If you run your blog for business, you’ve most likely spoken to someone working in PR. PR representatives are the people who manage the way the public relates to a brand, and are often the first point of contact between a blogger and a brand. Making your blog accessible to PR is important when blogging for business, although attracting the attention of big brands can seem a bit of a mystery to those starting out in the blogosphere.
Ali White is the creative marketing mastermind who works with me behind the scenes at North Leads To Home to help not only with marketing strategies, but also in making my blog PR accessible. Ali first got a taste for the world of PR on a work placement. Four years and a degree in ancient history later, she’s completing a masters degree in PR and interning at a high profile company. She certainly knows what she’s talking about! Today, Ali shares why it’s important for bloggers and PR professionals to work together and how you can make your blog PR friendly.
K: First things first, what do you do as a PR intern?
A: I do a lot of different things! I spend quite a lot of time building media lists, so finding contacts for different events or products or things like that. I liaise with clients, and I come up with creative ideas. I write press releases, send out press releases, read press releases…
K: So essentially you’re the person all the bloggers want to impress to get on the media lists then! So, how much of your job is spent working with blogs?
A: My primary contact with bloggers is to either assess them and add them to our media lists in some form of data capture if they get in contact with us regarding a particular product or event, or I go out in search of them with regards to certain specific criteria. It could be geographic criteria, which is what I did really recently.
K: Why is geographic criteria so important to PR representatives?
A: If there is an event occurring and we want bloggers from the local area to come and cover the event, we would go and seek them out in an attempt to work with them. Especially if they have a specific lifestyle which they blog about and we’re doing the PR for products related to that lifestyle, like parents, fashion, photography or travel.
If your blog is about general lifestyle pieces then it’s important, really really important to have a geographic element. If a PR representative is trying to get people to come and review events and they don’t have a clue where a blogger lives – you might want them to write for you but you can’t send an invitation. Having that information about where somebody can find you, where it can clearly be accessed on your blog without having to look to hard is really important.
K: So its obviously really important for brands and bloggers to work together. What is the best way for a blogger to make themselves more attractive to PR?
A: Any PR person in general will most likely be working to a set of specific criteria. So, if you don’t fit the criteria then it’s a bit of a pointless thing to do. But, if a blogger was to seek out a PR person it would depend on the PR person’s own research about that blogger. If a blogger sought me out and wanted to review a product, and they wanted to be sent something for free to review, then I would go and look and see if they did this a lot. If they’re not doing from a genuine point of view, from a genuine perspective then I don’t really want to work with them. The whole appeal that bloggers have to brands and to public relations is because they’re supposed to have a genuine opinion right? And so if a blogger comes across as just being out to gain products or freebies then people won’t want to work with you.
K: I agree. Having a genuine interest in your blog and the kind of products that it recommends helps because you’re working within your own niche and it’s clear what you’re offering.
A: Right! For example, if you had a travel blog that was about a gap year and going around different countries, then you sent an email to Chanel asking them for a bag… You’re not going to get anywhere because nobody will think you’re being genuine.
K: What are the most common things bloggers do that put off PR people, especially in regard to the blogs themselves?
A: It’s a bloggers prerogative to write on their blog whether they want to be contacted by PR people. If they don’t, if they just want somewhere to write about whatever without engaging with any specific brands or products, then that’s up to them, but they should make that clear.
You should absolutely make that clear if you are happy to be contacted by having a specific set of strong guidelines as that will make you appear more genuine. For example, have a phrase like ‘I’m happy to be contacted by PR professionals as long as it is relevant to X, Y and Z’ which is what you write about in your blog. That’s a really good thing to have. Having a separate contact place for PR people to contact you is a really good thing to have. Have a separate email address, don’t just have a separate comments form. That’s really annoying!
K: I can imagine that! Have you got any tips on what to include on your contact page to attract PR interest?
A: On request or access available to statistics about your traffic or readership is important, but it depends on the client you’re wanting to attract. Bigger brands will respond better to just having information there out in the open so they can find it easily. Smaller brands would want to know more about the blogger, so they would request the information. You can’t look desperate but you have to make it easy! If you look desperate then nobody wants to work with you. If you make it difficult then nobody wants to work with you.
K: So it’s about finding the balance between having a genuine blog about something you’re interested in and making your content and contact details accessible to PR representatives?
A: Yes, exactly.
Ali’s tips for making your blog PR friendly:
- Geography is important! Make it clear where your blog is based geographically so you can be invited to events, especially if you run a lifestyle blog.
- Approach brands relevant to your blog and readership. A genuine interest in the sector or product, shown on your blog, can work wonders.
- Make it clear you want to engage with PR representatives by creating an easy to find contact page aimed at working with brands.
- Set guidelines about who you are willing to work with. This makes it easier for both parties to see if they’re a good fit.
- Ensure you have some traffic or readership details to show brands who may want to work with you – a PDF media kit is best.
To find out more about Ali and her work with North Leads To Home, visit my about page.