Dear *insert PR person name here*,

Editors note: This is in no way directed to those wonderful PR folks I have a relationship with.

Thank you very much for taking the time to contact me. I even appreciate that you put together a personal line or two at the front of your copy/paste pitch. That “How to Work With Mommy Bloggers” seminar is really showing! Since I am overly busy and this is the 5th email like this I received in the last two hours,  I am going to leave this letter up so I can just link you to it. *anyone else too busy to write their own feel free to send them this link*

I would like to address some parts of your pitch here. Don’t worry if this is not the exact wording you used in yours, it all sounds the same to us “mommy bloggers”, trust me.

I’m emailing you because I’m working with **** to get the word out about their ***** program!

So, are you wanting to get the word out to me?

I think your readers would be really interested in this because….

Oh, you want me to tell my ‘readers’!

We’d love if you wanted to write a post about it.  Let me know what you think or if you have any questions!

SURE, cause I have absolutely nothing better to do with my time. I have two kids that I homeschool, run 4 active communities, blah, blah, blah. I don’t have time to go to the bathroom but hey, let me risk a bladder infection so I can rush right over and give you some free publicity!

OK, here is my question. My ‘readers’ (I much prefer to call them my friends) come to my site(s) because they want to see what is going on with me, my family, or the community I have built. You want me to take time away from connecting with my readers to tell them about yours and the 5 other pitches I got just like this today? And you want me to do it cause I think they would care? They don’t, trust me. Let me put it this way, people read blogs for the same reason they watch TV shows-entertainment and education. The trend to DVR’ing through commercials works the same way online. Believe me, if I throw your press release up, their eyes will glaze over and turn me off. Now, why would I want to risk my very hard earned relationship with my friends to essentially run a public service announcement for you??? I don’t know you. I have no vested interest in you or your product.

Lots of talk going on in the PR world about earned vs. purchased content. There is no way on gods green earth you are going to ‘earn’ my time when you attempt to start out a relationship like this with me. You do realize this is the equivalent of meeting a stranger in the bar and asking them to put out on the first date??? Some girls may be that easy. Sorry, I am not.

I am a really nice person, and I am sorry that I had to use such strong language but the thing is, you don’t get it if I don’t. I have PR relationships that I would bend over backwards for. That is “earned”. It is a two way street. I have worked with them in the past,  they have a good quality program and don’t happen to have a big budget right now. I get that! Glad to help out if I can, especially if it is something with a charitable twist. But if you are a Fortune 500 company and your first contact with me is the pitch above, don’t be surprised if a. am kind and just delete, b. tell all my friends c. tell all my friends at a convention than sit around and have a drink laughing at how stupid you are!

and just a note, you are most likely going to get a c if you send me this after I have nicely given you option a.

I emailed my pitch a couple of weeks ago and wanted to ensure you’d received it.

So, please let me give you some advice before you delete out my name and forward the pitch on to the next blogger on your list who is likely a friend or associate of mine.

Think about how you would feel if a total stranger walked up to you and asked you to call all your friends, relatives, business partner, your doorman, your kids and so on shout from the rooftops that XYZ is having a promotion. And they want you to do it for free with absolutely no benefit to you except the good will that you got to share this news! I am guessing you would give them a crazy eye and walk quickly past.That is how I feel, except it happens to me at least 5 times a day.

Want to work with me? Chances are, if you have a quality product, are a nice person, build a relationship with me and consider ME in the equation we could have a long term relationship and that ‘earned’ pr you are looking for will come.

And if you are still reading at this point, it is hopefully because you truly want to make your pitch less delete worthy in the future. May I suggest that you go read the very talented Geek Mommy’s take on this. Read the comments. You will see that I am not alone in my feelings. It is a very good discussion.

Comments

  1. Love this.

    Tweeting it!!

    Also forwarding you the pitch that set me off today…
    .-= Lucretia Pruitt´s last blog ..My New Gig =-.

    • Can’t wait to see yours :) Yeah, just had one too many that broke the camels back today!

  2. FABulous!!!!!

  3. I know I already read this post–but just wanted to stop by tell you your fab… and this post makes me miss your sarcasim … Blogher 2010! :)

  4. Uh oh.. devil’s advocate alert.. (and I promise I totally understand what you are sayin’ here.. I do..!)

    Do you remember way back when.. when getting a pitch of any sort from what you were pretty sure was a real company came across your email? It was kind of cool, no? You thought, Wow they think I have reach? They think I have influence? They are new to the reach out to a blogger kind of campaign and they aren’t even sure what it is they want/need/etc..?

    I keep thinking some of that as I get a small pitch or offer or whatever and I have to tell myself (CARISSA you don’t have time anymore to help them understand why this isnt’ a good fit for you..or even find time to suggest 10 people from my fairly large list of up and coming blog friends who might be interested…)

    But here’s the thing. The times when I did respond back to a pitch and ask them what exactly they had in mind and were they up for a brainstorming session to make the campaign fit better, and were they interested in a few other bloggers I knew ‘personally’ who might also be excited about the product/service etc… some of those have turned into the most fun/interesting and yes lucrative projects I’ve worked on??

    And I swear I don’t mean this to sound nasty AT ALL!! But I remember feeling absolutely stupid not very long ago when I listened to bloggers talk about how they hated getting pitches blah blah blah.. and I felt like.. well sheesh.. there are others out there who would like to get ANY pitches.. And wouldn’t it be nice if ‘insert blogger here’ gave me an email heads up that company A was looking for some blogger attention?!

    Was that too playing the devil?? Cuz I promise I’ve fallen into the category of dont’have enough time to respond much less help another blogger!
    .-= Carissa´s last blog ..Mileage Calculator Anyone?? =-.

  5. Carissa, I completely get where you are coming from and after stepping back from this for a week should say this was set off by one pitch. The pitch was from a Fortune 500 company (who I have not ever worked with). I did respond back with “how would you like to work together”. In which I received “well, we want you to write about it and tell your readers”. It was for the companies Back To School SALE! It was for a store I would not personally ever choose to shop in. It was essentially an ad that they wanted me to promote for them in the guise of a post and they wanted me to do it for free.

    Those are the companies that I am addressing above. Not really the smaller companies just figuring out social media. Those ones 95% of the time I will respond to and let them know it was not a good approach, in fact I just did this recently with two companies that have ended up working very well for me.

    It is the general misunderstanding from companies that asking us to essentially rewrite your press release is PR. That is not PR, it is advertising and as such I would expect to compensated the same as if they wanted a banner ad.

    Thoughts?

  6. I just had a convo with John Andrews about that last thought exactly.. Re: copy and paste press release does not = PR.. the whole create a relationship first.. etc…

    I’m so glad you understood my point.

    2nd thought tho.. this kills me that when companies larger or small for that matter contact me(as in really not a heavy weight blogger..) and I end up teaching them about social media in general, and about the world of bloggers (who are moms-and not professionals in the pr sense)… Still shocks me!

  7. I don’t generally have an issue with the smaller companies doing it. It is the larger ones that have the budget to hire an expert to get them on the right track that really get me. Maybe it is because I run a small company that I get that they usually don’t have the resources to figure it all out, or they took a class from an ‘expert’ that steered them in the wrong direction. I will usually try to help if I can, even if it is just education or connecting them with a blogger who would be interested.

    I think that John through Collective Bias is one of the few who gets it. Of course, he has the incredible Lucretia to guide their social media strategy so I would expect them to get it. I wish more companies did. The PR companies I work with like Weber Shandwick and Litzky do as well. There are others but those two come to mind.

    Perfect example: Josslynne from Litzky and I had a great convo at BlogHer about a product I thought was adorable. It showed up in my mail today just because :) I would absolutely go out of my way to help her now and not because of the free product. I would help her because she remembered me and went out of her way to reach out to me. That is earned PR.

    Same with Liz and Nora at Weber Shandwick. I feel like we are friends and would help them with any campaign that I could.

    and Lucretia, well, whatever Collective Bias does I am on board with because I adore her. Toni-Lynn and I did all that time at BowlHer on swag because she needed help and so did Jyl.

    It is about connecting with people and earning that vested interest.

  8. You know the love goes right back the other way hon! :)

    Carissa: I half do and half don’t agree with you. It becomes a matter for me of “yes, I’m flattered that you thought to include me” when it’s someone who took the time to actually pitch ME. But when it’s someone who just copied and pasted my email address list into their ‘send to’ field of the Press Release they blindly sent to dozens of bloggers? Not so much.

    Every minute that I spend “educating” a PR person who does something like that is a minute I’m not spending with my family or on my job. If it were one or two a week? Yeah, no problem. But when it gets to be several or more a day? Then yes, there’s a problem… because that person is getting paid for the time s/he took doing their generic, mass-mailed press-release — but I’m not.

    If there’s value exchanged (not necessarily money, mind you, just value), then it makes sense to say “hey, let me take a second to help you better understand how to work with me and people like me” – but if s/he is just trying to use my blog as a billboard? Not interested.

    Barb writing one post makes more sense than writing dozens of emails – was it snarky? Yeah, a bit. Sometimes we get snarky on our blogs – it keeps us from sending someone a snarky email in response. Venting is good for the soul…

    But I agree, I remember the times where I thought “geez, I wish I were getting ‘insulted’ by offers of stuff or trips or whatnot” and I try to turn things down politely. But that wasn’t really the kind of PR person Barb was posting about.

    There’s good and there’s bad in every field. I’m lucky to know the first, and too busy being a mom and wife and coworker to try and change the second. ;)
    .-= Lucretia Pruitt´s last blog ..My New Gig =-.

  9. I’m late to this post and not long in blogging, but I think I got one of those pitches lately. It was from a television network wanting to promote children’s programming. The email was out of the blue and written with the assumption that I would be more than happy to write a post about their new shows complete with graphics to use. I just shook my head.
    .-= Jayne´s last blog ..Saving Money One Great Deal at a Time =-.

  10. THERESA BERNTSON says:

    Boy what memories wish I was there you must be so proud