It’s not all free meals and celebrity launches. Like many of the bloggers I know, I have a day job. We blog because we enjoy food. We love accepting invitations to openings, chances to try products or use new gadgets. But we fit all these around what we do to earn a wage. We work hard at what we do.
So what is our value?
A recent example: A PR person wants me to sit in a coffee shop until I feel I had been there too long. They wanted me to take notes as I stay there and hand them over to their copywriter to write up. Oh, and as an incentive, they would buy me a coffee and a piece of cake. They tell me this exercise would benefit my blog and their client. How? This is so wrong on many counts.
- The assumption I have nothing better to do all day than sit drinking coffee
- That I would go to my favourite cafe and outstay my welcome. Why would I do that?
- That my time is worth £5.
All the writers for Edinburgh Foody take time to write their posts. We do not regurgitate press releases. Whilst we write because we love to write, we hope we have some worth.
Not all PR companies are the same
Some PR companies I rate really highly. They only pitch what they know will work for the blog and they know we will treat the assignment with our usual enthusiasm and honesty. I love working with these PR companies.
Others (and these seem to be mainly based outside Scotland), send me:
Emails about openings in London.
“You must let me know by lunchtime if you want to attend the launch of this or that”.
Trips or items that are not relevant:
“Would I like to go on a familiarisation trip to Essex?”
“Would I like to review a wedding venue?”
Non-food related items
“Would I like to review a laundry app?”
Okay, I realise they are just sending a blast to a list, but come on, their clients are paying for them to promote their restaurant or product and probably quite a high monthly fee. I think I should reply “If you would like to pay for travel, I will attend”.
Other PR people (mostly when they are not located locally), barely seem to know the Scottish product they are promoting. We asked the question recently “How did the company get its name?”. The PR person admitted they did not know.
Should we be honest?
On the Edinburgh Foody blog, we always aim to be positive. If we really don’t like something, we give feedback rather than write a poor review. Is the feedback taken? Despite our best endeavours, probably not. Should we just write it up anyway?
It is not easy being green
When I say green, Kermit green rather than being eco friendly. Perhaps the description and purpose of a blogger and of course our worth needs defining. We’d love to work with you but please think about what you’re asking.
And I still have no idea how me sitting in a café too long could benefit anyone.
A blogger did take up the challenge. Read her post on the requester’s site.
Alice Finbow did a residence as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival at Mannahouse Bakery “An attempt at exhausting a place” where she sat and observed all that went on over many days. Now that makes sense.
Spot on assessment. I think what we do will always mean there is an “interesting” relationship with the world of PR. And that’s coming from someone who used to work in the industry.
Amusing thing is that they are still trying to find someone to do it. A blogger now based in Berlin (!) was approached
Nice honest article and it pretty much sums up why I write reviews of places on Google – I’m a Google local guide (formally “City Experts”) and I only really write the stuff I do because I like to remember good experiences and writing about it helps – not because someone is willing to give me a fiver.
Keep up the good work everyone. All the best, Rich.
Thank you Rich. I definitely think you’ve got the right idea.