Tag Archives: PR

October 22, 2011

How to approach a blogger

I manage two blogs: this one and my dog’s blog.

This means I regularly receive emails on the following things from people I don’t know:

- Request to write a guest post

- Request for a link exchange

- Request to write about a particular product

- Request to mention an article in my next blog post

- Request to review a product

Usually – not always – these are poorly directed requests. In many cases the person contacting me has clearly never read either of my blogs or is so horribly misguided it pains me.

So, this week I was excited to read two great posts about the very topic of approaching bloggers. If you’re in PR or in the habit of cold-emailing bloggers I’m certain you’ll learn a great deal from reading them. And if you practice the advice, you’ll also be a lot more effective when you contact folks like me.

First up is a post by Jay Dolan, author of my most favourite blog The Anti-Social Media.

Jay doesn’t mince words in 6 ways to avoid blogger outreach failure.

His six points are:

1. Get off Yahoo and Gmail
2. Don’t ask to write a guest post
3. Stop trying to get me to promote your content
4. Don’t waste my time
5. Don’t assume
6. Say my name

Please read his post to fully understand Jay’s woes.

Second up is Monica Hamburg writing over at One Degree.

In Avoiding the Supermarket Approach When Pitching Bloggers, Monica provides some excellent, practical advice for anyone approaching a blogger.

If everyone read and followed the advice in these posts, the blog world would be a happier place.

Thanks so much to Jay and Monica for putting into words what many of us feel.

PS – on a related note, check out this post from cc. chapman giving advice to Ragu who, he believed, had failed in the way they approached bloggers for a recent campaign.

June 19, 2010

How to manage a Twitter crisis if you’re a major TV show

I’m a huge fan of the Big Brother TV show set in the UK. I’ve been watching since the show started ten years ago.

Since moving to Canada seven years ago I’ve managed to keep up with it every year.

Clearly, Twitter has grown and more Big Brother fans use it than ever before.

2010 is a major year for Big Brother in the UK; this is the last series. Channel Four are cancelling it.

Last night was the first eviction – if you’re not familiar with the Big Brother format then all you need to know is that a bunch of strangers get put in a house for a couple of months and get to nominate each other for eviction every week. The whole thing is shown on TV and the general public vote to decide who leaves. In the end, the last housemate wins a major cash prize – like $100,000.

Channel Four broadcasts a highlights show every night of the week and Friday is always eviction night.

Eviction night is a major event for Big Brother fans.

So it was with nervous excitement that I ‘tuned in’ to the internet late yesterday afternoon to check on which of the three peeps up for eviction would leave.

I was on Twitter and also a Big Brother forum which I regularly check – obviously I can’t watch the eviction show live on TV because I’m in Canada so I’m relying totally on the internet to keep me up to date.

I’m scanning everything for clues about who will leave the house. That announcement is always made live on TV by presenter Davina McCall.

Until last night.

Someone at Channel Four messed up on Twitter by announcing the name of the person being evicted before it was announced live on TV.

In some cases this type of reveal is intentional – breaking exclusive news on Twitter. This was not one of those moments.

In addition to the main Big Brother show there are several supplementary TV shows which cover news, gossip and behind-the-scenes. Big Brother’s Big Mouth (presented at one time by Russell Brand) is one of them. They even have their own Twitter account.

Moments before the TV reveal Big Brother’s Big Mouth tweeted:

SHOCKER!!! Tell us what you think of Rachael getting evicted. Say what you really think!!!

Seconds later the tweet was deleted. I didn’t see it but what I did see were dozens of angry Big Brother fans on Twitter bemoaning the slip up.

But Big Brother’s Big Mouth did good.

Sure there were plenty of folks on Twitter proclaiming that the tweeter responsible would surely lose their job. I hope not because Big Brother’s Big Mouth did precisely what you should do in a crisis situation.

The listened. They acknowledged. They apologized.

The result?

Reactions like this one.

Honestly it didn’t bother me one bit but what it did do was underscore an important issue about handling yourself publicly when you mess up.

In the ‘olden days’ the PR approach was to act as if it didn’t happen, cover it up, not comment or comment with an excuse. I’ve lived through that – back in England as a press officer.

And that’s why I love the social web in 2010.

It forces you to be open, honest and genuine. I hope!

People will love you all the more if you can be those things. Even when you mess up.

Social media and old school PR approaches don’t mix.

This is something we can all learn from.

August 6, 2009

Ten words that should be banned from press releases

Before I was a web manager I was a publicist and a media officer (in the UK).

Ooh, do you know how many times jargon slips its naughty way into press releases? I tried hard to keep it away. Honest.

But almost as bad as jargon are those redundant little adjectives that seem to worm their way into press releases the world over. Sometimes it’s hard to avoid.

I read a great post today by Robin Wauters writing on TechCrunch: 10 words I would love to see banned from press releases.

My personal favourite is ‘strategic partnership.’


March 24, 2008

Keep jargon out of your news releases and your website

Before becoming a web gal, I was a publicist. As I read more and more great stuff about marketing and the internet, I come across stuff that still appeals to the publicist in me.

In particular, I like straight talking. I try to keep things clear and simple. As far as I’m concerned it’s no different in the world of work. Yes, you might be Mr or Mrs Big and Clever Boss Person who gobbles up and spews out jargon like there’s no tomorrow but really what everyone likes is straight talking. Reading something that makes sense.

Over at David Meerman Scott’s blog Web Ink Now, I just found a beautiful post about news release goobledygook.

I appeal to all publicists when I say, ‘Please pay attention to this stuff.’ Publicists: help ban these useless phrases. Don’t perpetuate them.

The same thing applies to website copy.

Sometimes we’re fighting an uphill battle with management who argue that we have to use certain phrases because our industry will understand them. I argue the opposite. Steven Krug says in his brilliant book Don’t Make Me Think that even your grandma should be able to understand what you put on your website. While it’s hard to do, we should all try to work towards making this a reality. No one wants to read jargon.