Do you think Blogger ABC is going to want to do anything with/for this PR rep?
PR Rep B contacts Blogger ABC, telling her how wonderful her blog is, and that she has a fantastic new product she would like Blogger ABC to try. Wonderful! says Blogger ABC. She receives the ($10) product, then spends the next five hours creating a dish with the product (purchasing her own food products to make the dish...well over $10), editing her photos of the food dish and product, and writing her blog review/content. Five hours of her day for a $10 product. But Blogger ABC really loves the product, so of course she wants to share it with her readers, and as importantly, she wants to show the PR rep what she is made of, and hopes to build that relationship. So, she is willing to work for well under her pay grade, to build that relationship. (Stupid girl!) She publishes the blog post, sends it to Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, and it is going like gangbusters. Blogger ABC has access to several analytics, so knows her blog post for the PR Rep B's product is doing well on Social Media. She sends her link to PR Rep B. Then she hears crickets....and nothing else. No follow-up thank you. No re-tweet from the product company or PR Rep B. They don't even follow her on Twitter. But they received $1000 worth of advertising (for a $10 product, plus postage of course). Blogger ABC is sad and goes in the corner to cry, because she knows she stayed up until 3 a.m, working so hard to impress/build that confidence with the brand, and not even a thank you? Is that bad business or what?
I wish I could say I am making this up, but I'm not.
Don't just support those big bloggers, support all of us. Because here's the thing. I plan to be a big blogger someday. I kind of love what I do. And if you don't treat me with respect when I am small, I will remember you, and won't want to work with you when I am big.
I want to love all of you, all the time, but you have to work with me, and bloggers like me. I want to try your products. I want to show your products to my readers. I want to give my honest opinions about your products, and know that you respect that of me, because my first priority is my readers, and should be your first too.
But...I also want your respect in return. Follow me on Twitter. Re-tweet the work I have done for you. Maybe send a thank you email. Most importantly, build a relationship with me and my blogging friends. I work hard to build up my blog, and am not going anywhere. I am here when you need me again...and you will. But I won't be here for you, if you "done me wrong" the first time.
The world is changing, my friend. Bloggers may be a dime a dozen, but so are PR reps. Those of us who learn to appreciate each other, and learn to work together, will go farther than those who are only in it for themselves. Here's a crazy thought. This relationship thing between you and I does not have to be a one-shot thing. What's that old saying about "you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours?" By building a relationship with me, you are forming more than just an ally, you are forming a friend. Ask anyone who knows me. I am a very loyal friend.
A friend who could love you. All the time.