Thanks to all of you who participated in the two SideDish discussions (Bloggers v Journalists and Restaurants Beware of Food Writers who Expect Freebies). I thought the two posts brought up some great points and readers conducted an intelligent discussion. Apparently the restaurant industry and PR agencies took note. And I think we’re about to see some upgrades on how business is conducted.
Last night, someone forwarded me an email blast sent out by Nicki Patel at Strauss Marketing . She addresses “the people we normally deal with.”
Hope your week is off to a great start! In light of recent events and blogs, notably on D Side Dish at the end of last week, we are taking a step back and looking at how PR professionals and bloggers can better work together taking into account FTC guidelines. Several of our clients read the blog and comments, and have asked us to find a way to better evaluate their business decisions on offering complimentary products/dinners/experiences.
As a service to them we are asking that you please submit your most recent numbers on readership so that we may keep that on file. You are welcome to send over Google analytics, subscription numbers on feed burner (or other reliable sources), or any other tool you may use to track your readership, etc. Also, we know that some of you write not only for your blog, but occasionally for other publications as well. Please include that information so we are able to effectively pitch you on items that are appropriate and refrain from flooding your inboxes.
We know that is not a hard and fast number to base decisions on, but it is a start for us to be able to explain to our clients why offering up products/dinners/experiences is a smart idea. Thank you for your help on this and we hope to continue working with you in the future!
Kudos to Strauss Marketing for opening the door. “We felt your blog post addressed a situation that we deal with on an on going basis,”Patel said. “We saw this as an opportunity for us to address it as well.” Patel told me this morning she has already received “stats and information” from some on the list.
Hopefully the market will correct itself and restaurateurs won’t have to fear negative reviews from unaccredited bloggers and PR professionals won’t have to accommodate every person with a blog. There is a happy medium, or shall I say media, out there waiting to give you your money’s worth.15 Comments »
Tuesday, I wrote a post warning restaurants to “just say no” to people who introduce themselves as food writers and expect a free meal for a write up of their restaurant. I thought the “conversation” that took place in the comments section was, for the most part, an intelligent sharing of thoughts between readers, bloggers, restaurateurs, and anonymous commenters. Yesterday, I received phone calls and emails from people across the industry. At the end of the day I realized we have an ugly can of worms swarming around Dallas and I think it’s time we start to clarify some issues and try to make peace.
On the subject of free meals to bloggers: I received emails from PR people ratting on restaurateurs and emails from restaurateurs ratting on PR people. PR people say it’s the restaurants fault; restaurant owners blame the PR people for not vetting bloggers. My five cents? Restaurateurs, if you want to give away free food to any blogger that is your prerogative. I agree that people who are paid to bring business to a restaurant need to do a better job of bringing qualified bloggers to the table. And that means learning how to say no.
Yesterday, I stumbled upon this blog post. The author of the piece that appeared on the blog for PR Newswire is Victoria Harres. Ms. Harres is Director of Audience Development at PR Newswire, the main voice behind @PRNewswire, social media lead for @Business4Better, and a frequent speaker and writer on social media for business.
She writes a report on a monthly meeting organized by the Social Media Club of Dallas. The event “Bloggers: Truth, Lies & How to Work with Them” consisted of a panel of local bloggers and a room full of PR people. The discussion was to help clarify the air on what bloggers would like from PR people and vice versa.
I read Harres’ report at least ten times and I followed links to the bloggers sites. What I found is this: Nobody has defined the difference between a blogger and a journalist, nobody really understands the FTC guidelines for bloggers, and many bloggers feel that they are entitled to respect and special treatment because they do it for passion. Two restaurateurs told me yesterday that they were “talked down to” because they failed to recognize several local bloggers and give them special treatment.
Let’s break it down.71 Comments »