When I started blogging PR outreach had not been heard of and it was a good three years before I was approached with that first invitation. Now the offers come thick and fast and keeping up with my e-mail sometimes feels like a full time job.
We have all had that moment of blogging envy – when we see another blog has reviewed or is working with a product or brand that you feel is a really good fit for your site, or is something that you really want. I believe that it is absolutely OK to contact a PR or brand and ask for items – at worse they can only say no and it will put you on their radar for the future.
So how do you go about approaching a PR or brand to ask for that sample, product or invitation?
I have joined in some lovely campaigns which I have seen on other sites simply by asking the blogger to introduce me to the PR and recommend me, I do this for other bloggers and when I ask for an introduction I always offer to introduce them to one of my PR contacts in return.
If you want to find out which agency represents a brand visit their website and find the newsroom or press section (usually in the footer) where the PR company will often be listed as a press contact. Alternatively a quick search at either Marketing Week or PR Week can help.
Polish up your media pack – there is guide to writing a media pack on Tots100 – so you can present you and your blog in the most positive way. Write your e-mail outlining why you love the product, why it is a good fit and why it is advantageous to the brand to work with you.
Think about your request, if your gut feeling is that you are blagging and being a bit cheeky then think twice before asking.
Lastly by opting into Foodies100 PR messages, bloggers can receive requests direct from PR agencies that are tailored to their site and interests.
We asked a few PRs their views on being pitched by bloggers, how they like to be approached and how they spot the blagger.
Amanda French – Z PR
We check every blog we send product to – we read the content and make sure they are relevant. This is the most basic check and done before we begin to look at analytics.
Here’s a couple of signs which show us straight away that a blogger isn’t genuine – but could be classified as a blagger
- If the content on their blog is constant product reviews, with no editorial breaking it up
- The content of their blog is not specific to any area or topic, but will review everything from dog food to make up
- How the blog is written – the quality of the editorial, spelling errors, the effort put into a review
It’s pretty simple to spot someone with a genuine interest who will have relevant readers, rather than those looking for ‘the grab’.
Aaron Huckett – Publicasity
Over the past six months, there has definitely been a shift toward bloggers approaching PRs regarding brand collaborations and reviews; an interesting development in this ever-evolving relationship. When it comes to being invited to work with a blog, I am instantly open to working with a blogger if they can define how they want to work together, having put thought into how the partnership will be beneficial for both parties and really relating the content of their blog to the brand.
However, there has been a tendency for bloggers to simply detail their stats and hope this will be a sufficient starting point. Having good stats is certainly something to be proud of, but at Publicasity we really believe that outcomes matter. This means that we’re focused on creating opportunities for our clients that will drive commercial impact – from increased trust to behavioural change, community engagement or driving sales. Therefore even if the blog has a smaller, more concentrated following – this is equally relevant if it helps to achieve against these objectives.
It is becoming increasingly easy to spot those that are trying to blag a freebie which only makes things more difficult for everyone in the long run. Honesty is an essential between both parties to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship – just as much on the side of the blogger as it is with the PRs and brand representatives.
Howard Bowden – Clarion
Before contacting PRs, do your homework on what a particular brand has done in the past – if you can show how you could potentially add value to a PR campaign, by demonstrating your understanding of what the brand is all about, you’re far more likely to get a favourable response.
Timing is critical in the world of PR, as campaign timelines are usually set up for several months in advance; don’t forget that PRs may have several other clients which take priority, so if they don’t respond immediately, it may be because the timing isn’t right.
When it comes to budgets, there’s no standard industry-wide procedure: some clients may not have any additional available budget for blogger activity, while some agencies have in-house policies of not making payments to bloggers. But blogger engagement is key for many brands these days, and building up a relationship with your PR contacts will mean you can discuss future opportunities in advance.
Do you pitch brands and PRs or do you wait to be contacted?
By Helen Best-Shaw