Yes, I get a lot of pitches from companies and press agents who want me to review products/books for moms/babies/kids. And recently, I’ve gotten a fair number of people asking how best to engage with us or other mom bloggers for this purpose.
Thanks for asking.
I happen to feel that social media is that magical intersection between social and media. Clever, huh? Bloggers, especially those with large audiences and communities, are influential – I would argue even more influential than traditional media in terms of swaying purchasing decisions. The “social” part is based on the core idea that we are connecting with others, as people first and foremost.
“Build your network before you need it.”
All of us who “grew up” in social media, have been indoctrinated with this adage. We’ve been cultivating our network for years. So it’s no wonder that we’re (varying degrees of) offended when we get Company X who’s managed to get our email address and expect us to cash in on our social currency with a “Hi, <firstname>! Love your site. I am contacting you on behalf of _____ and wanted to inquire if you’d be willing to review her new book.”
If you have not invested in me and my community, don’t expect a very warm welcome. That’s the equivalent of expecting me to let you in my house when… well, you’re a stranger. The people I “invite over for dinner and/or playdates” are the ones who are my friends. Friendships take time. Sorry. There’s just no shortcut.
A friendship can start when simple banter is exchanged on Twitter with a company representative or business owner over shared interests. Or, when someone who is on top of things at their company notices that I posted/tweeted an opinion about their products. Over time, these light touches can become conversations and then, maybe friendships. We could meet up at a conference or Tweetup. See how this works? No pitching, no press release.
For me, this is the best case scenario, when my experiences with a brand happen genuinely — when I connect with the people behind the brand. It’s rare that this happens quickly. It’s certainly not going to happen over the span of one email template.
So have a great day too, <companyname>! Please remove me from your list.
photo credit: stock xchng