I have had many invitations from pr agencies, companies and all for the past few years. While some were just plain rude, there were some who really did a great job.
As someone who is pretty new in the pr industry, I now understand why some agencies make these mistakes. Here's some tips of how I would like to be engaged. My humble opinion lah.
1) Introduce yourself
If it is the first time you are sending an invite/press release to a blogger and you have had never spoken to him/her before, it would be nice if you introduce yourself. It would also be nice to show that you actually read the blogger's blog and actually have an inkling about him or her.
A good example would be:
First of all, let me introduce myself. I'm Crystel from XYZ Agency and we're currently representing ABC cosmetics. I saw that you wrote about Majolica Majorca cosmetics recently and I really enjoyed the tutorial you did on how to obtain the smokey eyes look.
I was just wondering, would you be keen to attend our latest product launch? We will be launching the glitzy chapter which would consist of shimmery eyeshadows and glitter eyeliners. We would love to have you try these cosmetics and also share the experience with your readers!...."
Obviously this is fictional. But if this was true, Crystel would have done the following:
- Introduce herself, her company and the brand she's representing
- Showed that she has actually read my blog and understood the contents
- Introduced the newest range of products
- Invited me to the event and has subtly hinted for a follow up blog entry.
In this way, even if I was not free to attend the event, I would have either asked her to send me the press release so that I could find out more about the products.
2) Don't anyhow shoot lah.
Look at the relevancy of the products/services with the blogger. If a blogger specialises in food entries only i.e. a food blogger, would you invite him/her to a tech event?
Yes and No.
Look for an angle. It's like how you pitch to traditional media. You always look for angles.
Ogilvy thought out of the box for one of their Canon events. They invited lifestyle, tech and food bloggers to a printer event where there was a food and photography talk. We had fun learning how to take pictures of food (which we arraged ourselves) and we could print them out with the printers available.
In this case, they made such an "unsexy" product event very fun and enjoyable.
3) It's all about the experience.
Bloggers are not journalists, well not all of them. While most journalists prefer to go to an event where the information is there, where they get to play with the products, find out more about numbers (revenue numbers etc) etc. Imho, they like it straightforward.
Whereas bloggers like me, where we do not specialise in certain topics are loosely termed as lifestyle bloggers, may not like the straightforward approach. I prefer the experiential approach. Let me experience the product or service. An example would be the Canon event mentioned above, another would be when KLM engaged me for an advertorial. They flew me to Bali, let me experience Bali and the whole airline experience.
While it might be different for other bloggers, I prefer writing about the experience rather than just copying and pasting information.
4) Do not spam
This PR Agency has spammed me countless of times despite me telling them I was not interested in their products or their events. Guys, if a blogger/media says he/she is NOT interested and to remove us from your mailing list, please do so. Continuing to do so will just anger them.
I seriously feel like having a "Wall of Shame" entry for such companies.
5) Follow up
After you have invited the blogger to the event. Follow up. NOT by persistently asking when we are gonna blog about the event, which we are not obliged to do so. Follow up by asking for feedback about the event or share pictures that were taken or offer products to review.
But most of all, try to be friends with us. Honestly, it does work. Be it for traditional or new media, having a great relationship never did hurt. 😉
Hope this entry will prove useful for you.