Bloggers and publicists are natural allies.
The publicist wants to get their company’s products / message out to an audience, and bloggers have a content-led platform in which to provide that service. Maintaining good relationships with brands you know, like and trust are key if you want to work with them on a long-term basis. You never know what opportunities might be there in the future!
That being said, it can be tricky to know how to approach brands. Bloggers can sometimes under or over-sell themselves, or worse, compromise their standards as opposed to creating the best content for their readers.
Here are some basic DO’s and DONT’s when it comes to approaching brands.
This goes without saying. Your blog is a calling card to approach them, so make it about how you want to collaborate and help each other instead of one party getting all of the benefits.
Show you have an active audience
Include your monthly stats and social media following. They are much more likely to sit up and listen that way! If you don’t have a huge following yet, don’t worry. Engagement is valued just as highly. A handful of hardcore, committed followers is a whole lot better than thousands who completely ignore you.
Demonstrate knowledge of the brand
If you’re a fan of their products and have used them before, say so! You will be much more appealing to the brand if they feel that your blog has a good alignment with their customer demographic.
Show that you’ve already given some thought to how you might work together – whether it’s creating written content, an Instagram giveaway, or a goody bag collaboration on an event you’re hosting. Brands are always looking for different types of ways to get their products out there.
If the brand doesn’t want to work with you at that point, don’t take it personally. There are so many bloggers working their lil butts off that there are often many competing to work with popular brands. If they say that there’s no opportunities at the moment, be polite and approach them again after 6-12 months once your blog has grown and developed.
Be in it for the free stuff
Again, a fairly obvious one! Brands want to cultivate honest reviews and work with bloggers who are genuinely interested in them and helping to spread their message. If you approach them first off with a long list of stuff you want, you will likely get turned down. Instead, ask what opportunities they have for bloggers and be open to their suggestions of how you might work together.
Try to be their best friend
Publicists are busy people! That doesn’t mean to say they don’t appreciate your support, but they will more than likely be working in a time-pressured environment & communicating with several bloggers at once, so won’t appreciate five emails in the space of one hour. If you treat your blog like a business then brands will value that professional relationship, and friendship may well develop over time.
Copy and paste the press release
The readers want to hear your opinion. The moment you lose your unique voice, the quicker your readers will leave your site. Use the press release as a tool to get all the key information down, but remember to give it your own flair which your readers know and love!
Feel obliged to do product reviews
If a brand offers you products to review, feel free to accept but make it clear to them that you will only feature if it fits the ethos of your blog. This may mean that the offer is retracted, but it’s important to stay true to your readers and yourself. What you turn down can often be just as important as what you accept.
Break your word
If you’ve told a brand that you would like to review a product, but then don’t keep to that agreement, there’s not much chance they’ll want to continue a relationship with you. This can be frustrating for the publicist who could have sent that product to someone who would have given them great coverage as a result. If you are too busy to stick to your agreements or have circumstances which mean you can’t do what you originally suggested, be upfront with the publicist who will appreciate the honesty.