Professional Blogging For Dummies will be in your local bookstore by the end of the month! Hard to believe it’s only been a year since I first met Dummies Acquisitions Editor Amy Fandrei at BlogHer.
Speaking of which, I will be signing copies at the BlogHer bookstore in New York next month, but I’m not sure of the day/time yet. I’ll also be speaking at the Pennsylvania Governor’s Conference for Women (Pittsburgh, 10/14), the Texas Conference for Women (Houston, 11/10) and the Massachusetts Conference for Women (Boston 12/9), and I think they will be organizing a book signing at those venues as well.
Professional Blogging For Dummies was written to help individuals and small business owners develop a blog to generate revenue directly or support their small business. There’s a whole section just on monetization. That said, I think anyone with a blog or considering starting one — even if they aren’t focused on revenue generation — would benefit from the chapters on strategy, planning, development and design. Plus, the book is chock full of case studies and interviews with successful bloggers.
It’s the silly season for bad pitches
Last week, I told you about a marketing agency that sent me a press release offering expert commentary on celebrity use of social media. Because that’s what I write about, right? Clearly they aren’t reading my blog, or they would not have sent me this week’s release offering their services as a source on “how social media monitoring tools can be used to track weather patterns.”
I kid you not. Here’s the money quote:
“Everyone is talking about how hot it has been lately, especially on Twitter,” [name redacted], chief optimism officer and founder of [name redacted] said. “By analyzing keywords like ‘hot’ and ‘heat,’ our social media monitoring tools, in addition to our social media team of experts, have found a correlation between what people are saying on social networks, and actual weather patterns.”
Really? It’s actually hot in those places that people are talking about how hot it is? I never would have thought of that without your press release. One more of these silly releases crosses my desk and I will invoke the Bad Pitch Blog‘s “three strikes and you’re out-ed” rule.
Other gems from my inbox this week included a request to post a video link of some chef making ceviche and a press release about a self-published book of nude photographs by (not of) some dude who created a series for Playboy TV.
And then there was the social network that offers to let me share my dreams with the people I care about. I cannot make this stuff up:
Have you ever wondered if anyone had a similar dream to one that you had, or which celebrity is most dreamed about? Did you know that global news events impact dreams in a tangible way, and that millions of people are already sharing their dreams with others? There is a good chance that your readers at Marketing Roadmaps are thinking about it as well.
So readers, tell me. Are you interested in this? I’m thinking not, but… Maybe this social network has mined your dreams and this is what you want from a blog about marketing, social media and best practices. Please advise.
Now I know I’m not the only one getting ridiculous pitches this summer. I’m actually lucky. Mine are funny, not offensive.
Alas, that was not the experience of my friend Allison Blass. Allison has type 1 diabetes and often writes about the disease on her personal blog Lemonade Life. Professionally, she’s a PR person and regularly reaches out to bloggers on behalf of her clients, so she’s not opposed to getting pitches to her personal blog. But she wants them to be relevant. If the pitch angle is about diabetes, the product had really better be for diabetics. Not simply a diabetic “gloss” on a consumer product intended to make it seem relevant to her blog. For example, the pitch she recently received for a water filter.
Allison mentioned the pitch on Facebook and at my request, forwarded it to me. There were two basic problems with the pitch. First, as noted above, the product is a water filter. It isn’t something special for diabetics. Linking it to diabetes was just a hook. Worse, the basis the company used to link the product to diabetes didn’t sit well with Allison, who was diagnosed as a child and is very active in the diabetes community. When Allison called the rep on her facts, the PR rep got defensive and then a bit offensive. And that’s problem number two.
When the blogger or reporter says “this isn’t for me and you have all your facts wrong,” think twice about engaging. Most of the time, it’s better to apologize and move on to someone more receptive. Hard to do, especially if it’s a writer you really want to reach, but probably a better tactic than getting into a pissing contest with the person.
And pay attention to the objections. It doesn’t matter what YOU the company know. Success is in the customer’s perceptions. Reach out to them on their terms, not yours. If they think your pitch is a bit dodgy, it is. Period.
News from Liberty Mutual’s Responsibility Project
I first learned of Liberty Mutual’s Responsibility Project last year when its PR Agency reached out to me because of Blog With Integrity. I’ve since written about the project, attended a teleconference interview with Chuck star Zachary Levi about a short film he directed for the Project as part of a partnership with NBC, and will be attending a pretty cool (private) event next month the day before BlogHer. That’s the disclosure.
Here’s the opinion.
I’m not a customer of Liberty Mutual’s insurance products so I can’t offer an opinion about them. However, I am a customer of its message about responsibility, and they have done some admirable work. The new TV commercial is excellent and makes a strong point about the need to “do the right thing.” A message that has value no matter who you are or how you are insured.
As the parent of a 10-year old, I also appreciate the attention Liberty Mutual is paying to issues like texting, online safety and personal responsibility for teenagers. The latest initiative is “Responsibility Project For The Win,” an essay contest for teens to encourage them to contribute to their communities over the summer. The five winning essays will be featured on the Responsiblity Project website and the company will make $500 donations to non-profits selected by the winners.