This is a guest post contributed by Hayley, who blogs at Simply Hayley:
I’m a blogger.
I run a blog called Simply Hayley, which is probably what you’d call a ‘Mummy blog’. I am very friendly to PRs and I really enjoy working with agencies on campaigns, posts and events.
But I’m not a journalist. And a lot of the time, PRs act as though I am.
Take yesterday for example. I was contacted by a PR agency and asked whether I would like to write about a video game. Great – my little boy loves video games, and I’m quite keen too. So I replied and said I’d love to review the game.
Except there’s a problem. The PR told me that they didn’t actually have any copies of the game. They might have some in a few weeks but these would only be provided to bloggers who had expressed interest by writing posts about the game. If my post was good enough, the PR said it might be promoted on the company’s Facebook page.
This would work fine if I was a journalist – magazines and websites often write about things they haven’t tested for themselves. I know that journalists and editors will often use a press release in its original format, or use it as the basis of a story.
Bloggers don’t do this. Our blogs are a personal space where we write about our families, pregnancy, food, photography, friends and technology. Our content is almost entirely personal and the content on my blog is my life, in my words.
So why would I write about something I haven’t experienced?
I wish PRs would understand that I don’t get paid for writing my blog, in the way journalists are paid for writing articles. I don’t have deadlines, the way a journalist does, but I do need to fit my writing around my family and my own work.
Many of the PRs I work with understand this. They understand that bloggers won’t:
- Write something for nothing
- Write about something they haven’t experienced
- Write about something that doesn’t interest or excite them
- Run a competition if it leaves them out of pocket
- Write about something that’s not relevant to their blog or readers
So, if you offer a blogger a chance to write about a great new product you have coming out, and you want the blogger to say how wonderful that product is, and you aren’t going to pay the blogger, or compensate them for their time, or even let them SEE the product – what are the chances they will say yes please?
I think you’ll get very few positive responses – and that’s what happened to the gaming company yesterday – most of the bloggers I spoke to on the Blogger.Ed forums who had received the offer had also declined it.
Ultimately, PRs need to remember that while there are lots of journalists who are bloggers there are also lots of bloggers who are NOT journalists, so won’t want to do things the way that journalists do them.