PR Advice # 1 – Blogger Relationships
PR and blogger relationship is such a difficult thing. As I’ve been on both sides, I’ve seen some of the amazing, and horrendous, attitudes of both parties. I thought it might be useful to pull together a series (it’ll only happen when I see things that pop up time and time again) of posts that give advice both to bloggers and PRs on how to build a better relationship with each other.
As a side note, these are behaviours that I have seen throughout my career/ blogging life and are also stories that I’ve been told by other PR professionals and bloggers.
I don’t know a single brand who is going to spend hours scrolling through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google + or Pinterest to find out your name, location or social links. They’ll just click ‘x’ and move onto the next one who does have everything in one place – wham bam thank you maam. Make it easy and have all vital information in one place – your name, location (doesn’t need to be exact) and easy links to all social channels you are on will make you a lot more accessible.
Spend more than 30 seconds looking through a blog if you would like to build a relationship. Yes, their information might not be smacking you in the face on the home page, but often information is kept in ‘About/Contact/ Disclaimer’ pages or, alternatively, they can be found on Facebook/ Twitter pages. Get to know the blog and you’ll find out the information.
Practicality Is Key
It’s really difficult for PRs to pitch via a contact form. HTML settings and pictures don’t copy and paste into the little boxes easily. I know many bloggers that would like their own, personalised email, and many PRs will always tailor email pitches to each individual, but sometimes the bulk of information needs to be copied and pasted. It’s fine to have a contact form, but maybe put an ‘PR only’ email address in your ‘PR/Work With Me/ Contact Me’ sections for press releases, event invitations and news to filter through to.
You can still copy and paste a press release/ event invite into a contact form, just make sure it’s formatted as an email and adjust where necessary, maybe add a line saying ‘images are available’ if you need to instead of trying to format them into the form. Your release will hit the blog’s inbox regardless.
Manners Cost Nothing
I am professional and courteous in everything I do with my work, and it’s not totally absurd to expect the same in return. However, there are times when I have sent emails and had a variety of emails back: demanding literally thousands of pounds of products, reminders of how big their blogs are, ‘freebie’ emails and general emails basically putting me/ the brands I’ve worked for down on many occasions. Trust me when I say PRs talk, and this behaviour doesn’t go unnoticed.
Don’t exploit or take advantage of bloggers. They have a job to do. Offering a £5 product for review and expecting six pages in return isn’t going to hack it. Be realistic, set expectations and be honest, if you can’t offer what the blogger requires, maybe suggest working together in the future; it’s a contact at the end of the day. If they decline to review what you’re suggesting, don’t be rude, be accepting and understanding.
Bye Bye Birdy
I’ve had lovely, enthusiastic bloggers who are amazing on email, I organise trips, products, experiences for them, which they receive, and then disappear. No coverage, no email, no thank you – nada. They’re on social, they’re updating their blogs, they just don’t want to know you anymore. You’ve given them what they want and they don’t care that you have to answer for who/ where that sample ended up. If you’re not going to feature a product, be honest and PRs should be accepting of this, sometimes it’s just not your cup of tea.
Don’t hound a blogger with follow up emails every other day. Once a month is, acceptable. If you’re worried about timings, suggest a possible timeframe to bloggers before you send the product out. 4 – 6 weeks tends to be a fairly normal turnaround. If they don’t come back to you after the 3rd of 4th follow up, they’re probably not going to come back to you at all.
These are just some of the things I’ve noticed, and hopefully it helps you to realise that both ends of the blogger/ PR relationship have their own issues to deal with.
If you have any other questions about this, please let me know. I’m happy to give insight in any way I can!
Thanks for reading,