It has been a full month since our last meet-up. The holidays sure are coming at us quick! But, before we all break out the eggnog — we have to tell you all of the amazing information we gained– and introduce you to the very cool local companies that we met– at our 2013 Holiday Mingle. Today I’m sharing some of the tips from the PR panel at the event. Later this week hop on over for your introduction to the amazing companies in attendance!
Tips for Bloggers Working with Companies and PR Professionals
Bloggers and PR professionals work together all the time. However, not a lot of people actually know how the process works. There are no hard fast rules for how bloggers interact with companies because blogging is fairly new. (Though, the FTC guidelines are certainly a great place to start.) Blogging resides in a weird arena that is somewhere between traditional journalism and full-out marketing. It is up to the blogger to find out what they want their blog to look like and how to work with companies.
Bee, one of our Portland Bloggers organizers and the blogger behind The Spicy Bee, collaborated with the local PR company Little Green Pickle to pull off a fabulous event that helped introduce local bloggers to some great companies and PR reps at the 2013 Holiday Mingle. The event also featured a panel of PR Professionals who so graciously answered some of the questions that bloggers have about working with PR companies.
There was quite a lot of information at the event. Twitter was hopping with tweets going out all night with shout outs to the local companies in attendance and tips from the panel. The PR Panel consisted of Carrie Welch of Little Green Pickle, Meaghan Burns of Broussard Communications , Lisa Hill of Lisa Hill PR, Heather Jones of Heather Jones Consulting, and Vicky Hastings of Maxwell PR . (Click on over to their websites and connect with them via email or Twitter TODAY!)
Check out #holidaymingle for the play-by-play. But, here are some of the tips that really seemed to hit home for me:
Be Ready to Work with Companies
Whether you are approaching a company, or they are approaching you, be ready for the interaction. Have you blog to your standards, have a media kit ready to go, and KNOW your guidelines for working with a company. What does that mean?
- That list of “want to-dos” for your blog design, posting schedule, and promotion opportunities– DO IT. Treat your blog as your store front. A professional blog that is well-designed and regularly updated is much more appealing to companies than the alternative.
- Create a one-page media kit that is up-to-date with your numbers, guidelines, and blog information. Have it at the ready to send to companies and keep it handy for events where you may meet PR professionals or companies wishing to work with bloggers.
- Know your guidelines for working with companies and present them up front. If you do not post about a product on your blog without having an opportunity to sample the product– tell them. If you choose not to post about products that you do not like after trying– tell them. Don’t wait until after you’ve received said product, or payment, to set the guidelines. Do it from the beginning. Getting expectations out from the beginning is important for BOTH parties working together.
Numbers are Important
It is true– numbers are important. And, yes, that makes it hard for beginning bloggers. Numbers are not everything, but they are a big part of what companies need to see. Some tips on your numbers:
- Unique Page views can tell a potential collaborator a bit about how much potential their product has of being seen on your site. You’ll want to know your daily and your monthly number. The PR professionals in attendance said that the number they are most commonly looking to hit for this area is at least 10,000 page views/ month.
- Social Media numbers represent your brand’s influence. Our PR panel said that 1,000 followers or fans is a marker that they like to share with their clients. The social media platforms that they felt were most important? Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Does that mean if you only have 500 Twitter followers and only 7,000 monthly page views that PR companies won’t look at you or your blog? No, of course not! There is also something to be said about your followers loyalty and demographics.
- Comments are important in gauging your followers loyalty. Do you have people interacting with your site regularly? Companies like to see comments, pins, tweets, and Facebook posts going out from OTHERS about your blog.
- Does your blog have a specific niche? A small loyal following that is in a specific area of expertise may interest a company trying to reach that specific demographic more than a larger blog, with a less loyal following, and no specific area of interest.
Be Proactive if you Wish to Work with Companies
This is the part I really, really hope that the bloggers in attendance (and, you out there reading) take from the event. BE PROACTIVE in working with companies. If you wish to work with a company then tell them so! Hand out media kits, give ideas for posts, provide your numbers, and tell a company why they want to work with YOU. The PR panel all agreed that they LOVE it when bloggers reach out to them. The worst that can happen is they say, “Not at this time.” Even if you get the “no,” if you approach a company in a professional manner and tend to your blog in a professional manner– then that company will remember you.
Be an Ambassador for Companies You Believe In
Sure, companies want mentioned by bloggers. Want to keep the relationship open and fruitful for all parties involved? Be an ambassador for those companies that you believe in and you have had the pleasure of having a good experience. Now, many bloggers may disagree with this school of thought– not getting paid for every mention. From experience though, working with brands and companies that you believe in and like enough to mention authentically (not just when paid) is beneficial to both the company and the blogger. It shows that you are authentically providing content for your readership, it supports businesses that help support you (in one fashion or another), and it keeps the doors open for future projects.
What do I mean by being an authentic ambassador? I don’t mean give everything away for free or randomly tweeting out company names. I do mean that you might want to follow and engage with those companies on social networks. I mean sending out emails/tweets/Facebook posts of “Thanks.” I mean talking about it when you use it and like it!
A big thank you…
Thank You to the amazing companies below who helped to make this event happen. Please, please, please… click on the links below and connect with these companies. You won’t regret it!