The PR To Blogger Relationship



The PR's and free products topic is one that tends to cause immediate reactions within the blogging world as much as say, nuts and penicillin does within the population but why? There are so many reasons why but the only way I can explain it is to refer to professional dancers and the strippers. Both are 'dancers' but one has worked hard to become a dancer and the other does it with the lure of money or attraction.  

The same applies to bloggers. There are a few different types of bloggers, the type that works their butts off finding content, working with brands to increase exposure, collaborations, researching, writing, editing and so on. The second type is the type that hash-dash their posts, typically stealing ideas and content from other blogs. These types of bloggers are only really in it for the 'freebies' rather than for the actual love and passion of their blogging genre. 

Some bloggers do see these type two bloggers as a personal insult to the blogging community, I personally just hope that brands can see right through those types. Any reliable and worthwhile company should be doing the right checks before sending anything out so they can maintain their budget and impress their clients. I understand not every brand and PR company does though and although it's terrible that the second types falsify information or don't carry out their end of the bargain or even do it in such a terrible manner - I would hope that the first types clearly could set themselves apart from the second types setting us miles apart. 

So outside of the blogging world, I work in PR and publicity, I have done so for many years and I absolutely love, love, love my line of work. It was one of the stepping stones that lead me to blog. We receive hundreds of requests each week from bloggers, consumers and journalists requesting products. 

I wanted to give you a quick understanding of the PR to blogger relationship, what you might be doing wrong as well as what other bloggers are doing right. Recently we had some emails come in that where bad, really bad. Here's one 

' Hi, 

I'm X from X blog. I wanted to ask if you can send me free products. By sending me products I can promote your company for free. I have 20 followers on GFC, 608 followers on Twitter. When you send me items I can promote your brand gaining you more publicly. ' 

Can you see where this blogger went wrong? Firstly the blogger didn't personalise the email so it came across as a copy and paste job. There are some bloggers that simply copy and paste the same emails time and time again, you can always tell which ones they are and they tend to hit the delete bin quicker than you can count one, two, three. 

Secondly, there are no unique monthly blog views (UMV's) giving us an indication of expected reach and the figures aren't large enough to warrant free samples (this may differ depending on PR agencies). The blogger also gives no indication of what they plan to do with the products or samples. 

And this blogger cheekily emailed back three times over two days demanding a response. On the third day we received the same email but with another company contact name which clearly showed this was a copy and paste job as we firstly believed *fail*. 

So what should you be doing? Firstly I recommend building up your blog, your network and your own personality and style of writing. If you plan to review products, start off reviewing items you own, purchase or plan to purchase. Take your own photo's, get some personality into your blog - your blog design, style of writing and online presence all give PR's an insight into your personality.  

What do PR's actually do? Understanding the role of a PR may help you understand why you aren't getting anywhere or getting the response you expect. 

*PR's work to increase publicity of a brand, person or product. Sometimes little blogs aren't enough. It's the cold hard truth and it's something we all face over the years. 

*They manage launches, events and brands. Find out what brands are represented by the company and personalise your communications. Tell us why you want to work with the brand, are there are specific products you want to try or any you love. 

* They work within limited budgets. Each of these 'free' items actually costs the company money. There are always budgets within PR companies and ultimately it comes down to getting the most for their money. Greatest reach, biggest influence and unique professional writing winds hands down. Keep building your blog, don't get too disheartened because your dedication will show in time.  

*They work to set timescales. A quick turn around is needed for most samples. If you don't post regularly or receive samples but don't post in an adequate amount of time you probably won't be given the chance again. Prove yourself to be reliable. 

*They aim for the largest 'quality' reach. Large numbers don't count if the writing is poor or the post doesn't have regular readers. 

*They have limited press products and samples. Sometimes there just isn't enough to go around. Samples and products are limited as are the budgets. Keep trying and give reasons why you should be considered. 

Would you go to a new friend who you know had money and ask straight out 'Give me £20 and I promise to be your friend?' no, neither would I. I know if someone asked me that I'd be like 'hell no. I'll go find a good friend who won't use me for something'. 

I don't recommend any real blogger falls into the habits of the type two blogger. Some do unfortunately and once you fall into this trap it can be hard to work your way back out. Not having the patience to keep going, not having passion, not spending enough time finding content or researching or simply being greedy can all typecast you into type two's. Also just because you see one blogger posting about an awesome product that was sent for free, doesn't automatically entitle you to receive it also. 

Relationships are made of trust build up trust with your targeted brands and PR companies via social media. Email them to introduce your blog and to request certain press releases or lookbook's, this shows us you are dedicated and not just gunning for the freebies. 

Tips for initial contact: 

1. Personalisation: Address the name of the company or PR person as well as what products or brands are you hoping to review or which lookbooks you would like sent.  

2. Statistics: Include your links, UMV's, followers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, the gender of readers, average age of readers. 

3. Previous Work: Include a brief outline of previous work. Think outside of the box with this as work can include internships, online written reviews on specific sites, awards you may have won, unpaid editorial work as well as guest blogger posts.  

4. Why should you be considered? How do you plan to help the PR company out? simply stating I plan to review the post gaining you more exposure doesn't cut it. Do you plan to vlog, review on your blog and then promote to specific sites and audiences, do you plan to do an outfit of the day post, What's in my bag post, Christmas gifts, top ten posts or something even more unique? 

5. What do you plan to do? As above. You need to entice us in, sell us your brief. Do you plan to write your post and then promote it to X, Y and Z sites gaining a reach of 10k followers total or do you plan to vlog to 1k followers but further promote it by adding it to your social sites and blog gaining X amount of further exposure. Be clear in your objectives.

Elyse

Statement: Nothing to Disclose
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Comments are always appreciated. If you have a comment or want to discuss something 'off record' you can always drop me an email at sweetelysepr@gmail.com