How NOT to do blogger outreach
Most of you will know by now that I have now sadly left my role as resident photo monkey. Now that I have left I can share with you my not so secret secret. In my spare time I enjoy nothing more than parading around taking photos of myself wearing cute clothes, eating food or doing adorable crafts and putting them on the internet. That’s right! I’m a b-l-o-g-g-e-r.
Ahh, bloggers. Love us or loathe us, just like the children, ‘we are the world… we are the future’. Bloggers are now the third most trusted authority when it comes to consumer choices - meaning that if you’re a business with a product to sell, then hooking up for some sweet blogger outreach sounds like a pretty promising option.
What’s more, winning bloggers affection is totes easy – you just need to sling a product at them and they will sing your praises, right? WRONG.
Reaching out to a digital influencer (this is the au fait term, btw) is a delicate art; you’ve got to treat bloggers with a certain amount of respect, otherwise you’re in danger of seriously pissing them off, which can only end badly. As part of my final NLM Blog series, I thought it might be useful to compile a list of my bugbears that PR people do that makes my shit itch when it comes to asking me to write about something. (Farewell and enjoy!)
Get my name wrong
“Hi Libby!”, “Dear SJ…”, “Hi there Lilly” - I’ve had it all. I honestly don’t know how to write about this point, because if you’re stupid enough to get someone’s name wrong then you shouldn’t even be trusted with the internet, let alone organise some email-y outreach to bloggers. My name is written EVERYWHERE, it’s even in my actual email address that you are actually sending an email to, for crying out loud.
One legit point about this is that said blogger might only refer to themselves as their blog name, and starting an email with “Dear Kitten Sprinkles…” seems a bit silly. In this instance, do a bit of digging around and see if you can reveal their true name, or if not then a ‘Hi there’ is a safer bet.
Much like getting my name wrong, another thing that’s sure to rub me up the wrong way is pretending that you’ve read my blog when you actually haven’t.
“We see you write about fitness and we think you’d be a great partner to work with us.” Nice try, pal. The only thing I write about is stuffing my gob or things that I’m too poor to buy.
Do some research into potential bloggers you like and you think are a good fit to promote your brand. Don’t be tempted to skip this part! Find out what they regularly write about (and I mean digging into their archives, not just their last few posts), what their writing style is like and see whether or not they’d be good to represent you.
Can you just write about this? Like, for free?
This is a really prickly situation.
When I first started blogging, I was over the moon to even be considered for a collaboration with a business, and was more than willing to work for free at the beginning. Having said that, much like photography work, I strongly believe that working in a freelance capacity in any way deserves to be compensated. After all, bloggers are working overtime on everything – they are a writer, photographer, videographer and social media influencer rolled into one. That shit deserves payment!
This could be anything from £20 up to multiple hundreds or thousands, depending on who you choose to work with – the bigger the blogger’s reach, the more they can charge. If you’re on a really tight budget, then be sure to communicate this early on. Chances are if a blogger really likes the cut of your jib then they will be willing to negotiate and might take on the collab for free, and if they truly have a passion for your product then it will shine through in their post.
“When is the post going to go live?”
OMG, this is my fave.
As EVERYONE knows, most bloggers live the same existence as our good pal Zoella. We all make enough money from our blogs to support ourselves. No one has to work a full time job. We all spend most of our days sitting around being cute, talking to our pet pugs and taking selfies. So emailing us less than a week after the initial correspondence to ask when the post will be going up is completely reasonable, right? WRONG.
Most bloggers are juggling full time work/study, a social calendar (including going to blogging events), household chores, and often a family, not to mention a content calendar full to the brim. Writing a post takes some serious effort – expecting a blogger to shoot and edit images and lovingly write an awesome post about your product in their spare time in less than a week is asking a bit much.
Two weeks is considered a quick turnaround in blog-land, so if you’re pressed for time then mention this in your initial correspondence, and the blogger can then decide if they want to take on the collaboration or not.
“Can we see the final post before it goes live?”
(also translates as “This is great! But I’ve just got a few changes…”)
Um, no. This is just rude, tbh.
It’s like telling a child to do you a drawing of a pig, and they draw you a little pig with a big fat body and little piggly eyes and a squiggly tail and colour the whole thing in blue because they’ve decided that a blue pig is way more magical and amazing than a pink pig, and his name is going to be Sasquatch Jones Esq. and this is the best damn artwork they have ever done. Then you come along with your big stupid adult brain and want to make changes like ‘elongate body’ or ‘make snout more realistic’ or ‘put a bit at the beginning of the blog to point people to a deep link in our website so your readers can really connect with our product’.
I’ve done this in the past, and it never ends well. Chances are, said PR/business has a fixed idea of how they visualise the final write up which is never going to be the same as the blogger. It’s the same with all creative industries, and particularly potent with bloggers because the platform that they are publishing this content on is LITERALLY THEIR LIFE, so if a foreign body starts coming in and messing with their writing style, it’s going to look really weird.
Just trust them to do a good job, and if you’ve picked your blogger well, 9 times out of 10 they will.
See also ‘making changes to the live blog’… just stahp.
So what do I do?!
What I'm trying to get at here (albeit in a overly ranty way) is that there are a few things to avoid to make the whole blogger outreach process as smooth and mutually beneficial to each party as it can be. Hopefully I've given you some useful nuggets of information to take away, to decide whether blogger outreach is a good idea for your business or not.
The bottom line is that you don’t need to be afraid of blogger outreach, and it’s not exactly rocket science. Communicate in a clear and friendly way and you should be on to a winner. Don’t be disheartened if a blogger comes back and declines your request, and be prepared to negotiate on things.
So if you're a nice human with a flexible working approach, blogger outreach is easy peasy! Do any of the above and you ain't gunna get a reply.
You've been warned!