I’ve been blogging for more than six years, which means that every day I am inundated with requests from PR agencies and companies wanting me to promote their products and services.
For some of it, I am delighted to partner on! But there are other things that irk me, and I wanted to share this list of how to best connect with bloggers so that if YOU are trying to build a relationship with a blogger, you don’t make the same mistake your predecessors have.
1. Always use the correct name.
Oh my goodness. I’ll grant you that some bloggers prefer to remain anonymous, which is totally cool. But I have always been very open about my full name and contact information, and it drives me crazy when I see emails addressed to “blogger,” or, worse, “Sarah” or “Megan” (neither of which is my name—and since my name is clearly stated in the About page on my blog and on all of my social media platforms and it’s in my email address, I really can’t be forgiving about someone not doing their five seconds of research to find out who I am).
I’ve also gotten used to people spelling my name incorrectly, but if you are asking me to do something like promote your product, please take the time to double-check the spelling of my name and proofread your email.
2. If you want me to check out your website, send me your link.
It’s mind boggling, the number of requests I’ve been sent where the person has sent me the name of their company without bothering to include their website URL or a link to their webpage (especially when they ask me to “check out our website!”).
I’m not a “big blogger” by any stretch, but I get way too many promotional requests to take the time to try to Google you and figure out who you are. If you want me to visit your website, please make it as easy as possible for me to do so.
Use the right name, include a website link, & 3 more tips for PR people connecting with bloggers
3. Make your request worth my while.
If I have never heard of you before, I probably don’t want to do an entire blog series around your product, for which I’ll get a social media mention in return.
If I really like what you do and what your business stands for, I might promote you in return for free product—but as a business person or PR rep, you need to understand that bloggers are professionals and business people. We aren’t going to promote your goods and services lightly.
The worst is when public relations people want bloggers to promote a product AND do 10 social media posts AND share three Facebook posts AND create a video reviewing the product, for which they’ll receive a $2 coupon (okay, so this might be a slight exaggeration. But you’d be surprised at the amount of things that PR people expect to get in return for nothing!).
4. Don’t tell me exactly what to do.
Most professional bloggers have a blog content calendar, and have mapped out weeks in advance what their blog schedule will look like. If you want me to blog about something and need it done by next week, the chances are that I will not be able to accommodate you (especially if I have never heard of you before and you can’t make it worth my while!).
I understand that as a public relations specialist, you want to get your message out there now (and I really do understand; I worked in PR for a couple years), but you also need to respect that bloggers have their own schedule to work with.
5. …But be specific about what you want and what you can offer.
While I don’t appreciate being told “Hi, I’m XYZ and want you to promote this product but you have to do it exactly three days from now OK thanks,” I do appreciate knowing what it is you want from me and what you’re hoping to get from a blog partnership.
A vague offer of collaboration is not helpful—tell me what you are hoping to get out of our relationship, and what you can offer me in return. We’re going to have a lot of communication problems if you can’t be upfront about your needs!