I was surprised to hear that one mommy blogging community (Momdot) has called for a PR blackout for a week in August.
"MomDot is challenging bloggers to participate for one week in August in a PR Blackout challenge where you do not blog ANY giveaways, ANY reviews, and Zero press releases. In fact, we don't want you to talk to PR at ALL that whole week. We want to see your blog naked, raw, and back to basics."
Not all mom bloggers agree and many are glad to stay out of this social media war. There's a wide array of opinion on this subject.
Check out #PRblackout on Twitter.
It seems that doing reviews and giveaways in response to PR requests has become the bane of some mom bloggers' existence. They say they're feeling stressed by the deadlines and the demands of producing content for someone else's benefit.
Do I hear the journalists laughing in the background?
I'm both a PR person and a blogger and I see two sides to this story:
Since most bloggers are free agents - they have complete editorial control over the content on their blogs and they have no editor or publisher to answer to - I'm more than a bit puzzled by the need for a PR blackout.
If a mom doesn't want to do a product review, she doesn't have to. I get press releases and requests for reviews every day. I use the ones I feel benefit my content policy and my readers' interests. The rest I ignore. As one mom said on Twitter, "what happened to your delete button?"
Some Moms are trying to build up their readership and turn their blog into a money-making enterprise. Any start-up business is stressful. You have to put in longer hours and do things you'd not have to if the blog were just for self expression.
But even then it's necessary to know what you will and wont do to build that traffic and/or ad income. I just moved my blog, The Proactive Report,
to a new home and I've been up at 5 a.m. every day for more than a month
now working on various aspects of the blog to keep the traffic numbers
up. This is by choice. I did it knowingly and willingly.
At BlogHer last year, in the blogging and PR session, it was suggested that a blogger should post a clear PR policy so that marketers and PR folk could see what she is (and isn't) willing to do.
Perhaps this PR blackout will create the need for those mom bloggers
who do feel pressured by PR requests to formulate such a policy, post
it front and center on thir blogs and adhere to it.
Getting a blogger to write something about your company or client is most likely to occur if you:
- Read their articles/blog posts
- Understand their audience
- Offer an interesting and/or newsworthy piece of content
- Build a genuine relationship with them
- Understand their content needs and their deadlines (or time restraints)
- Become a helpful resource for them
Bloggers don't leap out of bed every day thrilled that they get to do product reviews, They didn't start a blog so we PR folk could hound them for coverage.
When you become a stress factor in their lives they're likely to push back in one way or another. Some just hit the delete button. Sometimes, as in this case, it can escalate.
But when you do it right, it can be wonderfully successful and rewarding - for both parties.