10 tips for PRs wanting to work with bloggers

Last week’s post about how to work with PRs certainly grabbed the attention of bloggers – and I’m sure was read by a few PRs as well.

Well, I know it was read by one (thanks Claire):

I think any PRs that ‘avoid’ bloggers will only suffer the loss of great coverage and consumer awareness down the track.

Claire makes a relevant point but, even so, I do get that it’s a tricky path for most PRs to navigate.  Unless they or their company are actively involved in social media channels, then they are unlikely to “get” bloggers and what we can bring to the publicity table for their clients.

Glaxo Smith Kline sponsored a mummy blogger event at the ArtHouse Hotel, Sydney.  And bloggers were treated to massages as well as cocktails while highlighting brands in the GSK stable

PR-Blogger love: Glaxo Smith Kline sponsored a mummy blogger event supporting US blogger Kristin Brumm at the ArtHouse Hotel, Sydney, in March 2011. And bloggers were treated to massages as well as cocktails while brands in the GSK stable were showcased. Photo: Flickr

I was asked on Twitter (and sorry, I thought I’d saved the tweet – please let me know who you were so I can link you!) for some tips for PRs wanting to work with bloggers.  And as I love a sequel (well, actually this is a three-quel if you count the post from which the discussion started) … so here goes:

1.  Read the blog of the blogger you’re pitching too. Ah, duh!  Would seem like a simple thing but it still amazes me that someone would email with an idea or a product that has absolutely no fit with my blog and what I typically write about.

2.  Please email me with Dear Nikki, or Hi Nikkki – even if it is in a mail merge program – I’ll feel way more loved than a Hi there!  And I might actually think you’ve read my blog first.

3.  Please understand that for most people, their blog is a labour of love. They are either working full-time in another job, juggling a business, have kids … or all of the above.  We are independent publishers and not paid a wage to write.  This does not mean we do not care about what you are pitching but we may not share the same fever-pitch levels of excitement in the product you are trying to promote.

4.  Bloggers are connected with their readers – and in my case that’s grown to quite a large readership (100,000 page views in the previous month).  The reason readers connect with bloggers is that bloggers ARE more accessible than journalists (I know this because I was a journalist).  The answer comments.  They Tweet and Facebook with their readers.  Their readers trust that the blogger has actually tried the product he or she has reviewed.  So if you pitch me a new beauty product but tell me there are not any samples available for trial, I’m sorry, your product will not get a run.  I can’t lose that reader trust.

5.  Bloggers and their readers love giveaways. It’s a win-win for PRs, brands and bloggers.  But please, please, don’t offer me a $20 prize and expect a “featured” blog post exclusively about that prize.  Our online space is valuable.  Please value it too.   If you do offer us a giveaway, please talk to us about who else you are offering it too.   It’s not that we necessarily want an exclusive, it’s just that as bloggers we can work together to make sure the competitions are not all running at the same time.  Which, when you think about it, offers more value for you and your client too.

6.  Consider whether your pitch will add value to the blog you are pitching too. Yes, I know if we run something on our blog it will add value for your client but if the pitch is for me to blog about a company who is currently running a competition of their own – on their own website or Facebook, there is honestly nothing of value in that for me – and little for my readers.  This is more of an advertorial and should be pitched as a paid sponsored post (the equivalent of an advertorial or promotion in print media).

7.  Please include all relevant details and an image with the media release you email. Often we blog at night time and it’s so annoying to not have the image on hand – or price and stockist details.  It could be the difference between us including your product or not.

8.  Get to know us. The Australian blogging community is an exciting place to be right now.  You have the opportunity to connect with some incredible people who are passionate about the niche in which they write.  Talk to us.  We won’t bite.  Really.

9. Invite us to your media events. Ok, I realise that not all events have the budget for this but increasingly there are bloggers out there with just as much sway and influence as a magazine journalist or online website writer.  We’d like to be in the know just as much as a magazine fashion or beauty editor.

10.  Send us media releases at least one month prior to launch. Yes, blogging is an immediate publishing tool but (referring back to point three), we plan ahead to ensure that we have the time to write quality posts with diverse content.

That’s it, folks.  As I said last week, I’m really lucky to work with some amazing PR companies but there are still companies feeling their way with this game they call blogging.

So, tell me, have you been pitched an idea from a PR company which clearly had not read your blog first?  And if you’re a PR, shoot through any questions or concerns. This community is only to happy to help out.

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Looking for a new WordPress theme but don’t want to spend any money?

If you’re new to the fashion and beauty blogging world or a little bored with your current WordPress theme, then you might be interested in this.

Westfield has developed a WordPress theme (a “theme” is design template for blogs) that is free to download and has a lot of features that you might normally have to pay for in a theme. It’s also really user friendly and easy to customise (you can change the colours, font, etc).  There are more details on the site.

This is a free WordPress theme created by Westfield for fashion bloggers

This is a free WordPress theme created by Westfield for fashion bloggers

I love this theme – it’s clean, fresh and super stylish.  What’s the catch? The developers “do humbly request, as a thank you to our development team, that you leave the link to Westfield in the footer in place”.

The developers are getting the word out about it now and also taking feedback so they can make it better.  If you need technical help installing it, let me know and I’ll point you in the right direction.

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This post was selected for inclusion in the IFB Links a la Mode: Tech Weekly Roundup

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Edited by Vyque of Fasshonaburu

If you’re a fashion blogger, or even just an avid reader of fashion blogs, you’re probably already on the technology savvy side. But, while you may be more tech-telligent than the average person, it’s important to never get complacent! You constantly read style and fashion blogs for inspiration and news, but how much time do you devote to the latest new and innovations in technology?

It may be near impossible to stay on the very top of two separate industries, (three if your full-time job is unrelated!!!), but IFB is here to help! Always the most relevant information for the fashion, hopefully ChicGeek will not only keep you up-to-date on technology, but help you constantly improve your blog.

LINKS À LA MODE: TECH – MAY 24TH

  • Designed by Ann: Why (fashion) bloggers should love bloglovin
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  • IFB: Which Blogging Platform is Right for You
  • Mimosas in Bed: Style & The City: France’s First Street Style Blog Gets Their Own iPhone/iPad App
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  • Styling You: 10 tips for PRs Wanting to Work with Bloggers

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  • Evelyn

    This is a really great post, Nikki and really helpful for me right now. A PR company I’m in contact at the moment hasn’t really talked about how our ‘partnership’ (as they’ve called it) will benefit me and my blog. They have mentioned about inviting me in for some ‘pampering’ in their client’s store, but that’s it!

    I have always been afraid to ask for compensation-especially for exclusivity as you have mentioned, but now I know that I need to be more up front and ask what would I get out of this ‘partnership’. It’s not a ‘partnership’ if their client gets free publicity and I get “exposure” and “pampering”!

    • PRs don’t have budget for payment – their payment would be the pampering! This is how they’ve always worked with traditional media and you have to decide in each instance whether what they’re offering is a good fit for your blog and your readers – would it make a good post? For payment it’s all about making contact with the marketing departments and building relationships and offering them a good ROI on a possible advertising investment.

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  • Hi Nikki, I think you wrote a pretty amazing article! A definite must read for PRs. Some of them offer to send the most random things for my blog. It gives the impression that they don’t care enough to at least take a look at a couple of posts from your blog, which doesn’t even take that long

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  • Well said, Nikki!

    I think that the major point of difference between bloggers and other media is 4.

    Our readers trust us. Certainly more so than a nameless reporter/editor in a magazine.

    And as you said, we don’t get paid. We generate our own income, so if you want us work with you, be prepared to recompense us and our readers in some way.

    Sharing this now!

    • thanks Dorothy – yes, number 4 is a biggie. I was a journo and yes, you would get the odd email or letter as feedback, but usually it was when someone was cranky with you, not as a way to join in the conversation. Big difference and definitely a blogging strength.

  • Hi Nikki…coming from a PR company – just wanted to say this is a great article. Not all of us have day to day interaction with bloggers but definitely respect and value their growing influence. This article is great overview.

    • thank-you … it’s a learning curve for all of us but if a company is wanting to work with bloggers then no.8 is definitely the way to go – get to know us. Bloggers are connectors and that includes with PRs who want to connect with us.

  • Thanks Nikki for a great, clear and insightful post. Dont exactly have the PR knowcking down my door yet, but have had a few emails that are sometimes difficult to decipher, so all this information helps…and certainly one to file away.

    • The relationship with PRs will come and the more we keep these discussions open, the more we’ll be able to work together for everyone’s benefit.

  • Nikki, this is an excellent post! I have retweeted it because of its sheer brilliance. I have to agree with all of it but especially points 4,6,7. I dont know how we’re expected to ‘review’ something if we have not tried it, and why we’re seen as publicity churners for some companies and brands. If you want me to make the effort for you on top of everything else I do (as you said most blogs are a labour of love and likely worked on in addition to another job or similar), then you need to make an effort for me! Hopefully this post makes the rounds a little bit so we can all build a better working relationship. Great job.

    • Oh, thanks Sarah. Yes, I think we almost need a PR-Bloggers summit – the potential is there for some great collaborations and blogging as a media is not going to go away any time soon.

  • Laura

    Hi Nikkki,

    Loved this article 🙂

    Even though I was never meant to be the person representing PR for NYDJ, I have to say working directly with you was such an awesome pleasure. It never ceases to amaze me when professionals in any industry don’t do their homework on who they are attempting to connect with. And thanks for the heads up about the Westfields Fashion WordPress theme, (now I wish I hadn’t spent $68 on the premium Linen theme).

    Much love,
    Laura

    • Hi Laura! Oh, I loved working with you. See – you used that word “connect” and you did that. You picked up that thing called a telephone and spoke to me *gasp* – and that was after reading and following my blog for some time. By the time we actually met face to face we were old friends!
      PS. Sorry, about the theme – only was made aware of it myself on Friday afternoon!

  • Great post. I’ve had emails that say things like “I think your blog really does a great job discussing all things motherhood.” Really? Where?

    And then there are those weird emails that tell you about a great competition they’re running, and to enter all you have to do is write a blog post about them. Ummm…. let me think…. no.

    • Actually, I do like your non-version of motherhood a lot! And yes, those PRs about someone else’s competition … grrr!!!

      • Ah cheers Nikki, and I’ve just realised I’ve been spelling your name wrong this whole time. SORRY! x

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