As bloggers, there’s a thrill of excitement we all get when two little words pop into an email in our inbox: You’re Invited. It is an exciting thing to be invited to media events. But it all comes at a price. Public relations professionals have a responsibility to provide coverage for their clients. That is where you, the blogger, come in. After talking to many public relations professions, we’ve put together this list of ways bloggers can piss off public relations professionals and guarantee no future invites from them.
1. Can I bring my photographer, who also happens to be my SO?
You may think you are being clever, asking to bring your “photographer” with you. But most publicists see right through that. If you have a plus one, that’s cool, just disclose it ahead of time. “We do make every effort to accommodate the extra person, but please understand we are at the mercy of the restaurant,” Atlanta Publicist Kitsy Rose says. If we say only media, then it is only media. You may slip by us once with the “plus one” angle, but we’ll remember you next time.
2. Not writing in a timely manner
If we invite you to an event for a preview – guess what? That means we want you to write about it BEFORE the event takes place. Three months after doesn’t really help us out. In fact, while we are on the subject, if it takes you more than three months to write about out event we’ve most likely already written you off, especially if you are a new blogger we are working with.
3. Feeling entitled
I hear this from publicists all the time: Bloggers are invited to a restaurant and ask to bring numerous friends with them. The norm is you can bring one person to events or one guest when you are reviewing a restaurant. Ask for more, and you come across greedy and entitled.
4. Being a No Show
You committed to showing up. You need to do what you say. If for some reason you can’t make it email / call and let us know. We might be able to give someone else your slot. It doesn’t matter if something better came along. Keep in mind that this relationship is for the long haul not just a free meal for a midweek night.
5. Don’t skip the tip
This should go without saying but if you were invited to dine somewhere, you are getting a complimentary meal, so leave a good tip! If the gathering is a true media event with many of your peers, often times tipping is not necessary. But when you and a guest are invited to a restaurant for a review with a comped meal, a tip is customary. Many PR companies inform you of this beforehand. If the invite came directly from a restaurant, it is likely they won’t ask you to do this, but it is expected.
6. Honest Feedback
Yep. Public Relations do want your feedback. To them. Not to the public. This is a tricky one. You can’t fib on your reviews to keep getting invites. You need to provide valuable, honest content for your readers. Yet if you pan numerous clients, chances are you won’t get more invites from a particular PR company.
So what is a blogger to do? For the most part, it is almost always possible to find the good in a restaurant experience. Maybe only one appetizer was disappointing or out of two entrees, one really out-shined another. Focus more on those, even if you do mention the less than perfect dishes. You can share the full details of the negatives with the publicist.
A publicist’s job is to make the restaurant look better to the public. And restaurants do hold them accountable for freebies. Publicist’s use bloggers and other media help spread the word about new dining establishments. But keep in mind this is a relationship both sides should nurture, not abuse.