PR Companies and New Media Publishing (Part 1)

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2006 is the year I started my personal blog. What most of you don’t know is I’ve been blogging on web development, food and entertainment as far back as 2002. The year 2006 is significant to me because I got introduced to New Media Publishing. I know a few bloggers who raised their eyebrows, that bloggers should not be attending PR events or product launches because it is “unethical”. Let me just say that these bloggers are entitled to their own opinion and I’d like to leave it at that.

I have my reasons for venturing into new media publishing.

1. I want unique and fresh content for my shopping and lifestyle , food blog , tech blog , wedding blog and entertainment blog , just to mention a few. Modesty aside, my blogs rake in a high page rank which almost always yields high search engine results for certain keywords.

Sure, I can blog about the places I go, the food I eat, my gadgets and my shopping spree but how often is that? I don’t shop or eat out everyday! What about new product launches or that new store that just opened? How would I know if I were not invited?

While more and more companies utilize blog as a marketing tool, I attend only those events which I believe adds value to my blog. If I don’t believe in the product, why bother writing about it? At the least, if I had fun, I’ll write about the experience and bonding moments with the bloggers.

2. I love meeting new people and interacting with bloggers.

I isolated myself for many years. In a way, I can look at blogging as my part of my new life, this new normal that bereaved parents often seek. In recovery, I learned to live, to enjoy my life and handle situations as they come.The benefits of blogging indeed spread the word on my advocacy and brought me new friendships and adventure beyond my wildest imagination. Going to blogger parties and PR events is a whole new adventure for me.

3. I learn something new each time. It can even be a life-changing experience.

A few skeptics think that all this latest PR strategy inviting bloggers is such a cheap blog marketing stint. “Give some food and freebies” and then bloggers will write about that product or service. I don’t know with you but I don’t like to eat much. I watch my diet. I am not after the food. (See number 1 and 2 reasons). And those freebies, excuse me, but I have the means to buy my own stuff. Thank you.

If these PR agencies want to give freebies, then well and good. I am not compelled to write about them. I am not even compelled to write good reviews. If I gush over a product or service, it means that I have had experience or used it already. I publish them because I like the unique content which can be valuable to my readers or the random visitors from organic searches.

A few PR events that enlightened me.

  • 2.1 After being invited to the Amway’s launch of Nurtilite Food Supplements, I stopped eating red meat for over a month now.
  • 2.2 The Fisher Farms Experience exposed me to fish products that I didn’t know was possible to manufacture and best of all available to consumers. I got to relive the good old food technologist days and found myself updated with the latest food technology.
  • 2.3 After being invited to Ayala Land’s Nuvali and Celadon Manila launch, I also launched my own Nuvali blog, Two Serendra blog and Celadon Manila blog. I believed on the reliability of the developer because I invested in an Ayala Land property. I wanted to share these investment opportunities to my readers. It also revived my real estate brokerage.

4. I like working with that PR person/ company.

Someone once cautioned me that this particular PR is just using me. Of course, I know what I am getting into.

Now what most skeptics don’t realize is that there exists a mutually beneficial relationship between the PR and the blogger. At least for me, there is. As you can see in my number 3 reason, I gain something new each time. It may seem the PR is taking advantage of the bloggers’ “cheap thrills”. In my experience, the relationship is based on trust and respect for each other. A trustworthy PR company will not expect or force the blogger to write a false or misleading entry. If I don’t believe it adds value to my blogs, I simply won’t go or write about it. Why spend precious gasoline to attend such event or give them online presence in my blogs?

Tomorrow, I will write about my experience with a story pitch from this PR company which I believe is almost illegal, and unethical. (read the entry)

So what is your take on Philippine Companies pursuing Pinoy Bloggers for marketing deals?


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Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1385 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

  • Just don’t force the bloggers to blog about the company, the event or the product. They don’t need to hammer on it anymore. These companies pursuing bloggers should know that bloggers are entitled to their own opinions too. Meaning, a blogger can blog positively or negatively about the company despite the freebies they give. They shouldn’t expect that 100% of the bloggers they invited into a launch will like them or their products. Bloggers can make or break a person or a company. Don’t underestimate bloggers.

  • I’ve read some blogs who posted about how bloggers “cheapen” themselves by letting themselves be invited to such events. I don’t know if it’s merely envy that they didn’t get invited themselves or if they always think of other people maliciously. Attending these events doesn’t in any way meant that you’re being paid to write in a certain way. Regardless of what food, freebies, or pitch a blogger is given, it’s up to the blogger if she’ll post positively or negatively about it, or even not to blog about it at all. Yeah, I know how it feels to be accused as a sellout, because some idiot left a comment in my Coke event post (not the recent one) that I only blog positively about it because I was paid by Coke.

    I agree that it’ll be better to attend only those events that will enrich one’s experiences and cultivate interests. But I guess it’s up to the blogger as to how he’ll consider such PR invites.

    Prudences last blog post..Dodging Bullets is Futile When Someone Knows How To Curve It

  • If they say that bloggers “cheapen” themselves by attending PR events then what about those writers who earn a living by attending PR events then writing about it?

    Jerics last blog post..A shocking results show – Robby is now out of Pinoy Idol, 9 are left

  • Hi, Noemi!

    I can’t wait for your next post on the “almost illegal pitch” from a PR agency. Thanks for this post. Agree on all points! 🙂

    Abbies last blog post..A TASTE OF BEAUTY, A TASTE OF POND’S

  • @jeric- I don’t gush or write over certain events or products if I am lukewarm about it.

    @prudence- lol they should attend these events before they think it is a sellout. Truth is I like Coke Zero that’s why I attended it. I ‘ve been using it a long time now. So event or not, I will write positively about it.

    @jeric- and most bloggers don’t even earn a living from blogging. It’s just fun to do

    @abbie- hopefully I will write that entry tomorrow. I will not mention names though.

  • I wonder why, despite being the top tech blogger in the country, I have not been tapped by PR companies handling tech brands? They don’t send me MP3 players, cellphones, portable DVD players, digital frames that I can review in my blog. It’s not like I am the kind of person that will actually seek them out. Hm…

    BrianBs last blog post..Samsung P2 Blue Wave 4 Beta Released

  • @BrianB- would you believe not a lot of companies know who are the bloggers and their niche. I once talked to a top and well-known phone manufacturer who asked me if it’s possible to link up with bloggers interested to review and test their products. They only know a few. I was also once approached for a list of food bloggers. I did not want to send out names or contact infos.

  • First of all, I find joy in the fact that big (and small) companies are realizing the value of bloggers. While traditional advertising can help market a product, word-of-mouth has always counted a lot as well. And because word-of-mouth stems from a personal experience and not simply what advertisers say, it is a more potent way of influencing others about your product. It’s admirable that some companies are looking beyond TV, Radio and Print as a means to make their products and services known. They now see and understand the strength of the blogging world.

    The thing is, these companies have to understand that bloggers are entitled to their own opinions. They are NOT their PR spokespersons, unless a mutual agreement is made. That said, bloggers can write negative reviews about them, and that is a risk the companies have to take. They shouldn’t hold those bad reviews against the bloggers. You win some, you lose some. That’s all part of the marketing game.

    It’s great for bloggers, really. They get to do what they like — blogging. They get to expand their horizons by trying out different products and services offered. Good for them! Good for us! Some say it’s “cheap” and that when they write about the event, it’s because they’re just paid. I think that’s a little myopic. I am certain there’s more to it than that.

    In the end, it all comes down to integrity. If bloggers who act as PR agents blog about events and stuff because they want to, why not? They shouldn’t be given any flack for that. And companies should respect bloggers’ opinions, which will definitely be a mix of the good and bad.

    Just as it has always been with word of mouth, you win some, you lose some.

    Wow that was long.

    tonis last blog post..Because all men are little boys

  • i think some people are just jealous.. i mean, i can attend any events i like and nobody can control me if i blog about it or not, or at what degree and type for that matter.

  • i have not experienced this, but if an opportunity arises, i’m open to the idea for the same reasons. but of course, i wouldn’t want to be forced to write about something i don’t agree with or believe in.
    ^ i like and agree with toni’s comment.

  • @toni – thanks for your insights! That’s why it’s called new media publishing. I find the experience very mutually beneficial .

    @lady cess- sometimes a story idea can lead to an entry but it must be something we believe in or endorse.

  • Noems, I’m very interested in this topic because public relations is right up my alley. Yes, I’ve heard about some almost-illegal practices that Phillipines-based PR practitioners are known for — that when people who come from the Philippines meet community-based public relations practitioners from the US (like me!), they tell me that the reputation of a PR professional in the Philippines can be quite controversial.

    I’ve worked with some PR professionals in the Philippines — and the ones I know are nice enough to share with me the unwritten “rules” of their trade, which include territoriality of client accounts. In other words, I can’t just contact a national newspaper and pitch about my client. The newspaper would then contact the PR company on record (who handles my client in the Philippines) and ask them why someone else is pitching to them.

    Which brings me to the next thing. YOUR CONTACTS. They are your lifeblood. You’ve earned the right to be the “gate keeper” of your contacts since they know you, like you, and trust you. When I do my homework to find out who the respected and reputable contacts are for a particular assignment, I never ask a networker outright for a list of their contacts. Instead, I give them my list (based on my research) and ask for their confidential opinions.

    When companies ask bloggers such as yourself for recommendations of other bloggers, I would prefer that you do the accepted practice here in the US.

    Have the company write a personal e-mail to you for recommendations, explaining what they are looking for. Then, you can forward this e-mail to your friends, who will then respond accordingly — directly to them, cc: you. Now, that’s respectful!

    I really don’t like these PR companies asking you outright for your recommendations.

    I’ve noticed something about Philippines-based corporations. Many of them have the gall and temerity to ask me for my list of contacts in the Filipino American community.

    Another thing: These companies assume that I will blog about their products (sight unseen) here. When I ask these people if they have a media plan, they don’t reply. It means to me, then, that they are not willing to invest in a community-based publicist like myself to help them out in the Fil-Am market, especially when I have the contacts re: the marketing and PR people who can really help them.

    Therefore, I make it a practice to promote only the people I’ve gotten to know well — and who are not “forced” on me — and whose life philosophy resonates with mine. Yes, if they walk their truth, that’s the kind of client I want to have.

    So, for those PR people in the Philippines who are reading this comment and are guilty of taking advantage of overseas bloggers and PR practitioners (without a PR budget): Do your homework first. Before you decide which websites in the US are respected by Fil-Ams, ask someone like me first regarding who I’ve privately black-listed in the Fil-Am community as Fil-Am journalist pretenders who have been criminally implicated or whose articles clearly smack of being one-sided. Oh yes, I have my own private black list. These stupid opinion-editorialists are the ones who destroy our community’s reputation with their negative crabbing. You’ll know who they are. They boast about having a high Alexa ranking. What you don’t know is that they reprint your posting or article without your permission — and then e-mail you with “By the way, I’ve taken the liberty of posting your article in my website.” They require you to have a name and password to access their website. Sure, great for data mining — and claiming that all these registered people read them all the time. But if you read their content carefully, you will notice that they pretend to be avengers of what’s right and good — and will easily lambast community leaders.

    Thank goodness, I’ve never claimed to be a journalist but a community publicist. The Filipino community is the celebrity that I represent — and it is not a paying position. I will fight for whatever is right and just for our communities. In a way, I’m dealing with political PR. I like handling cultural PR, though, such as these book launching events in the US or an ethnic festival.

    This subject about PR companies is really quite a sensitive one. I hope this perspective provides some thoughts to discuss with your trusted group of PR people even if it’s about real estate, lifestyles, food, and the like.

    I would ask them one question: Will your products and services impact the positive development of sustainable communities?

    Enough said.

  • @lorna- I never give list of names to PR companies. I always contact my friends first if they want to be contacted.

  • Hi Noemi,

    so nice of you to mention the events that have “transformed” you. so proud to work with you.


    almas last blog post..My – Celebrate Independence

  • @Alma- Thanks dear. Enjoyed the events tremendously.

  • Nerisa

    I like the idea that PR and bloggers develop a mutually beneficial relationship. The question often asked is “what is in it for me?” So I go with the notion that if the event is not worth my time, I won’t even go.