As your blog becomes more influential, more people want to take advantage of that influence for their own purposes, and those purposes might actually oppose yours.
All too often, those people are PR people.
Here’s how it happens.
Most blogs have a contact form. The PR person will use that form to send you a message about the launch of a new product, or some terrific new blog post created by their client, or perhaps just to tell you about a news release that they “think will interest your readers”.
If they don’t say so directly, their hope is that you’ll go ahead and blog about whatever they’re contacting you about. It’s easy for them to ask since they are not usually giving anything in return, and it doesn’t take much of their time to reach out to you this way. And they’ll do so even when they know that many bloggers will ignore them.
Moving with the herd
But here’s the thing- if you actually go ahead and blog about the same information that the PR person sent out to dozens or possibly even hundreds of people, even if the news really will interest your readers, by doing so you’re following the pack and not standing out at all.
Your blog will revert to just being yet another blog, and your blog post won’t be found anywhere near the top search results for the news story.
The PR person doesn’t really care about the long-term impact of their request on your blog, they just want to reach out to as many people as possible or at least, as many relevant people as possible.
It’s up to you to protect your blog and your brand.
What are your options?
1) Ignore the request
This is what most people would do. It’s easy, and even the PR person knows that many of their requests are going to get ignored, so they’ll rarely bother you a second time, let alone complain.
2) Blog the news
But then, you’re not doing yourself any favors, as we already said.
However, there is a 3rd option.
3) Get an original angle
Usually the best possible result. Engage the PR person to see if there’s a way of presenting their news in a unique way – or at least, different to what they’re suggesting – and that is still relevant to your readers. Can they sponsor a contest? Arrange for an audio or video podcast? Let you email 5 questions to the celebrity/author/VIP involved?
So the next time a PR person contacts you for some free exposure, stand for your brand and get more value for your readers too.