Little secret about blogging

One of the little known areas about blogging is the PR machine that tries to reach the bloggers.  I thought it might be amusing to open the curtain a bit.  When I started blogging in 2004, it was still a relatively new medium.  I actively wrote for about 5 years and developed a large readership.  Before the meltdown of 2008,  baby boomers were still trying to find and keep jobs and reinvent themselves as they heading into their 50’s and 60’s.  Very few of us talked about boomers…it wasn’t “the demographic” that advertisers were looking for.  However, because the small group of us were very niched, anyone who was trying to sell anything to those edging to gray, reached out.  And quite creatively at the beginning, too.  Companies wanted their products to be authentic and I was inundated with cell phones with large numbers, boomer-geared music, books, movies, lingerie…from electronics to mobile homes to funeral offerings…marketers wanted a real picture to be shared on the web.

By 2009, Yelp and other user-reviewed sites had started to gain traction and marketing moved away from sharing of true experiences, and twitter parties, contests and user stories, to a search for reviews.  So publicists started offering their CEO’s, writers, talent, inventors and experts for interview, so that they’d have their online “quotables”.

I slowed down my blogging in 2009 for various reasons.  First, it was depressing to try and help others find work when there really was no work available for anyone…let alone anyone over 45.  Secondly, my business (a pet care services company) was taking off and I really didn’t have the time to devote to the hours I needed to write thoughtful posts.  So I laid back, but always kept a finger in here and there when something interested struck me.

From 2009 to today, every day, I am inundated by press releases from agencies who would like my reviews.  And clearly, they just want a review, because in 2015, there is no doubt…an online review by someone who has a good audience carries more weight than almost any other venue of advertising. How do you choose a restaurant today?  Usually Yelp or Google reviews guide the way.  Find a gardener or handyman?  Angie’s List, Nextdoor Neighbors.  How does a movie gain traction?  Rotten Tomatoes will make or break it, along with what fans are saying on Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr.  Because I blogged for a long time, I’m on a lot of lists.  I don’t mind that at all.  But I’m finding it a rare day that something comes across my laptop screen that compels me to dig deeper.

If I were a publicist today I’d be focusing the same way, probably try to be a bit clearer about my targets and try to be a bit interested in who I’m trying to connect with.  I’d also get rid of market speak.  “Hello!  How are you?  I’m reaching out to you today to….”  or “Hi. Our CEO would love to connect with your readers…” or “Hi! Following up on our communication last week to see if…”.

Anyway, I do read all the plugs because you never know what’ll be interesting to you.  So, if I do share my thoughts on something with you, or review a product or a bit of literature, it’s because I felt it was something worth sharing.

Hope you enjoy the window into this funny little world.

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