Tuesday, 27 October 2015

How to Work with Bloggers (An Open Letter to a Certain PR Person)

A bit of a post for the bloggers today, because we've all had more than our fair share of these approaches.  But it does follow on incredibly well from yesterday's post on politeness!  I've been blogging for nearly four years now, and in that time I have built up some great relationships with PRs and other professionals who understand, or are trying to understand, the value of blogs and how we can work together.  I charge for some things, I don't for others, I do favours, I go above and beyond the call of duty for many, and I'm often delighted by the great opportunities we are offered.  But on the flipside, there are some approaches, and individuals, who really get my goat.  This letter is to one of those.

Dear Mr PR Man,

Welcome to the bright new world of blogging.  I can only assume that this is your first time here due to your slightly sniffy approach and remarks about my 'small site'.

Thank you so much for the offer of content for my blog, you obviously feel that it needs 'something different' as you state.  But as with most bloggers, thinking up content really isn't a problem for me.  Having the time to write it, is.

I'm delighted that the sites and newspapers you mention have accepted your offer of free content for their publications.  Of course, the primary difference between bloggers and newspaper journalists is that one is paid to produce content to fill their pages, and one isn't.  (If you're in any doubt, I'm the one that isn't paid.)

Newspapers have a two fold income, in fact, from the consumers who buy them, and from their advertisers.  For the big sites you mentioned, such as Yahoo, there is much revenue to be had from advertisers too.  In fact, their problem is finding enough good content to fill their sites and newspapers with; in order to get the punters in to see the adverts, you see.

For us poor wee bloggers, it's quite the opposite.  We need to devote lots of time to keeping our voice authentic and real, creating genuine content about our lives that our readers find interesting and relevant.  We may also accept paid content or side bar adverts (many don't, too), but primarily our content needs to be personal and real.  Don't tell anyone, but when you're trying to also make a living that means long, hard hours, often into the early hours of the morning, and lots of writing.  To be honest with you, sometimes I find my freelance work altogether easier; and I always get paid for that!

So when I said I would need to charge to promote your client, it was because I don't give up my hard-won audience for nothing.  It was because the paid-for content supplements all those hours of unpaid work I put into this blog, my business.  Whilst I'm sure your guy's tips would be fascinating, I have to wonder what's really in it for me.  I can see how the publicity and exposure would benefit your client, but me?  Not so much.  By the way, I presume he's paying you to promote him?

Of course, as this is your first time in the brave new world of blogging, maybe you don't know that we aren't a new breed of journalists you can fling 'great content' at.  Here's a quick heads up: it don't work that way for us.  It's mainly due to that darned income thing, 'cos the news is, we have mortgages and bills to pay too.

Actually, the best way to treat us is as a new kind of marketing.  The benefit of working with bloggers is that we bring a very specific target audience, whether mums or bakers or gamers.  Our audience is a relevant brand's target market.  Our audience are interested, engaged, and if you offer something great, they may just buy it.  If you're not offering a product or service to market, then the exposure we provide is equally as valuable.  Your client will be noticed, will be talked about, and as a PR that's surely what you want?

So when I say I don't hand that out for free, coming back to me with disparaging comments probably isn't the way forward.  Not that I always charge, get on the right side of me, read my witterings and twitterings, be polite and friendly - and interested - and I might even do you a favour (or several).  But expect me to promote your client/campaign/competition for nada, and you'll get short shrift.

Bloggers are part of the PR machine now, and we expect a professional approach, enjoy a good relationship, and need a bit of the marketing budget in return for what we give.  After all, we actually make your job easier.  Rather than throwing a lot of hooha at the Yahoo/Daily Mail/other big site or newspaper wall and seeing how much sticks, we give you the target demographic on a plate.

If you need any more tips on how to work with bloggers, do let me know.  But please, no more rude e-mails.

Best regards,


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  1. You with your little site, Leta! ;) Only no.1 in lifestyle and parenting. How could you refuse some free content for your blog?! :)

  2. Oh dear! He didn't get it at all did he? What a novice!

  3. I know very very little about blogs but even i'm thinking what was this (presumably degree educated marketing graduate) thinking? We appreciate the work you put into your blog but expect you to be compensated fairly at the same time!

  4. but will think it is about him?!

  5. Well done for telling him where to go x

  6. Thanks all. Think I need to write a how to work with bloggers guide as have had a lot more of these kind of approaches lately :-/

  7. Well said :)

    I get so many emails from people expecting me to do something for nothing and when I explain the reasons I can't some are very rude. Oh well, no skin off my back anyway :)

  8. Perfectly put! I get so many of these in various forms *eyes roll* but the brands I have a relationship with are invaluable.

  9. Having had no experience with Bloggers in the past, we've just reached out to some for their help in promoting our product and hope that our approach was far more respectful and sincere than this mans sounds like. Great letter back to him though, it amazes me how many people think that the way to win business is to tell you how bad yours is and that they are so much better than you they can make it better!!

  10. The letter is brilliant. I have not had any experience with PR people (yet), but I can see how rude and aggravating it must be.

  11. Round of applause! Nicely said :)

  12. I love this, you were eloquent and funny whilst telling him exactly where to go! Did make me chuckle. ☺ Xx


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