Thursday, 14 March 2013

Dear PR - NO, I won't write for free

I've never been one to PR bash but as I've spent the last 18 years of my life employed in that very industry, promoting a plethora of brands, it wouldn't be quite right would it?

But enough is enough and as the number of active UK bloggers goes through the roof the ever desperate, insulting PR requests increase ten-fold. 
I have the benefit of being able to see the situation from both sides of the fence but now it's quite frankly, out of control.

Here's just one example from the 37 PR requests that I received (for just one of my blogs) today. Names and brands have been changed to protect the guilty.

Hi Sian, I have an embargoed press release (below) that I thought would be perfect for your blog. Do give me a call for high-res images or more ideas and high-res images click on link (sic). 

That's not my grammar going astray there...

Press release on snazzy new (embargoed product follows). 

I love it. It's totally me so I ping an email back to say...

LOVE IT. Can you send me a sample so I can have a play and photograph it to the theme of my images?

PR's reply...

Hi Sian, I'm sorry but we have been inundated with requests and are really limited on samples as it's a new product. Is there any way you can work from the image in the release?

This is where I start to get really peeved. You see, I had a release from the same brand yesterday, about another brand new product, that was equally as awesome and equally me, that I would have loved to review. 
Yep, I got the same reply. Inundated with requests, new product, use pics, blah, blah, blah.

Back to today, ANOTHER email lands, from the same brand about ANOTHER new embargoed product that would be perfect for me to feature on my blog. Only this one I don't like but as I'm already half way through my essay of a reply to the suggestion that I review from their press release pic I carry on.


Dear PR, 
Thanks for coming back to me. I hope that you don't take this the wrong way but there really is little point sending out press releases to bloggers if you aren't willing to follow up with product samples.
We are inundated with coverage requests like this everyday but we are not magazines with publishing houses behind us (even though may of us have more readers).
Saying that you've been inundated by requests so you aren't willing to send me a sample, simply says to me that you don't think my coverage valuable enough to justify the return.
If that is the case, please don't spam me with one sided requests because they will not result in my blogging about your products.
If this is your definition of blogger outreach then you are way off track.
I pinned and mentioned the product in the release you sent yesterday (sorry inundated with product requests again) and it was heavily shared but as my coverage isn't worthy, I've removed the links and pics.
I'm sorry if this comes across as being stroppy, I really didn't intend it to. However, if your policy is to not send out samples to bloggers perhaps you should state that clearly in your releases (along with the option to be removed from your mailing list). Then everyone would know where they stand, you wouldn't be 'inundated with requests' and us bloggers wouldn't have our inboxes flooded with requests to sell our time, space and content for nada.
I'm guessing that you don't work for free, please don't expect us to do the same.
Kind regards, 

To which I receive a swift reply explaining that the releases are for brand new products, that they really do have limited samples and they just didn't factor in that so many people would be interested.

Like seriously? I'm sure that this global brand isn't paying peanuts to be represented by this agency. Good job they have so much faith in the products they are promoting eh?

To end on a positive note, I was also offered an old product to review, which is nice and current isn't it? They don't want to upset me and really would like me to post a review on my blog.

I bet they do. The last I featured of one of their products my post sat at the top of Google Search for their brand name for a couple of weeks and has to date had over 18,240 views.

Perhaps I'm just being grouchy today? But I'm not convinced. Come on brands / PR's - step it up a gear and stop being so unworthy and insulting.

Rant over.

Out of interest, how many approaches like this one do you get? How do you respond?

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

C if for..... Candy Crush

For week 133 of The Gallery : The Letter C can only be for one thing... CANDY CRUSH!!!

Candy Crush Level 102

An ode to the hours of my life lost over the last couple of weeks, that I will never see again. Addicted??

Browsing The Gallery on TheStickyFingersBlog is THE ONLY way to while away the time between Candy Crush life fills. It's official. 

Now what level are you on???

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Dreading Mother's Day

I'm not looking forwards to Mother's Day this Sunday. I feel lost without my mum and uncomfortable with the notion of celebrating or even talking about mother's, when I don't have one.

I know that she's only been gone for a few weeks and I'm told that in time I will just learn to live with hole that her death has left inside me but it's just too soon for that now.

Since she died in January my inbox has been like a slow dripping tap of shoddy approaches from PR's desperately trying to scrape every possible inch of coverage from the Mother's Day cash cow. I know that sounds bitter but when 9 out of 10 emails begin with...

'Hi Mummy-Tips, We have been following your blog for quite some time and we just love it. Especially that post you wrote on xxx (pick anything from the archive and paste), it was brilliant. I'm approaching you on behalf of a brand Y and we would love to know if you are planning a Mother's Day feature that we could get involved in?'

It has taken every, single, ounce of my good nature not to reply to these delightful approaches, explaining that if they had actually looked at my blog this year they would know that my mum is dead.

I came close on many occasions. Then today I read this beautiful post from my pal Eva. She's another motherless, cynic with a PR background...

I found comfort in her words and the realisation that it wasn't just me struggling with this crap. We decided to celebrate International Women's Day (on Friday) and to just try to get through Sunday the best way we know how. 

All was good - until this afternoon I asked my fellow Facebook, Candy Crush, pals for a new life and who should pop up in my 'selected friend' list? 

Yes, my mum. 

I'm impressed that she's reaching out to me via social media but, boy do I miss her....

Mothers Day Candy Crush

I love you mum. x


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