Who is more qualified to tell you how to do it with bloggers than the bloggers themselves?
This is exactly why I love engaging with bloggers and asking them what works and what doesn’t when it comes to all aspects of working with PR and marketing pros on campaigns.
Recently I asked a bunch of bloggers to share their best experiences working with PR reps. What I found out and gathered up are a bunch of mutually beneficial relationships made possible by phenomenal PR and resulted in some awesome posts for brands.
Go Beyond the Pitch
Scott Thomas: Grillin Fools
Scott runs a grilling blog and has a lot of experience writing in his vertical for big brands like Sears and Wal-Mart. However, he says no one has ever treated him as well as the PR team at Char-Broil.
Scott initially formed a relationship with Char-Broil when he asked them to send a grill as a prize for a charity BBQ contest that he was running. Char-Broil didn’t send him a grill, they sent him three. They also asked Scott to write for them and now he’s a monthly contributor—an All Star Blogger on their site.
Here are the things that Char-Broil has done to go beyond the pitch and really stand out as an example of phenomenal PR:
- They sent him three grills when Scott asked for one
- Char-Broil sends him a couple new grills every year
- They give him a discount code to share with his network
- They fly him to whichever city as the HGTV Smart Home to get trained on their product line
- Char-broil pays Scott to be a regular contributor on their site
- They promote his blog on their site without taking his content and rebranding it as their own, he gets full credit
- Scott gets his own dedicated page on Char-broil’s site that contains all of his recipes with links to him
And the results of their phenomenal PR? I think we can consider Scott to be an advocate of Char-broil’s company and he writes about them to his huge network regularly.
Take the Time to Make Sure the Contextual Fit is there
Marissa Vicario: Where I Need to Be
Marissa runs a blog about wellbeing and health and values the effort put in to a personal pitch. This lets her know that the PR person took the time to be certain that the product they are pitching is a good fit.
While Marissa is open to contextually fitting pitches of all types, including content placement, she especially dislikes when she’s pitched to post a pre-written piece of content or an infographic that doesn’t fit seamlessly with her existing content.
On the flip side of the coin, the best way a PR rep can get Marissa’s attention is to make it apparent that they are open to working with her beyond a single post and want to foster a long term relationship and include her in the brand.
I’ve heard how much value a proposed long term relationship in the initial pitch has from many, many bloggers. So, I think we should take Marissa’s advice and double check our pitches to make sure they don’t come across as proposed one night stands?
Personalize Those Pitches
Kristina Clemens: The Chic Girl’s Guide to a One of a Kind Wardrobe
Kristina runs a DIY style blog and has also recently put out a DIY style book. She gets several emails a week from PR reps asking her to promote their company on her blog. Many of them are impersonal and simply ask for a link without offering anything in return.
However, in the mass amount of bad pitches she gets, Kristina got one that stood out from a PR rep at RedEvelope—a mail order gift company. The components that made this pitch stand out were quite simple. The pitch was personal, provided details of the campaign and addressed Kristina by her first name. The personal aspect of this pitch is something that Kristina says she doesn’t see a ton of.
Kristina and RedEnvelope agreed on a free product for her and a discount for her audience in exchange for a post. Because the PR rep at RedEnvelope was such a joy to work with and offered phenomenal PR, Kristina decided to recommend them in her book in addition to the agreed upon blog post.
When Red Evelope went beyond the pitch, Kristina was motivated to go beyond the post and place RedEnvelope in her book. Talk about an extremely mutually beneficial relationship!
Have a Clear Plan
Lauryn Blakesley: The Vintage Mom
Lauryn runs a parenting blog and deals with PR agencies on a regular basis.
One encounter that really sticks out to her as an example of great PR was with Cutting Edge Stencils who does their blogger outreach in house. What Lauryn really liked was that they had clearly outlined blog requirements/expectations. So, right away she knew what was expected her blogging efforts as well as how she would get compensated from the very beginning of her relationship with the stencil company.
Lauryn also enjoyed how helpful the PR rep at Cutting Edge was after the review was finished and they helped her promote her post and giveaway on their own channels so Lauryn got new exposure for her blog.
Not to mention that they followed up and thanked her for her hard work.
By having a clear plan in which Lauryn knew what was expected of her and what she would get in return for her post is something we can all do in a pitch as the value of being clear and concise should not be overlooked.
Promote the Blogger
Karah Bunde: The Space Between Blog
Karah runs a DIY interior design blog and has had a phenomenal experience working with KILZ brand primers and paints.
Karah started a full home renovation 7 months ago and formed a relationship with KILZ to be her primer sponsor since she’s a brand loyalist.
What Karah and KILZ has is an actual partnership. They work together and promote each other. Karah can approach them with out-of-the-box ideas and they are receptive to them. She is able to mention KILZ in a variety of posts because the brand comes up organically while she is writing.
KILZ not only provides Karah with the primer she needs for her home renovation but they also promote Karah’s content and projects on their own social media channels and newsletters. It’s good marketing for KILZ because their customers can see how a customer makes real-life use out of their products and Karah’s blog is exposed to new readers. Both sides are gaining authentic new fans and this is exactly how a blogger/brand relationship should be.
I love Karah’s example because it stresses the fact that promotion can occur on both sides. The blogger promotes the brand and the brand can promote the blogger as well!
Bloggers Love Exclusive Content
Josh Robbins: I’m Still Josh
Josh is social media HIV activist and HIV blogger. He deals with PR pros on a regular basis and recently had an amazing experience with a PR rep from a pharmaceutical company.
What caught Josh’s eye with this example of PR amidst his other experiences was that this rep went out of her way to make sure his post had an exclusive quote, content and photos. Therefore, Josh’s post stood out from the other mentions that the pharmaceutical company was getting. Not only did she get him exclusive material, but Josh says the quickness of her responses and gathering of quotes and photos really helped.
She also promoted his article heavily on her own channels. The brand got good PR and Josh says his blog benefitted greatly from their large audience exposure.
This example shows how phenomenal PR and exclusive content starts off a valuable relationship for three sides: the brand, the blogger and the audience.
If you want more advice from real bloggers, check out this post on how bloggers explain how they like to be pitched. And if you’re ready to start finding blogs to pitch check out GroupHigh’s index of over 13 million bloggers and if you’re already a GroupHigh user let me know if I can give you some more blogger outreach advice!
Do you have any examples to share either as a blogger or as a PR rep of an awesome brand-PR-blogger relationship?