I am considered an “influencer” by some PR firms around town. I’m also considered Media in many circles. What that means is that I have a big mouth and am willing to try and document my experiences with new and interesting things. Especially if they are something my readers will find interesting and don’t cause a conflict of interest with my core business – CheapEats Restaurant Guides.
I’m open to pitches of all types, you never know what new thing will catch my eye. Though pitches that are clear, align to my interests and give me a clear call-to-action are far more likely to get a response than a straight press release, which I often delete before I get to the bottom (where unfortunately some people add the personal bits.)
- try your product, service or experience with an open mind… and probably lots of enthusiasm
- share your product, service or experience, if I believe in it and you give me stuff to give away to others
- answer honestly with my opinion if and when asked. No matter who is asking.
- attend events, media junkets and tastings intended to introduce or profile new and local food, wine, and restaurants. Including those where meals, drinks and/or samples are provided.
- accept and sometimes request media passes to events and conferences.
- accept evaluation samples of food, wine and kitchenware.
- accept evaluation versions of gadgets, tech, software and tech toys.
- accept evaluation copies of books: cookbooks,business books,marketing books, food & wine related books, all books in fact – and any that aren’t to my taste will get shared.
- accept and request sponsorship and prizes for book launches, openings and fundraisers on behalf of my businesses (Plethora Press, Secret Pickle , Far From Ordinary and my Photography) and charities (HoHoTO and Toronto Taste) I work with.
- maintain an arms-length relationship with restaurateurs and restaurants, to the best of my ability, especially those that are possible candidates for CheapEats Guides I will also attempt to maintain a level of anonymity in restaurants in the CheapEats Guides price range, but that doesn’t always work.
- consider a long-term brand ambassador relationship if your product, service or experience is something that I think is exceptional and that would be interesting, helpful, educational or inspiring for my readers.
What I WON’T do:
- guarantee that I will write, photograph or talk about a product, experience or service. Of course if it is remarkable, I’ll probably remark. But no guarantees.
- say nice things because I got something free
- be anything less than honest about:
- getting something for free;
- my opinion of the product, service or experience;
- accept a free meal, gifts or gratuities directly from any restaurant that could be considered a CheapEat. No way. No how.
Note: This rulehas been broken twice in the last 9 years, by people making kind and generous gestures. Now both restaurants have even more stringent criteriato be considered forCheapEats:
- Mutual Street Deli – the waitress bought me lunch once and told me a stranger had paid for everyone in an act of random kindness. When I found out the truth and attempted to pay her back the entire restaurant ganged up on me and wouldn’t let me. I tipped wildly. Which I gather was part of why she did it in the first place.
- Salad King – the owner paid for my dinner one night after a media event we’d both attended somewhere else. It wasn’t expected and I wasn’t able to fix it. I then explained, in great detail, why I would no longer be able to write about them for CheapEats and how much more public endorsement they would require to get considered for inclusion in the book. (I take this rule VERY seriously)
Stuff I like (and my readers like to hear about):
- Food – especially interesting new ingredients, flavours and products.
- Food events – tastings, markets, classes, dining experiences.
- Cameras – I’m a junkie! Especially macro stuff for food and nature photography. Whether it’s a new sensor technology, new lenses or filters for smartphone-photography, I want to know.
- Travel – I love, love, love to travel and explore. Usually with a strong culinary focus and always with a desire to see the world through local’s eyes. Luxury travel, working travel, adventure travel, markets, beaches, hotels, tents, car trips, boats, trains, planes, … love them all.
- Restaurant launches – but only ever considered attending the launches of chains or high-end places with prices WELL out of the CheapEats range.
- Phones – my first life was a developer in the telephony world, and I’m still a huge phone-geek.
- Markets – I grew up on an organic farm and selling vegetables, baskets and health-food in a city market. I love markets they feel like home!
- Wine & wineries – I like them big and jammy. I’m not an expert, but I have a lot of friends who are.
- Cider & cideries – I love that more great cider is being produced and that I get to drink it, learn about the people making it and talk about it.
- Gadgets and Technology – all types computers, tablets, gadgets for office and for working on the road. Especially stuff that will work off-grid or with solar. Again, I spent a lot of time on the road and on the island I love long battery life, portability and smart gadgets.
- Kitchen Gadgets and Technology – my love of tech extends to the kitchen whether it’s a cool new cooking tool or a new recipe app for my iPad, I get great enjoyment from playing with toys (er… technology) in the kitchen.
- Green Tech – I spent 2-3 months a year living on a small island, cooking over fire and running completely off solar. And that includes winter months. If you have anything that will keep me powered, warm and fed and would fit in that environment, I want to know about it!
Examples of stuff I’ve gotten to sample, demo, and some to keep, as a blogger, influencer, media or some other reason I assume isn’t just because I’m cute:
- Motorola Atrix and all the fixings from Motorola,
- Nokia 6682
- Palm Pre from Bell & Palm (when it was still Palm and not HP)
- Salmon, wine and other fixings to host a dinner party from True North Salmon
- Rice milk and a blender from Ryza
- Business and cookbooks from a variety of publishers and authors.
- A big box of featured holiday items from President’s Choice.
- Chocolate from Dove Chocolate.
Wine, cider, liquor, beef
- samples from local and international producers.
- Knives from CUTCO
- Calphalon cookware from Silk
- Avocado slicer from Avocados from Mexico
- many many many aprons (please stop giving me aprons)
- Olympus E-PL3 camera
- Samsung NX20 camera
- Assorted swag from launches, events, promotions and conferences – this has included, but is not limited to: USB sticks, sauces, shopping bags, broccoli, apple, avocado, wine, beer coupons, olive oil, gift certificates, t-shirts, buttons, stickers, aprons, ball caps, cups… you know, swag stuff. You can see a mostly up-to-date set of photos of the things I’ve received and participated in here: Cuz I Buzz
Note: I also occasionally win things (makeup from Benefit, iPad from blubrry.com, dinner for 4 from LittleKitchen.ca, digital pen from KPMG (which I could NEVER get to work), a bike, the boardgame Sorry in grade 3) I don’t consider those as part of this Disclosure but you can see some of those things here: Stuff I’ve Won
This site and the associated social media accounts that link here are mine alone, they don’t represent the thoughts, views, opinions or practices of my employer (who is me anyway), friends, family, minions, pets, children. If you’d like to reach me, you can email lex at plethorapress dot com.
Or send me a pitch here:
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