The vast majority of the posts I read about bloggers and PRs are really about PRs. They’re lists of what PR execs should and shouldn’t do to engage with bloggers, how to approach bloggers, how to not offend bloggers, how to work with bloggers on Twitter. You get the idea.
This isn’t that post.
This post is about bloggers. And what they need to do when they want to work with PRs.
“But I don’t want to work with PRs, because I’m all about the purity of the creative expression,” you might say.
That’s great. But there are growing number of bloggers who want to work with brands, whether that’s through advertising or sponsorship or reviewing new products. And I think that’s okay, on the basis everyone should blog in whatever manner they choose, providing they’re not bullying anyone or being less than scrupulously honest about their commercial relationships.
If you’re a blogger and you want to do reviews, ads or sponsored posts, then there are things you can do to help the blogger/PR interaction run more smoothly. Here are a few tips, based on my experience of working with PRs and bloggers. I’d love to hear yours too, in the comments:
Make it easy for PRs to find you:
Have a contact form or email address on your blog, or perhaps a link to a Twitter account.
Make it easy for PRs to find you #2:
Be clear about boundaries:
If you don’t take advertising, or you don’t want to receive press releases, then say so on your blog. It won’t stop everyone from contacting you, but it should reduce the flood, and also means you’re justified in being cranky when some PR ignores your stated preferences.
Don’t wait 2 weeks to respond to a lunch invitation and then be pissed off when there’s no space for you . PRs need to deliver a certain number of bums on seats for their client, and if they don’t hear back from you, they will find someone else (before anyone points this out, I am dreadful for doing this, and I apologise)
Get the facts:
When doing a review of a product, make sure you agree upfront what’s going to happen and how. PRs won’t always think to tell you that they want specific links or anchor text, or a specific sort of image, so make a point of agreeing this when you accept a review or sponsored post: “So, this will be 500 words and include this link and this text, and this image”. It will hopefully save a lot of to-ing and fro-ing later. When talking about sponsored posts and ads, always agree payment and payment terms (how quickly an invoice will be settled) before doing any sort of work.
Sometimes things go wrong. An item you’re reviewing breaks, or gets lost in the post. The PR promises something for Monday, but then they’re off sick and it doesn’t materialise. Sure, you could write a scathing review or bawl someone out on Twitter, but you’re not achieving much except damaging a working relationship. Give someone the opportunity to fix a problem before ramping up to Defcon 1.
If you write a review, drop a quick email to the PR with a link. A week before an ad runs out, email the brand to ask if they’d like to renew. After attending an event, if you have some feedback, send the PR who invited you a quick email.
Don’t ever send a PR agency an email claiming that Sarah so-and-so is a complete unprofessional hag or home-wrecker, and should be avoided at ALL costs. You think it makes you look principled and important? It doesn’t. Unless you’ve got some hard evidence to back up what you’re saying, it just makes you look like a bitch. Far better, when asked about a blogger you don’t rate, to say, “I’ve heard great things about Sarah, but I also really rate Jane and John.”
Anything I’ve missed?
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