Tuesday, March 22, 2011

On product pitches


This week (well, truthfully a couple of weeks ago) we chatted about all the product pitches we receive - what we like, what we don't and what we ignore. We'd love to hear your views as well!

       

                       
   
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    And, stay tuned, because The Skirted Roundtable is hitting the road next week and heading to High Point! We are in the process of setting up some exciting interviews and "man on the street" podcasts which we're really looking forward to!

23 comments:

Terry said...

Thanks.

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

Always enjoy hearing your thoughts. I receive a lot of the "form e-mail" pitches, too. Blogging is really changing, almost daily. Thanks for another great listen!

Pigtown-Design said...

fascinating discussion, gals! i read all of your blogs, but rarely comment... but i do love you all!

xo

Karena said...

Great discussion ladies!! I admit to pitchng quite often, however it is my way of giving back.

I feature other artists of all genres, often with an interview. My readers are interior designers, architects, fashion, jewelry designer, many bloggers. Many high end art lovers.

Most love getting my note about a giveaway!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Anonymous said...

I dunno. This podcast just rubbed me wrong. Granted this is a whole new genre, and a whole new way of marketing. But in the end... marketing IS all about getting your product in the right hands.

You have to kiss a lot of frogs...When you get a ton of (repeat) messages...you are only a frog. Period.

I just found it pretentious (maybe just me...)To tell the marketers, the telemarketers...the grave diggers how to do their job.This post sounded pompous.

But LOVED hearing the real world of Joni's dog barking, and her shushing it. Adorable!

This one did not work for me...

But DO appreciate each and all of your blogs. Really.

Anonymous said...

After telling House Beautiful how to publish in the last conversation one would think to tread more softly. I suppose blogging arrogance has set in on the SRT. What a shame considering you once had the clout to invite recognized personalities from the world of design. Now we are doing man on the street in High Point. Sad, really sad.

Linda Merrill said...

Ah, it was late when I edited and posted the podcast last night and the 2nd Anon comment reminded me that I forgot to mention that we're scheduled to do a sit down interview with Jamie Drake on April 4th and our "man on the street" interviews are simply going to be shorter segments with a range of people - much like our archive of interviews. Oh, and we'd like to thank High Point, Century Furniture, Theodore Alexander, Sligh, and Hooker Furniture for sponsoring our trip to High Point. There's a bunch of bloggers being flown in, so you'll all be sure to hear more over the next two weeks!

Anonymous said...

I don't read any of your individual blogs but I usually enjoy the Skirted Roundtable, in part because I appreciate the open discussions. I have to agree with some of the other commenters, though, that there were more than a few places where the three of you came off sounding pretty arrogant. I know it's a fine line to tread, but I think you missed being where you want to be this time out.

VictoriaArt said...

Isn't it interesting how some of your podcasts create lots of controversial comments?
There was a lot of different story strings attached to your pitch pod! But a few things:
I am a blogger, who reads your blogs. I do not comment often, simply because there is only so much time to comment on every blog I am reading, or I am not truly touched. Sometimes it has to do with the fact that some bloggers never even once comment back or make an effort to visit.
Then there is the blog royalty, who thinks themselves so much above the common blogger crowd. This is all a little sad!
Honestly: I am annoyed by bloggers who send me email back after I comment!
This is a "friendly" way of saying thank you, but you are not in my "Blog circle" so my name and blog will not be showing up on your blog! LOL! For me sheer Kindergarden attitude! I get enough e-mails already!
I believe we should go and comment and visit, where we are drawn to and - correct me if I am naive - should care less about who came first and what type of blog they have. If you like it, fine, if not ok too.
As to pitches, I am not sure why you get so annoyed by it. Ignore them, feel good, because the recognize you after all as somewhat important or perhaps these mass-market pitches are annoying because they do not recognize how special you are? What gives?
Pitching is the # 1 tool to get the message about a product around. As much as we usually hate the sales man tactics, we on the other hand benefit from being informed. Don't get angry! Get creative.

As always! I enjoy listening to you gals!
Thanks for getting us all on the tip of our toes!

VictoriaArt said...

Maybe I need to alter my comment a little: Do not get me wrong, for personal reasons or for private messages away from the public eyes I do not mind at all receiving e-mails, it is just that strange feeling getting an e-mail answer for a simple comment.

Kind regards to you all!

PS: I am also always saddened by the fact that some people feel not strong enough to put their name under their comments. Anonymous is not my kind of commenting!
Perhaps they would think twice about what they have to say! Controversial comments are not bad, but the tone makes the music!
There is something refreshing to hear different opinions!

VictoriaArt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
katiedid said...

Hi Ladies,

Great discussion as always. And I loved the dog episode too! Hehe! Do we all get the slipcover emails? I think it may be a bot. I am always happy to do a give away when a product is fantastic...so those emails I LOVE! And books? Lemme at 'em!

Victoria Art made the point that she isn't crazy about a return email when she leaves a comment. Me? I do appreciate that a blogger took the time to respond to me. I understand her thought that it would be nice to get a return comment on her blog however. I think that is how we originally got to know each other.

Anyway....always love listening....and I do miss having time to comment more on all the blogs!

Anonymous said...

I dont get blog pitches and I have well over a thousand google followers...a lot more than many of you.

So perhaps they are pitching not because your blog is popular, but because your blog has streamlined certain names.

I agree with a few others in that you ladies seem a bit pretentious.

You should be grateful that someone has recognize your blog rather than complaining about them.

If you don't want the attention or the pitches, DONT blog.

John/Semihandmade said...

Great podcast. We are a small (and growing) business that’s been fortunate to have had a few blogs really give us a boost, so I’ve got a few thoughts (and promise to spare everyone the self-promotion):

I'm biased. We have an amazing product. Frankly, anybody with a business that doesn't think the same thing shouldn't be in business. But ours truly is – it’s unique, well-made, and reasonably priced. Still, I'll admit I do take it personally when someone doesn’t reply to an email (full disclosure: I've written to one of you ladies in the recent past and never heard back).

Now absolutely, a lot hinges on the product’s quality, it’s relevance to the blog, and how it’s pitched. Our company reaches out once a year with a refresher on who we are, and any new products or lines being offered. Yes, it is often a few paragraphs long, but what we offer requires a little elaboration. A few photos or a link are attached. And we’re careful never to send bloggers a press-release.

Of the biggest sites, there’s no set rule: some reply, others don’t. That’s life, of course, but it’s a little frustrating when someone with a following of, say, 20,000 - or even a TV show - takes the time to shoot an email back, while others – everyone else, in every shape and size, simply don’t. In our case, that’s roughly 90%. Do they forget the big fish were once minnows, and it’s important to keep restocking the pond? That it’s totally antithetical to blogging’s down-and-dirty, grassroots start? Yes, it’s naieve at this point to suggest we leave the giant rug and furniture lines to glossy, over-priced magazine spreads since those companies would be crazy not to court the largest blogs. And I’m sure a lot of what comes a bloggers way as “the next big thing” is simply bloated, inelegant tripe. But if you think you’ve actually got something special, one can dream right?

continued below....

John/Semihandmade said...

continued from above...

Of the replies we have gotten, they break down as follows:

1) The “No thanks.” A little deflating, but at least we’re on the map.

2) The “We love the idea and please we send along whatever else you think will flesh out the feature and then two months later still nothing posts and we’re stuck wondering what’s the protocol there?” Can we send a friendly follow-up? We all get busy with life, and no one wants to be a nudge, but the further an idea drops down a pile, the greater the chance it gets forgotten.

2b) This is an offshoot of 2; it’s only happened once and called the “Successful blog that’s totally interested in featuring our product so after a few emails we finally met at a design show and they even take the time to interview me on camera and afterwards in conversation they say the LAST thing you should ever do is take things personally when people don’t get back to you and then a week after the show we follow up with more information and photos and we still haven’t heard back. 9. Months. Later.”

3) Our personal favorites, the "Ah, sorry, we only blog new products” or “We won’t cover you if someone else already has.” You get the latter a lot with the hugely influential blogs which is…. interesting?

See, as a business owner, I am first and foremost about saving the world. If, along the way, I can maybe make a few bucks and have Super-mex every Friday night, even better. How I do that is by getting the word out to as many people as possible. Yes, we do some print advertising and design shows, but blogs and social networking, to us, have the broadest reach; information can be conveyed in short, smart, really creative bursts; there’s an urgency; their reach and influence grows daily; best of all, they’re free!

Are they all behemoths? No, absolutely not. But the largest ones are definitely monetized – 30,000 daily readers will do that - so it’s not like we’re talking about ramen-scarfing basement dwellers rhapsodizing over free-range alpaca wall coverings and Jonathan Adler.

Shouldn’t there be some give-and-take – we need to spread the word, you guys need good products to grow your blog. Isn’t a little overlap okay? People don’t read just one design blog, but they’ll understand. A good product is, after all, a good product, even if What’s-Her-Face over at DesignHaus11 blogged it first. In the end, don’t you owe it to your readers?

Anonymous said...

I normally love listening, but this podcast was so negative and, well, uneducational. (The informative nature of your interviews and conversations are why I have liked listening in the past.) But the point I really want to make is that as an avid blog reader who has been toying with the idea of starting one myself, your discussion completely discouraged me. I thought the blogging community was supportive and encouraging. You sounded snobbish, self righteous, and juvenile. The younger bloggers may not get your attention, comments, or praise, but they seem to have more class. The phrase "poor schnook" used to describe someone who contacted you to market their product was the epitome of the attitude of this podcast. Ps- I love reading guest blog posts. I think it's a reflection of a graceful designer when they magnanimously invite their peers to their blog. And it keeps me reading, as I'm intrigued knowing which designers they admire. This cast was alienating. I'm anon here, but you made it clear that you don't care about potential new bloggers, so why bother?

Linda Merrill said...

Hi everyone - thanks for your comments - we really do appreciate honest feedback. Especially Victoria and John who were willing to own their opinions as are we. I can say we certainly did not intend to sound pompous in this podcast - we were expressing our views on how we like to be pitched - what works and what doesn't. As to the Anon who suggested we didn't have the right to tell marketers how to do their job, I would say we absolutely have the right - they are pitching to us and they should want to know what methods are more appealing.

Victoria - I was surprised that you interpret receiving an email reply to a comment as a negative thing. It's always eye opening how many ways people can interpret the same action. I always thought it was especially nice to receive a personal email and didn't think it meant that the person didn't want to comment on my blog. But, it's good for people to hear that that might be how it looks.

John - you made some great points, I guess I would say that while your goal is to get the word out about your products and having multiple hits is important to you, if a blogger wants exclusivity on his or her blog, then that's what they want and is their choice. And sometimes, people simply miss the email.

Regarding the last anon - I forget who said "poor schook" although it sounds like an expression I use - but I can promise you, it's not meant to be derogatory, although I can understand why it may seem so. When we talked about new bloggers - we absolutely did not mean to imply that we don't care about new blogs. We said we thought it must be very hard now to start a new blog and get attention with so much competition and it was easier when we started, that's all.

Regarding guest posts - as we said in the podcast - some people enjoy having guest bloggers, others don't. We're not suggesting right or wrong's here, just personal decisions made about our individual blogs. A blogger has no obligation to post a product or host a guest and I don't see why anyone should be criticised for their own editorial decisions. If you as a reader prefer a blog with lots of different voices, fantastic - there are some great one's out there.

In summary of this long winded comment, and speaking only for myself, I acknowledge that when I edited the podcast, I realized I sounded more critical than I usually do. However, I'll still maintain that if someone is coming to me asking for play on my blog, then they are asking something of me and I have the absolute right to accept or reject the pitch at my sole discretion. And I have a right to tell the "pitcher" to stop pitching, or to stop multiple pitching, or whatever.

Megan and I are here in High Point today and tomorrow and are interviewing Jamie Drake, so I hope you'll stay tune for that.

Anonymous said...

Linda and all,

Linda, I appreciate that you take the time to respond to comments. Like others, I too am a huge fan of your podcasts and have listened to them all. This is the first one I haven't enjoyed, for the same reasons as mentioned above: tone.

One thought I came away with is that you all sounded a bit weary . . . between emails, blogging, facebook and twitter, I would imagine that it often feels like too much! For those of us with creative interests and/or professions, the down-side to being constantly "plugged in" is that there is less time to pursue the very things (activities, hobbies) that inspire creativity.

I look forward to the podcast from High Point!

Jennifer

Anonymous said...

I was the "anon" comment (4/3 at 8:37 pm) and I am following up after Linda's response... First, thank you for your candid reply clarifying your intent and tone for the podcast. Your reply did have an impact on my perception of your conversation. I appreciate your willingness to post my comment and respond. After re-reading my comment (and especially after your response), I feel I was being harsh and perhaps unecessarily offended and I apologize for that. Second, I agree that my anon status is wimpy, but for confidentiality purposes related to my career, it's just what I have to do. For what it's worth, I don't have a blog, I don't live nearby, and I'm in an industry completely unrelated to design. I'm just an avid reader with (clearly) an opinion:-) A name wouldn't have significance, but I understand why it would be appreciated. Thanks again for taking the time to read your listeners' feedback. I do look forward hearing more from SRT in High Point.

VictoriaArt said...

Dear Skirted Round Table Gals,
I too have been coming back and reading all those comments and counter comments.
I just wanted to clear one thing, I appreciate all the personal e-mails, regarding comments or posts.
Joni, keep them coming....
What I feel occasionally is that INSTEAD of a visit or comment to MY blog I get from some bloggers e-mails. Always! I comment, they e-mail back! This comes across as strange to me!
I don't know, perhaps I am just a blogger with a heavy case of b.a.d....(blog attention deficit)
I am laughing now....
Can't wait to hear more!

xoxo Victoria

Mr. Goodwill Hunting said...

Hey guys,

I am a fellow blogger and a small blogger, but certainly have been around and have seen much as a blogger and as a reader.

I have an opinion regarding pitches, but seeing as I only get PR pitches. I don't really have much to offer.

I do agree with Victoria that there have been times I have commented on a particular blog and all I get is an email.

While I do appreciate the email it is common courtesy to at least drop a line on the blogger's blog just to say hey, i stopped by.

Now I will say that this has been years ago, but it would certainly show some compassion to the newer bloggers.



Rashon aka Mr. Goodwill Hunting

Concrete Jungle said...

Almost as much fun to read the comments...you all got people thinking not a bad thing at all!

Kathysue said...

Wow!! I just read all the comments and I taken aback by some of them, but I love a good conversation so I found this very interesting. I wrote a mission statement for my blog. It was for me to look back on when I felt my blog was going in a direction that no longer felt like,"ME" One of the things I said I would not do is advertising. I have been told by fellow bloggers that I should advertise, but I think for me, I have to stick with my initial purpose for my blog.
Advertising or pitching makes me feel as if I am working for someone else other than myself or my readers. I just respond, "AT this time I am not advertising, thank you for the inquiry."
Blogging is like any other group, there is a pecking order and I have read blog for over two years, in fact Joni, your blog was one of my very first blogs that I read and enjoyed and I am still loving what you write about!!! I started a blog a little over a year ago and I have met so many wonderful bloggers and have emailed several. I love being in a community of like-minded people that are willing to share ideas to help each of us make our homes/life a little more pleasant. I felt that this SKR was a bit more on the business side of blogging so I did not feel offended by anything that was said. It was apparent that you all struggle from time to time about the politeness issues of responding to business owners or even other bloggers. Keep doing what you do "oh so well."
Kathysue