This is a writing blog. You'd think that this would be clear from my blog's name, the standing blog description on the left margin, and the nature of each and every post. Sigh.
I worked full time in public relations for about a dozen years. I know the drill. And I'm sure that the PR folks I've heard from just so far this week are only trying to do their jobs. They are doing them poorly, however.
Or else why would a PR rep for a cereal company contact me about doing a blog post on their two new flavors? Or an event producer try to plug a conference about restaurant development? And what was the point of that mass-emailed news release for a future reality TV show about funeral directors?
Maybe these folks figure that since it doesn't cost anything to put more blog writers on their email distribution list, why not. What annoys me most is that when I worked directly in PR – and now, when I coach authors through their own book marketing & PR efforts – I was/am adamant about the importance of targeting requests to media which actually cover your client's/product's area of interest.
PR folks, this is a writing blog.
While this is amusing in an annoying kind of way, it brings up something I've wanted to address here – the subject of sponsored blog posts. As in, bloggers who write posts about a product, event or person in exchange for something – money, a gift card, merchandise, services. Some bloggers mention the exchange up front by way of disclosure. Others don't. I'm not condemning the practice; I'm sure some publicists and bloggers are completely transparent about it and that in many cases no promises of positive press are proffered. Still.
I have not yet, and don't plan to, do any sponsored blog posts here.
I do accept review copies of books from publishers and authors, but always with the understanding that it may or may not result in any blog coverage, and that any mention it does get may or may not be positive. I receive far more books than I could hope to read anyway, and those I do occasionally write about represent a small fraction. By and large, I usually only write about a book or author on the blog because I'm genuinely interested. I just feel better that way, and I want my readers to know that I'm passing something along because I find it has value, not because I got something valuable.
One of my writing-related business ventures is working one-on-one with authors (especially first-time authors) to help them develop a book marketing and publicity plan which they can implement themselves, with on-going coaching support from me. To date, I have not covered these clients or their books on the blog, and don't have any plans to do so. In future, if I do, it will be with a clear note about that relationship.
Now that I've cleared this up, please excuse me. It's lunch time, and I'm thinking of having cereal. And you won't have to hear about which one I like best. At least not here. Ever.
This is a writing blog! And I kind of figure you'd want me to keep it that way.
- The Writers Circle (Northern NJ) Fall 2015. I'm teaching in Ridgewood and Summit
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