As a blogger, you’re probably already dealing with PR folks, or if you aren’t, you will be soon.
PR, or Public Relations people, are often hired by companies or brands to help them do outreach, and that outreach can include traditional media and bloggers. If they have a new product to promote, a new restaurant or store to hype up, or an event to get bums into seats, you may get invited to be a part of that.
I put out an ask to some of the top PR people in the city, asking them if they had one piece of advice for bloggers, what would that be? And I got some great responses. I’m sharing three of them with you today, look for a Part 2 in the future…
Making the Connection
From Bonnie Allan, Partner at Bridge Communications:
I think we have similar questions – how do they contact us and how do we contact and identify them.
What is working right now for me is communicating by email with bloggers with whom I have made the initial contact, and then who respond in a timely manner, and we develop a relationship.
They should contact PR companies, and introduce themselves – what area they cover, how they like to get information, how often etc. so there is a clear understanding and we can work together.
The takeaway: the blogger-PR professional relationship is a symbiotic one: we need fodder for our blogs, and they need people to write about the businesses they represent. So it’s in our best interest to really foster and maintain those relationships.
If you blog is fairly popular, and your reach is growing, you might just naturally get found by PR people, especially if your blog has a very specific niche. If you want to hurry the process along, then do a google search for “marketing agencies” and the city you live in, and see what comes up. Go through each of the agencies, and see what kinds of clients they represent. If you write a tech blog, for example, then feel free to approach companies that have tech startups as clients. If you have a food blog, stick to the agencies that rep those.
Next, once you’ve compiled your list, send each of the agencies a personalized email, introducing yourself and asking if you can be put on their blogger’s list, for the next time they have an event. The answer will likely be yes.
Making the Pitch
From Cristina Pagnucco, Social Media and PR for Vega:
Have a clear view of where you are at on the ‘blogger scale’ and where you want to go before reaching out to a brand. If you don’t have a hefty number of followers on social mediums, then make sure you are eloquent with you intentions.
Brands with a strong genuine presence online want to work with similar influencers that are creative social media go-getters. A smart ‘get-to-the-point’ email that provides context to what you’re offering up helps immensely.
Tell the brand why you’re reaching out, what you’d like to do, (a few creative ideas) and what it would look like.
If you’re putting good content out there, with great intentions– they’ll respond!
The takeaway: have a clear ask when you send your email to the business. How do you picture your interaction with them going? A clearly-defined and well-thought-out pitch will get you much further than a “hey! can I have some free stuff and I’ll write about it??”
Maintaining the Relationship
From Almira Bardai, Partner at Jive Communications
The number one thing we would suggest to bloggers is the need to establish a relationship with PR professionals before asking for money. Over the years, we have developed relationships with bloggers who have done non-paid blog coverage and worked together to establish creative ideas that work for both the blogger and for us. This takes time and communication on both parts and in the end both sides are able to establish a rapport. Some of these bloggers have since monetized and we are happy to look at paying them.
The takeaway? It takes time to establish relationships. Look at the big picture, long-term goals, and don’t sacrifice them for short-term gain.
Great advice! Thanks Rebecca. Your posts are always so informative with a fun flair. Just like you!
Thanks so much, Michele!
borrowing with credit of course and I do hope there is a part two.
Also “A clearly-defined and well-thought-out pitch will get you much further than a “hey! can I have some free stuff and I’ll write about it??” made me nod and smile – got an email from someone a few weeks ago saying that they “report” on theatre and could they have tickets to opening night?
When I said I was at media capacity, the response was “will there be complimentary tickets available another night?”
No. No there will not be.
Sue Edworthy, you rock! 🙂
This is brilliant, Rebecca. It’s advice like this which helps bloggers communicate better with brands.
Thanks so much, Roy!
have recommended to Charlebois Post they share posts like this with their audience as well.
You and I will talk more later about bloggers knowing journalism rules about things like “embargo”.
Great post! Thank you so much for doing what you do!
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