We’ve all had different experiences when it comes to working with Media & PR in different ways; some good, some just okay, and some not so pleasant. That being said, this is all from my own personal experience. I don’t claim to be an expert on this at all. I am simply sharing my own thoughts on the topic. That being said, I am not writing this to attack media and PR people. I have worked with a lot of people from various small and larger brands and companies and they’ve been good and bad across the board, despite where that company may have stood in the hierarchy of things. I’m writing this in the hopes that media and PR might view bloggers a little more like people and personalities that can really help them out if they are treated properly rather than a high ( or low ) stat website or page rank.
Past that disclaimer, I’ve wanted to do a much requested post on how bloggers can go about working with brands and PR and tips for the bloggers (which I have in progress for future!) , but then I started thinking about all the tips you could give to media & PR which not too many people seem to talk about. It actually seems like it’s more important how bloggers act toward media and PR than it is how media and PR act towards bloggers, but I think it’s a 2 way street. I understand that media and PR are the ones holding the pocket book or samples or exposure or whatever it is, as it were, but I also feel that bloggers often get snubbed, taken advantage of, and really treated a bit less than, especially for the amount of work they put in. So, with that, here are my tips for media and PR when working with bloggers and I hope it’s of help to some.
- Be Straight With Us. It really annoys me when PR people from a company write me back about how great my blog is and then tell me they can’t send anything for review because of whatever reason, but are vague on the reason itself. I don’t mind rejection, believe me, but what annoys me is that I’m left wondering the reason and lost on what it was. I really only write to people whose brands I really want to try, but I do understand if my numbers aren’t up to your standards or you don’t have anymore samples in your budget to give out and that’s fine. I would feel a lot better about the situation if people were more honest with me about why I’m being rejected, so to speak, because 1. I appreciate the honesty and 2. it will help me as a blogger in the long run if I know the reason. If it’s my numbers, okay, that will come in time. If it’s your budget, that’s understandable. If it’s that you hate my blog, I would still like to know your thoughts. This will actually help me improve over time. I feel like PR reps often neglect this like they think I’m made of glass. I know you’re all very busy and you have very little time, but a small bit of effort to push me in the right direction would always be much appreciated, if you can hack it.
- Have Some Humility. I’m not saying that all PR people are cocky bastards so don’t bite my head off before reading! What I mean is that, some PR people have a tendency to talk up their brand and then ask me to blog about their company just because “We’re that awesome.” And you know, that’s great. Maybe you are and maybe I will or won’t, but your attitude pretty much ensures that I definitely will NOT. There is such a fine line between confidence and cocky and I know it must be hard to fly right, but it can be so annoying and a bit insulting when PR’s write me talking up my blog in the efforts of trying to get me to write about their brand for no reason at all, even if I’ve never heard of them. Believe me, if you’re a great brand, I’ll likely hear about it in the “blog-o-sphere” and end up writing about it, but I’ll do it in my time. The amazing thing about being a “lowly” blogger like myself means that I work on my time. Not yours. On the other hand, I’ve worked with LOADS of amazing PR reps who are humble, amazing, generous, and very helpful. They are not pushy or rude or overbearing and they are the kind of people I’m willing to help out and they are usually on board with brands that really ARE great, but coincidentally don’t feel the need to tell me so.
- Know That Blogger Does Not Equal Free Work Horse. I feel like a lot of PR people have it in their mind that bloggers are sad little desperate and homeless writers, looking for any penny they can spare, and that any little sample they throw our way will be met with hours of free work to promote their brand. Nothing is more annoying or insulting than this and believe me, bloggers are not stupid. We will certainly pick up on your less-than-honorable motives. If I really love your brand or product, it’s likely I will share it with the world, but don’t expect an essay or novel. If it ends out that I’ve written a more detailed post, then that’s great, but if not, don’t expect more. You’re not paying me to write about said product or brand so how I do so is my choice. You don’t pay my bills so please don’t act like it. You wouldn’t like it if I did that to you.
- Be Nice To Us and We’ll Be Nice To You. I’m not saying I’m willing to lie about a product or brand if they’re kind to me because I’d never do that anyway, but I will certainly go the extra mile in how I go about posting if they are nice. I love beauty products and I love when a company is kind enough to send me samples (what blogger doesn’t?), but that doesn’t mean I’ll be lying about my experiences any day soon. I pride myself on honest reviews, irregardless, but I will certainly put my best foot forward for a brand if they treat me well and I think how they treat bloggers says a lot about them as a company on the whole that will definitely trickle down to consumers.
- Bloggers Are Not Stupid – Act Accordingly. For some reason, and this only seems to happen when I’ve been approached for writing sponsored posts, I really get treated like I am an absolute moron by companies. They aren’t polite and they don’t even really describe what they want. I’m not against writing sponsored posts if the company is in line with my blog and if I like the company, but if your company is so out of left field, please don’t act like I won’t notice. It seems like some companies think bloggers are just idiotically posting whatever about whatever for money and in that, I think they need to really read up on who we are as bloggers because it’s coming off as a bit out of touch.
- Please Don’t Assume I Can Be Bought Off for $5. I understand that what you get paid should equate what you’re delivering to a certain company and, by that, I mean, I know if I am a smaller blog with less than a million readers, the payment that I get offered ( if there even is one being offered ) will be much less than a bigger blog and that’s fine. I mostly avoid paid offers because I’m not willing to work on their time for such a low price, but to each his/her own. Anyway, I’ve been getting this a lot lately where people write me wanting to guest post on my blog about [insert generic topic here] and link back to their spammy looking website and they’ve even offered to paypal me some money in return. ( Oh snap! ) The problem with that is what they are usually offering to give me is pennies on the dollar and it’s almost laughable to think I’d sell my blog out for $5, but people have the audacity to approach me like I’m a beggar. Please don’t make the same mistake. I’m not saying this because I think I’m better than that, but I am and I hope all bloggers are. I want the bar for bloggers to be set high, but I think a lot of bloggers maybe don’t know how much they should get paid for their work and at the same time it seems like a lot of companies don’t really know how much they should get paid either.
- Please Don’t Approach Me If Your Brand Doesn’t Fit My Blog. This sort of goes back onto what I was saying about bloggers not being stupid. It’s such an annoying waste of my time ( and yours ) to email me about doing a sponsored post on your brand when your brand is home appliances and that’s obviously not what this blog is about. It doesn’t make sense for either of us.
So, I know that was kind of long winded, but I hope you got something from it or enjoyed reading it anyway. If you’re a blogger, I don’t want you to think that working with brands and companies will be horrible because that’s mostly not the case. I have had nearly all good experiences with most of the people I’ve collaborated with. For media and PR people, please don’t hate me for posting on this. It’s not all of you – it’s only a few that have really made you look less than stellar. And for everyone, whoever you are, I am not targeting you so please try not to take the post personally and rather, I hope we can all learn from our experiences and grow together.
What Has Been Your Experience Working with Brands or Bloggers (if you’re part of a brand)?
If You’re a Reader, What Are Your Thoughts on the Brand/ Blogger Relationship?
I’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts on this!