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The Ogilvy Blogger Outreach Code of Ethics (Beta Version)

One of the recent threads of conversation you might have picked up on in several circles is a backlash from bloggers against marketing and PR folks who are pitching them all sorts of irrelevant news items and worthless products.  Lots of bloggers are sick about it, and though I’m probably more forgiving than other bloggers because I understand why I get these kinds of pitches, there are days when I am frustrated about some of the clueless pitch emails I get as well.  In our Digital Influence team at Ogilvy, we have learned a lot from doing outreach to bloggers over the last several years (some successful and some not so successful).  It’s time for us to share some of our learnings to show that not all PR and marketing folks are clueless email spammers hawking their products.

To that end, two of my colleagues in our team have developed a first draft of our new Blogger Outreach Code of Conduct which they just published on our team blog.  This is our first stab at creating something transparent that could rebuild some credibility in the eyes of bloggers who have had to hear too many clueless pitches from inexperienced PR and marketing folks.  I am reprinting the elements of the code of conduct below and I encourage you to check them out and leave your thoughts on our original blog post over at the 360 Digital Influence blog.

Ogilvy PR’s Blogger Outreach Code of Ethics (Beta Version)

  1. We reach out to bloggers because we respect your influence and feel that we might have something that is “remarkable” which could be of interest to you and/or your audience.
  2. We will only propose blogger outreach as a tactic if it complements our overall strategy. We will not recommend it as a panacea for every social media campaign.
  3. We will always be transparent and clearly disclose who we are and who we work for in our outreach email.
  4. Before we email you, we will check out your blog’s About, Contact and Advertising page in an effort to see if you have blatantly said you would not like to be contacted by PR/Marketing companies. If so, we’ll leave you alone.
  5. If you tell us there is a specific way you want to be reached, we’ll adhere to those guidelines.
  6. We won’t pretend to have read your blog if we haven’t.
  7. In our email we will convey why we think you, in particular, might be interested in our client’s product, issue, event or message.
  8. We won’t leave you hanging. If your contact at Ogilvy PR is going out of town or will be unreachable, we will provide you with an alternate point of contact.
  9. We encourage you to disclose our relationship with you to your readers, and will never ask you to do otherwise.
  10. You are entitled to blog on information or products we give you in any way you see fit. (Yes, you can even say you hate it.)
  11. If you don’t want to hear from us again, we will place you on our Do Not Contact list – which we will share with the rest of the Ogilvy PR agency.
  12. If you are initially interested in the campaign, but don’t respond to one of our emails, we will follow up with you no more than once. If you don’t respond to us at all, we’ll leave you alone.
  13. Our initial outreach email will always include a link to Ogilvy PR’s Blog Outreach Code of Ethics.

This is a rough first draft and something we are experimenting with before calling it "official" in any sense.  Please share your thoughts on the Ogilvy DI blog about it and help us make it better.  Let’s stand up for our reputation as marketers and do things right.

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