Today we’re going to talk about emails. I’m sure you’ve sent lots of emails to brands this week; with a renewed sense of purpose with growing your blog and the companies you team up with. However, lots of the time, bloggers can make vital mistakes in the emails they send out!
I often get asked to proofread bloggers pitch emails so wanted to share the biggest problems I’ve noticed with lots of them. However, I don’t claim to be an expert, so I’ve also asked two of my favourite PRs-Sam from Socially Sam (if you haven’t already, read my interview with her here, it’s full of tips for working with brands) and Charlotte from Smoothie PR (if you are a food blogger, read my interview with her in which she explains how to work with food brands) to share their biggest bugbears.
Let’s start with mine….
1. Making it seem like they’re doing you a huge favour.
This is something I see in both pitch emails and online. Can we please remember this is a business transaction. I’ve seen bloggers write about how they’d be ‘so grateful’ or ‘honoured’ if a brand agreed to work with them.
This narrative extends to twitter too- I’ve been told it’s rude to pitch to PRs as I should be grateful for the opportunities I’m sent. There is nothing to necessary be grateful about. A brand is agreeing to work with you because it makes good business sense, not because they are a charity. So while it’s always good to appreciate the benefits of blogging, make sure you recognise it’s because your blog has a strong readership and it’s not just a PR ‘gifting’ you ‘free stuff” because they are nice.
2. Not giving key stats.
Many bloggers will tell their life story without realising that PRs are working to goals and benchmarks. They need to know things like your views, engagement and followers. I know it can be frustrating that sometimes a bigger blogger gets a campaign you’d be perfect for, but to an extent, it has to be data-driven doesn’t it?
I see bloggers complain about this all the time but actually while good content is key, it’s only key if somebody’s reading it.
3. Expecting PRs to have done lots of research
It’s only since I started writing outside of blogging that I truly appreciate the many hats PRs wear. At one time, a press release may go to thousands of different publications and bloggers. It’s unrealistic to expect a brand to have researched your specific blog. If it’s a long-term project or a lengthy partnership, then yes absolutely (when I worked with Genius, I was invited down to their head office to meet everybody) but if they’re emailing to fill you in on a product, there’s no way they can know every detail.
For example, weight watchers sent an email out about their new recipe box and a lot of bloggers got offended. I also received this email. So did 1000 other bloggers possibly. Sometimes you just have to delete and move it; it’s not possible for a PR to research in-depth about press releases.
4. Being far too vague
Phrases like ‘work together’ ‘connect’ and ‘collaborate’ can lead to a confusing chain of emails-be clear what you want up front!
And a few from Socially Sam…
Read my full in-depth interview about blogging and PR with Sam here.
5. Realise a PR is juggling client demands too…
“I think the big one is that a lot of bloggers don’t think that the PR is just doing their job. They probably have a difficult client to deal with who expects miracles. They are having to juggle a client’s expectations, which often aren’t realistic and also deal with a blogger that may not understand how PR or marketing works properly and some bloggers forget that PRs probably have a lot of things going on and not just that one blogger or that one product.
PRs will forget things, get things mixed up, often have no budget to work with and a boss breathing down their necks. It’s their job and they have bills to pay too. I think it helps everyone if the blogger can try and understand the PRs position and not just think of their own.
“Another one I’ve seen a lot is bloggers overselling themselves and thinking a PR won’t check things. As a blogger you often have very little information about the person you are emailing. You don’t know their background, experience or knowledge of blogging. I had someone try to explain the blogging world to me recently in an attempt to big up their numbers. It came across very condescending.”
And now a few tips from Charlotte….
7. Don’t waffle
“Keep email brief and to the point. Let them immediately understand what you can offer or how you can work together.”
8.Be Patient- and avoid Mondays!
“Don’t follow up first email the same week asking if they got it or you’ll just annoy them. I would leave it a week and don’t send or chase on a Monday or Friday as that is likely to be busiest days!”
9.Know Your Value
“Quote your prices based on what you are worth – don’t give a price list and then say that you’re willing to be cheaper. If they really want to work with you then they’ll pay or negotiate before signing you up.”
10. Read Up
“Look at the types of clients they work with before approaching, it’s annoying and shows lack of prep if you’re a food blogger and they work with fashion clients . Never send a blanket email to lots of PR companies, always personalise to make a good first impression.”