HARO, ResponseSource and Gorkana are great services for getting journalist and blogger requests. We only really see them from our PR side - a long list of opportunities to get our client in front of the reporter or bloggers audience.
So we wanted to turn the tables and see what a friendly blogger (wants to remain anonymous) had to say about the services. He uses ResponseSource the most.
1. They don't read my blog
I have had PRs ask me if a post has been published. This will be three weeks after it has. I don't expect a PR to pour over every word, but it would be quicker to check than send me a chasing email. They basically don't take the time to understand what I really write about.
2. They pitch first, ask questions later
So my blog doesn't have Huffington Post numbers of visitors but don't offer me something and then pull the offer because my blog doesn't get enough traffic for your client.
3. They respond with my blog name in the subject line
So I get 10 - 20 responses on average and they all have the same subject. It's very confusing. I would prefer a client or product name and theme of my blog.
4. They want to do a deal
Hey? What's that all about? I am not a mummy blogger and clearly state in my contact us information, that I do not take paid for posts, links etc....
5. They chase me again, and again
This is not my full time job so I don't respond to everything the same day, though I really do try to. I will respond if I am interested.
6. They shorten my name
I have a name that can be shortened, but I prefer to use my full name. I wish they would use my correct name.
7. They bait and switch
Many PRs offer me products to feature or review and then after I've said yes and written about them as a taster, I am told the product is no longer sold by the client and could I ask about another one.
8. They add me to a mailing list
After one email communication, I suddenly start to receive every bit of news about their client. I even say on my website, don't send me releases if you can't explain why it's absolutely imperative for me to cover the story now.
9. They don't read my request
Sometimes I receive quite irrelevant information. For example if I am doing round ups of products under £50, can't they count? Why send me information on a £100 product.
10. They expect me to wade through lots of information
I would prefer a simple answer to a request rather than PDF'd releases and links where I can get more information.
11. They obviously treat me as a B, C or D list contact
I once had a PR tell me that I couldn't use the information supplied as a very well known online publication had decided to use it. I wish they would just pitch the A listers and come to me when they've said no!