A while ago I wrote The PR's Guide to Blogging and it turned out to be one of my most viewed and shared posts, ever. I got so many of you message me, tweet and comment about the post, and I've been meaning to write Part 2 for quite a while. But finally - here it is!
As a PR Manager by day, and a blogger by night, I'm fully exposed to the operations and relations between bloggers and PR's. From all aspects, there's unlikely to be a situation, complaint or success story that I've not encountered from one aspect or another, and I really want to share this knowledge with you. Hopefully this will help you work better with brands, build better relationships and overall present your blog - and yourself - in such a way that appeals to the PR's you're already working with, and the ones you'll work with in the future. So now that you're hopefully caught up on the original post (here), you can enjoy The PR's Guide to Blogging - Part 2...
A Media Pack is SO important and I've been really surprised by the amount of bloggers who I've been approached by, yet don't have one. When I've requested their pack, they go radio silent and the email conversation goes dead. PR Tip #1 - bloggers of all sizes should have a Media Pack because it's the most helpful and concise way of 'selling' your blog. A great covering email will grab the attention - but the Media Pack is what holds it - and sells it. At a very basic level, a Media Pack should contain your stats: the ones that are the most important are your unique users per month (not pageviews) as well as your social media following stats and addresses. Then things like the awards you've won, brands you've worked with or featured before, as well as a little bit about yourself and your brand (your blog.) My friend Georgie at As You Wish UK wrote an amazing post on what to include, so check that out for more specific details when putting yours together.
You can download or buy Media Pack templates really cheaply from places like Etsy. It will be the best £10 you've ever spent. It looks professional and showcases your blog above others competing for samples and sponsored posts. Bear in mind that things like your emails and Media Packs are what speak for you - so make sure you've got one. Think about how well you'd present yourself in an interview - your Media Pack is doing that job for you - kinda important huh?
I touched on this before, but as a PR I'm growing weary of it now! Please, please, don't tell fibs about your following numbers. We're not silly, we know when you're fibbing. We do this as a job day-in, day-out remember, and we recognize the numbers that don't quite add up. Blogs have a limited number of entrance points (places where traffic comes from) so if you've got 5,000 social media followers and your blog DA isn't that high (which I'm not saying is a bad thing by the way!) then telling a PR you get 12,000+ unique users per month doesn't sound quite right. I'm not going to tell you what the exact ratio/figures are (obviously) but there are some general metrics and common sense (!) used to tell approximately what the traffic will be.
The reason for not fibbing is obvious. As a blogger we're partnering with you above others who may have been on the table for a campaign. We've picked you because we like you, because your figures fit with the campaign...for various reasons. Not being honest means that not only does another blogger miss out, but also when the campaign goes live and the traffic is lower than expected, well, if we weren't on to the inflated figures before, we likely will be now. Which just means we're unlikely to work with you again. So no future samples or sposnored posts for you. You might get the initial campaign off the back of fake figures, but it's detrimental in the long run because you're unlikely to get another. Build the best relationships with PR's - tell the truth peeps.
Okay so this one is a multiple point. Firstly, when you work with PR's and your content goes live - email them your blog post links. You'd be surprised how many people don't do this. Just because a brand comments and shares your post on social media, doesn't mean the PR has seen it. Most big brands have entire social media teams - completely separate to PR. To get the recognition with the person who can send more products and campaigns your way, they need to know you've delivered your blog post, and sometimes they're too busy to check up.
Another point with emails is keeping PR's up-to-date with any potential delays. As a blogger I have a very busy and hectic home life, and I know first hand when things are difficult, blogging must take a back-seat. If you're going to need a few more weeks to deliver content - just let the PR know. We'll honestly be fine with it. And it looks way better than a.) just not telling us and giving the impression that you're not bothered about our product, or worse, b.) lazy. Same goes for if you don't like the product - let us know and we'll see what we can sort out with you. Don't just take a product and not deliver. (I touched on this a lot before in the previous post.)
One thing I personally look for when I'm looking at bloggers is their social media. I work with bloggers of all sizes, some campaigns are reliant on statistics and figures, there's no escaping that. But some aren't and it's always about finding the right blogger for the campaign. A way to see this is through social media - it shows your personality and how engaged you are, as well as how engaged your followers are with your content. If you only use social media to promote your blog posts, and not to be that social, then that's actually not really very engaging - which will show in few favourites or likes etc. If you can't manage every platform due to time constraints then focus on one and don't use the others. It's actually detrimental to have all these different platforms with nothing relevant on them. (I've also talked about this here before.)
One tip I love to give - not just as a PR, but also because I think it's a nice thing to do - is to share content from other bloggers. I don't know why more people don't do this?! I try and do it as often as possible - if I enjoyed reading something, I share it with my followers with a RT etc. This gives your followers content to engage with, which builds their opinion that your platforms are somewhere to go for something they like to read. Which means they come back. It doesn't matter that the content isn't yours. They're accessing it from you, so it still creates good traffic and reliability.
Also, it helps to showcase other bloggers that you recommend. Chances are if we're looking at your blog because we like it, then we'll also like the bloggers you do! I frequently find bloggers I love to follow and watch as a PR through the conversations and shared content on other bloggers Twitter feeds. My personal opinion is that you shouldn't be precious about your feeds - plus it's good for the community isn't it?
So, there's another 5 tips for you and your blog from a PR's perspective. I hope you've found them useful in helping to improve and build better relationships with PR's. Let me know if you have any specific comments or questions for Part 3!