I'm in a pretty interesting position. Having majored in public relations in college, and now being a blogger, I sort of straddle both sides of the fence when it comes to working with each other. Since I can see both sides of the situation, I figured I should share a condensed version of everything I've learned in the past four years.
This Friday, I'm kicking off my 5 Little Things Series. For the next month, we'll be discussing things that bloggers and PR Practitioners can do to help develop a foundation of trust that can foster a mutually beneficial relationship. We will delve into everything from how to write the perfect pitch to simple blogging mistakes that can be keeping you from attracting brands.
Today's post will be centered on 5 Little Things that PR Practitioners Should Know About Bloggers.
1. We have names. Please use them. Yes, I know hunting our names down on our blog can sometimes be time consuming, but you really should do it. Here's why? If I received an offer, any offer that begins with "Hi there", "Hello mommy blogger" (yes this has actually happened before) or "Dear website owner," it's going to be promptly deleted and I will continue on with my day without thinking twice. Bloggers get spammed on a daily. Mostly from shady people wanting to use our blogs to get a quick boost in their page rank. If you approach us in this manner, we are going to assume that you are one of the aforementioned "shady people", and your email will get an all expenses paid trip straight into our trash folder.
2. We don't work for free...Most of the time. Once again, having straddled both sides of the fence I understand the need to reach out to people who could expose your brand to thousands of potential customers. However, on the other hand, many of us have spent years carefully building up our readership and creating a community. If you want access to that community, you are going to have to spend a bit more than that "awesome new kiddie app" that cost 2.99.
3. Treat us as professionals. We take our work very seriously. We consider ourselves to be professionals. Think about this. We have editorial calendars, monthly budgets, media kits, business cards, portfolios, ect. If we turn you down, please don't respond with an angry email telling us how we should be happy that you're even considering us (I've heard the horror stories). It's not professional. At all. Take the hit on the chin and walk away amicably. The absolute last thing you want is a blogger going off to tell his or her friends what just happened. As we all know, word of mouth is a powerful tool. And negative word of mouth can put you out of business. Quickly.
4. We are smarter than you realize. About six months ago I was contacted by a company who wanted me to write a review for them. I had recently changed my domain and because of this, had lost my page rank and Alexa score. However, I still had the same 9,000 readers and followers via social media as before. Imagine my surprise when I was told that they could only pay me $10 for the post because they paid according to page rank? I very politely explained that I had recently changed to a dot.com and that my page rank would be back to normal shortly. After a few more email exchanges, I realized that I was not getting through to them, so I very politely declined the opportunity.
PR people, here's the deal. You know those fancy conferences we pay big bucks to attend? Well during those conferences we spend a lot of time discussing you guys. We know how to use all kinds of fun little programs like Goggle Analytics and Tweet Reach to calculate how far our reach is. Consider this, I have 5,400+ followers on twitter. This week, my 100+ tweets reached 72,703 accounts and made 102,290 impressions. That was just with my twitter account. Not even including my blog, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Google+.
The point is, we're onto you. Proceed with caution.
5. We cannot and will not use follow links on our blog. You may get away with it every once in a while, but most of us know by now that follow links are a no-no. We understand that by using follow links on sponsored content, we are potentially risking being black listed by Google. We go to conferences where we discuss these things. We chat about this with our blogger buddies. It's shady. It's wrong. And is shows that you are not the least bit concerned with throwing us under the bus in order to make a few quick bucks. Please stop it.
So there you have it, 5 things PR practitioners should know about bloggers. What do you think bloggers? Have you ever experienced any of these situations? Be sure to come back next Friday for 5 Things Bloggers Should Know About PR Practitioners.