Monday 9 January 2012

Jumping on that old Bandwagon; An open letter to PR's

If you're a blogger, do you sometimes hate opening your blog-related inbox? Mine is full-full-full of emails from people who think that, just because I write a blog, I am waiting with bated breath for content ideas to drop into my lap from people who clearly have not read anything I've ever written other than the title of 'The Potty Diaries' (and nor indeed have they picked up on the fact that - to-date - I write all it's content MYSELF).

Normally I just hit delete and forget them. Sometimes I'm inspired to write a witty and concise (ha!) 140 character 'Dear PR' tweet to get the frustration out of my system, but mostly I move on. However, Tim at 'Bringing Up Charlie' has just posted 'an open letter to PR's everywhere' (click for the link) which is crammed full of useful advice for any PR looking to interact with bloggers. I agree with every single thing he has written and have just one addition to make.

Please, dear PR, check the location of the blogger you are writing to before hitting 'send' on your message.

For the last 2 years I have been living in Moscow. That's Moscow, Russia. I don't hide this fact; it's clearly signposted at the top of the sidebar on the right hand side of the page. Under 'About Me', see it? Right under my blog name. This, I hate to say, does limit my availability to attend events rather more than living in Central London did.

Now. There are times when I am willing to make the trek from Moscow to London to attend your seminar / be at your press briefing / experience your no-doubt wonderful product in person but if I'm honest, they are few and far between and usually involve decent financial recompense or happen to coincide with a pre-planned trip. It's one thing to hope a blogger is happy to stump up the tube, bus or rail fair to be at your event, quite another to expect me to come up with the average cost of £300 for a flight. And of course there is the small matter of childcare for me to sort out for the time that I'm away from home; I do write a parenting blog after all (isn't that why you have me on your list in the first place?) and whilst getting cover to look after my kids for a few days is possible - anything's possible - that is not necessarily the case at the drop of a hat, and it had better be worth my while*.

So for example, inviting me to a premiere 36 hours before it's due to happen is unlikely to get a positive response (note: I'm not taking umbrage with the short notice; if I were living in London I would no doubt be delighted). Likewise, tempting me to the launch of your new skin care range** on the promise of a visit to a swanky retail location and some free cleanser probably isn't going to cut it, either...

You might think that by writing this I'm potentially cutting off interesting contacts from PR agencies. But you know what? Given that the overall likelihood a PR person is actually reading this post*** is not great, I'll take my chances.

* What is 'worth my while' however is something I am willing to discuss.

**This does not refer to a specific event. The product type has been changed to protect the innocent...

*** If, however, you work do for a PR agency and have taken the trouble to read this far, please get in touch - you already seem like someone I would like to work with...


  1. Dear PRs. Southern Scotland ditto. The cost of a journey to London is not dissimilar either...

    Incidentally (and this is to Potty Mummy, not PRs) have you read Snowdrops by AD Miller? I've just finished it and kept wanting to be able to talk to you (or anyone else who knows Moscow) about it. I thought it was utterly utterly brilliant, and I imagine it's common currency in Moscow and you probably read it months ago, but just in case...

  2. Ditto Chicago. My name is EXPAT Mum, because erm, well I'm an expat and don't live in the UK.

  3. Ditto New York. And it goes for subject matter as well as trips. Am I really going to be writing about a special offer at Sainsbury's when the last time I visited one was in 2009? Or bigging up a new kids' programme only shown in the UK. Er, no.

  4. PlanB, yes I HAVE read Snowdrops. I enjoyed it although I have to admit that the denoument was less shocking than I was expecting (not that I was hoping for it, but I suppose living here gives you a different set of 'normals'). But, it was well written and summed up Moscow pretty well - particularly the comment about the guy having committed suicide by shooting himself in the head - twice...

    EPM & NVG, maybe we write a group statement? Needn't be long. Just something like 'Read our bios - please!'

  5. I'm hearing you loud and clear! Very occasionally I am actually offered something I'd quite like to review only for them to then say they do post overseas when they ask for my address.

    Quite which tube station they think Catalonia is near God only knows.


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