I am always getting asked questions about PRs- how we should approach them, what to say to them and my top tips on working together. I’m lucky in my work that I work with PRs in lots of ways- as a blogger but also a freelance writer. In turn, the shoe is sometimes on the other foot as when my book was released, it was me reaching out to blogs and magazines, asking them to feature my product.What I’ve noticed along the way is that the majority of issues in bloggers working with PRs is down to miscommunication, so I’ve created this helpful guide to try to demystify the process.
1. Always find the name of who you’re speaking to. One thing us bloggers rightly hate is when we’re addressed as ‘blogger’, yet many bloggers reaching out to brands will just use a generic email. Take the time to find out which member of staff is responsible for specific brands before emailing.
2. Do your research. If there’s a brand you’d like to work with, make sure you research the way they’re working with bloggers at the moment. Are they in the middle of a big campaign? Is there a specific product they’re pushing? You might want to plan ahead for key dates too- for example, most PRs get their Christmas products ready for gift guide inclusion towards the end of July.
3. Be specific. Words like ‘collaborate’, ‘connect’ and ‘work together’ are fine- but how many times have you got to the end of a long email chain and realised what the PR wants is completely different to what you do? There’s nothing wrong with spelling out what you’re looking for (whether it be items for a recipe post or a review meal for 2) and what you can offer in return-this saves everyone a lot of time.
4.Do ask questions before agreeing. I see many bloggers angry because information has not been given to them- but asking questions (such as the deadline or clarifying payment terms) is crucial before you get going on a post.
5.Don’t demand the world. When I was promoting my book, I registered with Response Source (this is a fantastic resource which I may do another blog post on if you’re interested in learning more). It’s free for bloggers to put out requests but you have to pay if you are using it for PR purposes (which at the time it was) as you get to see all the requests. I was shocked at the number of requests some bloggers were putting out- especially those who said they were just getting started or low stats.Being flexible-both in the work you offer and what you are looking to get out of the collaboration- can help.
6. Don’t spam the hashtags. One way bloggers try to get attention from PRs is using hashtag. #prrequest and #bloggerswanted used to be a fantastic resource for us to find opportunities but now it is impossible to find requests as bloggers use this to spam and show their links to PRs. This doesn’t make sense to me as it defeats the purpose of the hashtag. If you want to work with PRs, take the time to do the research and drop them an email.
7. Do follow up. PRs are really busy people and we can sometimes feel offended when they don’t reply to us. However, don’t take it to heart! Several times, I have dropped a PR an email after several weeks to follow up my initial request and it’s lead to a successful collaboration. The sheer amount of emails some PRs get on a daily basis means a gentle nudge and moving your email to the top of their inbox isn’t seen as rude but proactive.
8.Do build long term relationships. Similarly, don’t feel you can’t drop in with PRs from time to time! PRs often represent a wide range of clients so an email every few months letting them know what projects you are working on can only be a good thing!
Want more tips and tricks to emailing PRs? Checkout my pitching toolkit, which covers everything from an email template for the perfect pitch, a 12 month sponsored content plan and a guide to providing sponsored post packages.