Nov 20 2009

It’s a blog, not a free press release service

[This is an updated and expanded version of a post from my ExtranetEvolution.com blog.]

I don’t republish companies’ press releases on my ExtranetEvolution blog, which is focused on a particular niche area of construction collaboration and related technologies. As an expert in that field, I try to be discriminating in what I write about, but some marketing people naively assume I will automatically publish anything. Last week I received an email asking:

“We are interested to publish our company news in Extranet Evolution; I could not navigate the place to find the details of how to submit the article. Please send us the details.”

I responded, patiently explaining:

“ExtranetEvolution is a blog, and so doesn’t have a news-posting service. However, if you have something that you think I should write about it, please email me a copy or send me a link to the relevant page on your website.”

Nonetheless, I still received a news release attached to an email asking me to “publish this article in your website”. It had some relevance to project collaboration, but not enough to excite me to write about it (and the writer’s apparent ignorance of blogging didn’t help).

(By the way, if you want sites that will automatically publish your company news, there are quite a few free press release sites around – typing “free press release” into Google gives over a million results – but you will get better results from some paid-for services – PRnewswire is one I have used in the past, PRWeb also gets good reviews).

I find myself in a curious kind of role reversal. As a PR practitioner I have spent 2o years creating and distributing news releases, understanding that journalists select stories that they regard as relevant and newsworthy to their readership. Now, as a blogger, I am in the same position, fielding approaches from companies seeking coverage. While there are undoubtedly blogs – more correctly, splogs or flogs – which shamelessly reproduce everything they receive or which are created to promote particular companies, most bloggers will, I hope, have a more discerning policy. So if you don’t want to end up shunned like the unnamed company above, it can pay to do some research into the blogger’s attitude to news releases. This is my own view….

10 ways for PR or marketing people to engage with me, the blogger

  1. By all means, send me your news releases, but make sure they are relevant to the blog. I often link to news releases and reproduce extracts from them, but – just like mainstream media outlets – I am selective about what I write about and how I present it.
  2. Actually reading the blog would be a good start.
  3. Better still, show me that you have read it – it can help sometimes if you identify a previous post on a related topic and perhaps drop me an email or a Tweet to explain why your release is relevant.
  4. You can also use my blog’s comment facilities; I monitor all comments, so can pick up on interesting information added through that route.
  5. Also, as I’m not a full-time blogger, I pick the topics I judge most important in the time I’ve got available to write about them. So save me some time by making relevant photos, logos, screengrabs, quotes, videos, etc readily available, along with links to relevant websites and – yes – blogs.
  6. Use your company blog (you do have one, don’t you?) to build conversations with me and other bloggers….
  7. Invite comments on your blog posts.
  8. Provide RSS feeds from your blog and your news pages
  9. Tweet your news and blog posts – I usually check Twitter before I look at my email these days.
  10. Invite bloggers and other opinion-formers to write guest posts.

Remember and do these things and I’m sure we’ll soon be getting along famously….

2 pings

  1. […] did write about one persistent offender (see Not a free press release service), eventually writing 10 ways for PR or marketing people to engage with me, the blogger in this […]

  2. […] did write about one persistent offender (see Not a free press release service), eventually writing 10 ways for PR or marketing people to engage with me, the blogger in this […]

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