It is cliche in the blogging world to write about blogging. Meta-blogging, as it’s called, delves into the intricacies and anomalies of this ever growing medium of the weblog. It seems everyone these days can’t wait to write down their innermost thoughts, hit publish and share their lives with an community of virtual strangers.
I started blogging as a way to put words on a page every day; an exercise in creative writing that I otherwise lack in my day-to-day life. I have a small group of faithful readers who visit daily to comment on the inane ramblings and world views of a neurotic 20-something wanna-be writer. I started out just wanting to vent and ended up entering a whole world that I never knew existed. When my blog began getting linked to some more popular sites, the PR pitches began.
The first pitch I received was to test out an online e-card service and complete a write-up on my site. Mildly shocked that someone in public relations thought I was a worthy enough medium for their product to be reviewed, I took a look at the site. It was a bit of a disaster and knowing there was no way in good faith I could recommend it to anyone, I politely declined. By the time I joined the PR world, I had been pitched about a dozen times to review or discuss product on my blog. I declined eleven out of the twelve offers. Some of them were so far-fetched and beyond anything I had ever discussed on my blog, I couldn’t imagine why someone had wasted their time even pitching me. That’s when I began to learn about the ongoing struggle the public relations field was having with the blogging world.
Blogs have become our news sources and information guides and as such, they have a certain power to convey messages. Waist-deep in the age of the internet, bloggers can be incredibly influential and many are treated like journalists. Tech blogs such as Engadget and Gizmodo hold about as much rank in the consumer electronics industry as any mainstream tech magazine. But as much as we like to compare them with journalists, the forum of blogging does not lend itself to the same pitches or story ideas that mainstream media outlets do. Therein lies the struggle.
Case in point.
PR professional A decides to pitch blogs 1, 2 and 3 on a cool new tech product coming out in a few weeks. Instead of reading through blogs 1, 2 and 3’s archives, PR pro A decides to just go ahead and write a generic pitch with press release attached to send to the bloggers.
PR professional B decides to pitch blogs 4, 5, and 6 on yet another cool tech product coming out but he takes the time to truly learn what the blogs write about, what they consider to be blog worthy, and what types of things they don’t typically cover. When PR pro B writes his pitch, he mentions other products like his new product that the bloggers have written about before and makes an effort to show them why his product would make a good fit for a post on their sites.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out which PR professional is more likely to get coverage for their client’s product.
Like all journalists, bloggers need to receive pitches applicable to the genre and content of their site. But unlike all media oulets, blogs represent the new form of 24/7 news and information, with high content turnover and a necessary wow-factor to each post to give them the edge. The plethora of weblogs on the internet make it important for each site to distinguish itself and its content to first gain a community and then to retain those readers.
The only pitch I ever responded to positively on my personal blog was one from an author wondering if she could send me a complimentary copy of her newest book and have me review it on my blog. Being an avid reader and occasionally discussing books, movies and music on my site made this offer a perfect pitch for me. Everything else – the astrology website, the garden tools, the high-chair company who wanted to send me the latest state of art high-chair for my baby? (My very nonexistent baby?)
Completely missed the mark.
Posted by: Ashley