(I don’t make a habit of using the ‘more’ tag, but this is gonna be a long one. Apologies to the full feed readers.)
I exchanged several e-mails with Dan Williams, the PR guy with SpecialOpsMedia that I wrote about last week. For those following the story, here is what happened..
I hope you are doing well. I saw your post this morning and just wanted to apologize to you personally for your not delivering on promised DVDs.
As you can imagine we send out emails when campaigns start the email volume responses can be a bit hectic and sometimes difficult to wade through. The two DVDs you mentioned in your post were to be mailed out directly from a fulfillment person and not from me personally. So I often have to go with the assumption that the requests we forward on are being fulfilled in a timely manner by our fulfillment person. That said, it’s clear from your disappointment that I should have done a better job making sure you received what was promised to you.
As an act of good faith and a measure to show you that you and all bloggers we work with are of the greatest importance to us and our clients. I am personally sending out some copies to you today from our offices, in an effort to improve our reputation among you and your colleagues.
I do help this helps in some small way to re-establish a relationship.
If you ever need to contact me please feel free to do so.
Ps. Can you please resend your address And I’ll send out the product.
This felt a little canned to me, and honestly just served to annoy me more, so I sent him this.
I have thought long and hard over whether or not to even reply to your email, but in the end decided it would be an opportunity to take advantage of. Please take this message in the spirit it was intended- not to bust your chops, but to enlighten you a little from the bloggers point of view.
To tell a blogger the email can be difficult to wade through says that you don’t read all your emails. Maybe some of them are handled by someone else; maybe you have a sorting method that needs improving, who knows. Would it help to have the email marked high priority, or do you welcome phone calls if a problem like this arises? Consider adding something along those lines to the form email that gets sent out, so we know we truly are welcome to contact you, and that it will be considered a priority, not just another email you have to wade through.
To offer to send the movies now shows you really misunderstood what the problem was. The dvd’s are not the issue. I appreciate the offer to rectify that end of the situation, but that truly is not what got me so annoyed. It was the lack of respect shown to someone you are basically asking to work for you for free. To not answer emails shows that you are, intentionally or otherwise, treating your list of bloggers like a spam list. I initially welcomed this opportunity because my readers are your perfect target audience, and it gives us something good to write about that day. I enjoy Disney movies, my kids love them, and so it was a welcome change to know beforehand that the review would most likely be favorable. The movies not showing up were not a terribly big deal, it was the lack of response to my emails, topped with yet another message about yet another movie.
Would you be inclined to do a favor for someone who ignored you unless they wanted something?
Finally, please consider keeping your bloggers mailing addresses on file. For you to have to ask for information I know I’ve sent you at least twice shows me that I am important enough to keep a contact card on, but not important enough to actually fill it out. Once again you edge dangerously close to treating it like a spam list. If there truly is going to be a ‘relationship’ in any sense of the word, you have to begin realizing there is a person behind the email address, and we deserve just as much respect as any other client you work with.
As I mentioned, I will be doing a short series on PR-bloggers relations at http://www.suburbanoblivion.com over the next week, I would certainly welcome your comments and input, and hope you will take this as an opportunity to think about the way you handle such situations in the future.
(Continued after the jump)
I then got this from him-
Thank you for taking the time to respond. I appreciate your honesty.
In truth, to get such candid feedback from someone is a great asset to a person in my position. It helps me do my job better. Too often it’s just anonymous back and forth email, – which can be an impersonal and insensitive approach, and an approach which I of course have been guilty of engaging in from time to time. I agree with your points about prominent contact information on all my emails so that those that receive them may feel welcome to reach out to me, just as I have done to them. It’s a two way street, and the people we rely on for partnerships are incredibly important and we should show that better.
I can now also see how my attempts to rectify the situation, may have been misguided, and not a real solution to the problem. However, with out the ability to go back in time, I wanted in some way to make amends, and not offend further.
It’s actually quite refreshing to have some enlightenment towards a different perspective, and will allow me to reassess how best to correspond and interact with our partners. For what it is worth, please take this as my resolution to continually show respect for the people we work with and take to heart the points in your email. Again, feel free to contact me any time, should you want to discuss anything further or if I can help you out in any way.
I look forward to reading your upcoming posts.
I decided not to leave it at that, and called him a couple days later. (I think I surprised him, but he was gracious about it.) We ended up having a really good conversation about bloggers and PR, and how the system works. I understand a little better his position, and there is no doubt he has learned a bit through all this. 😉 It ended on a good note, and whether he is really good at his job, or truly sincere about it all, I have agreed to continue working with him on future campaigns, hopefully branching out to more than just kids videos.
I still think there is a lot to be improved on both sides of this kind of relationship, so here shortly I am going to try to tackle how we can better handle blogger/PR relations. Stay tuned!