I’m often annoyed (and mildly pissed off) when some PR weasel sends me an email out of the blue. Sometimes they’re offering me a freebie, sometimes they’re after a reciprocated link, but usually they just want me to plug some website or service that they can’t get sufficient publicity for. Sorry guys, I don’t do that. So today I thought I’d annoy my recent link-beggars by mentioning their projects but not linking to them. And I thought I’d warn future media desperados not to waste their time asking.
Some of the examples are risible, and show a total lack of understanding of the medium and the people who write in it. Take this one, for example:
Ken wondered whether I’d agree to link to his new content-lite London website for visitors on a tight budget. “Please feel free to mention it in your diamond or london geezer blog.” Er, no.
Asking something for nothing is never going to win you any friends, especially when you use the wrong language. “Feel free” is giving a false sense of choice, when actually it means “please please promote my site for nothing”. Hardly an attractive offer when there is nothing in it for them. Even when there is a quid pro quo, you have to frame it right:
Steve works for the marketing division of a major mobile phone company with a new phone to plug. He wondered whether, as a “thought-leader”, I might be interested in being “seeded” for a free trial. Cruelly I left him to search elsewhere.
If someone approached you in the street using this kind of language, would you pay any attention to them? Bloggers talk in English, not marketing-speak. Furthermore, you only need to spend five minutes reading diamond geezer to work out he isn’t the kind of person who endlessly talks about what mobile phone he uses. Here is an example of finding the right thing to talk about, only to then completely turn them off by not considering their needs:
Claudio wanted to offer me an advance behind-the-scenes tour of a major infrastructure development project somewhere on the outskirts of London. This special pre-visit was a very exciting prospect. And then Claudio asked me to email him my scanned passport details. And you know what, suddenly I lost interest.
Finally, as is clear if you read the whole of diamond geezer’s post, some bloggers are going to not want any involvement with your campaign, no matter what it is, and will make that clear on their site in an obvious place; respecting their wishes is the least anyone wanting to get involved will do. diamond geezer did the honourable thing of not naming any names, but other bloggers are not so reticent and will quite happily name and shame; not doing your homework could lead to the exact opposite of what you want to achieve.