It starts like this. There’s an email that includes, “I noticed you write at Celsias and Green Options (interesting National Lampoon does nothing for them). My client has a new product that is going to save us from ourselves. Can I send it to you/you the press release.”
With some regularity the answer is yes, I write a review, and send the PR person a link to the review.
They say, “Thank you.” and I never hear from them again.
Like any other part of our lives, social media (yes, when you read my blog you are engaged in social media) is about relationships. Facebook, Linked In, Blogs and web pages are all about building relationships.
Make me like you. Here’s how. Use E.S.P. Email, Send, Pimp:
1. Email: The introductory email is typically very nice. There’s a lovely example of one on my about me page. It’s clear that the PR lady is looking to engage me so that I can review her product. Glowingly. Unfortunately the company she is representing contributes to childhood obesity, illness, wields a huge carbon footprint, and does not use meat products that are produced in a humane manner. It’s a company that I’d like to see disappear. That being said, the Publicist may find herself with more appealing clients some day so I sent her a nice, “no thank you note” in reply. I’m also not naming the obnoxious company she represents. Why? Because I don’t want to alienate her. Horizon might be her next client and I love their butter.
2. Send: After the introductory email there’s typically a product sample, coupon or a press release sent to me. Here’s the deal. It’s either my cup of tea or it isn’t. If the publicist has been kind (typically they have) and the product is just awful many bloggers will decline to review it. If the product is obnoxious (remember the Solio? It wasn’t sent by a publicist, I bought it) and complete greenwashing or otherwise detrimental to my children’s long term health and happiness, it gets panned. I don’t like writing a bad review. I take no pleasure from it, and typically would prefer to say nothing. It’s just that every so often there’s a really useless item out there.
3. Pimp: This is the step that no one seems to understand as being so critical. You work at a public relations firm? Relate to the public! After I’ve sent you a link to the product review, especially if it’s glowing (and many of them are) take 10 minutes and Digg, Stumble, Hugg or Buzz the review. My review isn’t any good if no one reads it. Post the review to your facebook profile, do something. While you’re at it you should ask everyone in your office to do the same. Now send a link to your client and ask them to have the entire office click on the link.
Give it a viral push. Pimp the review. Remember, Public Relations is about relationships. We write with greater enthusiasm when someone actually reads it.