With the ever-increasing influence of bloggers, as PRs it is crucial we know how to maximise on the blogger/PR relationship and that review opportunities are utilised to our client’s advantage in every way possible.
A strong relationship with a respected blogger and positive blog reviews can be a great way of raising brand awareness, driving sales and increasing an online presence.
To get the inside scoop first hand, we interviewed renowned life and style blogger What Lizzy Loves, to talk targeted approaches, PR turn offs and best practice for PRs. Lizzy’s advice is invaluable and highlights the importance of a targeted approach, considering whether your brand is a good fit before contacting bloggers and how to entice bloggers to events.
How do you like to be approached by PRs?
I like to receive a well-worded and well thought out email that shows the PR has read my blog and not just inserted its name. I have lost count of the number of emails beginning “Dear What” as though What Lizzy Loves is my name.
What do you look for when it comes to brand partnerships?
The brand (or product) must be a good and authentic fit with my blog and my style. I look at the brand ethos and for example, wouldn’t work with a company that uses real fur or exotic animal skins. I look to see if the collaboration will be mutually beneficial. After all, it is a working relationship and a blog post takes anything up to 4 hours to write, edit, photograph and promote afterwards.
I also look at the potential for longer-term and ongoing partnerships too. It’s something that is appealing to me.
That being said, I am always willing to support small businesses, particularly other working mothers like me, without wanting anything in return- just being part of a supportive community is reward enough in these circumstances.
How do you distinguish between paid for/non paid for content on your blog and social media channels?
On my blog, I identify gifted products with an asterisk which leads to the disclaimer that states that the items were gifted. If the content is sponsored I write “This blog post has been written in collaboration with…” or “This is a sponsored post”. I must be honest and say that I don’t do this on Instagram- I really must start!
Is there anything that puts you off working with certain PRs/brands?
Often, a PR will approach me to work with them – usually involving a product review. On those occasions where I think it is acceptable to ask for a fee, I do so and send the relevant fee structure plus my media kit. In very many cases, I don’t get a response to this. This puts me off entering any further correspondence should they approach again in another instance.
I find it strange too that a PR will approach and then tell me there is no budget for a collaboration. The brand is paying a PR company so it should therefore expect to pay a blogger for their input. No brands or PRs should expect anyone to work for nothing, after all, they aren’t! Clothes and handbags are lovely, but unfortunately, they don’t pay the mortgage!
What is the strangest request you have ever received from a PR?
The strangest one was fairly recently and I was asked to remove all links from my blog from a well-known brand that I wear, love and feature regularly, for the purposes of Google. I have never collaborated with this brand, I simply linked to the item so my readers could find it. It has really made me think twice about ordering from that particular website again and certainly about linking to their products.
Do you ever directly approach brands you would like to work with?
Yes I do and on these occasions would never ask for a fee. It is usually if I have seen an item that I genuinely love and desire and feel I could promote well. Again, it comes down to mutual benefits. If someone is kind enough to respond to my request, then I will do everything I can to promote that product.
What do you feel makes for a good blogger/Press event and what entices you to attend?
The opportunity to meet the team or a celebrity is always enticing as is the opportunity to get, for example, a manicure or treatment. A glass of fizz or cocktails and canapes works for me every time as does a goody bag or a gift from the brand! Help towards travel costs in return for a blog post or social media coverage is always nice too.
Do you ever post negative reviews and if so, how do you manage the relationship with the PR or brand?
I don’t post negative reviews, but if something doesn’t work for me I will email the PR or brand and give honest feedback and let them know why. In those circumstances, I offer to return the item.
What made you start your blog?
I was approaching my 40th birthday and had a desire to write about my evolving style. I have always loved clothes and accessories as well as a having love for writing and sharing. A lot of friends ask for style advice and suggested that I set up a personal shopping service which I did consider, but decided in the end to start my blog.
Which social media channels do you find most engage your followers?
Instagram. It’s my favourite social media channel and is the one I put the most into. It’s quick and easy to comment on other accounts and to reply to comments on my own. I could get lost for hours scrolling through other accounts!
Do you have any advice to budding bloggers?
Always always be authentic, be honest and be yourself.
Try to find a niche or a USP- easier said than done though!
Use apps to help schedule your social media and make sure you have the same username and avatar across all social media.
Enjoy it but be prepared to put in a lot of work. Much more than non-bloggers would believe!
Understand that it becomes rather addictive and sometimes takes over your life!