Monday, July 14, 2008

Good and bad P.R. habits, all from the same person

Today I got a pitch that boggled my mind a bit. It illustrated my point that companies and agencies are taking the Underpants Gnomes approach to blogger outreach beautifully.

Step 1: Bloggers!! It's all about bloggers!! have to get to bloggers!! Blogger, bloggers, BLOGGERS!!!

Step 3: Profit!

In this case, profit being attention or link love or traffic or whatever it is that they think bloggers will get them.

What is the missing step 2? Actually reading that blogger, figuring out what might make them tick...and if you, P.R. person have anything to tell them or offer or share that falls amongst those things that make them tick.

So what happened? This weekend, having fallen so behind on my blog book reviews that there was no hope of catching up with thoughtful, substantive reviews, I instead wrote a post giving my quick thumbs up/thumbs down and one paragraph thoughts on the 15 or so books I've read in the last 6 months.

By this morning I had an email in my Inbox clearly prompted because someone has an ego-feed running on one of the author's names. A NY Museum is doing an exhibit of the author's artifacts, and clearly they're aware of who's writing about this person they have a vested interest in. Good for them. I truly am impressed by the speed of this blogger outreach person's reaction to a post I published Saturday.

Admiration ends there though. Why?

Well, first and foremost: my review of the book was only one paragraph long. Surely you could have taken the time to read it and learn that I DIDN'T LIKE THE BOOK. It was over-hyped and very disappointing to me. I even used the words that it didn't "resonate" with me.

Why on earth would I a) want to go to your exhibit or b) "share this exciting info" with my readers, and you so presumptuously THANKED ME FOR DOING.

Other little reasons include that the museum is in NY, so an invitations is kind of useless to me out here on the entire other side of the country.

And finally, the email came from a poor woman who isn't even allowed to have her own named email address, but rather the email address is:

So clearly they have the most important person doing this very important blogger outreach, right?

I don't understand this habit that mostly I notice non-profits have. Yes, I realize they do it even with Directors. To me it screams "we're such an unstable and unpleasant environment that we have high turnover and don't want to have to both to take the 2 seconds it takes to create email forwards or send out promotion or new hire announcements, and we'd rather just have impersonal, generic email addresses."

Is it just me that finds this very strange?

Anyway: In this case Step 2 would have required reading one paragraph, ONE. not even my whole blog. not even a week or two of my blogging to get a sense of me. No, it was all in that one paragraph. Right there next to the author's name.

And you would have saved yourself this ranty post, Ms. Executive Intern from Unnamed Museum.

is it just me?


In mid-size and small nonprofits, it's usually because they don't actually know how to set up email addresses and forwards. They let their technology be held hostage by "that guy" or "the web designer" or whoever.
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