September 2, 2014

Will bloggers write about stuff you send us?

As bloggers and blogging has raised its visibility in the media landscape, and as us bloggers have become thought and opinion leaders, to a greater or lesser extent, it should be no surprise that we’re smack-dab in the middle of the radar screen for Public Relations firms and individual companies seeking to gain “buzz” or visibility for their products or services.

What clearly isn’t quite so obvious, however, is how to approach bloggers when you want to send them something to check out. Do you explicitly say “do you want to review this” or, even more blatantly, “will you say nice things about it if we send you one?” or is there a more subtle road you can travel, one that’s more akin to “thought you’d find this cool. Want one?” without any expressed desire to have one of us actually write about it?

I would suggest that it’s an unsolved puzzle and that when I was approached by a company that sells high-tech bean bag chairs to see if I’d like to review one, this all came to the fore because, well, because I’m a business writer, not a furniture reviewer or home decorating maven. (trust me, you don’t want me decorating your home! :-) )

The key revolves around disclosure, and instead of actually reviewing the chair, I decided that I’d write somewhat of a meta-review, talking about how the chair ended up in my office and its implications for both bloggers and PR professionals seeking to have us examine their wares.

Oh, and my review? Here’s an excerpt: “As it turns out, I don’t particularly like the chair because while the fabric cover is clearly tough and durable, the rip-proof nylon isn’t very comfortable and I really wish it had a cloth, cotton or even corduroy cover. But I’m in the minority. My wife…”

You can read more about this topic, including the email back and forth with Omni, the bean bag company, on my business blog: How to get bloggers to write about your product.

2 comments for Will bloggers write about stuff you send us? »

  1. Interesting concept and just an extension of a tactic that is already commonplace in other media (radio comes to mind first). Yes, there are companies using services like Blogitive and Payperpost to get bloggers to write about their stuff, but I like the idea of targeting the blogger who you’d like to write the reviews. Hmmm…As a blogger, I’d take free stuff – depending on what it was.

    Comment by Char — September 3, 2006 @ 7:49 am

  2. I get around 3-4 pitches a week from various PR companies – I must have ended up on a list somewhere.

    I’ve had a couple of review products sent to me (mostly electronic only), but my ‘rule of thumb’ is that I’ll only take up the offer if it’s relevant to my chosen subject areas.

    Unfortunately, these PR companies don’t seem to keep their information up to date – I’m still getting pitches for ‘gadget’ related releases – despite not having written for a gadgets weblog in more than a year.

    The other thing I’d suggest that PR firms do is target carefully. No blogger will object to getting something relevant to their niche – many will if they feel they’re being spammed (even if it is semi-targetted). More than one PR firm has ended up in my spam filters…

    Comment by Andrew — September 3, 2006 @ 4:13 pm

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