First things first, you shouldn’t be blogging if your only goal is to get free stuff.
However, review items are a big part of what we do, especially for beauty bloggers. In the last few days I’ve begun to realise that there are a handful of bloggers out there who are giving us a bad name. It’s no wonder so many brands and PRs refer to us as blaggers. (I’m not exeggerating here, I’ve heard this from the mouths of two PRs.)
Here are some tips for making some great connections with PRs, how to get quotes, where to find images and how not to make a fool of yourself – or the rest of us.
Create a blog full of great content that people love to read
Before you can expect PRs and brands to pay attention to your blog, you need to create something that readers will love. Without readers you have nothing to offer PRs in return for their help, quotes, information or samples.
Be innovative, write regularly and be yourself. It’s also important that you get involved in blogging communities, this is a great way to find readers and share what you can do.
Build your followings
Social media is so important as it’s a platform for getting people to come back to your blog whenever you post. Engaging with your readers over social media means you can get a feel for the kind of content they want to read. Build strong relationships with other bloggers and online influencers as they can help to get you content to huge amounts of people.
PRs and brands will also look at your social following to determine how popular your blog is when web traffic information is unavailable.
Saying you’re PR-friendly is unnecessary
The term PR-friendly says to me (as someone who is a blogger and a PR) that you’re looking for freebies and that you don’t operate like a journalist. If you have a blog, it’s safe to say that you’re open to emails from PRs.
A badge on your blog just says ‘PRs, please, please get in touch! I’m desperate for your attention’. If your blog is good enough, PRs will come to you regardless of whether or not you have a PR-friendly badge.
Know your stats
Get to know how many people visit your site on a monthly basis and who they are. Do you target women aged 20-35 or is your audience younger? Are the majority of your readers in the UK or do you have worldwide visitors too? This is all information that PRs and brands will find useful when deciding if you’re right for a collaboration.
This is also useful information to give to potential advertisers should you ever want to make a little money from your blog.
Introduce yourself to PR agencies
Instead of going to PR agencies and brands asking for products to review, simply send an email introducing yourself and your blog. Ask to be added to any relevant lists to receive press releases from the brand that agency works with.
Doing this gets you on an agency’s radar and shows them that you’re truly interested in hearing about the brands they work with and not just after free stuff.
Sign up to various blogger programmes
I like The Blogger Programme, Bloggers Required, and Sale Servant. These are the sites that will allow you to find brands to work with. The good things about these sites is that the brands on there are already looking for bloggers to work with and in a lot of cases, those brands will be overinflated items for review.
Check out these hashtags on Twitter
Firstly, feel embarrassed for the people brazenly asking for freebies. Secondly, keep an eye on these tags for opportunities that might be relevant to your blog.
These might be samples to review, they might be guest post requests or they might be vague and enticing. If you think your blog fits well with the brand or niche in question, get in touch with the person who is asking.
You probably won’t get much by posting to these tags unless you’re simply asking for information or a quote. Don’t ask for free things, it’s embarrassing. If you really do need review items for your blog, ask via email or DM.
If you’re going to ask, do it politely
I understand, and PRs understand that reviews make up a big part of a blog. It’s okay to contact a PR agency asking for an item to review. Especially if you’re a beauty blogger, but you need to do it right.
Firstly, don’t punch above your weight. Don’t ask to review a washing machine on your parenting blog (saw a request along these lines on the prrequest tag not so long ago). Don’t ask to review designer clothes on your fashion blog that only gets 3000 hits per month.
Instead, target smaller brands or brands that are actively looking to work with bloggers.
When contacting a PR agency, sell yourself and your blog. Let the agency know your statistics and link to similar reviews. Don’t demand anything and don’t be cheeky.
Please don’t give us a bad name
Free things are great and I’m pretty keen on them but I hate that there are brands out there who refer to us as blaggers. It’s embarrassing, can’t you see that? If you’re going to work with a brand or agency make sure you go above and beyond to give them real value. Unless you’re a big blog, one small review isn’t going to cut it.
Tweet their content, comment in their Facebook posts and mention them on your blog without anyone asking or even offering you anything.
Above all, if someone sends you something to review, actually review it. If you don’t like it and refuse to post a bad review, just send the item back.
What are your tips for good blogger-PR-brand relations and what’s the cheekiest thing you’ve ever seen anyone ask for?