Yesterday I received a pitch in the comments section of one of my recent posts. I’ve received pitches like this in the past and I’ve generally ignored them. However, this one in particular was upsetting for a few reasons:
1. It was for a product that I already like, but now I would be much more reticent to actually buy the product.
2. The person’s lack of understanding of my post made me feel diminished somehow — unimportant, unheard, trivial.
3. The public nature of posting a trivialization of what I wrote embarrassed me on some level.
4. The public nature of the pitch also made it seem like the person didn’t care whether they piqued the interest of me or my readers. I don’t spend my free time writing here to provide a free billboard for other companies. There are very few places on the Internet where I feel I have a bit of control over what goes down; this is one of them.
5. Just because I use a keyword doesn’t mean what you’re pitching has anything to do with what I typically write about. I still consider myself a PR professional first and this kind of pitching makes us all look bad.
The original post was about using the metaphor of a cake recipe (specifically, a carrot cake recipe) to help people explain the importance of sharing what they know in a corporate blog.
Apparently, the metaphor fell flat for the person posting the following comment/pitch:
Sounds like you really appreciate Carrots. Anyone who loves Carrots is a friend of ours ;-)
How’d you like some products to sample?
They may not be as good as your Granny’s cake, but we hope you like them.
Drop me a line with your address and we’ll get them out the door.
The company is a skin/haircare company called Yes To Carrots. As I noted above, I actually already like the products and I think there was a missed opportunity to reach out to me in a way that doesn’t trivialize what I wrote.
I’m sure my reaction would have been completely different if the person tried to start a conversation with me via email about what I actually wrote, fessed up that my use of the word “carrot” triggered their alert and that they were just trying to gauge whether I would be interested in sampling some of their products.
A real conversation would have been nice.
I really don’t like posts that abuse PR pros for bad pitches. So many blog posts outing a particular PR pitch have made me totally uneasy and I understand the grave nature of messing with someone’s livelihood. I’m really just hoping that we can all learn from this.
I outlined my feelings above in the hopes of helping both sides understand why this behavior upsets so many bloggers. I understand a lot of pitches can simply be ignored and that’s exactly what I typically do when something doesn’t interest me.
Am I just being a cranky blogger? Is it silly for me to feel so diminished by this person’s treatment?
How can both sides work to improve the situation and work better together? Would things have been different if I had a PR pitch policy posted on my blog?
I received a phone call this morning, on Thursday, April 2, from the Yes to Carrots representative who left the comment on my previous post apologizing for his mistake. Read the details here.
Photo by //endless∞
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