About a month ago, we got talking about unsolicited PR emails, specifically, badly written, poorly targeted ones and how bloggers react to them. I asked for your take- your experience, what irks you, what you like, and what could improve this process for you. What follows are my 5 tips for PR companies when approaching bloggers.

1. Read the about page
Or any other page that might tell you whether the blogger will be remotely interested in what you’re pedalling. So many PR companies do not do this at all and it astounds me. There are many blogs that are ad free, don’t do sponsored posts or giveaways and state this clearly, sometimes multiple times. There is not point contacting someone with a policy like this, for example.

2. Read the blog!
Before you even think about firing off an email, spend some time looking at the kind of posts the blogger writes. Are there sponsored posts or product reviews? Do they write about an area related to your product? For example, I write a lot about coffee so I was offered a coffee machine to review. This was hardly a surprising thing for me to review. Look at the sidebars. Are there any ads? Do you think this is deliberate? Try and see where your promotion might be a good fit. If the answer is resounding ‘no’, let it lie.

3. Write a real email
You wouldn’t send the same cover letter out for every job, why would you send the same email to every blogger? You are pitching your product/promotion to the blogger, not he other way around. Don’t expect them to be grateful (although they may be) and don’t expect them to jump at the chance to run your promotion. Their blog is a project in which they are the writer, graphic designer, photographer, editor, account manager, etc etc. As such, may selective about the kind of promotions, if any, they run. They may also get tons of offers every day, so give them plenty of time to read and consider yours (no point emailing me about a promotion that needs to run next month, for example). And for god’s sake, get the blogger’s name, and the name of their blog, right. If I get one more PR email addressed to ‘Laura’, I’ll scream!

4. Write a concrete, concise proposal
In other words, be clear. What are you offering? Spell it out. Even minor league bloggers will get a few PR emails a month, and they are not likely to bother replying if they have no idea what’s on offer. Don’t write to a blogger asking for all their stats, especially without giving them a clear picture of what they’re signing up for. You know what your company’s policy is/what promotion you’re offering, put it in the very first email. It may be something like ‘we pay $20 for each text-based ad you run for a month for any blogs with 1000+ pageviews/month’ or ‘we would like you to review our new flavour of chocolate and can send you 1kg of chocolate as payment’.

Having this information, the blogger immediately knows whether or not your promotion will be a good fit for them. And having read their blog, you’ll know this too. There’s no point in writing ‘we offer text based ads to enhance your online profile and monetise your blog’. What in the hell does that even mean? How many emails will it take me to find out?

5. Be flexible

By approaching bloggers like a real person, you need to be prepared for a real answer. If there’s any scope at all for you to be flexible with your proposal, do so. Sometimes a blogger might have another way of looking at what you’re doing that may be of benefit. For example, you might offer to give them a free product, but they might prefer to give it away to their readers. You might ask for a review, they may prefer to use you product in a recipe.

Even with these tips in mind, you need to be prepared to be turned down. But hopefully you’ll get a reply, perhaps even one that’s speedy and polite, and you can cross that blog off your list.

What are your tips for PR reps when approaching bloggers?

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11 Responses to 5 tips for PR reps- approaching bloggers

  1. Manu says:

    Well said! I usually do not even read these emails… I always think they are junk and/or scams… They just change the name and send the same email to thousands of bloggers, hoping to get some replies!!!
    Manu recently posted…Comment on TORTELLI DI CARNEVALE by Eva kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com

  2. Amanda says:

    Wise words – I’m constantly surprised at the kind of PR approaches I get from people who clearly have no idea what my blog is based on. Ten minutes of reading would be time well spent for them.
    Amanda recently posted…Tasting Australia 2012 – officially launched in Adelaide today!

  3. Excellent advice Lau! This applies not just to food, but across all spectrums of blogging. It amazes me how many PRs think we should be grateful for their emails – it’s very much you scratch my back and…oh wait…here’s a block of chocolate for your time and effort.
    Elise @ Stuff That I Bought recently posted…Tasty: Mars Vanilla

  4. Maureen says:

    well said!
    Maureen recently posted…Colcannon Croquettes

  5. Kat says:

    What is tip # 5? ;)

  6. I don’t have any other tips and think what you’ve written is spot on I love that you have turned the tables and posted about tips for PR reps!
    Anna @ the shady pine recently posted…Almond and rosewater brittle

  7. Nicole Schuman says:

    Very helpful tips and easy to follow. Thank you for sharing it! :)
    Nicole Schuman recently posted…reclaiming ppi

  8. Dear Lauren,

    These are fantastic tips and I would think they are also pretty much common sense that PR agencies should be using as a guide. So true of having to decipher the deal and to try and understand vague proposals.

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