As bloggers, we work with PRs and SEO execs on a regular basis. If you want to make money through your blog then it’s a fact that you need to work with people. Most of us will work with them through e-mail so communication is so important. As a blogger, I feel incredibly privileged that I’ve worked with some great PR’s but also some not so great ones.
On the other side of the fence, I have done blogger outreach in previous roles and I do it freelance for brands so am working on a campaign at the moment. I’d like to think seeing things from both sides gives me a good advantage, but after working with people in the blogging community it’s really opened my eyes. While the majority of people I’ve worked with have been fantastic (thanks to them), this isn’t always the case.
Here are some top tips for bloggers on how to develop great relationships and work with PR’s/ SEO execs.
Re-check your stats before filling in forms
We all know how quickly Moz can update DA scores, or how quickly your social stats can change. When you’re filling in a form always re-check any numbers to make them relevant there and then. The number of times I’ve had forms filled in with DA’s which were correct before a big Moz update over a month ago is crazy. Sometimes it is accidental but sometimes people say ‘Oh well this is what it was before the drop last month’. While some PR’s don’t mind too much for SEO campaigns DA is one of the most important factors.
Check if you’ve worked with the PR before
I know we all probably apply for loads of campaigns and sometimes you don’t know who you’re filling it in for (or the exact name of the brand), but if you can work it out check if you’ve worked with the PR before. While some PR’s will work with multiple clients, some will work with just one so it’s worth checking, especially if they’re looking for new bloggers only.
As a blogger, I keep a list of all sponsored content I have worked on which means I can check the list for the PR’s name. If I have worked with them before but it’s a new campaign it’s a great way of personalising the message to reflect this.
Don’t apply if you don’t agree with the terms
If the campaign says they’re looking for follow links and you don’t agree with it, don’t apply, simple as. In work I’ve done in the past I’ve always been very open with my requirements of needing follow links (whether it’s right or not is another matter). If you apply for something which asks for a follow link don’t think you can change someone’s mind by applying but then saying you don’t offer them.
This is also the case when budgets are mentioned. I’m sure we’ve all bartered with PR’s for more money, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But if the actual campaign has a budget listed, don’t apply if you wouldn’t accept this budget. If the budget is moveable or dependant on stats then usually it won’t be shown (or will say dependant on stats).
Be professional in all communication
Emails can be tough to perceive sometimes, so it’s so important to remain professional and ensure you’re coming across in the right way. PR’s/ SEO execs do talk and if you make a bad name for yourself this doesn’t look good.
If you’re offered a rate much lower than you usually charge, be upfront about it but don’t take it out on the PR. Most of them are working on budgets set by their client and have little control over them. There’s no harm at all in asking if there’s any movement, but do it in the right way.
Keep communication regular
If you reply straight away to begin with and accept a campaign, don’t then take days and days to reply after that. I know we’re all busy people but be consistent. I know plenty of bloggers (myself included) work full-time but if your email time is after work and you reply within 2 days the first time try and keep this up. Don’t then leave someone waiting for 5 days.
When there are deadlines on opportunities I like to know who I’m working with as then I know what budget I’ve used and what I have left. Bloggers always complain about PR’s disappearing and not getting replies from them, but the same rules apply the other way around.
Proof-read your post before sending the link
When PR’s get your link most of them will actually read it as opposed to just checking for the link. And a pet hate of mine is when there are spelling or grammar mistakes or massive formatting/ layout issues and it’s clear it’s been written in a hurry. I understand people want payments to come through quickly so want to fire off an invoice as soon as possible but these mistakes can be easily avoided.
Confirm when payment has been made
In the same way bloggers like PR’s to confirm they’ve received their invoice, it’s a two-way relationship so confirm when payment has been made. As a PR I always like to know as I can tick it off my list when someone has been paid. It makes me feel better that I won’t have someone chasing my weeks later when it may be too late. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t bother though – even when I ask for confirmation less than half the time I get responses which is such a shame. As this is generally going to be the last time you speak to a PR during that campaign you want to end on a nice note.
This is a guest post by Rhian Westbury who is not only a lovely blogger but also PR! You can read more from her blog and catch up with her on the social media links below: