Lately I've been getting dozens of pitches a week from PR people who want me to write about their stuff on this blog. Most of the pitches are just spam, with the PR types using the exact same techniques that they have used with journalists for years.
To paraphrase the Wikipedia entry, spam is sending email that is both unsolicited by the recipient and sent in substantively identical form to many recipients. That's what PR people do to bloggers now. And then at the end of their email they basically say: "please write about me."
Here are portions of actual emails I've received recently. (I've paraphrased or modified to remove the identity of the people who contacted me).
"Would [this news] be something you are interested in covering? If so, when would be the first time you could publish something on it?"
"Are you going to be able to post something about...? I can send you suggested copy."
"Can I send you [the new book] so you can review it on your blog?"
(It's not just me. Other bloggers I've spoken with have the same problem with PR people.)
Here's the thing. Bloggers are not the same as journalists. We don't have editors telling us what to do. We write about what interests us and we are always on the lookout for things to share. But it is not our job to write about you and your stuff.
Here is an important point missed by virtually everyone - bloggers have other identities and can help you in other ways:
> Would you be happy if I talked about your stuff in front of the 20,000 people I speak to at conferences and events per year?
> Would you like to see your stuff profiled in my next ebook? (The last one has been downloaded 100,000 times in three months).
> Want to be in my next dead tree book?
> How about if I wrote about it in one of the magazines I write for?
> What if I mention your company the next time I am on the phone with The Wall Street Journal?
> Or perhaps I could write something in one of the other blogs I contribute to such as The Tuned In blog?
> What about a tweet on something you did?
It's OK to share things with a blogger that you feel they might be interested in. Just don't spam them with broadcast pitches and whatever you do, don't ask for coverage. We all know why you contacted us -- don't belittle the information you send and embarrass yourself by begging.
Want the good news? I'm always looking for things that are of interest to me! I'm happy to have you send stuff my way. (Other bloggers are too). But don't ask me to write about it on this blog. And don't send me the same pitch that you sent to dozens of others.
Thanks for reading this far! Here's bonus information for alert readers like you. I am currently looking for interesting examples of online viral marketing for possible use in an upcoming hardcover book I am writing that will come out in 2009. If you have a great example of reaching people online, go ahead and send it to me via email. Hey, maybe I'll even write about it on this blog too.