I don't need ESPN to tell me it's Super Bowl Week, all I need is my email inbox. Because every day this week, I've gotten multiple emails, usually from a PR firm, wanting to let me know about their clients' amazing Super Bowl ad/stunt/site, and how the want me to blog about it.
Notice I haven't blogged about any yet?
First of all, I think it's VERY smart of companies and their PR firms to reach out to bloggers to help them promote their ads/campaigns/marketing ideas. And I want to encourage that.
But what I've seen lately in my emails are lazy and ineffective attempts to get me to blog about their ads. Here's why:
1 - My name is 'Mack'. It's not Mark, it's not Matt, it's not 'Blogger'. If you don't refer to me by my correct name in your email pitch, there is almost zero chance that I will ever read past the greeting. Trust me on this.
2 - Please at least read my blog before you email me. Please figure out what topics I like to talk about, then please try to find a way to somehow relate my interests, to your pitch.
3 - Please do NOT send me a canned 'form letter' email. Here's an example:
I thought The Viral Garden's readers might enjoy hearing about the new Super Bowl ad from (company name HERE). This new ad is a very humorous spot featuring (washed up b-list celeb HERE) as she encounters many hilarious situations, before realizing that (company name HERE) will solve all her problems.
So Mack, if you would like screenshots from this funny commercial for posting on The Viral Garden, let me know!
4. - Please don't ask me to forward your anonymous form-letter email to my friends. I want to keep them as my friends.
When I was still regularly writing for BMA, I got these email pitches all the time, all the ad bloggers do. But out of all the pitches, from all the people, there was one woman that worked for a PR firm that actually made good pitches.
She always called me by my correct first name.
She always commented on a post I had left on BMA and gave her thoughts.
She always explained everything I needed to know about her client's ad, and included multiple screen shots for the ad.
She always invited me to ask her any questions I would have if I wanted to write a post, and if I did have an email question, she usually answered in minutes.
She understood that I was doing her a FAVOR by taking time out of my busy day to consider promoting HER client on my blog, and she made it clear to me that she respected my time.
She looked at the pitch from MY point of view. As a result, I posted about every ad she emailed me about. In fact the methods she used stood out so much from the others that I started emailing HER to ask if she had any additional client initiatives that I could promote!
So to the PR firms that are reading this, PLEASE consider your next pitch from the point of view of the blogger you are pitching to. Please give us a reason to think that we aren't simply the next name on your 'media list', even if we are.
The Viral Garden, Marketing
Wait a minute, I pitched you a Super Bowl related thing and you didn't write anything up. Does that mean I'm a (dum, dum, dum!!!!!) clueless PR flack? That's alright, Mark. I know you have got a lot of things going other than blogging here at The Vegetable Garden. No hard feelings.
(And yes, the above is tongue-in-cheek for those of you who might not get it.)
LMAO! Whups. Actually I got your email right in the middle of compiling last week's Top 25 list, between finishing it and that night's Vox stories, I admittedly forgot all about it.
But....let me point out a few things that Chris did in his email pitch. He let us know that he was giving us 'first shot' at his client's ad before several MSM publications were set to publish stories about it during the next morning. And he also offered the first 4-5 respondents a spot on the company's media-call with the company's head of advertising.
It made me feel oh so special, especially after he called me 'Hey all,' ;)
In all fairness I did acknowledge that it was bad form to do the mass email thing.
At least I didn't call you Matt Cottenflower.
I think in this particular case, in Chris' defense, he probably only did that because a lot of us are a bit chummy in the advertising space =). He's usually much better about that, haha.
I guess karma came back to me. A fellow blogger had emailed me earlier and of course called me 'Matt'. I mentioned in my response that my name was Mack, not Matt, and he just replied with 'Matt, sorry about the name, I should pay more attention.'
Hope Mark doesn't find out.
Great advice, Mack. When I pitch you (and I will!) I'll be sure to follow this very good advice.
Chris' email, by the way, may have been a mass-mail, but it seemed to be written only to people who know him and vice versa; plus he did apologize for it, which exonerates him.
Yeah I was just diggin' back at Thilk over the Vegatable Garden comment, that cut to the quick...guess the tongue-in-cheek thingie only works for ad blogging guys ;)
mack, this looks like a defensive pr activity.
i mean you get in touch with bloggers prospects, etc, when you need them, not before and not later. now you should be there before and later, so when you need them, you are not a stranger, you can be tailor made and get into the end zone.
This is just me, but I don't want to see those of us blogging primarily on the subject of marketing to start running ads of any kind sent to us by PR, Marketing or Advertising firms. I believe that makes us hacks and severely hurts our credibility.
If we do run such ads, we better include a disclaimer telling our readers who we received them from or where we got them, and then we need to critique them. Just running them without comment is dishonest.
This is such a great example of the frustration many customers feel as they get various emails trying to woo them and their friends to give a company more business. I love the way you have illustrated it here. Pure genious!
Try and enjoy the Superbowl anyway. ;-)
It is ironic that some (not all) marketing professionals can hold forth on one-to-one marketing, social media, communities and relationship marketing, etc., but fail to practice what they preach.
Great article - instructional and entertaining.
Have a great weekend.
The more things change....
In a previous life in the music industry I had to have PR as one of the strings to my my bow. It's been a long LONG time since anyone worth their salt would expect a one page generic faxstream to main stream press to generate column inches. Getting great press is about generating great relationships and making journos (and now bloggers)lives easier and more interesting.
Here's a cheat sheet- http://www.free-pr-advice.
The difference with (most) bloggers is that they are writing for the love it- they don't HAVE to carry pages to balance out the advertising, and they don't have to post every day. So PR to bloggers needs to be more smart, more interesting, more personal and provide more value than and a DM 1985 PR hack approach.
As a hometown Cowboys fan, I was quite sad to see the picture for this post.
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