Monday, September 14, 2009

Two-way street

Not too long ago I got an email from a person I didn't know with the subject line: 'I was just on your blog'.

Well, naturally I was curious. I opened the note only to read how much the woman liked my blog (flattered) and, how she felt it was an ideal place to promote a giveaway for of a pair of Ugg boots. She even offered $100 if I could drive enough traffic to her site.

Well, thanks but no thanks. It was clear she hadn't read my blog or bothered to engage me other than by offering a vapid compliment that was easy to see through.

In other words, an irrelevant pitch. Something the PR industry has been accused (and guilty) of again and again.

And, it's true. As it's been said many, many times, we have to go beyond form letters and lists gleaned from databases and offer journalists something of value to them. We have to read what they write, understand their point of view and show them why our stories might be of interest to their readers.

However, there's a flip side to all of this. Sometimes, we do target the right journalists and bloggers, read their articles/posts (often look forward to them), feel we grasp what they're after and tailor what we think is a perfect story for them. Only to hear someone say: 'You don't have a clue about what I write about.'

This can also be a canned message. And possibly a knee-jerk response to all the bad pitches they've received.

So maybe all of us - journalists/bloggers and PR - need to step back and realize we're on a two-way street in the same community and try to have a little more respect - on both sides of the fence.

5 comments:

Bargainista said...

Martin, I couldn't agree with you more and this is something I've been saying to both bloggers and PR practitioners for a while. At the end of the day, it's all about relationships and treating each other they way we'd like to be treated and not a means to an end.

One of the parallels I draw when thinking about the current divisiveness of bloggers/PR/Journalists is the relationship between working and stay-at-home moms. If we could jest get to know each other better, we'd eliminate a lot of the knee-jerk reactions and realize we have a lot more in common too.

I still think it's funny you received a pitch to blog about Uggs, Talk about irrelevant.

Guy Skipworth said...

What is most interesting to me is that we are live in a time where pr people are pitching their products to pr pros rather than to consumers directly.

Sort of like journalists interviewing other journalists.

To save dollars we have more reporters talking to other reporter rather doing first hand witnessing of events.

Andrea Vascellari said...

Good point Martin, I try to look at the flip side too but I still don't like an off-topic pitch or a pitch that again make me understand that this person has now understanding at all of what I'm doing/interested in. This is my first comment here so I'll drop you this link "How to Pitch to Bloggers - 10 Tips" http://www.andreavascellari.com/?p=2128 . When I wrote this post (although it was an answer to an off-topic pitch) I was trying to look at the flip side. Hope it will add value to the conversation. Andrea

Martin Waxman said...

Thanks for your perspective Eden and Guy.

And Andrea, thank you for the link to your post. Very helpful advice.

I feel that the whole notion of 'pitching' may a bit adversarial (pitchers want to strike out batters) and maybe we should think of it as engaging instead.

Agapelife said...

Just as I was about to pitch my book signing,you had to write this post. I am still new to PR. Left a message on your shout box