As I started writing this post, I thought that it would be a bit short and sweet. Over 1100 words later, I was still writing. So, I have decided to break it up into 2 posts. Whew!
We can all learn from our mistakes… business owners, moms, husbands, wives, bloggers, and… PR agencies. I am still learning from mine… from missing deadlines to being disorganized to getting behind in email… there is a lot to learn. But that is another post!
I have encountered many, many, many PR reps over the past few years. Some have it down to the science. They are awesome at what they do. You are assured that the exchange will always be pleasant, and you know that they understand where you are coming from when they treat you with respect. You build a relationship with these people and they become like friends. Because of this you don't mind doing work for them. You do favors. You wave fees (more on that in another post!), and you love chatting with them. Every exchange does not end that way.
Now, I know that some PR are just the *go between* between companies and bloggers and all they do is relay a message. Others are given a budget and full control to design the campaigns, handle the outreach, and then show the results to their client.
In either case, bloggers want to be treated with respect. I think there is still a belief among many that we are just having fun, we don't take our blogs seriously, and we are here to promote you. While many of us did start blogging just for fun, or to learn something new (in my case WordPress), many of us have figured out a way to turn our blogs into a valuable business. Besides that actual blogging part of the business, it can lead to other things such as being asked to share our expertise with others by speaking, training, TV spots, doing social media consulting, or blogging for money. Once we start treating our blogs as a business everything changes. From that point on every interaction is about business. It is about bettering and sharing your brand. And we love it when others recognize that fact.
Here are the first few tips to PR from me, a semi-seasoned blogger who treats my blog as a business. And I am giving away this advice for FREE! 😀
- Never address an email to a blogger as “Dear Mommy Blogger”: Although it does not really bother me much, some bloggers take real issue with being called a “mommy blogger”. And I have to agree that after a while I do start to feel a slight twinge in my eye when I hear it. I have been invited to meetings more than once where the presenter kept saying over and over “you mommy bloggers”. Yeah, that gets old… fast. The fact is that a lot of the bloggers that I know do not blog much about being a mom. My blog is 90% (probably more) about tech. Some bloggers blog about fashion, some about cooking, some about travel. Don't assume that we consider ourselves mommy bloggers. We appreciate it when the email is addressed by name which at least means that you took the time to peek at our blog and read the About page. While this is not always necessary (see below), and we understand that there is not always time, those that do certainly get major brownie points!
- Address us by the correct name: And along with that tip, if you use a form letter, please don't forget to change the name on the Dear ____ line before you send it out to the next person. 🙂 I have gotten an email addressed to “Dear John” and another addressed to “Dear Chicago”. Of course we understand that sending bulk mail is much more efficient, so things like “Dear Blogger” or “Dear Editor” can pass. But if you do choose to personalize, just make sure that you have the name right. 🙂
- Don't ask us to “BLOG for a chance to win”: Writing a blog post is hard work, and it takes time. AND SOME COMPANIES PAY US FOR IT. Asking us to write a whole blog post with requirements that you lay out for a CHANCE to win does not go over well. Chances are we do not win. And what do you get? You guessed it… free advertising!
- Don't ask us to give you all the names of our blogger friends: While we certainly don't mind sharing a great opp with a blogger friend that will benefit them (money, trip, cool product) we do not want to give you all of their names so that you can spam them with PR releases.
- If you start an Ambassador program, know where it leads: Yes, we understand that the economy is bad. We also understand that budgets get cut. However, what we don't like is being asked to join an ambassador program that seems to have just been thrown together to lead nowhere. State all of the requirements in the contract. Have a clear plan from the start. If you are a company known for making a couple of famous products, we are going to assume that one of the benefits of being your ambassador is that we get the jump on trying out the new products before the rest of the world. This benefits our blog because when the hot new product is released folks Googling it to research will come across our blogs. It benefits the brand because we can post about all the cool features in detail and create some buzz. Now… some companies may think that they don't need the buzz, and that is understandable. But then…why have ambassadors?