I’m continuing to be fascinated by how bloggers and PRs interact as the blogosphere grows, things are constantly changing and I think both bloggers, PRs and brands are struggling to keep up. I thought I would offer up some help, my first blog post on the topic is some lessons for PRs and brands.
Today I did a shout out on Twitter for bloggers to share with me their PR fail stories, I wanted to share these with you in the hopes that PRs will learn something and bloggers will also pick up some tips of how to work with PRs. I invite you to comment and share your experiences and for you to offer your solutions too.
Here’s some of the top PR fails that you guys shared with me and what I would suggest as a solution, please let me know if you have anything to add.
Why did you contact the blogger in the first place?
Lots of you told me that you’ve experienced PRs emailing you personally to ask if you would like to review something or have requested your address so that they can send you a sample and then you never hear from them ever again.
This is super bad news, it puts the blogger in a awkward situation as you don’t know if something has gone wrong or if the PR is ignoring you on purpose. It puts the PR in a bad situation as it makes you look stupid or it means that something has gone wrong.
To PRs I ask, why did you contact the blogger in the first place? I would say, don’t contact a blogger if you aren’t prepared to offer support. If something has changed, just be honest, bloggers just like to know where they stand. If it’s a technical glitch, why not drop them a tweet to see if they got your email? If it’s because circumstances have change, just send them an apologetic email explaining what has happened.
To bloggers, I say, I sympathise, it’s utterly rude to ignore someone who you’ve contacted in the first place. But as always, I like to remind everyone that PRs have a super difficult job, they get a gazillion emails a day and depending on the organisation might not always have time to personalise a response to everything. If they don’t respond, I would say, chase them a few times and if nothing happens, it’s the PRs loss anyway!
Do you know what a blog is?
Most blogs in whatever genre tend to focus on reviews, not all of them, but I would say that 85% of blog content is based on reviews, would you agree? Some blogs specialise in news or opinions instead, but where a product is involved a review is usually the key focus.
I had a lot of bloggers tell me that they’ve been pestered to feature something but denied any samples. As much as we don’t want to be seen a blaggers, when you’re writing a blog which is mostly reviews, you can’t really feature a product without trying it first. Expecting bloggers to just regurgitate press releases is boring, you’ve got to give us something amazing to expect coverage without a sample to review.
If you’re a PR with limited samples and you’re mailing out to a lot of bloggers, be ready to give solid reasons why you can’t offer a sample at this time or be honest and say you only have limited samples and then don’t pester bloggers to feature something. If you’ve sent a sample I think it’s good to follow up because as a PR you’ve invested something into that blogger.
As a blogger I say be sensitive to the fact that many brands don’t have unlimited samples, so they can’t provide reviews samples to everyone. If you’re being pestered to feature something based purely on a release and that doesn’t fit the style of your blog, just be honest and let them know why.
Fake is transparent.
This point in two fold. Number one is that fake promises are lame, if a blogger can’t make an event and you promise to follow up after the event with the info, do it. Failure to do so looks stupid. The other is fake personality, as much as we appreciate your effort to personalise an email, there are only so many times you can read “WE LOVE YOUR BLOG” before it appears a teeny bit copy & pasted.
Some bloggers do really appreciate a personalised email, but maybe try and think of something a bit more personal, at least read their last post and comment on that? Then again, not all bloggers feel the need for this, some of us appreciate that PRs realistically don’t have the time to personalise every blogger email. So don’t stress over it.
If you know you won’t send info after an event, then just don’t promise it. You need to do it if you say you will, otherwise you will look stupid.
Bloggers, remember that PRs are super busy they might take a while to respond and don’t have time to always personalise everything.
And on a final note, this is not a dig a PRs, PRs work super hard and work long hours with a lot of pressure, I appreciate this and it’s part of my own job. However, I want to help the blog and PR relationships to grow. At the end of the day there are things both PRs and bloggers can do to make things work better, watch out for my next blog tips post!
What are your main PR bug bears?
What advice would you like to give to PRs?
What advice would you give to bloggers working with PRs?
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