One thing which can often be discouraging when blogging is when a negative wave of energy takes over the blog community. Whether it be some online drama in the form of sniping forums, or general moaning about PR companies and SEO executives making a faux pas in their blogger outreach; sometimes it’s nice to forget the negativity and appreciate the opportunities and chances you get as a blogger. I think more often than not, the negative energy surrounding blogger outreach comes from a distinct lack of understanding as to what the role of the person behind the email is, and who they work for and how they have a structure of targets within the workplace. I think a lot of the time confusion stems from people not understanding the difference between ‘PR’ and ‘SEO’ as well. So to break that part of blogger outreach down as simply as possibly, here’s a brief outline of those job roles:
PR [Public Relations]: Predominantly in place to develop a relationship with press and media, the role of a person in public relations is to often be a chatty and outgoing individual who can raise awareness of a brand, company or product. Their job is to create a community spirit, brand awareness and to basically just be nice to give the company they represent a jolly good image. They also handle press releases, photo calls and host/attend events to socialise and create a buzz. In the blogger world you will be more likely to be approached by a PR executive for product samples, reviews and events.
SEO [Search Engine Optimisation]: Usually you will find a more technically minded person in this type of role (although it’s debatable as to whether or not this is effective in regards to blogger outreach) as there is a great deal of reporting and analytical information to get through. You will find SEO executives will be more target driven and have contracts to companies with regards to link building and reaching a higher place within a search engine. Their day to day job will also include keyword research, putting in place effective meta descriptions and creating engaging content which is SEO optimised. In the blogger world you will be more likely to be approached by an SEO executive with sponsored posts opportunities, infographics and pre written guest posts.
Of course, this is breaking down those two job roles as simply as possible to outline what they generally do. Roles can differ and there may be a cross over between these two areas in some companies and blogger outreach opportunities. So next time you are approached regarding publishing an infographic for ‘free’ try not to give the SEO executive a hard time. In some companies the structure will be: above the SEO guy there is their team leader, who has passed the infographic on from the design team, who have been set the task of creating the infographic by their marketing manager, who has advised the client (or the client [brand] requested it) that this will be an effective use of their funds to gain online coverage. So really, the person emailing is just doing their job, the best they know how from their training and management structure. So try not to give them personally a hard time. It’s like working in a shop and an item you’ve bought being faulty. Would you go in and blame the cashier, who simply sold you the item, and give them a hard time about it? Or would you be polite to them and explain why you were not pleased with the item and ask that they feedback to their manager and brand? We all know which one is the most effective to gain a positive outcome, so I see no reason why this should be different because you can remain almost anonymous behind an email. People really need to think twice about the knock on effect of their meaningless complaint over an email, as at the end of the day it’s someone’s job and livelihood you are effecting. Remember those people are emailing you because they have a job to do not because you are some kind of blogger princess. You are one blogger out of millions, so on the positive side of being approached by a company no matter what their technique, is that you are coming up on online radars somewhere anyway. A few times I have replied to these ill thought out types of blogger outreach to ask if there is a budget for the information they are providing to be published and a lot of the time they do have a budget, they just didn’t outline it in the first emails for one reason or another.
But anyway, I digress. My main point of this blog post was to celebrate, what I feel, are great examples of blogger outreach. Some I have experienced for myself and some I have simply spotted on blogs and Twitter when other bloggers have sung the brands praise.
Benefit Cosmetics: Love them or hate them, Benefit Cosmetics have been investing a lot of time, effort and money in to their blogger outreach recently. From their Big Easy wave of parcels, which saw bloggers have their very own package of fairground fun, to the Hoola bronzer campaign where bloggers received their very own personalised box of this summer cheek treat. Their most recent PR campaign featured their brand new They’re Real Push Up Liner. Not only did they have massive trucks stop up and down the country, where passers by could nip in and give the new product a go, they also sent out parcels to bloggers and the media which featured a video press release, which had a little screen which played the Benefit They’re Real Push Up Liner promo vid. As soon as they landed on doormats they were instavideo-d and shared on Twitter. Although this may have been a tad annoying if you followed a lot of bloggers, the campaign itself was well thought out and was a success in spreading the word and hype of this new product. Benefit tick all the boxes of good PR as they put thought, time, effort and money behind their campaigns.
O2 Be More Dog Campaign: Although some may argue that a technology company targeting beauty bloggers for a campaign such as this was a bit odd, I guess that’s just part of taking their ‘be more dog’ mantra – doing things in a bold and daring way. For this campaign they sent select bloggers two locked cases, and they had to choose whether they would take the easy relaxed route and be a cat or be more dog by choosing the daring and adventurous option. I didn’t spot many bloggers opening the ‘be more cat’ box and the be more dog ones involved exciting adventures such as sky dives and bungee jumps. So not only did this create momentum for their online and TV advertisements but also created a nice buzz on social media.
Phones 4U Katy Perry Party:
I had the pleasure to attend the Katy Perry blogger event
at the Phones 4u Arena a few months ago, and I have to say it’s one of the best blogger events I have ever been to. Not only did we get a chance to see the Katy Perry show from the VIP suite, but the guys who arranged it also took the time to research Manchester and find the best cake maker in town from Home Sweet Home to make some special cakes especially for the event. Bloggers + Cakes = Social media heaven. Not to mention the other food available and the make up and nail artists there to add a touch of glamour to our faces and nails on the night too! This not only worked as a great SEO tactic to have the Phones 4U arena included in blog posts, but also great publicity for Home Sweet Home and Phones 4U as a company too.
F&F Paper Doll Party:
I remember reading about this on Temporary Secretary a while ago (read the post here
) and it’s the perfect example of combining a personal touch whilst also promoting a new line of products. Everyone loves having a drawing of themselves and everyone loves experimenting with new outfits, so to combine the two in one quirky little event is a match made in heaven. Not only did they include bloggers in the mix, but anyone could just pop over to the Florence and Fred Facebook page and join in the creative fun. Throw in a competition to win some vouchers and you have the perfect mix of blogger outreach and PR for advertising purposes of a new fashion line.
So I guess the conclusion we can draw from these examples is that imagination, thought, creativity and financial backing are key to successful blogger outreach. Not to mention cakes and things which are personalised. It’s just some sense of nostalgia from being a kid I guess, which makes something with your name on it so special! It’s not just all about the campaigns themselves though. There are individuals within companies which don’t gift you the world or invite you to a tonne of events, and are just genuinely nice people who make you want to write about their products and investigate more, based on a pleasant email and relationship building on a personal level. Fine examples of people like this can be found everywhere, but ones who stick out in my mind are:
Sally from The Cafe Cat, who is always super friendly and sends you well thought out emails to get a nice conversation going alongside the outreach she is working on at the time. She also write some killer blog posts for her work about blogger outreach such as this one.
Alex Bridgewater who represents Balance Me skincare within my inbox. Another example of how a friendly and open personality makes you just want to talk about the brand without necessarily getting ‘gifts’ in return.
Clare from The Hut is a new face in my emails, but one which spends time on what she sends out and outlines everything she wants and expects (in a really nice way!) in one single email. Also letting you know any any opportunities at the same time, it’s a no pressure approach to blogger outreach which once again, makes you really want to help her out with the brands she’s working with.
Have you got any great examples of blogger outreach and PR?
Share them below!