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March 2, 2021
After blogging for two years, I’m still continuously confused by working with PR agencies. Is it beneficial? Do they have a budget for bloggers? What is expected of me if I attend an event? So for this month’s edition of Blog Talk, I decided to reach out to PR maven Linsday Shoemake of That Working Girl for some guidance. I couldn’t be happier with what she had to say about the topic.
As both a blogger and a PR lady, I’ve had the unique opportunity to witness both sides of the spectrum; whether it means being pitched to and pitching a company all in one day, or writing press releases for my own blog or for a freelance client. After working with a few PR companies while running That Working Girl, I’ve learned a thing or two about fostering great relationships and generating genuine content for brands. Read on for my top three tips:
Introduce your blog to the PR agencies in your city.The first step to cultivating a great relationship with PR companies is by introducing yourself. However, be sure to do you research first! If your blog is fashion-based, send a brief email with your blog’s “elevator pitch” to boutique agencies in your area that are already working with fashion brands. Knowing a PR firm’s client roster and expertise is key when striking up conversations that could lead to a mutually beneficial relationship.
Own up to your promises and follow through. It can get overwhelming as PR firms begin to pitch your blog and invite you to events left and right, but that isn’t an excuse for dropping the ball on event or product coverage. If you attend an event and mention to the PR firm putting it on that you’ll have a write-up on the blog within the week, stick to your word. Word travels fast within the PR world, and you don’t want to be known as the blogger who can’t deliver. Want to go the extra mile? Send the link to your write-up to your PR contact once it’s live! Not only will you seem on top of your blogger game, but it’ll also save your PR contact time during those lengthy weekly media searches for press hits.
Know when to say no. I know from experience that PR firms can sometimes continually spin a pitch to try to make it work for you (I’ve done it myself!), but sometimes a product or event simply isn’t on-brand for your blog. Learn how to politely pass on press opportunities that simply aren’t for you – your PR friends will appreciate it in the long run. No press is better than a poorly written, passionless blog post about an event that sticks out like a sore thumb on your blog’s home page. Follow up with your PR contact in a few weeks, and let them know that you’d love to hear about any current client coverage opportunities.
While the PR agency that I was working with did not have a blog press budget at the time, we always compensated bloggers with generous gift bags, complimentary drinks and VIP seating at clients events. In my experience, bloggers are much more receptive to attending an event that has a great swag bag! Larger PR agencies often have more robust blogger budgets to work with, but smaller, most regional agencies may not.
So, what to do when a PR agency reaches out to you with nothing more than a cut-and-dry press release and a blog post idea? Get ready to negotiate! Whether this means sharing your sponsored post rate or negotiating a review in exchange for free product, appraise all angles of a blogger-agency deal before enduring a brand on your site.
Thank you, Lindsay, for your wise words from your unique perspective! Be sure to read more from Lindsay and her PR tips on her blog, That Working Girl.
What is your opinion on working with PR agencies?
Photo by Cynthia Gonzalez-Espinos.
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