Pitching, engagement and budgets: Email with Alex from CCD PR

For regular readers, you might remember when I interviewed PRs and small brands on working with bloggers. I interviewed about press trips, Fran from PrezzyBox about gift guides and Sam from Socially Sam about engagement, pitching disaster and everything else PR deal with!

Today, I’m back- and interviewing the lovely Alex-Account Executive at CCD PR who look after all sorts of lovely natural health, food and wellbeing brands. Alex shares such amazing insight which I know you’ll all find so useful!

Before, I begin, just to ask if you could (if you haven’t already!) fill out my big blogging money survey-to help me share how much bloggers charge for sponsored posts.


Q:Hi Alexandra, thanks so much for chatting with me today! Would you mind briefly introducing yourself, your role at CCD PR and a few of the brands you represent?

I’m an Account Executive at CCD PR working across natural health, food and wellbeing brands, I work across brands such as Nairn’s, Ombar and Equinox Kombucha . As an account executive my role encapsulates everything from getting our products into the press, working with bloggers and influencers, hosting events and brainstorming campaign ideas.


Q: All of my favourite brands (sidenote: If you haven’t tried Ombar, please do immediately!) How much of your day-to-day work is working with bloggers?

It often depends on what we’re working on with our clients. If we’re creating campaigns with bloggers or putting together a series of blogger reviews it can be a big focus of my day-to-day work. I think the work we do with bloggers of all sizes is definitely growing and brands are increasingly open to working with them.

Q:We’ve discussed projects that would suit both my blog and the publications I write for. What are the differences between the two pieces of media do you think? What are the benefits and the drawbacks of getting something in front of bloggers instead of traditional media?

We constantly work to get our clients in the media as it lends a recognised authority that people will trust and respect, also these days a greater number media outlets now have social media with hugely influential followings, so we do have devote a lot of our time to gaining exposure through these channels.

However, working with bloggers can add a more personal touch, so we’re always on the look out for innovative bloggers and influencers to work with who will help introduce a brand to more specialised and dedicated audiences.

Times are definitely changing and I think a lot of PRs now aim to get a balance of both blogger and media exposure for their clients, as we do find that blogger exposure can have a longer-lasting impact for brands.

Q: Very true! Us bloggers are constantly told brands are looking for good engagement-but what does that really look like to a PR company?

Engagement can come in many different forms, but essentially, when I look at a blogger’s engagement it’s to make sure their following isn’t just a number but rather an audience that are genuinely receptive and involved with the content that is being published.

When I look for engagement I often look for bloggers who engage with or work with other bloggers, produce beautiful imagery, have interesting or unique angles for their blog posts, and those that evidently engage with their readers, whether this is replying to comments on their Instagram and blog posts or through Instagram stories.

I also usually look at how they’ve worked brands on previous projects, I’m always really impressed with bloggers that create multifaceted campaigns, even on a small scale, where they showcase brands on both their blog and social media in a way that is unique to them.


10 Reasons No One Is Reading Your Blog

So, today I wanted to talk about one of the most common complaints I see bloggers talking about: why no-one is reading your blog. You might know that my latest venture is all about blogging outreach (I now run Chronic Illness Bloggers which helps connect bloggers who blog about life with an illness and brands and advertisers) as well as doing blog audits and helping bloggers with their sites. During this time, many of my conversations have been about stats and more specifically people asking: why is no one reading my blog?

Traffic is important. I know many bloggers will tell you it isn’t but most of the time we’re blogging for two reasons: a) we want people to read our words and feel inspired or informed and b) we want to be hopefully paid or compensated for our words (if that’s you, do go fill out my blogging money survey as I’m trying to keep track of how much bloggers charge- I’ll be sharing in a blog post soon!). So unless you are blogging purely for yourself, it’s ok to admit that you want people to read your blog!

After looking at a LOT of blogs this week- I wanted to share ten mistakes some bloggers are making…

1.It’s hard to navigate 

I think bloggers underestimate the attention span of an average reader at times. Often, on landing on a site it can be hard to navigate with unclear headings or no introduction to what the site is actually about. Make the purpose of your blog really clear as soon as the reader arrives on your site. One way to do this might be to have a landing page so you can send your different types of readers off in different directions.

2.You’re not offering value

One of the quickest ways to gain traffic is to offer something of value-whether it’s a free download or ten tips on something (just like I’m doing now!). If your blog is purely your own reflections an a journal for your life; that’s absolutely fine-but you might need to accept it might not be the traffic-building blog you’d like.

3.It doesn’t stand out


You don’t have to have a clear ‘niche’ but you do have to offer something different in my opinion. There are just so many blogs out there- why would anyone read yours over a thousand others?

4.It takes too long to load

Make a note of your google page insights to check your site speed

I’d recommend using google page speed insights to see how slow your site is to load- this can be really offputting; especially if people are scrolling on their phone.

5.You’re focussed on false engagement

Follow trains. Comment pods. Like for Like. Whatever you call them, they’re really bloody annoying. And all a bit fake. I might use one once in a blue moon-but only if I know the reader is likely to stick around afterwards.

For example, if I have an amazing post on The Bloglancer; I might use these to drive people to my site (since them being a blogger is the perfect audience) but make sure I have all the different ways to follow my blog so they’ll stick around.  I wouldn’t do this for my first blog, A Balanced Belly, however-since it’s unlikely I’d find people geniunely interested in my content.

You might spend thirty minutes of comment pods and follow trains to bring in one hundred readers one day; but it would be better spent working on Pinterest- to bring in potential one hundred readers every day.

Read it next: How I get 400 views a day from Pinterest.

6.Your sponsored content sticks out

If you’re only blogging a few times a way and have regular sponsored content, it can definitely impact your blog. So your sponsored content needs to BE BETTER than your original content, not just stuff you’ve posted and hoped nobody would read. Treat every sponsored post not just as a way to make money, but a way to get traffic. Always ask if you can offer a giveaway item (which is a very easy way to boost traffic) and always share on social media, create pins AND make it interesting (too many bloggers just don’t do this)

7.You’re not keeping people on the page

Always do your very best to keep bloggers on the page once they’ve arrived. Try to have recommended posts at the bottom of the page and interspersed throughout (either through images or links). Make sure you click the ‘open in a new window’ tab, so you don’t lose the blogger!

8.You don’t know who you’re writing for

Yes, you may have the nice template and an Instagram-worthy feed; but who is your ideal reader? What are they likely to want to know that you can help them with. Quite a few bloggers have readers surveys and they can really help get to grips with what the reader is after. Another way is to look at your stats and see which style of post is consistently popular.

9.You’re not sharing enough

Make sure you are sharing your old content as well as your new stuff. I often go through my blog and see what type of evergreen content I can reshare ( I either do this manually or use the app ‘HiPlay’ which works with Buffer). It’s also worth making sure you are continually sharing old posts around key dates- so get your Easter posts scheduled!

10.You haven’t bought my book.

Sorry guys, this wasn’t intending to be self-promotion; but I already designed my pin for ’10 tips’ and I’m having a mental block around the last one- so I thought I’d give my new ebook about building traffic a mention. If you’re looking to build your traffic, it’s got lots of practical tips and I also offer blog audits if you’d like me to take a look at your blog specifically to see where you’re going wrong?

I hope this post helped and I’ll be back with a new PR interview in a couple of days!

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10 reasons no one is reading your blog

How to revamp your old content to get tons more page views.

So for the past few weeks, I’ve been really busy and felt as if I needed some new seasonal content. You know the type: pumpkin recipes, Christmas guides and anything with the word ‘autumnal’ in. Since I already get some traffic from Google and Pinterest, I noticed some of my previous year’s posts were starting to get more hits- for some reason it’s now perfectly acceptable to google Christmas advent calendars in September. The old content was being read but to be honest, it was bit tired: dead links, crap images and very 2016. The solution was clear: to start working on my old content and make it as good as new! Here’s what I did:


8 brands looking to work with bloggers for gift guides

Today is another gift-guide themed post. Last week, I shared my top tips for writing gift guides and shared 7 brands looking for bloggers. Now, I’m sharing ten more brands that want to get their products featured. I hope this blog post helps with your gift guide dilemmas!

  1. Self-care and Wellness bloggers: Affirmation cards and prints from A Life More Inspired
  2. Gift guides for her: Checkout  and email:
  3. Border collie inspired gifts, clothing+homeware email:
  4. All types of gift guides.That Lovely Stuff. A gift store full of things handmade by mums at home. Email:
  5. Gift guides for men.
  6. Gift guide for 3-8-year-olds.  A range of art sensory boxes to feature. Visit facebook page: 
  7. Gift guides for men. Sci-fi, gaming and retro film prints
  8. Gift guides for teenagers/young girls. Miss Dreambox are gift boxes for girls. Email:

Before you go….

 Check out my original post on gift guides and 7 brands looking for bloggers.

Read my interview with Fran from Prezzy Box on sending gift guide pitches.

Read my guide to Response Source– the perfect way to source products for gift guides.

10 ways to grow your mailing list quickly

There seems to be a real trend towards bloggers and small businesses developing a mailing list lately and there are many reasons why. It is the perfect way of making sure your content is delivered directly to your reader’s inbox. And, with all the algorithm changes going at the moment, the only thing you can really rely on is your email list.

So what makes me the expert? Well, on my first blog I’ve been slowly growing my mailing list for the last year or so and have now reached 1400. Why did I decide on my mailing list in particular? Well being an information-based site, many readers come to you for information and promptly departed.

Health and food blogs have much higher bounce rates this reason, as readers are less likely to follow and connect with the person behind the blog. While I had a group of loyal readers, I could see that a chunk of my readership was brand new readers each month who didn’t find me through my social media. So, to me, it made sense to try and find something to keep them around.


Gift Guides and What Makes a Good Engagement (with Prezzy Box)

Hi guys,

I’m back with another brand spotlight today. This week it’s the lovely Fran from Prezzy Box and we chat everything from blogger engagement to gift guides. Before we begin, make sure you enter my new giveaway for a chance to win 1-2-1 blog mentoring as it closes next week. You can also read all the past brand spotlights here


. Now that’s out the way, let’s get started…


Q: Tell me a bit more about your role with Prezzy Box? In what way do you work with bloggers?

I’m Fran, PR & Marketing Exec for online gift retailer As a creative business my role literally goes from getting us in the press, to modelling our products and even chatting on the radio. We work with influencers on all types of projects, from reviews and gift guides of our products to hosting events and panel discussions for press and consumers, running competitions and newsletter partnerships plus so much more.

Q:We met at Christmas in July where there was a real mix of press and bloggers. How do you split your time between these 2 forms of media?

Times have changed for both press and bloggers, with lots of print press also having an online platform now, TV having catch-up online and YouTube, blogs and social media being read daily by millions we have to devote our time equally between the two types, but we do look for the most innovative influencers and outlets to work alongside and try to individualise time dependent on how we are working with them.

Q:What do you think the differences are in these 2 forms?

We find a lot of the time daily print press, TV and even social media can produce immediate results in terms of sales or visits to our sites. Whereas a blog or vlog is a longstanding piece of content that can see results gradually over time, or convince a person to return to our site after reading something 3 months previously for instance – it’s difficult sometimes to monitor but we understand that different audiences shop and engage in various ways.

Just one of the many adorable items on Prezzy Box…

Q:What kind of opportunities do you offer bloggers?

We are very tailored in approach depending on what relationship we have or want to create with a blogger. Openness to ideas is key and we have done everything from your standard product placement to unique events hosted by key influencers. We’ve featured bloggers within our emails, collaborated on product ideas, and even produced exclusive content for reciprocal exposure. We try to be creative thinkers – so if you’ve an innovative idea, feel free to share it!

Q:What do you look for in a blogger you work with?

Passion. Knowledge. Punctuality. Uniqueness.

Make a good impression and be enthusiastic, suggest fresh ideas or have a real knowledge about our brand and values plus the way that you could convey that to a reader then you will stand out.

Someone that’s compatible with our brand is a must, PLEASE don’t email me if you are going to call us Prezzy bop or even our competitors name and not even follow up with the link to the blog post. Also, make sure you know the basics, spelling mistakes and having really low stats but being super demanding will make you stand out for all the wrong reasons. So target brands that fit with your blog.

Q:Are stats everything? What stats do you focus the most on?

Should we step away from google analytics?

It’s not all about quality, it’s about quality too. Stats are of course an important part of engaging a brand with your blog, but it’s not all about how “influential” you are, as I’ve mentioned, your blog must sit well with our brand.

We want people who produce incredible content that captures the attention of their readers. You could be targeting a smaller readership but they might find it more interesting than a rushed piece of content that’s gone out the thousands.

The focus on statistics however is dependent on your main outlet, Domain authority is important for SEO purposes when linking back to us via blogs, but views on a YouTube video is important on that platform.

Q:Lots of PRs seem to be talking about ‘engagement’ but what do you consider good engagement? Is it likes? retweets? comments? How can a blogger ‘prove’ engagement to you?

Engagement for us is how invested people are with your blog and your advice regarding our products or services. Social media isn’t always trustworthy especially with sites like Instagram where people are buying followers or likes and bots can comment standard responses such as ‘great job’.

Whereas likes and views are sometimes more fleeting for consumers, unique comments and shares are usually apparent of those that are truly invested I the content. Or, if there is a link to our site that we can track then this suggests viewers are intrigued the product and have come to potentially purchase.

Proof can sometimes be how engaged WE are in a blog, if we like the appearance and write-ups on your blog then we see a value in it.

Q:Is it too early for bloggers to get in touch regarding Christmas gift guides yet?

This is the perfect lead time for Christmas gift guides – come November we’ve scheduled in most of our blogger collaborations and are thinking about Valentines!

Q:Do you welcome gift guide pitch emails from bloggers? What makes a good gift guide pitch inyour opinion?

Personally I hate it when I get a standard email for ‘I’m now working on my gift guides, please send x…’. What is different about your gift guides, why should a reader take advice from yours over another bloggers? Think outside the box. Last year I had someone feature two different watches from us and another retailer in the same gift guide (not as a comparison) just two watches, two outlets and little review or reason to buy either. We were disappointed.

Q:A question from one of my readers: When sending emails to Prs, is it helpful to include information on things like other publications we write for and about us? Or are you strictly looking for key stats?

Yes, it’s always fab to hear who you’ve been working with, maybe tell us more about those collabs and why they worked. Key stats is great, but we can mostly figure these out ourselves – we want to know about why we would be a good match!

Q:Are media kits helpful? Or do you prefer a more personalised email?

Media kits are helpful (so always keep one to hand) but I tend not to work off this basis, I am inundated with media kits daily and sample requests with no information on what they are intended for or when I will see the coverage. The personal approach is best.

Q:Finally, how can bloggers get in touch?

Simple,, or any of our social accounts!


Before you go...
Facebook group: Pitching Motivation for UK Bloggers………………………………….
Join my mailing list:to get weekly blogging tips and brand ops

My instagram: @jennafarmeruk
My twitter: @jennafarmeruk
Info on my ebook all about working with brands: Pitching Toolkit


Brand Spotlight: Interview with Fetch Friends

I’m back with another brand spotlight! This week I am chatting with Emma from Fetch Friends. She is an ex-blogger so was really informative and understood both sides of the coin! I also couldn’t resist asking a question about gift guides too!

Just before we begin, this week’s Sunday newsletter sees more brand ops than ever before! So do make sure you’re signed up!


Q: Hi Emma! Tell me a bit more about Fetch Friends? In what way do you work with bloggers?

Fetch Friends is a social influencer outreach agency, working with clients in the film, luxury and toy industries. We work with influencers on a diverse range of projects, from screening events, launches, features, product placements and reviews – the list is endless!

Q:As a past blogger yourself, what do you think are the common miscommunications or barriers between brands and PRs?

I think the biggest barrier is that it’s all about timing – a blogger who is absolutely fantastic could get in touch to work with us, but it might be we don’t have the perfect project for them just yet. Checking in every so often is a great way to stay on their radar though for when the perfect opportunity comes up.

Q:What do you look for in a blogger you work with?

We look at a number of elements depending on the project such as DA Rating and engagement levels, but if a blogger is passionate about the project that really wins through.

Q: Great to hear! Are stats everything? What stats do you focus the most on?

We tend to focus on engagement over following count, but a blogger’s niche, DA rating and passion are just as important.

Q: It’s so difficult to understand rates and when you should charge. Any tips you could offer us on how to broach this with PRs?


I think the best advice would be to stick to your guns and a price you think is fair for your following.

Q:Do you welcome pitch emails from bloggers? What makes a good pitch in your opinion?

We love to hear from new bloggers. When it comes to pitching, it might increase your chances if you can research the brands a PR represents in advance and share any ideas you think would work well. We would also recommend joining our mailing list and Facebook group to pitch for specific projects.

Q:Have you ever had bad experiences with bloggers?

Our experiences with influencers have been really positive so far! We often build relationships with influencers and work with them long term.

Q:How can bloggers get in touch and discuss working with you?

Bloggers can find out more information via our website, or they can email me directly at

Q:Finally, is it too early for bloggers to get in touch regarding Christmas gift guides yet?

It’s the perfect time! We’re actually looking for influencer gift guide placements for a toy racing set over the next week or so. If this sounds like something you would be interested in please do get in touch.

Make sure you read the rest of the brand spotlights here


Before you go...
Facebook group: Pitching Motivation for UK Bloggers………………………………….
Join bloglancer newsletter:to get weekly blogging tips and brand ops

My instagram: @jennafarmeruk
My twitter: @jennafarmeruk
Info on my ebook all about working with brands: Pitching Toolkit

Brand Spotlight: Emily from Spring and Tonic PR

Hello! We’re back after a little break and this week I am interviewing one of my favourite PRs: Emily from Spring and Tonic. I got in touch with Emily after realising she represents pretty much all the health brands I use! She has been a pleasure to chat to so I know she’d be absolutely perfect for those health and food bloggers out there. Let’s dive in…

Q:Hi Emily, tell me a bit about Spring and Tonic and the brands you represent?

A:Hello!  Spring & Tonic is a little PR consultancy run by myself and Jess, two friends with a shared love of all things food and drink.We look after a range of healthy food and drink brands including Pip & Nut, Doisy & Dam, Ugly Drinks, Hippeas, The Coconut Collaborative and Ugly Drinks.

Image result for hippeas


Q: That’s like 90% of my diet right now! So tell me, what percentage of your time is working with bloggers compared to traditional media?

Bloggers have become increasingly important in the world of PR and marketing…we split our time across them and other traditional print and broadcast media outlets.

Q: When did you start working with bloggers as part of your PR strategy and what was the decision behind that?

We’ve worked with bloggers since we started just over 3 years ago – and before that in previous agency jobs.  It’s part and parcel of what we do in order to engage with consumers as people place increasing importance on the online and social media channels for information and endorsement.  Building awareness and credibility for our clients is key, and this is why we love working with bloggers.

Q: You work with a lot of health brands. How important are food and health bloggers to you for raising brand awareness?

Vital, they speak honestly and directly to our key audiences, an endorsement from blogs and bloggers that are trusted and respected help to build the brand and in turn drive engagement and ultimately sales.

Q: What kind of opportunities do you offer bloggers?

We like to tailor how we work with each and don’t like to use a blanket approach.  We read the blogs, follow their social channels and ensure that we offer each something that will work for them – whether that’s editorial content ideas, competition collateral, interviews or straight up product review opportunities and a chance to try the brands we look after.

A tailored approach is so important to brand and blog collabs.

Q.That’s great to see your approach is so personalised! What do you look for in a blogger you work with?

Credibility, engagement, and content that fits with the brands we work with as well as lovely people to speak to! 

Q: Many bloggers I speak to have no idea when they should start charging for their services and how much to charge. What do you think is the best way for bloggers to chat with brands and PRs about fees and money?

This is a tricky one – we get lots of bloggers approaching us with media packs and asking for fees for Instagram posts or blog reviews, sometimes with little insight on their readers and engagement rates.  It’s not normally a route we like to go down to start the relationship – we prefer to work with people that have a genuine interest in the brand, the product or the back story and take it from there.  Some of the bigger brands and agencies have a dedicated budget for ‘paid for’ content but clients always like to be clear on the return on investment before committing to pay for something.

Q: That makes sense. Are stats everything? What stats do you focus the most on?

Not everything – but helpful.  There are so many blogs that are so well read and trusted by us and our clients that we don’t need to know the ins and outs of the readership figures, however, this does help us put a case to clients for paid for content.  PR historically is about providing editorial ideas and content that get cut through as a story or review without paying, so it’s always good to understand why someone is good to work with if they are new to us.

Need some help in growing your traffic? Read my guide to using Pinterest to boost your views.


Q: Do you look for great photography or well-written content? Which do you think is more important?

Both – pics are always so important particularly in food and drink but the content is also key.

Q: Do you welcome pitch emails from bloggers? What makes a good pitch in your opinion?

Absolutely – we love to hear from new people.  It’s always good to keep it concise and share examples of previous work / brand partnerships.  When we approach bloggers we like to make sure we are familiar with what they write about and what will work for them, it’s the same for us.  We always prefer it when people approach us to try the products before they send us a rate card.  Asking for money with little insight on the blog itself and the support they will offer makes it harder to understand why it would be a good opportunity for the brands we look after. 

Q: That’s good to know as I always tell people to share brand partnerships they’re proud of. How can a blogger stand out from the wave of new blogs that are launched every day? As a health blogger it feels like the area is growing rapidly!

By taking the time to research who we look after and sending us a tailored email – not sending us a blanket email that goes to other PR companies.

Q: How can bloggers get in touch if they want to work with you?

Drop us a line/tweet us / message us on Insta…we’d love to hear from you.

If you enjoyed this, you can read my other brand and PR interviews here.

Before you go...
Facebook group: Pitching Motivation for UK Bloggers………………………………….
Join my mailing list:to get weekly blogging tips and brand ops

My instagram: @jennafarmeruk
My twitter: @jennafarmeruk
Info on my ebook all about working with brands: Pitching Toolkit

Brand Spotlight: Richard from YuYu Bottle

Today I am excited to be chatting to one of my favorite brands. I have worked with YuYu bottles over the last few years and am a massive fan of their product (as someone with Crohn’s disease, a luxury wrap around hot water bottle is perfection). However, the reason I asked to interview Richard is that he is actively engaging with bloggers with chronic illnesses. As the bottles are stunningly beautiful, it would be easy to work solely with lifestyle or fashion bloggers but Richard has decided to select bloggers whose products make a massive difference to their everyday life. So, without further to do, let’s learn more about Richard and get in touch with him if you think it could be the right fit for you and your blog.

Q: Hi Richard, Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about the brand you work for- Yuyu?

A: In 2010, I started a journey to design the best made, earth friendly & most luxurious hot water bottle the world had ever seen. I love the heat aspect of hotties as I’m not one that likes the cold too much. I was tired of having to move my hottie from one painful or cold spot to another. It was important that the length didn’t increase so much that I’d have to wait to boil a second kettle of water, so the YuYu Bottle is still fillable with just one kettle.

In December 2012, I jumped on the tube to Knightsbridge and strolled into Harrods. I wanted the best shop in the world to sell my invention, and I proudly carried in my product. It was quite hard to miss me, as the box was and still is an 85cm long, very stylish gift box with a gold foiled mark on the front of the box which reads, ‘YuYu Bottle, The World’s First Long Hot Water Bottle’. The rest, as they say, is history.


Brand Spotlight: Interview with Sam from Socially Famous PR

Happy Friday everyone! Today, I am interviewing Sam from Socially Famous PR     Sam runs 2 blogs ( a business blog and a lifestyle blog which is currently being revamped.) as well as running Socially Famous PR. Not only did Sam help me out by answering these questions super last minute; she was incredibly honest and there is so much value in all of her answers. So get a notepad and a cup of tea at the ready!

If you enjoy this interview, you can check out all my chats with PRs here. 

 Q: Hi Sam! Tell me a bit more about yourself- what brands do you represent?

We started out purely as a social media marketing agency but because I’ve been a blogger myself for nearly 10 years now I found I was getting my social media clients asking about working with bloggers. It became natural to add that as a service. We tend to work with smaller brands who have more niche products on the blogger’s side. At the moment we’ve got a skincare brand, a pet product, a wedding services business and we have a new health food product that will be launching later in the year.


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