Recently, more and more business owners*) are reaching out to food bloggers for support. Some get it right, some just plain failed from the moment they typed the email. A friend of mine, who is so concerned about this situation, made me share this "10 Rules Of Reaching Out To Food Bloggers"
FYI, this post is exclusively dedicated to YOU Business Owners, (yes you!). So before you start mass-emailing an invitation to review your place or to submit a review on your site, please please please do everyone a favour and try your very best to follow these wise suggestions.
*) Business owners include: F&B entities, online portals, PR Agencies, societies & communities, professionals, etc, who may directly or indirectly earn some revenue or any benefit(s) from food bloggers.
About communicating with us
1. Thou shall communicate to us personally.
Sending a mass generic template email containing a flat message is a sure-fire way for your email to end up in our “Trash” or “Deleted” folders.
2. Thou shall use natural language.
You do not want to sound overly formal or superficially friendly to someone you've never met. Just be natural in your choice of words.
3. Thou shall NOT be pushy.
If we do not respond to your email, you should already get the message.
About inviting us
4. Thou shall always perform thorough background check.
Not every blog is suitable for your business, how would you react to a street food blog that suddenly features a wine dinner? This is Branding 101 and if you fail to do this, do everyone a favour and surrender your marketing / PR / Communication position to someone more deserving.
5. Thou shall be considerate with our private lives.
If you’re planning to throw a party and would like us to attend, please pick a time that minimizes interruption to our primary commitment such as work or family. If you know that your location is quite remote, please understand why some of us will have to skip on your offer. If we are keen but unavailable at the time you provided and you’re still interested, rescheduling is actually a good idea.
6. Thou shall appreciate the opportunity we’ve given to you.
Our time is just as precious as yours, the investment we made by leaving the office early to meet you, the petrol and parking ticket incurred in the journey. Would we ask you for reimbursement? Not even a dime! So in return, please appreciate the effort we've made and make it a worthwhile one.
7. Thou shall NOT expect nor demand to be reviewed.
Did a guy ever ask a girl's hand in marriage after a lunch or a dinner date? Just because you treated us to lunch or dinner, does not mean that we have to rave about your place in our blog. The reason we are doing it is purely out of courtesy, so don’t abuse or misunderstand our polite gesture. If some of us end up not writing at all, it’s not because we hate you, perhaps we just do not have the time yet or something bothered us too much, to be in the mood to share about your place.
8. Thou shall try to nurture friendship with us.
We are normal people just like everyone else and we value friendship above all. Do not treat us like “just another assignment at work to be completed”. Instead, treat us like a friend and nurture the budding friendship, because whoever can predict the future?
About other stuff
It’s simple, anyone with a camera and a computer can do the same thing, why bother looking for us? As foodbloggers, we take pride in our work, the words we carefully chose, the photos we took, etc. Tricking us to becoming words-churning machines is just never going to work, because we are not members of any society or community which compete to write as many reviews as possible, for a chance to win trip to Oceania or elsewhere.
10. Thou shall NEVER duplicate or reproduce our work without notifying the rightful owner(s).
That is plagiarism, and it is sanctionable by Law everywhere.
Fellow foodbloggers and business owners, you may or may not agree with the above 10, nonetheless, I hope from this moment onwards, food bloggers everywhere will be treated with more dignity and more properly. If you think you have other "Rules" to add, please write in the comment form below.