Ian, over at IanVisits, wrote a good rant about the fraught relationship between bloggers and public relations. Once you’ve been blogging for a while and your blog begins to get noticed, you’ll start to receive press releases and information from PR companies, inviting you to events or to notify you of product launches.
Initially, the attention is nice – it’s good that you’re being noticed – but it can also be very frustrating. In my experience, a lot of PR companies haven’t quite worked out how to work with bloggers – they’ve realised they’re important, but not that they require a different approach to mainstream media.
Ian makes some good points in his post, but it boils down to bloggers mostly being individuals with a day job who have a blog as a pastime. So we can’t drop everything to go to an event, especially if it’s miles away or on a weeknight – I’ve been invited to several midweek events in London which I neither have the time for nor can afford to go to at short notice (with only one exception). We don’t have to post each day if we don’t want to, so we don’t need articles sending to us.
The worst agencies are those that simply send press releases, and they’re usually not relevant – I’ve had loads about the American National Hockey League being available on some US cable platform, for example, which I simply delete on the account of having very little interest in sports and not being American. Ditto press releases for corporate accounting software which as a home user doesn’t interest me in the slightest.
Some agencies are a little better – the messages they send are a little more personal and they actually address me by name (although probably still using a mail merge) – but may still be promoting things which don’t interest me or I can’t attend. One in particular emails me monthly asking if I’m attending various technology conventions like CeBIT.
And finally, there are the good guys. It’s thanks to PR companies that I was able to review an LG Flatron and offer another as a competition prize. Or be invited to an event in London for the launch of the 3 Skypephone and review and keep a handset. Those PR companies that actually understand bloggers, and who approach me with things that interest me and fit into my schedule, will get featured on the blog. Others, just get ignored.