We’ve talked before about best practices for pitching journalists and bloggers when you have news to share, but what should you do when your goal is partnering with a blogger to promote a product or brand? I reached out to a few lifestyle bloggers to see what they had to say about pitches, priorities, and PR people. Read their advice below.
First, A Little Bit About the Bloggers
I interviewed bloggers from Hither and Thither, OhDearDrea, PopCosmo, and Small Fry Blog. According to Moz, the bloggers had Page and Domain Authority scores ranging from 34-54. Most have at least a few hundred linking root domains. Each of the bloggers had between 6K and 16K followers on Pinterest, 1K and 5K followers on Twitter, and 2K and 40K followers on Instagram.
Advice on Pitching and Partnerships
The bloggers talked about how many PR people screw up the basics – getting names right and making sure the blog is a fit for what they’re pitching – but they spoke more deeply of professionalism and authenticity. They don’t expect fake compliments about being a huge fan of their site. “Just be honest and be direct. We’re both professionals.” said Ashley from Hither and Thither. Bloggers expect you to respect their time, value the audiences they’ve built, and to be straightforward about your intentions.
What makes a good PR pitch stand out?
Ditch the mail merge. Personalized messages go a long way to earn bloggers’ trust. You can still use templates to save time, but you should do research and customize each message before sending.
“A concise, simple pitch combined with a personalized approach.”
– Small Fry Blog
How do you decide to work with a company you’ve never heard of before?
It’s easy for big brands, like Target, to partner with bloggers. It’s much more challenging for smaller brands to stand out. When I asked bloggers about what makes them want to work with new brands or brands they’ve never heard of, the overwhelming response was fit. They want a good fit, not just in the traditional sense of “Would my audience like this?” but fit in terms of aesthetics and brand values. They also appreciated the brands that compensate them for their time.
“If the product or service is relevant; if I haven’t already covered the same product/service by another brand;and if it’s clever. Sponsored posts are of course most enticing, because they value my time and support me to continue to grow the audience I’ve built.”
– Hither and Thither
“Branding and style. Secondly, I do my research. If it’s not a quality company, I can’t promote it.”
Have you ever gotten unreasonable requests from PR people?
When working with bloggers, understand that they know their audiences best and understand that they’re doing you a favor. Try not to force them into a rigid promotion plan, and be respectful of their time.
“I’m not a blog that promotes-promotes-promotes— I like things to be thoughtful and planned out— or things that are incredibly fitting for my life. It always feels a bit off when I’m contacted from companies (big and small, but especially the big ones) asking for a lot of free or trade work. My blog isn’t one big ad— no one would stop to care about it if it was. What I write is valuable, to me at least, so I don’t like when companies act as if it’s not.”
“Unreasonable… no. But if you’d like coverage free of charge, be clear about: “would you be interested in sharing this with your readers?” Don’t pretend like it’s a fabulous opportunity to hand out free advertising, even if I might be interested in arranging that.”
– Hither and Thither
“We just had a PR company repeatedly asked us to promote an event in a city where we are not located. And we had another PR company that kept sending the same request over and over. We wanted to work with them and responded, but they never answered.”
– Small Fry Blog