About a million years ago, when I was living in LA, I used to be a publicist. As a twenty-something working in the film industry, I loved the world of PR - it was exciting, fun, creative and the perfect fit for someone who thrives on being a natural connecter. Since then my career path has shifted and the world of PR has changed - social media and the emergence of bloggers as influencers has turned the industry upside down and added so many new challenges - as well as benefits.
As a blogger, I've found myself on the other side of the PR fence these days and have had wonderfully positive experiences working with brands that respect my boundaries and understand my audience as well as the negative onslaught of pushy PR's with their own agenda - we've all received that 'dear blogger' email haven't we? I believe there is a happy medium when it comes to bloggers/brands and PR agencies working together in perfect harmony, and while that relationship will vary for everyone, there are some solid truths I've learned along the way that I wanted to share today. These 5 tips will keep you focused and sharp the next time you wonder if working with a PR agency is right for your blog:
- Know Your Audience
Before deciding which brands are the right fit for your blog you need to truly, madly, deeply understand your audience and who is reading your blog. Write up a reader persona if it helps, send out a survey, visualise - whatever it takes to ensure you have a clear understanding of who you are speaking to and what motivates them. When that is clear you'll be able to communicate that and work with brands that resonate with your audience - always go for an organic, seamless fit. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't for you.
- The Art Of Saying No
Yes, it's always nice to have a little extra cash coming your way but please, please don't be afraid to politely decline an offer that doesn't suit you or your audience. Publicists will understand - and may have better suited clients to pitch you - but saying yes to an opportunity when your gut is screaming no is a bad idea, trust me. Being able to say no, while maintaining your professional relationship is a skill you need to have - give it a try.
This one is pretty simple, if you are paid outright for a post or service be transparent and let your audience know. Not only are you complying legally, you are giving your audience the respect they deserve. Now sometimes brands will ask you to hide that 'sponsored' by line, or remove it altogether - be vocal, be firm and be clear up front.
- Prepare A Media Kit
It's never too early to prepare a media kit and have it ready when PR agencies start asking. Do your research, invest in design and don't sell yourself short. Brands and bloggers can easily negotiate until both parties are happy but a strong media kit will start you off on the right foot - and please for the love of god make your contact details, email address or social media links clear and easy to find. Nothing is worse than losing an opportunity simply because the PR couldn't find your contact details.
- Ask An Expert
When in doubt ask an expert. Whether you have a friend in PR who can shed some light on best practice or a blogger who has been working with brands for years, don't be afraid to ask around. There are also some pretty amazing resources out there and one of my fav's, Brand Meet Blogs just released a free ecourse on this exact subject. Highly encourage you to check it out if the world of PR is new to your blog.
Have a story of working with PR agencies that you'd love to share? Go ahead and tell us something wonderful or amuse us with that can't believe it's true horror story, don't be shy!