A couple weeks back, I put up a post with advice I’d solicited from PR Pros for Bloggers. Today is part two of that post… more advice from PR Pros for Bloggers.
Oftentimes bloggers don’t respond at all to a request to promote products, attend an event or post a story (traditional media can be quite similar in this regard). Totally understand that bloggers or traditional media just don’t have the time to respond to every email pitch, but it may be a good idea to try and respond as much as possible, even if the blogger is declining the pitched idea. Because that gives the blogger an opportunity to provide some context as to why they are not interested in that particular opportunity, and what sorts of opportunities they are interested in. So, for example, a blogger may not want to review a makeup product, but they may be interested in holding contests where their readers can win something. If the blogger provides this type of useful info, chances are they will be top of mind or might be passed on to other colleagues. Looks like PR people tend to form better relations and reach out more frequently to those bloggers who take the time to respond and provide useful feedback.
Another piece of advice would be to connect with other bloggers and when you see something they are promoting/writing about/holding a contest with, contact the relevant communications team and ask to be in touch. Often times, PR folks are looking for more venues to promote, so it could be worthwhile for a blogger to reach out yourself and saying something like “I saw the contest XX blogger was holding and am interested in a similar opportunity.”
I think that if I had one piece of advice to give bloggers it would that if we send you something that may not be the right fit at the time, but you would like to hear from us in the future about other topics, let us know by replying to the original pitch and give us some direction. Open dialogue is very important!
The takeaway: I think many of us are afraid to say no, because we want to connect and maintain relationships. But the truth is, no on can go to every single thing, scheduling-wise. Additionally, not every single pitch is going to be something that fits with the niche of your blog. It’s okay to say no. But do reply. And let the PR company know why you can’t make it (scheduling or not a right fit) and that you’d still like to be on their list for future events.
If a blogger thinks that receiving products or swag, a trip, or an event invite is a great way to get free stuff because they will blog about it, I ask them to be gracious about it. Remember that PR people and the companies who give up time and profits to host and promote have a job to do, and are trusting and relying on bloggers to help be a voice that tells their story. Bloggers need to keep in mind that while their blog might be for fun or freebies, the people on the giving side are in business and the PR people associated with sending the swag and invites treat it like it is a professional exchange.
The takeaway: you are a professional, whether or not you make money from your blog. Do follow up on what you said you would do.
Bloggers: what have you learned from working with PR companies? Any pearls of wisdom you’d like to share? And check out this great article from Kerry at SAHMedia: The ROI of Working With Bloggers.