On a previous post, reader Angie asked the following question about dealing with PR (public relations) folks:
“Do you make contact with all of them even if you aren’t going to help promote their product(s) on your blog and if they aren’t personal but something they most likely sent to many people? Thoughts would be helpful because these promos overwhelm me and many I won’t use but I’m new to reviews and stuff that I don’t know the best way to proceed.”
Angie’s question seems to be more about managing the relationship with contacts. Which I’ll cover, but first we should look at the basics of PR…
Why even bother with PR contacts?:
- You get product ideas and topic tips you never would have thought of on your own.
- You stay ahead of the curve – good PR contacts will email you breaking news tips that are specific to your niche before said news is posted all over the web.
- Once in a while you can score a very cool guest blogger.
- You can snag free stuff – often a downside to me (don’t like too much stuff) but this is a huge upside to many bloggers.You can form review posts about these products.
- You can easily build a pool of interview contacts for all sorts of topics.
- PR and company contacts supply contest prizes for your readers.
- Sometimes you get invited to cool parties – sadly, for me, I always seem to get invited to the cool parties happening far away; Seattle, Chicago, etc. My personal jet is out of commission. BUT maybe you’d score a party or two closer to your home.
In a nutshell, here’s how I manage PR and company contacts (so that I don’t have to say, “PR and company” over and over, from here on in, just assume I mean both when I say PR) :
1. I get some contacts: I gather contacts in various ways, such as…
- I create a targeted call for products and ideas at ProfNet.
- I subscribe by email to a number of PR and other email and newsletter list sites (say gov health news or organic association sites).
- My editors at various gigs hook me up with people.
- They come to me. If you’ve been blogging long enough, you almost don’t have to lift a finger. PR people will seek you out. I do lift a finger, because I’d rather get relevant news, but overall maybe half of my contacts find me through one of my blogs or social networking arenas. To make it easy for people to find me I have a good targeted contact page set up at all my blogs.
2. The kind of PR I get: I get a combination nicely niche targeted PR, iffy less targeted PR that I might be able to pull off by spinning it a different way, and some terrible what were they thinking PR.
3. Sorting all this out: I use one email for all my PR contacts and I sort them like this:
Toss right away – I’m talking about when people send me sports news or want me to review bleach. Hello I never write about sports EVER and I’m a green blogger; bleach??? Come on. When I get PR like this I know they know nothing about me or my blogs so I toss it. I also toss poorly written pieces or pieces that cover items I already cover myself. For example, I get a lot of green tips, like 10 ways to save energy; YAWN. One, I can write this sort of stuff myself, and two, some bloggers have no problem re-posting tips like this word for word. They do credit the source, but I don’t need something boring on my blog that 30 other bloggers also got in their inbox. It’s rare I’ll post something written by someone else. I’m more likely to link to a very good piece than post it.
Starred items – When I get a major cool hit, like an organic soap or a book that I’d like to review or someone offering free baby gear for my readers at my pregnancy blog I star it. Then I know to contact them asap.
Folder items – Folder items are pieces of news or free stuff that I may use, or may decide to review, but as of this second, I’m not up for it, don’t need it, or have no time. I put these in niche folders; i.e. Green promos / Baby promos / Architecture promos / and so on.
Dated items – If a piece of news has a short shelf life, but I’m not sure I’ll use it, I keep it starred in my inbox to remind me to use it or lose it soon.
What to do next:
After sorting your PR contacts and tips, the next step would be contacting these folks and managing the relationship; both of which I’ll cover tomorrow.
Do you have a system for sorting your PR contacts? OR if you don’t currently interact with PR folks, is this something you’re interested in?