Marketing to Mom Bloggers: Still needs work.

It’s been a while since I gave PR a hard time about pitching this blog. I’ve grown increasingly more tolerant and accepting of the fact that most people just suck at their jobs. Also that the idea of READING A BLOG that you’re pitching or at least having a basic understanding of it is simply too hard a thing. Especially when you’re a junior PR exc–or possibly, “Intern 2”–and your boss is like, Hey Michelle…here’s a list of 100 random mommybloggers. Do me a favor and send out a form letter will ya? Oh, and when you’re done, there’s some leftover donuts in conference room B.

How can we compete with donuts, really? I understand. Truly I do. Especially those honey-glazed ones. Fantastic!

But there’s one pitch I got last night from a major PR firm that just, well, wow.

The headline:

Need meal ideas for Lent? Check out what [famous cartoon character tuna fish spokesman] has to say!

Here’s why Mom-101 might not want to hear what [famous cartoon character tuna fish spokesman] has to say about meal ideas for Lent:

1. I’m Jewish. An Athiest Jew at that. Last I checked, denial of tasty meat products to commemorate the resurrection of our lord and savior Jesus Christ was not part of our repertoire.

2. Nate is a chef. Of the Michael Pollan variety. If he caught me making “tuna chili” from a can he’d kick me out.

3. I am not someone you want entrusting with “tuna chili.”

4. Even the thought of a tuna fish sandwich triggers my gag reflex. Please don’t ever order one when you’re sitting next to me. I will have to switch seats and then…you know. Awkward.

5. This blog doesn’t exist for reviewing products, passing on marketing information, hosting contests, or disseminating recipes, coupons, or VALUABLE OFFERS! for my readers. It says so right at the very top of my blog, right where I list my contact info.

6. Did I mention I’m Jewish?

I’m headed to the Mom 2.0 Summit in Houston today,  and I’m speaking on an amazing panel about FTC regulations as a tool to strengthen PR and reader relationships–although not about pitching. Stefania Butler, Stephanie Schwab, Amie Adams and Ciaran Blumenfeld are covering that one. 

In the end, I don’t care if you know my first name or if you write “Dear mommyblogger” or if your press release is 6000 words long. I’m long past that. I’d just like the ratio of relevant to irrelevant pitches start to tilt in the right direction. It feels to me, however, that it’s all going the wrong way.


46 thoughts on “Marketing to Mom Bloggers: Still needs work.”

  1. Agreed. It truly feels as if: a) the volume of pitches has grown exponentially in the last year; and b) most of them suck by virtue of being totally ill directed.

    I am eager for the tide to turn as well. -Christine

  2. It's so funny you talked about the “Intern 2” thing because aside from the ridiculousness of it, I guess they're taking the whole “disclosure” thing seriously.

    Interns are no longer sending emails in the guise of some bigwig. They are who they are, the lowly intern #2.

  3. Pitches of late have sucked more than usual. And those pitches are coming from firms I used to think had it together.

    Seriously though, Nate needs to realize there is nothing sexier than his woman in the kitchen making tuna melts.

    Oh geez, I think I just made myself sick. Cartoon tuna character or not.


  4. I aspire to someday be so widely read that I too get obnoxious and irrelevant pitches from Intern 2! Alas, it's still mostly just my mom.

  5. LOL… Thanks for sharing.

    My latest has been a relentless push to 'inform' my readers about a valuable offer for them to design their own t-shirts.

    … Maybe they're shooting for the crowd who print photos of their grandkids on their t-shirts? Who knows.

    Although — I just might design YOU one that says 'I heart tuna casserole'…

    – Julia at Midwest Moms

  6. I a torn. Mainly because I am both a blogger and a marketing professional.

    The marketing side of me cringed as I read that. Never in a million years would I put out a PR pitch related piece like that. To not take at least the time to learn someone's name is just plain lazy and sloppy marketing in my mind.

    But, at the same time, the blogger side of me, went, geeze, get over it. Be thankful that you are even being contacted. Be grateful that someone out there in PR land thinks that your content and your audience is worthy of even being asked in the first place. Because, well, being asked is half the battle and some of are never even asked or considered.

  7. As a practicing Jew, I too got the pitch from Intern 2. Read the headline and clicked deleted. Now realize I threw away perfectly good blog fodder.

  8. Maybe the interns can't read? They certainly can't comprehend; I keep getting pitches for Christian books. Since I frequently rant about the evils of Evangelicals, I can only guess they're searching for the term and not reading the text around it.

  9. Great, now I want a tuna sandwich. Maybe Intern 2 can deliver it, around 11ish? With a couple of those donuts?

    (Does this mean the pitch worked, in some odd way??)

  10. I am constantly amazed that A) Any PR people have found my blog at all and B) That they did not notice I have never, ever reviewed a product.

    I feel bad for them, though, especially the interns. I suspect they are overworked and underpaid. (All the doughnuts you can eat!)

  11. Thanks for the reminder on why I left the pr industry! I hated being associated with heartless/unconnected campaigns like this one. Due dilligence people, know your audience.

  12. I got that pitch as well with a name attached and don't practice lent. I'm a closet semi-atheist hillbilly in KY. Does that make sense? On a side note, I get nauseous thinking about tuna chili. GROSS.

    The irrelevant pitches appear way to much in my email.

  13. All of my emails are forwarded to one address, I've been meaning to separate them for sometime now because it seems like the PR pitches are increasing.

    My most favorite is the FOLLOW-UP “Hi mommy blogger. I'm just following up to see if you got our email about…”

  14. This sounds like the kind of thing that may have gone out through a program like Vocus, Cision, or BurrellesLuce, where the PR person created their media list off a keyword like “parenting” (ugh). I checked and Mom-101 is not in Vocus, so no worries there, but if it becomes a huge problem for you, you can always contact Cision, Burrelles, and the rest and tell them exactly what kind of pitches you don't want to receive (or tell them to take you out altogether). It's no excuse, I know, for poor research on the part of the actual pitch-er, and it stinks that the pitch-ee would have to do the work.

  15. Agreed.
    And hey, I got a pitch yesterday informing me that since I couldn't get laid by my own rights, would I perhaps like to try out a sex toy?
    So it could be worse.

  16. Wow. “So setting aside that you're Jewish and physically nauseated by canned tuna…could you please pretty please review our crap-tastic tuna?”

    I'm just curious…I started my blog in September. When do you think I will start getting harassed by marketers? I'm starting to feel left out (or not).

  17. I got it, too. I thought there was some wacky twist and that they were specifically targeting Jewish bloggers with that pitch.

  18. @HaB

    You know, about 15-20 times a day, every day, I delete pitches from my inbox without another thought. I delete another 100-150 from my Cool Mom Picks inbox. It's part of what I do and I accept that.

    But then I thought you know, there might be some Jewish bloggers out there who would be offended by the assumption that we all are practicing Christians. And they wouldn't just feel “thankful” that someone noticed them. So I'm going to write about it with the hopes that maybe someone somewhere takes notice and thinks twice about it.

    Of course I'm more offended that someone thought that I like tuna from a can.

  19. Tuna fish chili. Who on earth thought THAT was a good idea?

    True story: I went to cooking school briefly. Part of the deal was to prepare meals for the school cafeteria (it was a community college). We used leftover meat from (unserved) entrees to make the daily chili. Until someone used the fish. Then it took about a year for anyone to order the chili again, because, as Chef said “Once you've gotten fish chili, you just don't forget it quickly.”

  20. Ouch. Intern 2 might be crying in her cubicle. As a PR person, I still don't always know how to approach bloggers. Still, I would never push a tuna bake on anyone, no matter how much they paid me.

  21. Great post. As a Catholic who does eat fish on Ash Wed, I have to tell you how humilating it was yesterday while at the Javitz Center when a stranger walked up to me and took her fingers and began rubbing my ashes off my head. Apparently she didn't read my tweets about going to mass at St. Patrick's or the speedy 16 minute mass. You are right, it doesn't hurt to get to know your market online or off.

  22. I LOOOOOVE tuna from a can, although I don't buy that crappy brand who wrote to you; I have SOME standards. And tuna chili should be illegal. Even I threw up in my mouth a little reading that.

    The sad thing though? I bet marketers wouldn't be so lazy about knowing their bloggers if such untargeted emails didn't work. Instead, I fully expect to see a whole bunch of Tweets showing up telling me about how awesome tuna chili is and linking to blog posts all about tuna dishes for Lent. Sigh.

  23. I was not a tuna sandwich fan, until my first daughter was born and the hospital fed me one and it was the first meal I'd eaten in months without feeling nauseous. Now I'm all about tuna. But, sadly, I'm not about Lent. Missed opportunities, right? 😉

  24. I haven't stopped laughing yet — or thanking God that we don't have any interns. Hey, let's all remember that marketers are human, too, and no matter how hard we try, sometimes we may not get it quite right. Although I think some of us may try harder than others.

    So…does this mean you're not coming to the house for Easter dinner?

  25. Hah, so you're one of the PR spammers that send me stuff that you want me to post on my blog for all my dear readers to read about? Classic. I always wondered who those people were and where they came from.

  26. Tuna chili? That's just disgusting. I'm Catholic and the “not eating meat” thing — so yesterday.

    I know your post was about PR failures, but I couldn't get past the tuna chili.

  27. Wow, eye-opening!

    I've only been blogging in earnest for about a month, so I am pretty confident that the interns and assistants will not acknowledge my existence any time soon. I cannot wait to hear from Intern 11 – as a brand new blogger, I imagine that Intern 2 is WAY beyond my grasp! Well, gives me something to shoot for. Aim high!

  28. how sad it is that I read your blog and was only jealous. Would love to have so many readers that I would get form letters…. ah well. I am dreaming BIG! 🙂

  29. I'm with getrealmommy. Send your sub par PR pitches my way, baby! (Even though I too am a non-practicing Jew, I'd consider giving up something for Lent. Maybe. If it's not bitchy-ness which is too hard to forgo, or meat. Or carbs. Or sugar. Well, if someone sends you something real creative, before you chuck it, forward it to me…)

  30. Tuna…ewwww…
    Really intelligent response, right? I don't have to deal with PR people but I've found that most people just “phone it in” when it comes to work.

  31. It's amazing to me what companies will entrust to interns these days. I understand everyone needs to cut costs where they can, but REALLY? For example, I came across a job listing the other day for a college intern and for college credit (no money) that said, “Create official corporate blog and write weekly content” … “creating an online personality” for the company. “Research parenting blogs and websites and feed brand into discussions.” Fantastic! I can pour my heart out about how difficult it was to breastfeed my first born and someone can leave the comment, “Snooki would fist pump to that!”

  32. It would be my hope that when you let the marketer know about what happened she doesn't respond with “Oh wow, the same thing happens to me because I'm Fillintheblank.” The appropriate response is “I apologize, I should have read your blog and I didn't. I made a mistake, thank you for bringing it to my attention. Next time I will take the time to read prior to contacting you and make sure what I send is relevant to your posts and readership.”

    And if the next pitch she sent started out with “Dear Lisa” and also wished you “Happy Passover”, I would be fine with that. People mess up names all of the time. Like you said in your post, it's the other stuff that matters more.

  33. The sin of sending a recipe for Tuna Chili is a difficult one to forgive. I'm glad it wasn't sent to me, it would make Yom Kippur very difficult.

  34. I think this is an appropriate time to spare a moment of gratitude for the PR folks who do their jobs well. I'm an editor in the print media* and get literally thousands of pitches a day. I delete 99.44 percent of them, but I couldn't do my job without the remaining .56 percent.

    (*How long do we think THAT is going to last?)

  35. Amen – all praise the good ones! And I hope they know who they are because I do my best to tell them all the time.

  36. I have to say that tuna is gross. I'm Catholic and my mother made tuna casserole all too often. Lent is tough for me!

    When I read the opening paragraph I knew this post would be good! How they overlooked reading your blog before sending that pitch still amazes me.

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