Some Thoughts on Bloggers and Public Relations

by Maris Callahan on May 24, 2011

This weekend at the Eat, Write, Retreat food blogging conference there was a panel titled “PR 101.” There were two public relations professionals, a food reporter/editor and a cookbook editor on the panel. The  latter two panelists were engaging, articulate speakers with great information to provide the room full of bloggers about the different types of pitches that we can develop to help advance our careers as writers,  such as pitching a story to a newspaper editor or a cookbook proposal to a publishing house. I thought that part of the panel was fantastic but I had a little bit of difficulty swallowing the presentation that the public relations professionals that preceded them delivered.

Because I’ve spent the past five years of my career working in public relations and have been blogging for three I have quite a lot to say about the relationship between publicist + blogger. It’s a topic I don’t often delve into here because I have some pretty strong opinions as someone who sends and receives pitches in equal measure. However, since the topic was covered at a food conference and this is a food blog, I think I just found my excuse.

Three years ago when my coworkers discovered that I had a blog – or maybe I sent it to them, begging that they become my first five readers – I became the point person for blogger relations for some of my clients. It made sense, being a blogger, I know how to talk to and work with bloggers in their language. Simply put: I speak Internet.

At Sunday’s Eat, Write, Retreat panel, it was evident that both of the PR pros were highly intelligent and skilled but their presentation left me with a lot of thoughts. It included a synopsis of why PR people choose to leverage the tools that we do, such as press releases, satellite media tours, e-mail blasts, newsletters, mail merges and the other mass communication techniques that publicists have long since used with traditional media and thus, use with bloggers. They explained these tactics well but during the panel it occurred to me: for the most part, bloggers and publicists just don’t get each other.

Many PR pros think bloggers sit around on our couches all day lazily typing on the Internet (as one of the panelists said “Bloggers get to sit at home with coffee while I am in an office, wearing professional attire.” I am pretty sure we all put our pants on one leg at a time no matter what we wear to work, but I won’t get hung up on details). Bloggers, on the other hand, think that PR professionals are mostly inattentive idiots who can’t be bothered to address an email to the person we’re writing. Also untrue.

There are a lot of things that I wish I could tell every single blogger and every single public relations professional from my seat on both sides of the fence. Since I can’t, I’m going to say some of it – I could probably write about this subject for hours without stopping – and whoever chooses, can listen.

To PR Professionals:

  • There are thousands of bloggers and each one probably has a very different agenda and goal. Some people blog for fun, some people blog because they have professional ambition, some people blog because they love to write and blogs provide an accessible platform [right here!]. Others blog because they saw it on the Today Show and they want to get free coupons from yogurt companies.
  • Yes, you should read the blog. You don’t need to know where the blogger you’re pitching went to elementary school or whether he wears boxers or briefs, but in order to deliver an effective pitch you need to know what interests the recipient. Read the blog and even if you don’t know the person you are pitching, know what they are trying to accomplish with their platform.
  • Keep up. Tactics that worked with traditional media might not necessarily work with bloggers. Bloggers are not all trained journalists. Some  are, some aren’t. Newspaper reporters and magazine editors expect a certain amount of pitches each day but bloggers are not trained with that expectation. Blogs are, often, a labor of love and their writers are not getting paid to maintain relationships with media. Their job description simply doesn’t include sifting through press releases, e-mail blasts, etc. in order to produce relevant content. 
  • Educate your client. A lot of public relations professionals employ tactics they don’t necessarily believe in because their client believes in a “traditional” route. Take the opportunity to do your homework and show your client by whatever means necessary that media is changing and evolving. The conservative approach might not be the way to go even if “the client wants it that way.” If they aren’t going to listen to your advice, why do they pay you?

To Bloggers:

  • Know the difference between editorial and advertising. If a publicist emails you and offers you a tip, story idea, press release, etc. it is more likely than not that they are offering this information to you. If they flat-out ask you to write something (which they shouldn’t) and you don’t want to do it, use your delete button.
  • Don’t generalize. I’ve heard many bloggers say “PR people are bad at their jobs.” Yes, some are. But so are some doctors. And some lawyers. Publicists just have the benefit of working with people who have a public forum to complain if they aren’t happy and boy is that a treat.
  • Public relations is a practice that involves earned media not paid media. It is easy to confuse PR/editorial with advertising work but they are very, very different. Though online media is blurring the lines between the two, most public relations companies are offering you information to inspire a story idea or fit into a story you might already be writing. They are not prepared to pay you to do anything you don’t want to do. In fact, if a reporter for the New York Times asked a PR person for payment to write a cookbook review, she would be fired. She writes those cookbook reviews because they are relevant and informative for her readers. Or maybe her boss made her.
  • With that in mind, public relations professionals are also being tasked with figuring out how to navigate the very new waters of online media. Sponsored content might be a great way to pay the bills – and I think that it’s very advantageous to partner with brands, for a number of reasons that I will talk about later – it should be organic. Your credibility will take a nosedive if on the first page of your blog you have six posts, four of them sponsored. Be empowered to create real content and when the brands come knocking on your door prepared to hand you bags of cash for real estate, think of a way to work with them that is clearly separate from your editorial work.
  • Stop comparing yourself to bloggers that have already achieved career success. For example, while The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond is one of the kindest, loveliest, most generous bloggers out there, her success is the exception, not the rule. Her cookbooks and her upcoming Food Network Show are not necessarily realistic aspirations for everyone with a dot com.  Set realistic goals and try to make yourself and your blog the best you can. You never know what kind of great things will happen to you by being yourself.

If you’re a publicist, what do you wish every blogger knew? And if you’re a blogger, what do you wish every publicist knew?

{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristina @MouthFromTheSouth.com May 24, 2011 at 3:00 am

This is a fantastic post Maris. So much good information here and since it’s from you, I know I can trust it. Thank you!

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cheryl May 24, 2011 at 3:08 am

Hallelujah. I don’t know what else to say except that you have just single-handedly provided a blueprint to an extremely important conversation, and provide clarity to what are some very murky waters. And you did it beautifully.

This post should be widely circulated, and widely read.

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Emily | Nomnivorous May 24, 2011 at 3:14 am

I was going to say something intelligent, but Cheryl said it all for me… So I will just say thank you! This is a very good blueprint of handling PR situations, and I for one highly appreciate it.

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Zo @ Two Spoons May 24, 2011 at 3:26 am

Great post, I definitely wouldn’t mind reading more about this topic. PR has become increasingly enmeshed in food and fashion blogs, and it’s really interesting to see how bloggers are negotiating all their newfound attention!

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Christine (@downbythehearth) May 24, 2011 at 3:54 am

You did a wonderful job stating both sides of the situation. Unique spot you are in, seeing both the good and the bad for all involved. Kudos to you! Thank you Maris!

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Sukaina May 24, 2011 at 4:38 am

Very helpful post for those of us that can’t attend such conferences. Thanks Maris.

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Mary May 24, 2011 at 4:42 am

It is wonderful to read this topic from the perdpective of one who has been on both sides of the fence. I leave knowing more than I did when I began reading your post. That’s always a good thing. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

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Christy May 24, 2011 at 5:08 am

This is a really good insight into the world of PR and also blogger, and I love how you could stand up for both. Most people are too quick to judge, and they don’t usually wait to hear from both sides. There are always two sides to a coin, and it takes two to tango. I know that there are bloggers out there who enjoy media attention, and there are those who are not (although they are fab with their writing!)
Whatever the reason, it’s good to understand and to spend a bit of time to appreciate what people do. I am not at the professional level yet, so I don’t think there will be any publicist looking out for me either…LOL!:p

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tea_austen May 24, 2011 at 5:20 am

Well done, Maris. Finally, an evenhanded summary of issues on both sides. Good for you for raising some greatly needed awareness!

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Kimberley May 24, 2011 at 5:34 am

Fantastic. Thanks so much for this.

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Stacy (Little Blue Hen) May 24, 2011 at 5:38 am

This was so helpful (props to Cheryl for tweeting it)! The difference between editorial and advertising is, I think, very confusing to a lot of bloggers (myself included). As I am just starting to wade in the waters of working with PR I know I will bookmark this post and reference it when needed. Thank you!

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Sherilyn May 24, 2011 at 11:28 am

What can I say – “what a wonderful post” I think those before have pretty much summed things up perfectly. A big thankyou from someone new to blogging.

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A Plum By Any Other Name May 24, 2011 at 11:35 am

I’m so glad you posted this info. Navigating the blog world can be fuzzy, and definitely frustrating at times. Love the pictorials too. ;)

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Sarah Caron May 24, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Wow, that was a great post, Maris. Everyone should read it. The relationship between journalist and PR person, and the one between blogger and PR person are so different … more people should understand that.

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Geni May 24, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Thanks for clarifying the goals of each individual. It’s also helpful to better understand the publicist”s position since I am a blogger and to help me clarify what I want and am trying to do.

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Melissa May 24, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Love it! You definitely gave me a more well-rounded view then what I received solely on Sunday. I’m going to have coffee and then reread this again!

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Nicole@HeatOvenTo350 May 24, 2011 at 1:50 pm

What a great, informative post. Thank you so much for sharing your viewpoint from both sides of the fence.

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emily (a nutritionist eats) May 24, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I love this post Maris – very interesting to hear from both sides!

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Caroline May 24, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Thanks for the info!

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella May 24, 2011 at 2:38 pm

FABULOUS post Maris! Thanks for presenting both sides. Some very good friends of mine are PRs so I know there are good ones out there. And like bloggers there are good ones and some not so good ones. But with discussion like this we can encourage those to become good bloggers and PRs.

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Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) May 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Interesting points and great to open a discussion about this topic. As a blogger, one of the disconnects I see is a basic understanding of what most recipe blogs are all about — the blogger’s own recipe creations, or their interpretations of recipes they find in other sources. PR people lose a lot of goodwill by sending press releases asking food bloggers to use the client’s recipes. It’s a huge turn-off, and I generally delete any press releases or PR pitches that have “use our recipes” as the focus.

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Maris Callahan May 24, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Case in point: the two unopened pitches in my inbox from today that offer “Memorial Day recipes for your readers.” Ha!

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brandi May 24, 2011 at 3:01 pm

This is fantastic – such great points on both sides. Thanks for sharing!

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Ted Chaloner May 24, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Hi Maris:
This is an important topic and you’ve done a good job describing the issue. PR folks should be creating relationships with significant bloggers much like they do with the media, and bloggers could learn a lot from PR pros. There are bloggers who understand PR and benefit from that knowledge. And there are PR firms who work well with bloggers, 360 Public Relations in Boston comes to mind.

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Marci May 24, 2011 at 3:03 pm

My thought on the PR/blogger relationship is that blogs that are too transparent with being sponsored aren’t fun to read anymore. I like to read stories of people like me, not stories of someone who is paid in cash or trade to write about something. I think when blogs get too big or too cocky, they lose a relativity factor.

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yummychunklet May 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm

These are really great lists! I think that although many professionals work under the “media” umbrella, each area is different and may not crossover and translate so easily. Your tips really help bridge that gap!

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Linda May 24, 2011 at 5:19 pm

This is a great post and a very interesting read. I’m quite new to this world of blogging so I’m eager to learn and understand as much as I can!

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Beth @ DiningAndDishing May 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm

I do press releases for my “day job” and blog on the side so I love this post! Great read Maris :) .

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Kate@Diethood.com May 24, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Great, useful post, Maris! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this…truly appreciate it.

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Baking Serendipity May 24, 2011 at 6:25 pm

This is definitely something I don’t think about regularly as a blogger, but definitely well said and thought-provoking. Thank you!

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Blond Duck May 24, 2011 at 6:28 pm

I love this. I’ve got a degree in PR and have worked as a magazine editor and reporter, so I’ve seen all three sides. I particularly love your last one–it’s so hard not to feel ridiculous when compared to Ree or Dooce.

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Sarah May 24, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Thank you for a really informative post. I don’t think of my blog in a commercial sense at all at the moment, but I have been approached by a couple of companies and didn’t know what to make of it. This is really helpful :-)

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Lora @cakeduchess May 24, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I really enjoyed reading your opinion on both sides of the spectrum. A great recap of the panel you heard speak. I’m sort of new to blogging and appreciate your expertise and honesty on PR and blogging:)

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Kate May 24, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I love this post and really appreciate everything that you have to say. Being that I am a very new blogger, there is still so much out there that I am learning and I am just trying to take it one day at a time. Thanks, Maris!

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pigpigscorner May 24, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Very informative write-up! I’ve came across many good PRs and some just left me with lots of question marks in my head :P

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Running With Mascara May 24, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Love this post, Maris! Such interesting points! You definitely have given me a new perspective on the issue!

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Randi May 25, 2011 at 12:33 am

I love this post!!! And being a 20-something am obsessed with this blog, which is a new find for me. Thanks for your insight!

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megan carroll May 25, 2011 at 12:41 am

I don’t know where I fit in… I do it because I enjoy it and I do it because it has morphed into more… a passion for food and a passion for making things.

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leslie May 25, 2011 at 1:57 am

Such awesome info. That for posting from both perspectives!

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Barbara @ Barbara Bakes May 25, 2011 at 2:15 am

Nice to hear it from someone who knows both sides. You make some excellent points. I think I’ll just sit back and wait for those brands to come calling ;)

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Leslie Goldman May 25, 2011 at 3:37 am

“Bloggers get to sit at home with coffee while I am in an office, wearing professional attire.” GRRRRR…

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chopinandmysaucepan May 25, 2011 at 4:57 am

Hi Maris, this is a good post to clarify issues such as ethics, professionalism and plain simple respect for people.

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Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen May 25, 2011 at 9:20 am

You really are in a unique position and it great to read your take on it. I would love to hear even more of your thoughts on this topic in the future.

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Blond Duck May 25, 2011 at 10:36 am

Love the picnic salad on last post–forgot to tell you!

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Wendy May 25, 2011 at 11:48 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I am so naive when it comes to the business side of blogging and that session at EWR was eye-opening.

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Jessica May 25, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Wonderful post! I need to be reminded of those things sometimes and I know PR pros do to. Glad you went to that conference so you could tell us what you learned!

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SMITH BITES May 25, 2011 at 12:19 pm

i’m a relatively new blogger and have felt like i’m pounding my head against a wall when it comes to PR companies and how all of this works. i see TONS of giveaways offered ranging from yogurt coupons to le creuset cookware to trips and have wondered how all that happens . . . because honestly, for me, i’m more interested in developing relationships w/PR companies than i am about handing out yogurt coupons. i want to work with companies whose products i love, that i either use in my own home, that i can’t live without . . . and i want to share those things w/my readers. just as my blog is about ‘the story’ rather than the recipe, my goal is to have a real relationship w/a PR firm than it is about getting free product. and don’t get me wrong, free product is a great perk, but certainly not the driving force for me.

i’ve never pitched a thing to a PR company and wouldn’t have the slightest inkling how to do that – i thought i was supposed to sit and wait to be approached – build good content and they would come, sort of thing. so i guess the first step is to research and learn as much as i can because i love what i do, i love that i have a platform and a voice, and my goal is to create income from it. thanks for the insight – very, very helpful!!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking May 25, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I love how you span both sides of the fence and have written some great thoughts here! Thanks so much for this post.

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Jackie Gordon Singing Chef May 25, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Thanks for a great post. It was very informative and valuable from your dual perspective.

The communication breakdown between PR peeps and bloggers is only going to be solved by communication with each other about what each side wants and needs. How can we bring value to each other? How can everyone win?

I’ve had great relationships with PR companies and brand managers. I’ve even hired PR companies. I’ve done my own PR successfully — it’s hard work. Like throwing spaghetti at a wall. You build relationships, output a lot of energy and time and in the end you may get earned media or not.

Blogging is hard work too. You build relationships, output a lot of energy and time and in the end you write posts that may or may not get the attention it deserves . . . and the financial reward is largely non existent.

Obviously, there are frustrations from both sides and it comes down to building solid relationships based on respect and understanding.

I’ve been asking PR professionals about what they value in order to prepare for speaking at Techmunch, in NY, in June about connecting to brands.

I think there needs to be a lot more talk, interest and clarity between PR professionals and bloggers around what they value.

Obviously sending recipes to bloggers who write their own recipes has NO value.

Asking bloggers to events that don’t make any kind of contribution to them has little [cocktails and swag not withstanding] or no value.

PR companies who connect with bloggers and get them to show up at events and then don’t get the blog post they were hoping for are clearly not getting their expectations met.

Bloggers who are “expected” to write posts because they showed up and had a couple of drinks and got a [Insert brand] dish towel are not likely to do so.

There is clearly a breakdown in spelling out what is wanted & needed from both sides.

I’ve been hearing from PR people that bloggers don’t talk. I find as a blogger that PR people don’t talk. This is perception and most likely not true. What is true is we’re all busy and the frustrations are real. The most valuable thing that both sides can do is communicate in a way that both sides win. Find ways to be valuable to each other and you will get value.

For Example
BLOGGERS: if you get an email from a PR company that sends you something that is not relevant, see if you know someone in your blogoshphere to whom it could be relevant and send it their way. Connecting to PR companies helps build your network and bring value to your network which increases your value.

PR COMPANIES: Devise your promotions and marketing strategies from the perspective of the interests of the bloggers. What excites them? What do they want? What experience can you give them that has them running to the computer to blog about it? You find that out by ASKING them.

Find ways for each other to win and everybody wins.

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Ashley@Bakerbynature May 25, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Smart cookie you are, Thanks for all the great advice!

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Gen May 25, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Great post with great info!!! Thanks! :D

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Valerie May 25, 2011 at 2:50 pm

I’d also like to thank you for an amazingly informative post.

I was at Eat Write Retreat (not sure if we got a chance to meet) and found the panel very interesting. I hadn’t considered the challenges posed to publicists by the explosion of the blogosphere over the past several years. It’s really interesting to read the perspective of someone with experience in both arenas.

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Joanne May 25, 2011 at 4:19 pm

I LOVE this post Maris! I think there are definitely a lot of misconceptions on either end of the spectrum. I’ve definitely been known to get irritated at a PR person when they send me an obviously irrelevant email that shows they have never read my blog ever. But I also understand that this is their job and it’s really not personal.

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Angie@Angiesrecipes May 25, 2011 at 5:58 pm

I truly enjoy this GREAT post! THANK YOU!!!

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FoodieAnn May 25, 2011 at 6:13 pm

A well written post ! Lots to think about… Although I have few emails similar along the lines, I am still not sure how to handle those mails…, In fact I don’t have the slightest idea about PR..:(

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Maria @ Scandifoodie May 25, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Very well thought and informational post! Thank you for sharing!

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Lauren at Keep It Sweet May 25, 2011 at 7:15 pm

These are some great tips and a good reminder to bloggers as well. I don’t have much experience with this but it is good to know how to handle PR contacts as they come.

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DessertForTwo May 25, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Such a great post, Maris! Esp the part at the end about good things coming just by being yourself! :)

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McKayla @ Green Groats May 26, 2011 at 1:21 am

You have a very interesting perspecitve coming from both sides! Very informative post – I agree that it’s so important to set realistic goals regarding the success of your blog.

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5 Star Foodie May 26, 2011 at 3:27 am

Thank you so much for sharing all that excellent information! Sounds like the conference was definitely a terrific event to attend.

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Nami @ Just One Cookbook May 26, 2011 at 3:42 am

Thank you Maris! It’s very educational! I love a post like this. Keep it coming~~! :-)

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Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef May 26, 2011 at 7:15 am

This is a very relevant post for every blogger to read. I think Ree Drummond has been so successful is because she’s passionate about what she does and about the people who read her words and there is no compromise. She remains true to herself.

Well written and informative — thanks a lot.

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emma May 26, 2011 at 11:01 am

what a great, informative post! thankyou for sharing!

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Cate O'Malley May 26, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Excellent, well thought-out post, Maris, bravo! As bloggers (and their associated platforms), get more and more “credible” in the eyes of large companies, PR companies and the like, the waters to navigate definitely get a little bit murky. In some respects, we’re all still figuring it out together. I think there are very definitely ways to remain true to ourselves as bloggers, yet work with PR reps and their clients as well. It’s all a question of what is comfortable and maintaining respect.

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Kelly May 26, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Great post! It’s interesting to hear it from you since you’re on both sides of the coin. And since I work in the communications field as well, there was a lot here I could relate to. :-) I definitely agree with you that the lines between advertising & pr are blurring. I know in my job there is a move towards more intergrated campaigns and having everything feel more seemless. I also think there are bad apples on both sides of the coin. Just as there are PR people who don’t take the time to read a blog and get what it’s about, there are bloggers who will hawk anything and everything that comes their way for free. I can understand the temptation, when you’ve been putting a lot of time and effort into your blog anything that recognizes that effort can feel wonderful.

I also think from seeing things on the marketing side that one of the big questions that communications professionals don’t ask themselves is ‘what value am I providing to the blogger & their audience.’ I think there can be a misunderstanding that a blogger will just transmit any message. I often sit in meetings and here people talk about blogger programs and find myself wondering, “Why they heck would they want to participate?”

Another thing I am going to be curious about is any backlash from readers. (I’ve already been reading about it happening with a lot of fashion blogs.) There are some blogs I don’t read anymore because it was clear that all the content was veering toward the sponsored and the hawking. It came off as so unappealing. In many ways, I think that companies might be smarter to forge partnerships with the bloggers who are already organically talking about them. Not only does it feel more genuine to the readers, but you’re more likely to get posts that are more involved. Not to say you cannot attract new fans, but when it feels forced or dispassionate you can tell.

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Elisabetta May 26, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Wow….fantastic post…

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candace corner May 26, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Very well said!

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sweetlife May 26, 2011 at 4:34 pm

wonderful post. being a new blogger I sometime feel like I am running circles. great to have a look into both sides!

sweetlife

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Caroline May 26, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Very imformative and interesting points, Maris. I really enjoyed reading this. I relate to everything you mentioned, as I’m a publicist and a blogger as well. My blog, though, is definitely just for fun–no huge aspirations of becoming the next Food Network star. ;) Not that I would mind that job though!

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Roz May 27, 2011 at 2:32 am

I LOVE this post. (and envy your job). I took a bunch of PR courses at night school after I graduated from university, but sadly, it just didn’t pan out work wise for me. I love reading “both sides of the story”! Thanks so much for this Maris!!!

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JulieD May 27, 2011 at 11:43 am

Maris,

Great post! Thanks for a well-written & insightful article. I
constantly navigating these waters & am trying to figure our my goals & my place. Thank you so much!

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Made With Pink May 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm

What a great post! Thank you so much for writing this. The main thing that I must agree with is that PR agencies MUST read the blog before contacting the blogger. I can’t think of how many times I’ve been approached by companies inviting me to events and offering to send me products that have no relevance to my blog. I write a baking blog – it’s a blog about BAKING things like cakes, cookies & other yummy sweet treats, so please don’t invite me to your fish and chip tasting event!

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NancyC May 27, 2011 at 5:58 pm

This is a great post, Maris! Thanks for sharing all these insights!

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Beth May 27, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Maris, it was great meeting you this weekend! I had a feeling that you might have something to say about that panel, and you’ve said it well. I have a degree in PR, so even though I don’t practice it in my current publishing job, I understand where PR people are coming from.

When I’m contacted about a product or event, I always try to take time to respond, even if it’s not something that I think is a fit for me. I’ve even gone as far as to refer them to another blog I think would be better suited. However, I work full time, do some freelance writing on the side, volunteer with various organizations, have an extremely active social life, and squeeze in writing 2 or 3 blog posts a week, so if a pitch is just WAY off base, it goes in the trash without a response. I hate to do that, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day to waste my time responding to someone that obviously hasn’t looked at my blog.

As my blog grows, I’m enjoying building mutually beneficial relationships with agencies and products that I truly like and believe in, and hope that continues. Thanks for sharing your insight so we can all stop and think for a second about each others’ needs!

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Cora @ Cora Cooks May 30, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Maris,
Sign me up! I’m ready for your tutorial on Marketing and PR 101 for bloggers! You have a unique perspective and touch on several points that are valuable for bloggers who are somewhere between wide-eyed beginner and blogging rock star. Blogging in general, and especially food blogging, has grown so rapidly from its close knit group of collaborators into a much more competitive world of writers, fans and, yes, even blog stars. There is a place for those, like you, who can offer insights and understanding to help us establish good practices for the business of blogging and help maintain the collaborative camaraderie most of us still desire. Thanks for caring and sharing!

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Aggie June 1, 2011 at 2:43 am

I’m so glad you wrote this! I have pretty much followed your blog since you started it (same time as me) and I’ve always wondered “what would Maris think or do” when it comes to PR. Things have changed so much in the past couple of years, it’s almost overwhelming sometimes! I love that you said (to the PR person)…know your blogger and their agenda. I really try to respond to most pitches I get, but sometimes its so unrelated to my blog and what I’m about that I don’t even know what to say!

This was very eye opening. I can’t thank you enough for writing it. You’re on to something girl! :)

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Twin Tables June 1, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Speaking from a blogger that is trying to get a job in PR, I know where the battle lines are drawn. Thank you for this article. It will surely help me in my quest!

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Lulu June 2, 2011 at 3:55 am

Excellent post! I have been on both sides of the Marcom and PR spectrum. With our blog, we do cross paths with a lot of PR professionals and for the most part find them easy to work with. If they don’t we simply move on. As a blogger, we have our own media kit and budgets. I have seen some good bloggers go four or more straight days with sponsored posts and you are right, it diminishes their credibility. And some do it for peanuts. Hardly worth it, IMHO. We will only do it for our blog Ad company and only because of their excellent reputation.

In our fun lifestyle blog, we take 99% of the photos ourselves. As a photographer, it’s important to me that our site has images we own and can take credit for. It puts us in the moment.

Thanks for your post and to BlogHer for alerting me to it!

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Amanda June 2, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Beautifully articulated. I so appreciate how thoughtful and candid this was. Not that you need another thing to do, but I find this combination so fascinating, would love to read more from both sides of the fence.

Thank you.

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Tessa June 3, 2011 at 2:08 am

Such an insightful post, the blogging world as it relates to PR can be utterly confusing and nauseating. I hope you post more on the matter!

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Laurie Cates June 17, 2011 at 9:11 am

Great post! Working as a PR “professional” and trying to navigate the world of blogging, this was very helpful. I plan on sharing it with my team!

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Courtney June 17, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Most of my work with brands has been me reading out to them, and I must say that I’ve been impressed! Everyone’s been nice and when they can’t say yes to a pitch, they usually politely say no. This is a great post for every blogger.

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