India was the first blogger I met in real life – we took a short car ride to an American dinner around March 2013 to meet up with some other Leeds bloggers.
She’s probably one of my best blogging friends – she was originally the social media manager/PR girl for Leeds based company Cohorted and now works in PR for a different marketing agency.
I asked if I could send her across some questions relating to her life as a PR, what she looks for in bloggers and what it’s like to be a PR as well as a blogger.
Visit her blog, Touch Screens & Beauty Queens.
When looking for bloggers for a campaign, what do you look for?
There are a few things that I look for; good engagement with readers, well written content and clear photography is the basics, and then depending on the client I am working with there might also be a minimum number of followers or metrics.
Do you look into bloggers interactions off their blog, such as social media time lines?
Definitely, it helps me gage what type of person I could be working with! It also means I can see how active they are on their accounts, which gives me a rough idea of how long a post could take.
What type of things make you reluctant to work with a blogger?
I tend to avoid anyone who is too negative, not because I’m worried they’ll review something negatively but because I think negative people can be draining. I also avoid people who bitch about PRs as I think it’s unprofessional. Having a poor blog layout where finding information (such as your name or contact information) puts me off as I don’t have that much time to spend per blog!
What types of things do some bloggers do that make you not want to work with you again?
Bloggers who take forever to respond to emails, I’ve had to wait two months for a reply before (even with some gentle nudges) in which time, the campaign was over and the client was pissed. I’ve also had people not respond at all once they’ve received something, and never put up a post. I understand putting up a post isn’t obligatory, but some feedback on why they didn’t would be great.
What types of things do some bloggers do that make you want to work again?
Staying in contact, even if it’s just to let me know the date they’ve scheduled their post or that they’re running behind on their posts. Honesty, whether that’s being upfront about how long it takes them to post, or that the item they’ve received isn’t right for them, and letting me know by email when their post is live. I often don’t have access to client’s social media accounts, and it can be embarrassing when they know more about collaborations than me.
How much do follower numbers, comments and DA really matter?
These do matter, but to varying extents depending on what the client wants. If it’s really good publicity they are after, higher follower counts are important, whereas clients wanting their search rankings to rise, DA is more of a factor. I’m never opposed to working with smaller bloggers because building long lasting relationships are much better than one off collaborations, so if the content is good I’m normally happy to work with someone!
Do you find media packs helpful or a waste of time?
Media packs are definitely helpful, but I think they need to be available to download from your blog and they need to contain every piece of information I might need (from types of collaborations you do, to rates you charge and what each collaboration involves on your behalf). If I have to email you to ask for your media pack, it’s no less time consuming than me emailing you about a potential collaboration in the first place.
Has working in PR made you view blogging differently?
It’s made me much nicer to PRs, everyone shoots them down or sends nasty emails in response to poor opportunities but if you have a problem, you should go to the company who sets the budget. We’re just doing our jobs!
Do you think being a blogger has made you approach your work differently?
Definitely, I always take a personal approach when emailing bloggers and make sure that I only email about relevant opportunities. I always give my opinion from a bloggers approach when we’re coming up with campaign ideas as I have a rough idea of what will work and won’t.
A lot of bloggers want to work in PR and digital marketing – how hard would you say it is to get into and what skills or qualifications might be useful?
I think having a blog is already a good start to getting a job in PR, as it shows you can write good content and get it out there through social media and engagement. I did a degree in Psychology, but had three different internships (two in social media, one in traditional PR) before I was offered a paid job. Unfortunately, doing internships is one of the best ways into the door but they’re mostly unpaid. You could try getting a one day a week internship alongside other work, or offering content writing services for agencies who outsource. Networking, replying to every opportunity on social media, and introducing yourself to brands and agencies is definitely helpful, as well as building a portfolio online of anything you’ve done outside of your blog.