Brand Spotlight: Interview with Smoothie PR, Charlotte

This series sees me chat to brands and PRs to help educate and inform both sides of the community about how bloggers and brands can work together.First up is the lovely Charlotte from Smoothie PR, who shares some fantastic advice for bloggers pitching to brands. If you are inspired, why not drop her an email and let her know how you might collaborate?An interview with a new PR will go live every Friday-and you can subscribe to my weekly newsletter as their details will be included in the weekly round up of tips and ops that I send out each Friday.

 

Q: Hi Charlotte, Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about the brands you represent?

A: Hi Jen, thanks so much for chatting with me! I run my own business called Smoothie PR where I help start-up and small business foodies get PR for their fabulous products. I’ve turned traditional PR on its head so instead of charging thousands of pounds a month, I offer two affordable PR packages for food businesses:1-1 PR for £599 per month or a monthly membership to The Smoothie Bar for £39 per month. This makes PR accessible to everyone, no matter what their budget is and I teach lots of PR tips and tricks along the way. One of the biggest benefits of working with me is that I deliver a mix of local and national requests from journalists who are looking for food businesses, small businesses or human interest stories. Because the requests are so varied, I’ve also got small businesses from the non-food industry and bloggers as members of The Smoothie Bar, as there is plenty for them to choose from too. PR can be so much easier than you think!
 
Q: How have you found bloggers valuable for your brands?
The world is full of bloggers which is great both for them as a creative outlet and my foodies who are looking specifically for bloggers in their niche. The quality of blog posts varies hugely, so I always do background checks before committing to a blogger. Each post I’ve seen so far on behalf of my clients has been well written, shows great product imagery and provides a valuable backlink to their website. Once I know the quality of their work is good, I’ll always keep that blogger in mind for future collaborations with other clients.
Q: What do you look for when working with a blogger?
This is the type of question that The Smoothie Bar members ask me this all of the time – “I can’t afford to give away free samples to everyone, so which bloggers should I pick?” I’ve written a blog post on this called ‘5 things to check before working with food bloggers’ (http://www.smoothiepr.com/food-for-thought/food-bloggers-5-things-to-check/) which shows you the checklist I go through when I’m considering someone for one of my 1-1 clients. I’ve had so many food producers tell me they found this post really helpful but equally, (and most surprising to me), lots of food bloggers have also found it useful to understand what they can offer to a brand when pitching their services.
Q: Are stats everything?
Absolutely not! You have to remember that both start-up foodies and bloggers will all be at different stages of their journey, so each can offer the other options for working together depending on what’s good for them both. The only thing I would say is that bloggers need to be realistic with their requests when working with brands. If you have very small numbers, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be chosen for a high-value product or receive an additional payment.
Q: Do you welcome pitch emails from bloggers? What makes a good pitch in your opinion?
A:I’m always open to finding bloggers who could be a good fit for my 1-1 clients or the guys in The Smoothie Bar, but I get a lot of pitches that don’t really tell me any real details. A short email that details who they are, what their blog speciality is (healthy eating, gluten-free, vegan etc.), a top line of any relevant stats (unique monthly blog visits, social media following, DA/PA etc.) and their ask: are they looking for products to include in a round up and just need images, do they want to do a review in exchange for free samples or, are they offering creative/sponsored services such as recipe development? The other point I can’t stress enough is that your pitch should be short, well written and free from spelling mistakes!
Who does Charlotte work with?
Chins Kitchen, Green Goddess Wellness, Nourish Natural Food, Tg Green Teas, Body Me and many more!
Q: Are media kits a necessity?
A:Not necessarily. If you’re an established blogger working with larger brands then it’s probable you have one, as most bigger brands want to know your facts and figures before committing to any marketing spend. However, if you’re fairly new, write as a hobby or have more engagement on your social media rather than your blog for example, the stats aren’t going to look very impressive. This isn’t an issue for me personally as I’ll still look at the bigger picture to see what type of value they can bring to any of my clients of various sizes.
Q: What do you wish bloggers realise about working with PRs? What mistakes do they make?
A:I have two real issues with being approached by bloggers. Firstly, being included in a blanket email that is sent to multiple people is a no-no. Some bloggers make a generic reference to how much they love your website in the hope that it makes them sound like they’ve spent any time there – you’re not fooling anyone I’m afraid! It also drives me mad when the pitch is full of spelling mistakes and terrible grammar – this doesn’t inspire any confidence in me that you have great blogging skills!
Tailor your pitch to the PR company you’re approaching (having looked at their website and with an understanding of who they work with), to offer the relevant services that they might be looking for. I’m happy to be approached because I want to know about you if you’re a great fit for my clients, however, first impressions count and if you’re sending out a badly written, pot luck email, then I’m definitely not interested.
Q: Do you find ‘micro’ influencers can be just as beneficial as big bloggers?
A: Absolutely! This goes back to the point that I mentioned about businesses being at different stages. Most start-ups can only afford to offer samples in exchange for reviews or recipes, and I’d much rather use bloggers that have 100 highly engaged followers than ones with 1,000 followers who never get any likes/comments/shares.
Q:  How can bloggers get in touch and discuss working with you?
A: Haha, well after reading my previous answers, I hope that they have a good idea now but to put it simply:
I look forward to reading some amazing emails soon!
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