“Stats are handy to have when reporting to the client, but aren’t the be all, end all”
Ever wonder what a PR looks for when they plan on reaching out to bloggers? Wonder how should you approach them?
Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to get to know a variety of PR people who have worked with me on things from food to travel and gaming to everything in between. But this time around, I wanted to hear more from them. What’s it like working with bloggers? What should they know?
What kind of blogger catches your eye? Do you look at stats, writing, creativeness, a mixture?
SCE: This entirely depends on the client brief. Largely, we look at who the client is trying to reach with their communication and then try to work backwards to the bloggers who are receiving engagement from the target audience. Stats are handy to have when reporting to the client, but aren’t the be all, end all. Quality of writing should matter, but sometimes can be overlooked in favour of creativity of content and appropriateness of audience. There’s some leeway here.
TM: All bloggers catch our eye, but we’re particularly interested in the ones that have a positive influence within the sectors that we work in. For example food, health, parenting and lifestyle bloggers are all of particular importance to us. It’s not just about the stats that a blogger has of equal importance is the credibility they have with their audience.
Should a blogger communicate with you casually beforehand, before they try and forward a pitch? Or do you accept some cold-call pitches?
SCE: Definitely. Every blogger who’s interested in featuring PR or commercial work should have a one-page, eye-catching, summary of their blog. Who they are, what they write about and who is reading it. If there’s supporting social channels and examples of brands or agencies you’ve worked with before. Then have a look at the PRII or IAPI agency members and hit each of them up with an intro email for consideration.
TM: We accept both, but it’s always helpful when a blogger (or anyone else) introduces themselves to us first. We get regular contacts from bloggers and we check out all of their blogs and add them to our mailing lists. But, a personal relationship is always the best.
What kind of information do you expect for a blogger to provide when they’re pitching an idea to you? Do you prefer it by phone, email, in person?
SCE: Email works best. It’s a busy industry so getting time on a call or in person can be tricky. Attend events and introduce yourself sure, but door-stepping might prove difficult.
TM: Generally bloggers contact us by email and make requests for relevant content to be sent to them. They also ask to be added to our mailing lists. We usually expect them to explain a little bit about themselves, what topics they like to write about, what they are interested in and to provide details on how they might be able to collaborate with our agency and our clients.
Has a blogger ever done something that has turned you off ever working with them?
TM: No. We’ve had good relationships with the bloggers we work with on behalf of our clients.
SCE: The basic things are always important, though; being polite, responsive, fulfilling agreements and building a relationship for future work.
Are you less likely to work with a blogger if they continue to fob you off, or don’t answer your emails?
SCE: We have clients that we have to answer to so if a blogger doesn’t engage we may have to move onto the next option. It’s not personal just a deadline driven industry that has goals that have to be met.
TM: We always try to tailor information to the audience we are communicating with. Our goal is always to provide information that is relevant and of interest to the person in question. This generally reduces the chances of being fobbed off or ignored.
What’s a bad pitch?
SCE: I’m not at liberty to share individual examples however a bad pitch would show a lack of understanding of the brand itself, who it’s trying to reach with the campaign or if they’re currently a client of the agency. It’s important to do your homework before pitching something in.
TM: A bad pitch usually occurs when the person pitching doesn’t do their research. If you send irrelevant, untailored content to someone, it’ll usually end up in the recycle bin!
Do you have an example of a good pitch?
SCE: A good pitch would include itemised support detailing exactly what you’re offering, clear understanding of what the client is setting out to achieve, creative concept that adds to the brand, provides transparent statistics and learnings (not everything will work, but being honest about understanding why and how it could improve) and compliance with PRII/ASAI guidelines if there’s money changing hands.
TM: A good pitch is when the right content is sent to the right person at the right time.
What would make you want to continue working with a blogger?
SCE: Access to a blogger’s audience that is difficult for a brand to gain. For example, First Time Mums are an audience where there’s a lot of trust needed before you can access to their world and influence them. However, Mummy bloggers share a tight network and influence other mums. Another reason would be creativity – if you’re creating great content that resonates with the target audience already then partnering with a brand that’s a fit, helps us get the message out to an audience within content they already love!
TM: When they have influence in the areas that are relevant to the clients that we are working with and when they are responsive to the information and materials we send.
Would you represent a blogger (like an agency)? Why?
SCE: It’s not something we’ve gotten into at present. That’s not to say we won’t in the future. For now, in New/Slang, we’re focusing on working with big brand campaigns for household names like Lidl, AIG Insurance and Unilever.
TM: Yes, we’d be happy to represent a blogger or any person or business that we feel we could help and would benefit from the services we provide.
Many thanks to Tara and Seán for taking the time out to respond to my questions!