Pitch Policy

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02 Jun Pitch Policy

I’ve been getting a lot of PR pitches lately and to save us both a lot of time and energy, I thought I’d post some DOs, DON’Ts and other sundry items.

  • First, get my name right. Seriously. My name is Charmian Christie. First name: Charmian. Last name: Christie. If you send me an email starting off with “Hi Christie” you will be sent to the penalty box for 30-minutes and forced to memorize the Canadian Prime Ministers in chronological order.* Plus, your email goes to the bottom of my read list. Seriously.
  • Please don’t just fire off a press release. I get too many of these to respond to. Instead, send me an email with a brief summary of your product or idea and let me know why it would suit my blog. And you have read a few posts, haven’t you?
  • I live in Canada. Most of my readers live in Canada. Before you pitch your product, please make sure it’s available in Canada. Note: Customs, duty and the high cost of shipping fees makes anything shipped from the US ineligible for “available in Canada” status.
  • My email is charmian [at] charmian-christie [dot] com. This alone should render point #1 moot. History has proven it doesn’t.



Disclosure Policy
With the exception of the rare guest post from a fellow food blogger, I write this blog myself. I give my honest opinions. I never accept money to write about a product.

  • Most of the small gadgets I write about I purchase myself. This means I can indulge my impulse buying and give an honest review without guilt.
  • If someone sends me a free sample I will only blog about it if I think it’s of value, In this case, I’ll let you know the item was a freebie.
  • That said, most of the cookbooks I mention have been sent to me from publishers. I am under no obligation to blog about any cookbooks and will do so only if I feel the book would be of value to my readers.
  • When I started this blog I knew no cookbook authors. Now I know many of them. If I have a personal relationship with an author, I’ll disclose it.


Advertising
Why yes, I do sell ad space. Thanks for asking. Please note:

  • Ads are relegated to the right hand column and are clearly marked as such. I do not allow covert advertising.
  • I sell ad space to food- or cooking-related sites for items that fit the “What I will blog about” category. (See below.)
  • I do not sell keyword links. I give relevant links when appropriate to sites I think my readers will find useful. No money changes hands for this. Ever.


Product Pitches
My blog has morphed a bit over the past two-plus years. To make sure your product / cookbook / ingredient is a good match, you should know I cook in a small kitchen with limited storage space and make as many things as possible from scratch. While I enjoy cold nights by the fire and long walks on the beach at sunset, I dislike bananas, smoked oysters and rice pudding. Please get to know my approach to food. More specifically:

I won’t blog about:

  • High-end luxury items: Sure I’d love a $5000 gas grill station complete with five burners, rotisserie and fish filleting station. I’d also like a man-servant named Sven and cellulite-free thighs. My tagline eliminates such extravagant products.
  • Large items: While I pine for an espresso maker to rival Starbucks, there’s no room for anything bigger than a bread box in tiny kitchen. If I can’t test it, I can’t write about it.
  • Processed foods: I make my own salad dressing, granola and ice cream. Think really hard before you hit “send”.
  • Miracle cures: I encourage a well-balanced diet complete with fruits, vegetables and chocolate. I do not promote wonder foods, health drinks or meal replacement options.

I will blog about:

  • Real food: I prefer ingredients in their natural state. While I’m okay with flash frozen foods, tinned tomatoes and the odd jar of fish sauce, I do not use dehydrated, condensed or powdered items very often. This means no preservatives, MSG, sodium-laced convenience foods, junk food or highly-processed items. If it says “processed cheese food” or “edible oil product”, my blog isn’t a good fit.
  • Local / in-season food: I’m not giving up my coffee or swearing off pineapples. However, wherever possible I opt for local ingredients. Remember, I live in Canada, so if your product can grow here but doesn’t, it’s not a good fit.
  • Organic / fair trade / sustainable: Wherever possible, I opt for the ecological and/or ethical option over convenience. And yes, this means I’ll never eat monkfish again.
  • Small gadgets: I love gadgets but they have to be useful, affordable and effective. If they don’t earn their kitchen real estate, I’ll let readers know.
  • Cookbooks: While I love cookbooks and will consider any topic from appetizers to desserts, the recipes must be in line with my real / seasonal / ethical / small-appliance-only approach. If the recipes call for garlic powder, chicken nuggets or a 6-horse-power juicer, it’s not a good fit.

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due
I’d like to thank Andrea Tomkins of QuietFish for her suggestion I post a pitch policy. I stole borrowed liberally from Andrea, who in turn swiped the idea from Kate Trgovac.


*Canadian Prime Ministers in Chronological Order

  1. Sir John A. Macdonald (twice)
  2. Alexander Mackenzie
  3. Sir John J. C. Abbott
  4. Sir John S. D. Thompson
  5. Sir Mackenzie Bowell
  6. Sir Charles Tupper
  7. Sir Wilfred Laurier
  8. Sir Robert L. Borden
  9. Arthur Meighen (twice)
  10. William Lyon Mackenzie King (three times)
  11. Richard B. Bennett
  12. Louis St. Laurent
  13. John G. Diefenbaker
  14. Lester B. Pearson
  15. Pierre Elliott Trudeau (twice)
  16. Joseph Clark
  17. John Turner
  18. Brian Mulroney
  19. Kim Campbell
  20. Jean Chrétien
  21. Paul Martin
  22. Stephen Harper

No Comments
  • Terry Cohoe
    Posted at 14:25h, 30 June Reply

    Hilarious!! I have always enjoyed your blog and think you are awesome, but reading today's post — I might have fallen in love. lol

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 14:46h, 30 June Reply

    Thanks, Terry. Now if only the PR people will read this.

    I "buried" it since I didn't think my readers would really care, but maybe that was a mistake.

    Appreciate the feedback!

  • danamccauley
    Posted at 16:15h, 30 June Reply

    This just popped up today in my RSS feed – weird. Good for you to have a well-thought out policy. I'm confused, however, about what the Prime Ministers have to do with any of this stuff?

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 16:39h, 30 June Reply

    Dana, the Prime Ministers are part of the 30-minute Get-My-Name-Wrong-And-You-Shall-Smart-For-It policy.

    "If you send me an email starting off with "Hi Christie" you will be sent to the penalty box for 30-minutes and forced to memorize the Canadian Prime Ministers in chronological order.*" They can't memorize the list if I don't provide it :-)

  • Katerina
    Posted at 16:44h, 30 June Reply

    LMAO.

    Funny I got a pitch this morning and have been debating whether to respond. It is samples for some free processed food. The part of me that loves free stuff wants it and the part of me that knows it would be a chore to try is crying no….!!!!

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 16:58h, 30 June Reply

    Katerina, I hear you! I can now point PR people to the pitch policy as a response and not feel guilty.

    Dana, I backdated this post to prevent bothering my non-PR readers. It popped into your RSS feed today because it went live a few hours ago. RSS feeds — something I'd completely forgotten about. Sorry for the confusion.

  • Terry Cohoe
    Posted at 21:09h, 30 June Reply

    I got it via the RSS feed too. Then I couldn't figure out where to find it right away. Some fun sleuthing this aft. :)

  • cheryl
    Posted at 23:40h, 30 June Reply

    Good for you. This is so smart, not only to coalesce your own stand on these issues but to make it 100% clear to your readers and PR folks.

    Thanks, Christie. Your 80 pound cheez whiz dispenser is in the mail. It should arrive in Alabama in a few days.

  • Roving Lemon
    Posted at 02:26h, 01 July Reply

    Nice job! So is that how you know your blog has "arrived"? When you start getting random PR pitches from people who think that because you write about food, you must be dying for some free Jell-O Pudding or other processed goodies?

    And, of course, I am fascinated to learn that Canada has had 22 prime ministers.

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 10:28h, 01 July Reply

    Cheryl, make sure that dispenser comes with a carton of Bacon Bits.

    Roving Lemon, my husband is a history professor who teaches Canadian History. In lieu of a pre-nup, I memorized this list and he promised to put out the garbage. Who knew it would come in handy in real life :-)

  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 12:11h, 01 July Reply

    I lieu of a pre-nup? I love it!
    This is great. I get very hung up on the name thing too.

  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 12:11h, 01 July Reply

    I lieu of a pre-nup? I love it!
    This is great. I get very hung up on the name thing too.

  • Mariellen
    Posted at 10:08h, 10 July Reply

    Hi Charmian, I harvested all my garlic scapes and stir-fried them with tofu and thinly sliced golden beets. Delicious!

    Mariellen

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