Martha Stewart insults bloggers

Perhaps the queen of etiquette forgot the adage to never bite the hand that feeds you in her recent blogging blunder.

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

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

Here’s what Stewart said about bloggers (around the 1:40 minute mark in the video):

“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 a pitch that blogger Fadra of 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 Stewart’s team 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 Stewart really expect bloggers to take this kind of disrespectful comment lying down? Not a chance!

Is every blogger an expert at what they write about? Have they all been trained as journalists? No, but then neither was 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.

(ReferenceforBusiness.com)

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 Stewart when she started her business.

Lessons to be learned

1. Think carefully about what you say on 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 No. 1 trusted source of information and advice for women in America. (BlogHer study)

A version of this article first appeared on Sally Falkow’s Proactive Report.

(Image via)

Topics: PR

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