May 22, 2007

Bad Blogger Pitch Week

As more and more PR firms large and small jump into the space they call social media, which only vaguely resembles the social media space we who participate online play around in, the number of bad PR pitches is escalating. There’s dough to be made. There are plenty of junior people at PR firms with MySpace pages. It’s a match made in billable-hours heaven.

I’m getting several of these pitches a day, where I used to only get a couple a week. They are getting stupider, even though the tools that slice and dice bloggers into media outlets should be getting smarter. The problem is that we were never targets; we were never outlets; we never said we were media; we still aren’t. Old PR models still don’t work here.

Word to your Account Exec.

This became oh so apparent yesterday when Toby Bloomberg let some of us in on a pitch she got from a 'teen-and-t'ween PR person who is at least somehow affiliated with Fleishman-Hillard (still pondering if this is an FH site or some off brand) trying to lure Toby into caring about the site with talk of Marlo Thomas and Mary Tyler Moore.

Allison of The Next Big Thing sent Toby the pitch that shows she’s never read Toby and doesn’t know what Diva Marketing is about. She doesn’t know the folks Toby cc’s on her reply back either—although she pledges to add us to her “RSS”. I have a Tween and I worked in BigPR long enough to know the extent to which PR cares about tween$ is reflected in that little s at the end.

Now, Toby’s gotten tired of these pitches, but is among the tireless who still take the time to respond to them in an attempt to educate the would-be media relations people or perhaps shut them up until they take the time to READ.

Because most of these pitches are veiled attempts to get you to HIRE THESE PEOPLE as YOUR NEXT "SOCIAL MEDIA PR ONLINE MARKETING WHAT HAVE YOU" CONSULTANT or to USE THEIR SERVICES OR THE SERVICES OF THEIR CLIENTS, not, as they would like you to believe, to add something useful to your day, allow me to provide my tips for choosing a social media consultant in the form of a little quiz you can use in your own business.

Make no mistake: I think that you should work with people who actually participate in social spaces – many of whom started out as bloggers and who are still bloggers – rather than XYZ PRPros or BigPR Central. So lets see how the next people who come looking for your money or attention do on my Social Media Partner Quiz:

  • Do you blog? Please provide a link (with a link to your archives).
  • What does the word “Blog” stands for?
  • Who has been celebrated as the mother of blogging?
  • Who is the father of podcasting? Who says they are the father of podcasting? Who's right? (Are you willing to say so at BloggerCon?)
  • Which President invented the Internet?
  • Do you participate in conversations with key influencers in the Technorati Top 500? Name them.
  • Have you ever argued online with Robert Scoble?
  • Where doesn’t Robert work?
  • Is your blog among the Technorati Top 5,000?
  • Is an aggregator used 1) to waste time at work, 2) to make your car go, 3) to track blogs you want to read, 4) all of the above.
  • How far back do your blog archives go?
  • Does a MySpace login use numbers or letters?
  • Have you ever twittered before a date? After? During?
  • What’s CSS?
  • Have you been published on topics germane to this industry in mainstream media?
  • Send me links to your blog, podcasts, videos, myspace page, orkut page, youtube page, facebook page, flickr photos and Kaneva page. When I said Kaneva, did you say God bless you?
  • Do you spend at least half of your on-the-phone time with other bloggers, Internet lovers, or people in your industry?
  • Name some of your best friends online.
  • Name some of your best enemies online. (note: immediate disqualification if none listed -- you haven’t been here long enough.)
  • Did your read Cluetrain? Was it about 1) freedom 2) the rail and transportation industry or 3) best practices?

For a brief written evaluation of test results and recommendations, paypal $29.95 to