Attention PR: How to engage a mummy blogger

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Mummy bloggers Mummy blogging is on the rise in the UK and it's no surprise that I've been on the receiving end of quite a few pitches from PR people lately. My background is in marketing, so I tend to be fairly friendly. But I'm loosing my patience. Consider this:

"Please see below for a great new baby product from XXX. Please let me know if you need any info, samples or images. Thanks"

I don't have any babies (sob) my youngest is school age.

"I thought you'd be interested in our Mother's Day competition. We'd like you or your readers to nominate their mum…"

I don't think my readers are children, but maybe I'm wrong…

"Firstly I'd like to apologise for sending out a blanket email to you all…"

You've lost me already…

Most mummy bloggers are willing to engage with businesses that sell products that are relevant to our daily lives. We are consumers – we buy your products, use them daily, and have our opinions. But we're busy. Our blogs are our hobbies. We enjoy them. We aren't journalists (though many of us have been journalists or marketing professionals). With a little research and creativity, you can capture our attention.

The next time you are about to send an email pitch to a mummy blogger, read this first.

  • First and foremost — WE AREN'T MAGAZINES! We are bloggers.

  • Try to get into our heads — we are busy, we have cranky kids and hungry husbands. Some of us even have paid jobs. We write blogs because like to connect with other people who are going through similar experiences. Read the comments on this post for further insight. We aren't magazines. We don't write for our readers, we write for ourselves. This is why mums like to read our blogs. It's real. It's not a regurgitated press release about a new clothing line.

  • Why would I write about your new film with loads of violence? Think about it. If I do, it's not going to be positive…

  • We are a supportive community. We like get togethers. We aren't journalists and we don't function the same way.

  • We don't get paid for what we do (don't be fooled by the Google Ads — they earn barely enough to fuel a coffee habit.) We do this in our spare time. We don't want to read press releases. We want to have fun and a little escapism.

  • Read our blogs before you send us a pitch. If your product is aimed at babies and toddlers – don't include me, mine are school age!

  • Comment on our blogs and get to know us. You can also get to know some of us on Twitter.

  • Be creative. If you have a product that is boring, do something fun with it.

  • Time your events to fit with a mummy's schedule and have children's entertainment. If the kids are happy, mummy is happy.

  • Include us in planning your campaign and get our feedback before you made expensive mistakes. Think Twittermoms.

  • We won't say "no" to freebies. Once as a thank you I was sent a bunch of books for the kids and they came on a day one was sick, and were REALLY APPRECIATED.

  • Run a competition. Not a "put your name in a hat and win a camera" contest, but a "first twenty to write a post gets a gift certificate to Pizza Express" and the best one gets a massage.

  • We can't review anything without a sample. Sorry. And we can't return them (I've been asked).

  • If you are a mum or dad — start a parenting blog yourself. That will give you ultimate insight.

  • PR agencies — hire mums for advice, lots of us are available for part time for consulting.

  • Think before you send us something. If your product sucks is impractical, we won't be shy.

If you would like to be in touch with the mummy blogger community, please let me know.  British Mummy Bloggers is a social network for mummy bloggers (bloggers only) and we have several mums who are interested in doing reviews.  Let me know and I'll pass on the word.

Mummy bloggers — what are your pet peeves when being contacted?

Photo credit: Velveteen Mind

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25 Comments

  1. 28/09/2010 / 11:12

    Holidays are also important to grow yourself as a person and as a employee. A gap in your career makes you think more confidently and seriously about your future plans.You have given such great ideas to follow during holidays.Thanks

  2. 04/06/2010 / 21:15

    that is a nice bit of information, looks great,

  3. 07/05/2009 / 15:46

    I’m not a mum yet, but I thought your post was very straight forward and right!! I know already that I will be doing another blog when I become a mum! It’ll be so fun!

  4. 28/04/2009 / 14:12

    Brilliant post Susanna. I get so many of these and as someone who has no experience in media I was flattered at first, but now I do find them irritating if they’re worded in a way that seems like they’re doing me a favour.
    If it’s a campaign relevant and interesting to my readers, and one I feel I can write a fun post about, I’ll do it. But otherwise no. I think Potty wrote a post once about respecting her readers and it made me think more carefully about which approaches I respond to.
    Freebies are nice though…;D

  5. 20/04/2009 / 21:44

    Hi Susanna,
    I’ve been blogging for a while and after a bit of a break, am back at it, I think you make some excellent points here and I’d also like to thank you for including me in your ‘best of 2008’ post, so I’m sorry these are belated thanks but thank you!
    My biggest bugbear is PRs who send me information and when I ask them if their ‘survey’, ‘list,’awards’ or press release have any information specific to my audience (twins and multiple births) they are never heard of again.
    I continue to work as journalist alongside being a blogger and the reason I set up my blog was for there to be a ‘campaigning’ element in that I didn’t feel there was enough information out there for families of multiple birth children and I wanted to help provide that information. For that reason, I think I would add to some of the points you’ve outlined, from my point of view, rather than in general. I suppose that’s my background though – I definitely write for my readers as opposed to for me and much of the info is journalistic in its nature. I’ve purposely shied away from writing information of a more personal nature or stuff about me – there is stuff there but I feel too self-conscious to make it more often. (But then I have been known to develop ideas on the blog that turn into ‘first person’ pieces for newspapers or magazines. So I’d say that as well as noting that many of the best and most widely read blogs not being written by journalists, there are some which are.
    I’d love to know more about British Mummy bloggers and will go away now and check out the link.
    Best wishes and thanks again,
    Linda

  6. 25/03/2009 / 13:10

    We’re listening (a PR blogger;)

  7. 19/03/2009 / 21:45

    I ignore them all – I don’t want to read product plugs on other people’s blogs and I don’t want to write them on mine.

  8. 18/03/2009 / 15:39

    Brilliant post Susanna.
    As someone who has contacted parent bloggers in a PR/marketing capacity (yourself included!) I heartily agree with all of the above points =)

  9. 18/03/2009 / 06:48

    Just got a request to write about the new Care Bears series. CareBears actually gives my 5-yr-old nightmares, the people who created it should be shot. How can you make a cute little bears show so scary?! I’m sure this is payback for every bad pitch I did when I was starting my career…
    Working Mum — you do everything right, don’t worry.

  10. 17/03/2009 / 08:51

    Good post, Susanna. I’ve started getting a few badly-worded requests, now. Most of them can’t even get the blog title right, so aren’t going to get much interest from me. (I have to say that the first few I got made me feel all important and as though I was a proper journalist. Soon changed that, though.)
    I think it would be a good idea to do a post like this and keep a link on the front page. If they then send a request that clearly shows they have, at the very least, read the post, they’ll at least have their email read!

  11. 16/03/2009 / 15:59

    Agree times three! And worse than that are the stupid spam emails starting “I much like your site, would you like to favorite me?” No I bloody don’t… you review lawn mowers… have you ever seen me write about a lawn mower? Thought not!

  12. 16/03/2009 / 13:40

    i like when you said we don’t write for our readers, we write for ourselves.
    that about sums it up for me.
    i’ve gotten a couple of requests, but let them fall to the wayside, nary a response. my blog is part journal/part artistic endeavor. if i wanted to run a product review blog, i would.
    if i come across something i like, i’ll spread the word. otherwise life is too hectic to try to juggle one more thing.
    great advice, if only if would be heeded.

  13. 16/03/2009 / 13:04

    Oh very well said – just brilliant!

  14. 15/03/2009 / 20:03

    As a PR and a mummy blogger I shall give myself a stern talking to! Good post.

  15. 15/03/2009 / 18:43

    I find the PR agencies that are run by mums to be the best, they know your time is precious as is theirs so they take time to know you first and your audience so that what they do offer you for review or to advise on is usually well suited.

  16. 15/03/2009 / 14:48

    I can’t stand the ones that ask me to join and then review yet another social networking site for parents – Hello? – my blog is ‘Working Mum on the Verge’ – what makes you think I have time for playing with all the features on and then reviewing a social networking site?
    I joined British Mummy Bloggers precisely because I wasn’t asked to review it, merely invited to participate, and it is a social networking site for MUMS WITH BLOGS, ie me! Thank you, Susanna!

  17. 14/03/2009 / 16:18

    Perhaps we should put lists on our blogs of products we are willing to review (and not return). Mine would be;
    1. New car, nothing to big or fancy, just a simple a to b model
    2. A gardener – have you seen the size of my weeds!
    3. A magic card for Tescos that pays for all your shopping and I’ll gladly sing the praises of every value product they stock
    4. A tumble dryer that doesn’t eat the electric
    5. A child friendly flight, an airline that actually gets that some people travel alone with a young child and don’t have 20 pairs of hands

  18. 14/03/2009 / 09:16

    Being treated like free advertising, and then it’s worded like their doing you a favour, blah. There’s a lot of bad ones, but I’ve also recieved some great ones too, free books, vouchers, and just this week some cosmetics and they are even offering me extras to give away, which costs them practically nothing and gives me a hook in my post šŸ™‚

  19. 13/03/2009 / 22:14

    Someone asked you to send something back? Sheesh, money really must be tight!
    It seems Britain is finally catching up with America and companies are starting to realise just how powerful bloggers can be.
    That Motrin advert was a fabulous story. I can’t believe no one on the ad team asked a single parent what they thought of the ad because if they had I’m pretty sure their feedback would have been ‘can it’!

  20. 13/03/2009 / 19:26

    Nice one šŸ˜‰ I’ve just had a pathetically bad one sent to me – so poorly written I’m not even sure what they’re asking!

  21. 13/03/2009 / 19:26

    You said it all, I think. Other than one more thing – which you kind of said too, but I’m going to spell it out; Don’t patronise us. Just because we’re at home with our children doesn’t mean our brains have turned to soup. (Porridge, perhaps. Soup, no).

  22. 13/03/2009 / 17:36

    I think I would be very cooperative if I could test drive a sports car, review a five star hotel with spa and wear a ball gown to do the washing up in! I love your guide – well done ;0)

  23. 13/03/2009 / 15:56

    I like that one about “start a parenting blog yourself”. You’re right.
    I have to say I don’t get very many of these kind of approaches. But I don’t want them either, so that’s fine.