Working with PRs – Bloggers’ FAQs

5

Some of our most frequently asked questions come from bloggers who are looking to work with PRs and brands, so we thought we’d put together a few tips to guide you in the right direction. As always, pick and choose the information that is relevant to you and your blog and if you have any helpful tips to add, then do leave us a comment.

How do I get to work with brands and PRs?

Any established blogger and all your readers will tell you that content is key. It is highly likely that anyone who starts a blog just to get free products will not be around very long. Concentrate on building your blog – write about what you enjoy, engage with others and then the brands and PRs will come along. You will find that most bloggers who regularly write reviews or are invited events were blogging for many months, if not years, before they started working with PRs.

Make sure your Foodies100 profile is complete as PRs and brands will be looking to offer products for review and many other writing opportunities.

Do I have to review everything I am offered?

No. This is very definitely a case of your blog, your rules. It really is best to make sure that the product you are reviewing is a good fit with your site and that you would feel comfortable writing about it. If your site isn’t solely dedicated to reviews, then you may want to consider getting a good balance between review posts and your regular posts.

I’m getting lots of offers that aren’t relevant to my blog, should I reply to every email?

This is entirely up to you. Some bloggers will simply ignore anything that they don’t feel is relevant to them, others write a quick reply to thank the PR or brand for the offer and explain that it isn’t a good fit for their site. It may be worth remembering that whilst the product they are offering this time is of no interest, they may have something in the future that you would be interested in, so you may like to ask them to bear you in mind for future campaigns.

I didn’t like the product I was sent for review, what should I do?

You have several options if you don’t like what you are sent. If there is a fault with the product then it is best to contact the PR or brand to let them know – most of the time they will be very happy to sort this out for you. This means you can write about their customer service as well as the product in your review.

If the product works fine but you just didn’t like it then, again, it may be worth dropping a quick line to the PR to tell them this and explain that you will have to write this in your review. Most PRs will thank you for your feedback and will be happy for you to go ahead and post your review. There may be some circumstances where you decide you cannot post a review. It is best to let the PR company or brand know of your reasons why.

If you do write about a product that you didn’t like, it is still possible to write a constructive review. Was is just not your kind of thing but would be suitable for other people? Did it have good aspects but was aimed at the wrong age range? It is vitally important that your reviews are always honest but also try to be constructive where you can.

What is the difference between a review and a sponsored post?

If you are asked to review a product, the PR company or brand will send you the item, free of charge, to try out. Unless it is an extremely high value item, you should usually expect to keep the product. Be wary of companies who ask you to send things back, especially at your own cost. Thankfully it doesn’t happen often, but just make sure you know what is required before you agree to anything!

If you are asked to write a sponsored post then you should expect to receive payment for doing so – usually via Paypal, cheque or vouchers. The PR or brand will usually ask for a couple of links to their products in your blog post – you may want to specify that you use nofollow links before agreeing to write the post.

Should I disclose in my blog post that I was sent an item/paid for writing?

Yes, you must always fully disclose any free items and payment received. Most bloggers will add a sentence at the beginning or end of their blog post to let their readers know either labelling it a sponsored post or disclosing the items they were sent to review. Some bloggers also have a separate page on their blog for PR, Advertising and disclosure.

Is there a time scale for posting my review?

It may be worth agreeing a time scale before you review the product. If it is a kitchen appliance, for example, you may want to thoroughly test it to see how it performs over a month, how easy it is to clean and store, whether it shows signs of wear etc. If it is an ingredient, then you are likely to need a much shorter time scale.

I was offered an item to review but haven’t heard back from the PR. What should I do?

This does happen sometimes – often because PRs asked too many people or the client pulled out and they failed to let you know. Try dropping them a polite email to check that everything is still on track or phone the company if you can. PRs do move around quite a lot so you may find someone else at the PR firm to deal with.

If you have any other questions you’d like answered please leave them in the comments and we will do our best to answer them.

Sally is the publisher of Foodies100, the UK's largest directory of brilliant UK food and drink blogs and bloggers. Every day of the week, we promote the UK's best and most exciting blogs about food and drink.

Discussion5 Comments

  1. I wrote a long post about this at the start of the year.
    http://fussfreeflavours.com/2012/01/a-few-thoughts-on-working-with-prs-and-brands/
    which has a large amount of very interesting feedback.

    The most important thing is to be honest, in what you say, and in disclosing the freebie or payment.

    As I wrote in my post do not be too grateful for everything. I find it very helpful to put a price on your blogging time and to think about what it actually cost to send you the samples – generally a fraction of the retail price.

    Also remember that the PR is sending you stuff as part of their job, there has been a decision made that the brand will benefit more financially from your coverage than whatever the samples cost to send you.

    And enjoy them! Everyone loves getting stuff sent!

  2. This is a great article and thanks for it. I have a food blog and also work in PR – in an unrelated part of the industry (beauty and grooming). Keep a good dialogue with PR’s, you can build a good working relationship and yes – do remember, it’s your blog and your rules. With every critique, remain balanced – too gushing and people might switch off. Too harsh and the same might happen. Happy blogging.

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

So You Know...

As you've likely heard and seen, there's an increasing focus on the authenticity of follower growth and engagement on social platforms across the Influencer Marketing community. The platforms themselves have taken measures to deter inauthentic activity and brands now more closely scrutinise the audiences of the influencers with whom they are partnering.

The Flea Network has implemented a system that will detect abnormal spikes in following and engagement, and flag these properties. Of course, such spikes can often be attributed to viral posts or high-profile brands that bring greater exposure to some content.

If one of your social accounts is flagged by our system without an obvious reason, we may reach out to you for assistance in understanding it. If we find any influencer has artificially inflated their audience size or engagement using paid acquisition or automated, third-party tools, we will remove them permanently from our influencer community.

Feel free to reach out to us at bloggers@fleaenterprises.com with any questions or comments.

Thank you!

The Flea Network Team

Got it!