PR Advice #4 – First Impressions
When it comes to working with PRs as a blogger, first impressions count. The amount of bitchy posts I’ve seen from bloggers voicing their opinions about how PRs choosing who they do and don’t work with, it’s really not like that, and sometimes the assumptions really bug me.
The majority of the time, we’re given briefs and guidelines of what we have to look for when considering working with a blogger, and a massive thing that comes up when pitching blogs to senior management for collaborations is the initial first impressions.
You need to think about it in this way. For someone who doesn’t understand how blogs work, or if they don’t work with bloggers regularly, the initial first impression is everything. A brand wants their product or service to be showcased in the best way possible.
If your blog doesn’t look up to scratch, a lot of the time it won’t be considered. It’s not necessarily fair, and good PRs will put forward a worthy argument if they’re pitching in the first place, but for those who don’t have a good PR team, appearance is everything. Ensuring you have a clear layout, with visible category links, disclaimers and contact links will all help massively. If your blogs format, for some unknown reason, goes out of sync for any reason, get it rectified as quickly as possible. If you’re pitching to a brand you need to make sure everything looks good on both desktop and mobile platforms.
Appearance is closely followed by content in the PR/ Blogging world. Spelling mistakes, grammar issues, GIANT paragraphs or sentences and mismatched fonts can all be easily rectified by simply reading through in the ‘preview’ section when posting a blog. In terms of content, brands are going to be reluctant to work with a blogger who does a simple copy and paste from a press release, or a couple of lines and assumes that’s a decent review in return for hundreds of ££ worth of product. Think about who you’re dealing with and establish clear boundaries of what you have to offer before agreeing to a review. We also look at how often you post; if we have a new range that is going to sell out quickly and you’re only posting once a month, there isn’t a mutual benefit for both parties.
If your images are all different sizes, poor quality, too dark or so overly edited that they look odd, it’s not going to be taken seriously. If a brand is pushing a product, they want it to be promoted in the best light, so making sure your blog, and the company’s products, look as good as they can.
This is a big one. We always look at engagement, comments that come through on the blogs, whether you respond and what feedback is on a post is all helpful when ‘bigging up’ your blog. If gifting posts are popular and you get a lot of interaction on these posts then mention it, and provide an example of the types of comments you get. A brand is going to love if a product is being raved about purely because you’ve posted about it.
Social is a big thing in the blogging world, as it really is the ‘word of mouth’ method. Do you make sure you ‘mention’ brands in any posts about them? Do you tweet them directly to let them know a link is live? Do you share a new blog post (featuring them) more than once a week? Do you interact with other bloggers? Do you have an organic following? These are all things taken in consideration when working with new bloggers. It’s not the be all and end all, though. I’ve worked with bloggers who have a small (under 200) Twitter following but their blogs get a massive amount of engagement and their media packs show their unique monthly users as ridiculously high. If you know you don’t use social a lot, but are racking in the numbers, make sure to create a media pack and share it with any brands you want to work with, it’ll be very much appreciated.
The above isn’t everything that goes into brand relationships with bloggers, there’s a lot more that happens behind the scenes in terms of links use, click throughs, time spent on the website and products bought via a blog, but this all tends to be looked at once the review is written. These are merely a few simple points that will help with first impressions to an ‘outside eye’, and I hope they help when you starting thinking about brand pitching!
Thanks for reading,