As both a PR and a blogger, I see both sides of the coin with brand/blogger collaborations. I was blogging for a couple of years before I got offered a job in blogger outreach (in fact, it’s what got me the job!), but it wasn’t until I started working with bloggers more frequently in the role that I started getting offered more opportunities on my blog too. I think it was a combination of the fact that I was seeing how these collaborations work behind the scenes as well as knowing what PRs are looking for.
I’ve been working in this role for almost 5 years now. I’ve probably worked with hundreds of bloggers during this time. And we’re always on the look out for new bloggers – those who are starting to make an impact in their industries, the up and coming ones, people who are influential.
So I’m here today to share a few secrets with you on what I’m personally looking for as a PR when I’m sourcing bloggers for a specific campaign. Some of these are so obvious, they seem silly to mention, but it just might be the thing that hasn’t crossed your mind!
Get a clean & clear design
If we can see that you’re willing to put even just a little bit of time and effort into making your blog look good, we know you’re going to spend that effort on making our client look good too. Plus your readers are likely to be happier on your blog, moving around on it more, engaging more with the content. It’s a win-win situation!
Have an about & contact page
And make them obvious! Unfortunately, we don’t have hours to spend digging around on your site and social media to find your email address or your name. While there are companies out there that won’t bother to personalise your emails (we’ve all had those “Dear Blogger” emails!), personally I like to know who I’m talking to and why they’re the right person for our campaign. The first stage of this is knowing how to address you.
If a PR is short on time and can’t find your details quickly, they’re likely to move away from your blog and onto someone else. If you make our jobs easier by making the pages quick to find, you’re likely to get more opportunities.
Have your own domain
This is a big one as most brands have guidelines that say they only want to work with bloggers who have their own domains. Yes, you can get around just fine with a WordPress or Blogspot domain (I did for a few years), especially if your content is good and your readership engaged. But you’re likely to get far more opportunities and ones which are worth more on your own domain.
Why? There are a couple of reasons:
- The value of a post on a WordPress or Blogspot domain is lower since technically these blogs all “share” that domain.
- Your blog looks far more professional and serious. It’s again a case of you putting that effort (and a bit of money) into getting your own domain and taking it seriously. Plus it looks better when we report back to our clients if they’re not just a list of WordPress domains!
Buying a domain doesn’t need to be expensive. Personally I think it’s best to be self-hosted, but you can definitely just buy a vanity URL instead which is much cheaper.
Be active on social media
This is how we can find you. I spend my days exploring social media, reading posts and interacting with bloggers and influencers. I want to know what interests you, what sort of topics are trending, what you’re currently writing about. These help us to understand what sort of campaigns will be popular and whether you’ll be interested in them.
On top of that, you’ll be more visible to us if you’re active on social media. It’s not necessarily about the numbers too. While it’s, of course, always awesome to have a high level of following, it’s the engagement and interaction that’s going to get you on our screens. Twitter tends to show the same people over and over, so being more active and getting people engaged with your content means you’re likely to get in front of my eyes.
And share your blogger friends’ content too! You’ll most likely get interaction back from these, everyone loves a bit of caring and sharing, but it also helps us to find new blogs like you too. And we’ll see that you’re a nice person!
Produce regular, high quality content
When I get to your blog, I want to know the sort of content that you’ll be able to produce for our clients. If your photos are blurry, your posts are short and low quality, or you only blog every 3 months, we’d more than likely pick someone else for the campaign. Understandably, you only want the best for your clients.
This doesn’t mean you need to post only the best content every single day; as long as it’s good and regular.
Finding new blogs can be really tricky! Social media is a good way for us to find you, as are comments on other blogs and links from other blogs, but otherwise, we do a lot of digging in Google for relevant blogs to our campaigns.
If you’re worried you’re not getting seen by PRs, get in touch with them! Keep an eye out on Twitter for the #prrequest or #bloggerswanted hashtags or pitch your ideas directly to brands. Even if the brand works with an agency rather than directly with bloggers, they may be able to pass your details on to their PR company.
Most PRs are happy for you to drop them a quick email letting them know who you are, what you write about and what you can offer. In fact, I love it when I get an email from a blogger I haven’t worked with before!
This doesn’t mean that you have to go against your own guidelines or change your style completely.
If a particular campaign doesn’t work for you, but you think the brand would fit really well into a different idea you have, tell me!
If the budget is too low, but you can offer something else instead, awesome!
If you’re too busy right now but would like to work in future, don’t worry!
We can be flexible, but we need to know that you can be too. Remember that at the other end of that email is a person who’s been given a specific budget, guideline or plan to stick to, and sometimes that’s all we can do. Other times, we’re really grateful for new ideas. In fact, I had someone the other day pitch me a really awesome idea that the client loved and we were able to sort out additional products for her to make the idea reality.
At the end of the day, these tips aren’t anything groundbreaking – all I want to see from a blogger is that they’re being authentic and passionate. We can tell when you’re writing a post because you care about something, and we can tell when it’s just because you’re being paid or have got something free. We want to see that you love what you’re doing, are having fun and that you’ll give our clients the same attention.
Sian is a digital media marketing executive at Bronco, working on creative client campaigns, blogger outreach and social media management. In her free time she blogs…everywhere. Her personal style and lifestyle blog is Rebel Angel, but she’s merged her passions in life at Adventure is Out There where she’s writing about all things blogging and passing on advice for fellow bloggers from a PR and blogger’s perspective. On top of that, she’s a Disney and lingerie addict.