Welcome back to Blog Club, my series covering all things blogging. All my blogging posts are linked here, if you are ever looking for a tips post. So this week I am publishing an interview with some friends of mine who are PR consultants. Hopefully, this will give you an insight into what PRs are looking for and hopefully it will make working with brands and PRs easier.
The PR Panel from left to right is: Lucy Hollister and Stavros Themistocli, PR consultants from Beattie Communications and Katie Portman a Freelance PR, as well as blogger at Pouting In Heels.
1. What are the top 3 things that influence your decision to work with a blogger?
– Relevant content and audience to the brands/clients we represent.
– Professional look and feel to the overall blog. It is important that blogs are relevant and are easy to use including clear navigation.
– Blogger is active on social channels and posts regularly.
– Voice and quality of writing / photography.
– Reach (page views/ social media).
– Engagement (comments / social media activity etc).
2. Do you regularly work with the same bloggers?
Lucy/Stav – Yes, we like to build and maintain relationships with the bloggers we work with. It is however always exciting to work with new bloggers too!
Katie – Yes. I like to consistently work with bloggers whom I strike up good relationships with and who achieves great results for my clients.
3. What would put you off working with a blogger?
Lucy/Stav – If a blogger is difficult to get hold of it is tricky to build a relationship easily. We would also look at how well written their posts are and also is the content credible.
1) Poorly written posts or badly produced content – rushed, littered with bad grammar, dreadful photography etc.
2) Zero or little engagement / interaction with readers.
3) Inconsistent posting.
4) Bad attitude!
4. Do you look at bloggers social media feeds before you agree to work with them?
Lucy/Stav- Always. Social engagement is very important, as are the responses they receive from their followers.
Katie – Yes always! It gives me a really good idea of what they are like as a person (what’s important to them etc) and shows me how they do (or don’t) engage with their audience.
5. What are you looking for in an ‘About Me’ page?
– Details of what the blogger likes.
– Children’s ages (if relevant).
– Topics the blog covers.
– Unique users.
– Email address to contact.
– Location (particularly handy for event planning).
Katie – Crucial information like location/ interests / expertise plus personality and warmth.
6. What attributes do you look for in a blog? If the page views are good, do you care about the design/feeling of the blog?
Lucy/Stav- Page views are important, but design/feel and relevant content are equally important. We love looking at a blog with looks great and has warmth and character.
Katie – Other PRs may disagree, but yes personally I do care about the design / feeling of the blog. A blog doesn’t necessarily have to look professional or slick in design, but it needs to work well and look as if the blogger has pride has in it! Page views are of course very important, but for me personally, I like to consider the full package. A smaller, but loyal and engaged, blog audience is more powerful than thousands of page views but little engagement.
7. Do bloggers pitch to you regularly? Do you mind if they do?
Lucy/Stav – We love hearing from bloggers with all their ideas. If it works for us, the brand and the blogger then we are keen to get involved in some capacity.
Katie – Yes often and no certainly not! I’m always happy to hear from bloggers on behalf of my PR clients and often it’s a great way for me to come across a blogger that I’d perhaps not heard of. Just one thing though – please don’t harass PRs. A couple of emails is fine, but if we’re not getting back to you or we haven’t chosen you for a campaign, please don’t endlessly persist. If we want to work with you – now or in the future -trust me, we’ll be in touch.
8. What makes a great pitch?
Lucy/Stav – Honest and open pitches are the best. We want to know what a blogger wants from us and how we can work together in the best way. For some brands, it’s good to know why a blogger wants to work with our brand specifically and how it would work on the blog.
Katie – A friendly, but professional, email or document that supplies key information and clearly outlines the benefits to my client, that would come from working with you. I want to hear creative ideas and suggestions and know exactly why it is, my clients should work with YOU and not another blogger. (Have you won an award? Got an unusual idea? etc)
9. What could a blogger do to become top of your list of ‘go to’ bloggers?
Lucy/Stav – Be yourself and talk! We want to know what you want from us and how we can help. Keep in touch so we know what you are working on and how your blog is advancing. We also love to co-create ideas with a blogger for posts, to ensure they have something unique to offer to their followers.
Katie – Create brilliant content, be professional and a joy to work with, treat your audience well and show me that you care.
10. If the blog stats are similar, what makes you pick one blogger and over another?
Lucy/Stav – If blog stats are similar, we would look at the relevant content on the blog and how it/how often posts are written, level of engagement and online presence. Design of the blog itself is also important.
Katie – Quality and individuality – you’ll always stand out from the crowd to me if your blog posts are consistently of a great quality and you have a unique voice.
11. If bloggers could do one thing to make your life easier what would it be?
Lucy/Stav – Have a media pack or document which includes all stats/address etc. This was we don’t have to hassle you for the small bits of information.
Katie – Make sure your contact details are easy to find on your blog! I’ve lost count of the number of blogs I have come across that do not offer a contact email address or have their details hidden away somewhere in an obscure place. Also – tell me why should I work with you! Shout out about your success with easy to find testimonials / press coverage / award wins etc
12. What is the first thing you do/where do you go, when you land on a potential blog?
Lucy/Stav – We head to the about you section, this gives us a feel for the blogger and what they do before we read the posts.
Katie – I always read the first post and look at the comment section. Next I jump to the about me page and if I’m still interested, finally the contact page.
13. How do you find potential blogs? Where do you start?
Lucy/Stav – Recommendations from other bloggers and searching online for keywords. We also keep a close eye on Tots100 and BritMums for new bloggers. We often speak to our media contacts, as they always have recommendations too.
Katie – PR directories and social media mainly. I also ask for recommendations from fellow bloggers or work with bloggers that I know myself, through my own blog.
14. For new/aspiring bloggers who hope to work with more PR companies, what would be your advice to ‘breakthrough’?
Lucy/Stav – Make yourself stand out. Engage with PR’s on twitter and don’t be afraid to reach out to us. We are always keen to hear from you and in turn work with you! We want to build a relationship with everyone we work with.
Katie – Concentrate on making your blog the best it can be and trust me, we will eventually find you. Alternatively, it never hurts to drop us a line and let us know who you are and what you’re all about.
15. Put these in the order of the most important to you? Page views/ Social media Following/ Skill &tone of Writing/ Design of blog/ frequency of posting
Skill & tone of writing
Frequency of posting
Social media following
Design of blog
1) Skill & tone of writing
2) Social media following
3) Page views
4) Design of blog
5) Frequency of posting
So that’s the Lowdown! Thanks so much to Lucy, Stav and Katie for taking to time to collaborate with me on this post. I hope you have found this insight interesting and that it helps you break into working with brands, or enables you to do it more effectively.