How Not To Treat Bloggers at a Press Event
Yeah, that’s the most appropriate picture I could find…
Since moving to London, I’ve attended my fair share of blogger/press events, and while most have been brilliant and run by helpful and informative PRs, there has been the odd occasion when I’ve felt like I was second fiddle to the journalists at the event.
Normally it doesn’t overly bother me and I expect that journalists who write for national consumer publications would get preferential treatment.
However, a recent situation really irked me and I thought it worthy of a post/rant to see if any other bloggers have felt or experienced the same.
So I was invited to a lot of ‘Christmas in July’ press events this month. For those not in the know, July is the time of year when big brands in the world of beauty, home, fashion, etc. showcase their festive products, with a view to providing material and content for journalists to write up reviews about them in the run up to Christmas.
It’s in July to accommodate the long lead times of magazines, which are often written months in advance.
Anyhoo, since the growing phenomenon of blogger power, the likes of me are invited into the mix too. So I took up the invitation to one un-named event, squeezing in the time between work commitments.
I browsed one of the stands, which I have to mention was manned by a brand rep, not the PR people who organized the event. I was immediately asked who I write for.
So far so normal, but after giving my blog details, I was asked to write down my email address, even though I already did this when signing in. Not to mention that the PR team behind the event clearly had my details as they’d invited me in the first place!
I brushed this off, but then another lady appeared from behind me, and asked again for my blog name, and whilst I was talking to another host, she asked me to spell it so she could tap it into her phone and look me up there and then!
I was surprised and aghast, and couldn’t help but feel that had I come from a magazine or newspaper, I wouldn’t have been subjected to the same verification.
In fact, I remember attending an event last year aimed at travel writers and bloggers. And my journalist friend – who doesn’t even write about travel – just needed to say where he was from, and by virtue of writing for a national, escaped further scrutiny.
I on the other hand had my business cards mulled over as the reps wanted to ensure that I was worth talking too.
It’s pretty ironic considering that someone is more likely to read a blog with a dedicated travel section for a destination or hotel review, than they would a newspaper where there may be a one pager on the subject. We might not boast the same reader numbers, but we may well have more engagement.
Also, as a PR myself, the number one rule is to treat all writers the same. So whether it was someone who wrote for the local newspaper, a national editor, or a blogger, you’d be equally nice. If I needed to do my homework on them, I’d look them up beforehand, not whilst talking to them. It’s disappointing that this basic business principle isn’t held by all.
Like I say, most PRs I’ve dealt with at events have been brilliant, and the two occasions I’ve mentioned are often brand reps, but I’d be keen to hear from any bloggers on this.
Have you ever attended a press event and felt sidelined or overly scrutinized? Share your thoughts in a comment below.
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About the Author
I’m not a makeup artist, chef, lifestyle guru or stylist. I’m just me. And like you, I’m trying to make the best of most things, only I’m sharing my warts-and-all thoughts along the way.