Thursday, 13 August 2015

The Abuse of PR Request - Round Two

Abuse of PR Request
Not that long ago, I wrote a post about how I thought some bloggers were letting the side down by taking the piss with their PR Requests on Twitter. And it's still going on, so here we are again.

For anyone who’s not familiar, anyone can use the hashtag ‘#PRRequest’ to get their tweet seen by anyone who’s following  the hashtag. It was primarily introduced for PRs to request help on their projects, for journalists to talk to the right people from a brand (if for example, they wanted to feature a product by a brand and needed more information on it) but recently, bloggers have used to try and request review products.

Aside from those who clog up the feed with tweets they’ve scheduled to go out every three hours saying ‘Want to work with a fashion and lifestyle blogger? Get in touch!’ with an email and a blog link (and these people get muted, so we don’t  have to see them every time, just saying), the unreasonable demands have been back this week. So, I decided to do round two of this post, just as it’s still winding me up.




Take for example a blogger (who will remain nameless) using #PRRequest and also directly harassing brands, to ask for products to review as it’s her birthday. I’m sorry, what? Would you go into a shop and say ‘Hi, it’s my birthday next week, can I have it for free if I write a review on my blog’? No, you wouldn’t. That is a direct path to going onto a brands’ blacklist for working with bloggers. It’s not even ‘cheeky’, it’s blatant begging and cringe-worthy to watch. In this instance, a number of brands were targeted directly including hotels, supermarkets, fashion retailers and even interior stores.




What makes a brand feel more special than being one of a list of so many being spammed on Twitter? Oh wait, nothing. Nothing at all.

Think of it like this. If a holiday company tweeted you saying 'Buy a weekend away with us, it'll be really good, honest!', would you immediately part with your cash? Probably not. You don't know what you're going to get for your money, it's an unexpected cost and not something you have time to do. 

So why would it work the other way round? Brands have budgets, they have a list of criteria for the bloggers they work with and time allocated to how they promote. If you want to work with a brand, tailor it to them. Send them a pitch directly about why they should consider working with you. Attach a sexy little media pack full of stats, make them promises of posts, links and social shout outs (and stick to them, obvs) and make it clear that you want to work with THEM, and you won't cheat on them with their competitors.

Going after every brand is just like people who swipe left to every person on Tinder hoping for a match. It's not cool and it lowers your standards.


So going back to the shameless tweets, here's a few more examples:


Looking to review some FAB restaurants in central London / Enfield. Email [Removed] #prrequest #journorequest #bloggers

Hey #brands & #PRs, I'm looking to review #backtoschool #products & #uniform for my Child/ren girl 15yrs boy 4yrs #prrequest #bloggerrequest

‘Baby’s First Birthday – if you would like a gift featured get in touch asap #bloggers #prrequest #journorequest’

Award winning #blogs accepts sponsored posts #advertising #marketing #promotion #journorequest #interior #food #mum #prrequest #Beauty'

Looking for #prcompany related to baby toys products. Anything welcome #prrequest

‘Are there any sponsored opportunities at the moment? #bloggers #prrequest #bloggerswanted’


Where exactly is there an incentive there? No brand feels special when a blogger would happily take goods and not care whether it's from them or their direct rivals. Also, as I said recently in a post about blogger entitlement, no blogger should expect brands to fund their school uniforms, their kids’ first birthday or anything else. I appreciate that money can be tight but please, if you want to be taken seriously as a blogger and as a business (as let’s face it, there’s a transaction there whether it’s products or cash), be professional about it. Don’t sell out and take anything and everything because it’s free.

The last time I wrote about #PRRequest, I got a fantastic response and rightly, many people said they believe it’s a great way to get recommendations and for bloggers who are organising events to access a lot of brands. But at the same time, it’s starting to take the mickey. A lot. And every time I read it, this happens.





As always, my comments aren’t moderated and I welcome everyone’s opinions on this topic – drop me a comment, send me a tweet (@GlassesGirl3) or if you’re feeling shy/can’t fit what you want to say into 140 characters, ping me over an email (lizi92@hotmail.co.uk).


Peace out, guys.




You may have also noticed that I now know how to insert Gifs into everything. I promise I'll get out of this phase at some point.

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20 comments

  1. Love this !! I go on there to have a nosey and it make me cringe big time by all means put a post link up but don't beg

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    1. Yeah, it's great if it's an occasional link as PRs often update their databases, but it can get out of hand sometimes!

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  2. I'm glad you addressed this. I've been seeing tweets from people with the prrequest hashtag and from comparatively famous bloggers too. Those who have probably worked with a lot of brands.

    -Wildfire Charm

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    1. I think it can be used very well by bloggers, but recently, there has been some absolute overkill with pushing links out and begging brands on there.

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  3. That head butting gif is my new favourite.

    Completely agree with what you say, sometimes, when I am feeling bleurgh, I read the PRrequest hashtag and laugh, and cry a bit.

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    1. Gifs are my new absolute faves and will probably feature in all posts from now on. I have no shame.

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  4. Completely agree with this! I wouldn't have the cheek to ask for free things for my birthday. It's just rude! However, I do tweet out the 'Looking to work with a fashion blogger? Email me :)' tweet but only once a day! I don't see anything wrong with this because even though I tag #PRRequest in the tweet, it's a useful tweet for other brands who aren't using the hash tag to see I am available to work with. However, spamming this tweet every 2 hours is wrong!


    Being Ashleigh - Fashion & Lifestyle blog
    xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I see some bloggers posting their links out occasionally and that genuinely can make life easier for PRs, but the tweets that are clearly scheduled to go out every few hours, often with several variations, is just too much!

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  5. I completely agree - saw a few of these myself and was rolling my eyes! Baby's first birthday presents was a particular favourite...

    I feel like #prrequest has become such a joke now that I only use it sarcasticly or if I was looking for products for something other than my blog, like an awards or event. It's a shame because Twitter is great for opportunities, for both bloggers and PRs, and people taking the piss ruins it for us all!

    www.jessicainyourear.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a shame that it's become so over-used by bloggers as it was once a great resource!When bloggers use it to promote and event to brands or to offer space for a giveaway, it's fantastic as smaller brands can easily gain exposure and increase their social following from both. But sending things to a blagger for one review on a likely spammy blog? Definitely not!

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  6. i'm definitely guilty of using the hashtag as a blogger not a PR (very occasionally, I may add) when I want some great recommendations and i've actually always found it really useful. the tweeters mentioned in your post however take up the majority of the feed and it is bloody well annoying. also, for her birthday?! for goodness sake x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think a lot of bloggers have used it to get recommendations and when the intent is stated as you want a recommendation not a freebie (as it is in a lot of cases), it's a great way to access the people representing the brands - it works for them as they're likely to get a sale. But the whole birthday thing is just ridiculous!

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  7. Love this, can I just add one more? Bloggers who use ResponseSource asking for free toot: shtaaaaap.

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    Replies
    1. YES. Including those who use response source to send out what is essentially a shopping list but forget to mention anything like their stats/following. Some emails are often really cheeky too!

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  8. A fantastic read! I've stumbled on this blog off the back of a rather heated discussion in a Facebook group about said blogger tactics. As a PR, I use the hashtag to garner information for articles etc so it's interesting to see how the hashtag has been completely hijacked and inverted. Great blog too by the way.

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    1. Thank you! I heard about the heated debate (that incidentally got deleted before I was able to join the group!) and the subsequent dramas afterwards! I also work in the industry and see it from both angles and it is interesting how something is now being used for personal gain rather than what it was intended. Off the back of that debate, it's become clear that there are a lot of bloggers who are still doing it for their love of writing though - which after seeing so much blagging in recent weeks, I was beginning to doubt!

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  9. This is a really great post! Whereas I feel that bloggers should be able to us the hashtag without being mocked or looked down on by others, I do feel that many abuse it in an effort to score free stuff. Which is just terrible, really, as it gives the rest of us a bad name/the image that we're all freebie-hunting without discretion. Money isn't especially free-flowing for me as a student, but I'd never have the nerve to ask all those brands for free stuff!

    Fii | little miss fii

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed, I 100% believe that as long as it's used well and not spammed, anyone has the right to use it. I think it is a few who really let the side down with the overuse of it though, which is a shame as it's giving PRs the impression that bloggers are all out for a freebie when we're really not! Coming from an agency background myself, it's frustrating trying to explain that blogging isn't about the freebies to colleagues when all they see on Twitter is this kind of thing!

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  10. The problem is that way back in 2009/10 when brands and PRs found out we existed, and there were far less people around, you could happily use the hashtag. It was a way for bloggers to set out that we were here and PR friendly before other things like Response Source and the 4Media forums became known to us.
    Sadly, its become so annoying as people do take the piss out of it for far too many requests. I personally still use it the odd time as a one off- I run a dedicated reviews site aimed at Parent consumers and generally don't need to chase people on twitter anyway.
    What happened yesterday though I think was more a new blogger error, which we've all been guilty of at some point. I wasn't a fan of it, I don't mind others doing it- that's what the mute is for after all- but I didn't think the other blogger jumping in and telling her off was very professional either. But then that's me!
    I think that brands and PRs cannot moan us bloggers using the Pr hashtag if they are then going to bemoan us using Response Source too. Its more professional to do that, although obviously the best advice is to gain a good following first and then send a personal email to the brands you want to work with.
    Great points made above though.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, I do agree that if PRs are going to whinge about bloggers using response source (which I personally agree with as it's not the primary aim of the service they provide), then Twitter is a good way to access brands.
      Using it occasionally to put your link out there is of course a good thing, especially as PRs regularly update databases (especially in line with moz updates etc), and I'd never complain that bloggers are using it for that purpose! Until it's the same bloggers doing it every 2 hours and then they get muted pretty quickly!
      In response to everything kicking off on Friday, I think the admins did right in deleting the original thread as though the blogger who called out the girl on twitter was being accused of bullying, her being identified in a group she wasn't part of and couldn't defend herself in was just as bad, if not worse! The blogger who was tweeting excessively about her birthday is actually quite an experienced blogger and in my personal opinion, should know better than to beg so shamelessly!

      I do really appreciate that you've taken the time to read my post and leave such a detailed comment - I keep my comments public and not moderated because I do genuinely want people to start a discussion and I don't expect everyone to agree with me!

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