Martha Stewart’s Blogger Blunder

    By Sally Falkow | Small Business

    It would seem that the right hand does not know what the left hand is up to over at Martha Stewart Living. And that Martha herself doesn’t quite get social media and blogging. I’d bet real money that there has been some gnashing of teeth this week by the PR department/PR agency that handles Martha Stewart.

    Martha had some strong comments about bloggers, yet her PR folk pitch bloggers in an attempt to tap into their influence with their audience.

    This is what Martha had to say about bloggers:

    “Who are these bloggers? They’re not trained editors and writers at Vogue magazine. I mean, there are bloggers writing recipes that aren’t tested, that aren’t necessarily very good or are copies of everything that really good editors have created and done. Bloggers create kind of a ‘popularity‘. But they are not the experts and we have to understand that.”

    This is a far cry for what she had to say when she accepted the invitation to keynote at BlogHer 2012.

    “You also become reporters. You become a journalist. You might find you are a good writer, good communicator. The more you do it, the more people that will tweet you and communicate with you.”

    Here’s pitch a blogger – Fadra from the blog All Things Fadra – published this week:

    Hi Fadra,

    I’m reaching out to let you know that the September issue of Martha Stewart Living is on stands today! Please see the highlights below and let me know if you’d like to work together on any story ideas.

    All best,

    (name withheld)

    Assistant Publicist
    Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
    601 West 26th Street New York, NY 10001

    When Fadra wrote back asking what exactly she meant by “working together on any story ideas”, it became apparent that what they wanted was coverage of their content in Fadra’s blog.

    Pot Calling the Kettle Black

    It’s never a good idea to bite the hand that you’d like to have feed you. And certainly not in a world where social media will make your comments immediately available to millions of people. Did Martha really expect the bloggers to take this kind of disrespectful comment lying down? Not a chance! They are seriously annoyed. And they have a right to be.

    Is every blogger an expert at what they write about? Have they all been trained as journalists? No, but then neither was Martha Stewart back when she started out.

    Martha Stewart transformed a home-based catering business into a multibillion-dollar media franchise centered upon her image as a consummate hostess, food expert, and do-it-yourself decorator.

    Displaying a knack for self-promotion, Stewart enhanced her reputation by pitching stories about her work and home to local newspapers and by contributing occasional articles on food, gardening, and home decor to such national magazines as Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful , and Country Living .


    If she can start with no more than a passion and talent for food and style and build it into a successful media empire, why couldn’t one of today’s lifestyle bloggers do the same? Not everyone will do it, and not every blogger has been able to build up an audience and influence. But many of them have. And their audiences love them.

    Who are these bloggers? Women just like Martha was when she started her business.

    Lessons to be Learned

    1. Think carefully about what you say on National TV or on social media. It has the ability to be shared and seen by millions in just hours.
    2. The media is not always your friend. This segment of the interview has been promoted without the full interview. What you say can be taken out of context if it looks like it has “legs” and will cause controversy
    3. Don’t make disparaging remarks about anyone you might need to work with in another capacity.
    4. If you want to work with bloggers make genuine relationships with them and never be disrespectful or display a condescending attitude toward them and their work
    5. If you want to reach women you must work with bloggers. Blogs are the #1 trusted source of information and advice for women in America. (BlogHer study)

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