Let me start by saying this is a positive space where I am hoping people read my posts and get inspired about life, travel and healthy living.
Natbee’s is not a place for negativity or bad reviews-if I do not like a place or a product I choose not to post about it-and I am the least fussy person you will meet on planet Earth. However, there are some very rare occasions where disappointment comes along and I am very tempted to post about it and get it out of my chest, and one of these days is today.
As I am writing this I have been blogging for more than 8 years and it took loads of my time and effort to build my current relationships and network with companies and PRs.
The past two years I have made good use of social media such as twitter and instagram by using hashtags and enlarging my network and chances PRs to spot me in the ever growing blogsphere. As a result I have companies approaching me to work on particular projects and vice versa. Often I see the opportunity arising and I am introducing myself to the brand/agency with the hope that they would like to work with me….
…and this is exactly what happened recently!
Last month, I had an email communication with a PR from a marketing and representation agency and I got myself an invitation to travel to Spain for the grand opening of the Ocean Club Marbella. I was so happy to be invited I immediately started planning my trip and what to wear, where to go etc. The PR asked me to write a blog post prior and share on social media to let people know about the event and she promised she will make sure I will be on the list. Since no contract was presented to me I asked her about the trip details; departure airport (considering I live in Aberdeen, not in London), trip duration, expenses coverage and so on. She confirmed that we would be flying from London and flight tickets, accommodation and transportation within Spain would be all covered by their client (aka Ocean Club Marbella).
I posted on the blog and on all social media for 10 days about the opening. As a result I had two British high street fashion companies providing me with clothing and accessories to take outfit pictures in the club and do Style Travel edits. In addition, the Definition clinic offered me a fake tan treatment in order to cover my pale skin and look a bit more glamorous. So far so good.
As I did not get any reaction from the PR company though-despite that I’ve been posting like crazy-I decided to send her an email and check on the trip details. The answer was far from what I expected it and nowhere close to the warm email communication we had before…
The person who two emails back was inviting me to the club opening, now was telling me there is no deal. Her professionalism was so good she didn’t even bother to read my blog post and notice that at the end of it I say see you there and that I had people in the comments section asking me if and when I am going there.
My initial reaction was to be very disappointed because I was craving the sunshine, I wanted to see whats the fuss about the club and I had already made arrangements with companies and had stuff sent to me in order to be featured in my Marbella posts. Soon I realised that the girl was just trying to get as much exposure as possible for her Marbella project through my blog without compensating me, and I cannot imagine how many other bloggers they have been used with the same way, falling into the almost invitation trap.
Long story make it short she said she will contact her client in Spain and see what she can do. As if she could get me an invitation out of the blue when clearly a) her client in Spain is not interested into my blog and b) she does not value my work. I gave her some space, awaiting for a response and in the meantime I contacted the PRs from the other companies explaining the situation.
Still no response from the PR, so I emailed her again only to get an answer from her senior apologising on behalf of the agency and confirming that there has been a mess with the misleading emails. As expected they cannot provide me with an invitation anymore-what a surprise-but they still hope to work with me at some point in the future. Bottom line is there will not be any Ocean Club Marbella posts on the blog and instead of emailing/texting all of you who have asked me I decided to do it via this posts.
Moral of the story is:
-Be very careful with the PRs you are working.
-Always ask for a contract/itinerary/trip schedule etc.
-Do not be afraid to show them that misleading email communication is as low as it can get.
Thanks for reading and apologies for the rant on this.