Three apples connected with a USB cableHow Bloggers & PR Pros Work Together

I admire bloggers.  I’m fascinated by their creativity, dedication and above all the passion they have for blogging.  In my role as Digital Communications Specialist at Faye Clack Communications, an agency dedicated exclusively to the food industry, I’ve had the great opportunity to work with bloggers from across Canada (mostly food bloggers.)  Some of the bloggers I work with blog for fun, others blog as a creative outlet outside of their 9 to 5 gig and then there’s the lucky few who have been able to turn their passion for blogging into a full time (paying) job. Each day I am challenged to find new, innovative ways to work with bloggers to ensure a win-win situation is created for both the bloggers and the brands/clients I represent.

Much like digital media, I believe the blogger/PR pro relationship is always evolving.  The basis of the relationship, like any good relationship, is trust, communication and the ability to understand and listen to the other person’s needs, much like we would when engaging with traditional media journalists.

When I initially started outreaching to bloggers, I spent a lot of time reading Canadian food blogs in an attempt to understand how the brands I represented could fit into blog editorial.  I reached out to several bloggers to ask them what would inspire them to engage with a brand. After all, it’s important to emphasize the importance of making a situation a win-win for both the blogger and the brand.  The dialogue always results in valuable insights and learning that help create a meaningful campaign.

Based on the many blogger-focused campaigns I’ve coordinated over the past few years, I’m pleased to share some useful tips for both bloggers and PR Pros:

Advice for Bloggers

When working with PR Pros, it’s important to understand a few things:

  • To eliminate any confusion, create a section on your blog that explains if you welcome PR/ brand pitches.  This will help ensure you only receive relevant emails!
  • Be honest.  Tell us up front if you’re interested in our pitch.  If it doesn’t work for you- tell us why and in the future we’ll only reach out with relevant opportunities.
  • PR pros represent generic and branded products and are always looking for different ways to get mentions or reviews of those products in blogs.  If you have an interesting way of integrating our brand/product in your blog don’t be afraid to reach out first.
  • Most PR budgets do not support advertising of any kind so we’re not likely able to advertise on your site, however we can certainly get you free product, interviews and store/field tours.
  • We’re always learning and evolving!  We like to be pitched as well.  If you have a great idea, pitch us- even if we can’t make it happen immediately, we’ll try our best to ensure we can help you.
  • Be mindful of the relationship, if you have never worked with a brand don’t expect them to pony up big bucks to pay for a conference sponsorship.  Like anything, it’s all about the relationship!
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Advice for PR Pros

When working with bloggers it’s crucial to be sensitive to the following:

  • Always pitch a blogger via email.  Even though most bloggers are connected via social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, it’s important to create that connection privately.
  • Understand what the blogger truly values before you pitch them.  If the blog is all about local produce, pitching a foreign product is probably not going to fly.  Know your blogger’s mantra!
  • Bloggers prefer digital communication.  Unlike traditional media, do not call them unless you have a personal relationship.
  • The best blog post is one that comes in the blogger’s authentic voice.  Don’t be pushy, don’t enforce key messages and certainly never ask to see the blog before it’s posted.
  • Bloggers attend many conferences throughout the year and a wonderful way to strengthen the relationship is to sponsor their trip, if your budget allows.
  • Once you’ve established great relationships, regularly follow-up with bloggers to see what type of content they are looking for and how you can help them.

How Bloggers and PR Pros Work Together by Andrea Karpala, Digital Communications Specialist, Faye Clack Communications.  Andrea has worked at FCC for the past 2 and a half years.  Faye Clack Communications is a premier full-service strategic marketing and PR agency in Canada dedicatedexclusively to the food and beverage industry.

Twitter: @karps

About Faye Clack Communications:At FCC, we marry our passion for food and beverage with our knowledge of the industry and supply chain to help bring new products to the Canadian marketplace and/or deliver strategic communications programs that build existing brands, engage consumers and impact sales.

We take pride in the many companies and brands we have supported over the past four decades and are eager to advance current relationships and develop new projects with clients, industry leaders and media alike.

Twitter: @FayeClack

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Great points, Andrea. Every one of them accurate and relevant (because, unfortunately, I’ve seen all of them disregarded).

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