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. A significant portion 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 [dot] christie [at] gmail [dot] com. This alone should render point #1 moot. History has proven it doesn’t. If all else fails, contact me through the form on my contacts page.
With the exception of the rare (unpaid) guest post from a fellow food blogger, I write this blog myself. I give my honest opinions.
- 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.
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 have recently begun to work with brands I think are of value and will write the occasional sponsored post. If the post is sponsored, I will disclose this.
- I sell ad space to food- or cooking-related sites for items or ad networks 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.
- Likewise, I do not accept payment for content written by someone else.
My blog has morphed a bit over the 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 complete with five burners, rotisserie and fish filleting station. I’d also like a man-servant named Sven and cellulite-free thighs. None of these things are likely to happen.
- Large items: While I pine for an espresso maker to rival Starbucks, there’s no room for anything bigger than a bread box in my 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 supplements, health drink powderss 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 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. I often cook with spices grown half way around the world. However, wherever possible I opt for local ingredients. I live in Canada, so if your product can grow here but doesn’t, it’s not a good fit. (Translation: No fresh strawberry recipes in the dead of winter.)
- 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
- Sir John A. Macdonald (twice)
- Alexander Mackenzie
- Sir John J. C. Abbott
- Sir John S. D. Thompson
- Sir Mackenzie Bowell
- Sir Charles Tupper
- Sir Wilfrid Laurier
- Sir Robert L. Borden
- Arthur Meighen (twice)
- William Lyon Mackenzie King (three times)
- Richard B. Bennett
- Louis St. Laurent
- John G. Diefenbaker
- Lester B. Pearson
- Pierre Elliott Trudeau (twice)
- Joseph Clark
- John Turner
- Brian Mulroney
- Kim Campbell
- Jean Chrétien
- Paul Martin
- Stephen Harper