The Atlanta PR Guy: 9 Things Food Bloggers Wish PR Professionals Knew

Malika Bacon

I asked Atlanta food blogger Malika Bowling to pen a special guest blog this week on food bloggers and PR folks. Malika is the author of Food Lovers’ Guide to Atlanta, Food Blogging 101 and founder of Atlanta Restaurant Blog.  More on how to contact her at the end.

Read on and learn!

When I began blogging, seven years ago, publicists never sent press releases to bloggers. Most of my information came from signing up for restaurants’ email newsletters. Now, my inbox is bombarded with pitch after pitch of news that I can barely keep up with. Want to hone your pitching skills? Here are some tips on pitching bloggers and things we wish publicists knew.

  1. Not All Food Bloggers have Evolved Equally

Most publicists like to put food bloggers all in one neat little box labeled bloggers that they send a mass press release out to so they can check that box that says “Blogger Outreach.” While newbie bloggers are voracious for new content, established bloggers will be pickier about what they publish. So, make sure you know your target and align your message accordingly.

  1. If you don’t know me, you don’t care how I am

…So can we put a moratorium on emails that start with “Hi, I hope you are doing well!”? Introduce yourself and show me how familiar you are with my blog and why I am a good fit to work with you. We want to know you have taken the time to get to know us via our blog. Think of this as an ongoing relationship, not a one-night stand.

  1. Promoting an event? Give me a Link.

It’s swell that you’ve learned to stop attaching word docs with your release and just put them in the body of an email. But when I do promote your event you need to have somewhere to direct someone other than just to “call the restaurant.” If you don’t know about adding events to the website, create an event on Facebook. Then I have somewhere to send people who are interested and want more information.

  1. Send Sample Tweets in Email Pitches

Now that you understand about event creation, can we talk about tweeting? Your clients’ information isn’t always worthy of a blog post, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to share it! We have multiple social media channels, which are the perfect place for this information, but don’t make me hunt for the information. Send a sample tweet that is ready to go or I can edit. Remember to include your client’s social media handle and that a tweets is 140 characters.

  1. We Judge You by the Events You Invite Us To

Publicists get together and dish, and guess what? Bloggers do the same about you. Have a couple bad events, and you get on our B list. From starting events late, to not having enough food, to charging us for food during a media dinner (yes, that’s actually happened), a poorly planned event won’t be forgotten.

  1. Promote Us On Social Media

Although there are some bad seeds in the food blogger world, many of us are conscientious and take pride in our blogs. When we write a glowing post about your restaurant, it would be nice if you shared it on social media (provided it is professional and grammatically correct). So often we email it to you and it is never shared on social at all. Does your client have a press page? We want to be on that.

  1. Sometimes You Suck at Communication

Funny that your job is communication, yet you do a poor job of this sometimes. I’ve had countless conversations with bloggers about media reservations at restaurants where they showed up and the restaurant knew nothing about said reservation or worse, presented them with a check at the end of the meal. Publicists cite bloggers for not fact checking, yet I know from personal experience, many emails for more information go un-returned.

  1. We Know What Earned vs. Paid Media is, Do You?

Some of us have been blogging for quite some time: see point 1. We’ve garnered a following not only of blog readers, but on social media as well. In essence, we are the brand. For some, it’s lead to careers as brand ambassadorships or social media coaching and even earning a living from our blog. So, this means if you want us to promote your brand, we may ask for compensation, just as any other publisher would.

  1. A Complimentary Meal Goes a Long Way

It’s always surprising how many publicists fire off email after email to bloggers asking them to promote their clients’ events without ever offering them a sample. If I’ve never tried your client’s restaurant, how can I recommend it to my readers? But if I have and I like it, I’ll be a champion for your client. If this concept seems alien to you, I recommend you read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point.

Bonus: Stop letting your clients create websites with PDFs of their menus. That is so 2005.

Malika Bowling is the author of Food Lovers’ Guide to Atlanta, Food Blogging 101 and founder of Atlanta Restaurant Blog. She has been featured on HGTV and The Huffington Post and has been a contributing writer to USA Today. Malika also has served as a judge at various culinary competitions and food festivals, including Taste of Atlanta. She is the President of the Association of Food Bloggers, and you can follow her on Twitter @ATLEatsNTweets and on Instagram @malika_bowling.

 

Mitch Leff is The Atlanta PR Guy. He’s the president of Leff & Associates Public Relations (www.leffassociates.com), an Atlanta-based PR agency.

Leff also operates Leff’s Atlanta Media (http://www.leffsatlantamedia.com) an online database with contact info for thousands of Atlanta-based journalists, and Mitch’s Media Match (www.mitchsmediamatch.com), a service that connects Atlanta journalists with local experts and sources.

Contact him at mitch@leffassociates.com, (404) 861-4769, on Twitter (@mitchleffPR), or on Facebook at Mitch Leff.

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