When I first started blogging, working with PRs was the farthest thing from my mind. As I saw it, I’m just a tiny blogger in an ocean of many better, more accomplished and successful bloggers. So I’d never really thought about it. However working with PRs are not just about numbers. It’s a big factor, but not the only factor. I have wanted to write this post for a while, as from experience, it was the most daunting thing to me – reaching out to PRs.
I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great PRs and the people that I’ve got to know are truly amazing. Before I started writing this post, I emailed a few of my PR friends to get their insight into what they look for before working with a blogger. With their insight and my experience as a blogger, it’s obvious that there are no ‘secret’ as to how to work with PRs. Here are some pointers that may help.
This post is based on my personal experience. I’m not claiming to be an expert or saying this is the the only way. I hope it will give perspective to other bloggers of what to expect from PRs, and what the PRs expectations might be (again based on my personal experiences).
Build Your Blog
Imagine coming across a great blog, but it only has a couple of posts and hasn’t been updated in the last month. Are you going to think it’s a credible source of information? Are you going to follow it for regular and updated content? Most likely not. So before you get in touch with any brands, build a blog that’ll preferably have a decent following and enough content for people to come back to. This also showcases your writing and photography skills.
Always try to post consistently. Even if you post twice a week, keep that happening every week. This helps in two ways: helps your blog get more regular readers; and helps brands and PRs see that you’re committed to what you’re doing.
This is where most people get stuck. How and where do you get the right contact details? A lot of brands will have a press enquiry email address on their website. This would be a good starting point. I’ve previously tweeted brands and they’ve responded with contact details. I don’t see anything wrong with that although some find it less than professional. For me, it’s taking the initiative. Sometimes I’ve been contacted by brands that have seen my posts on social media. So tag brands when you’ve written a post about their products. Being social on social media helps!
What to say
Another one that I imagine people get stuck at. What do you say?! I’d say break it down into a few small sections, no more than a couple of sentences in each. Always try to use a name where you know the name of the person you’re emailing. It sounds better and is a lot more personal. I’m much more likely to respond to an email starting with ‘Dear Farzana...’ than ‘Dear blogger...’. If you don’t know the name, then it can’t be helped.
Then in a couple of sentences introduce yourself and your blog. I’d briefly include some stats just to add some credibility to my blog; after that tell them why you’re contacting them. Always add a link to your blog and social media platforms. This gives them a chance to see what your blog is like, how social you are with your followers etc. Also, be prepared to be asked about your blog statistics (pageviews, unique users etc.), so make sure you know these about your site, I recommend using Google Analytics, as Blogger stats are completely unreliable.
Advice from PR Professionals
As I mentioned before, I contacted my PR friends to get some insight into what they look for when working with a blogger and what they expect. The main thing they look for is good content. It doesn’t have to be ‘original’ as many say, but more of good quality. Something you’ve put thought and effort in to. Photography is another thing – there are a lot of blogs out there that let themselves down with poor quality photos. You don’t need a DSLR; smartphones these days take amazing photos. There are always editing tools to lend you a hand. I’ve written some posts previously that might help – 3 Essential Steps to Improve Your Blog Photography and 3 Free Tools to Transform Your Blog Photos.
Also invest in a good layout. It doesn’t necessarily have to be bought; there are a lot of free Blogger/Wordpress templates out there that you can easily customise with help from Google! Having a user friendly layout and aesthetically pleasing blog also helps. Blogging is a social thing, be it a hobby or a potential career. So in order to make yourself known in the industry you need to interact on social media. As well as helping your blog grow, you can build up a rapport with the brand by promoting your blog link on social media.
And one other big thing that everyone mentioned was communication. Once you’ve started working with PRs, make sure you keep communicating with them. What you thought of the product, when you might post about it, email them the link of your review – just keep them in the loop. It builds great relationships and makes working together much easier.
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