I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time. Now that I have transitioned myself mostly out of the blogworld and basically have zero f’s to give, it’s time I share what I really think about working with PR companies.
Before I jump straight to the negative, you should know that there are 2 PR companies I work with, highly recommend and LOVE. One is Fitfluential. They offer awesome products, support and pay is based on what you are truly worth.
SMACK! Media is by far my favorite. They have a fantastic support team-down to earth, they match great products to you and your audience and give you the freedom to use, market and share your love for the product as you wish. A very natural, organic approach – the way IMO marketing should be.
SMACK! won’t send you a pitch for deer antler extract or genetic testing for pain relievers and make you agree to sharing 5 times on all of your social media channels (don’t forget to use our generic #), do a blog post with a minimum of 400 words + 5 high resolution images taken by you, do a giveaway and stand on your head for 83 minutes a day and they’ll pay you $50. Whoopty do. Can’t wait to miss it. Break it down, and all that work translates to about $1.76 an hour.
Then there was that one time a PR company wanted to send me a full workout outfit to take pictures, share on the blog & SM. Wash them and ship them back for FREE. Really?? Oh boy, can’t wait to do all the leg work, share your brand with my loyal and hard earned readership and ship the outfit back to you for free. #NOT
Opps got a little off track there, but really if you are interested in collaborating with a team of professional, folks who are REAL and talk to you like that, with schweet gear, check out SMACK!
Now on to the part where I get real and honest. Keep in mind, this is 100% my opinion. You don’t have to agree with it or like it. That is fine. But after years of navigating this field, I wanted to share my thoughts and hopefully help you understand the way things work. Or should work IMO.
This morning I opened my email and this is the first thing I read (copied word for word) which in turn inspired me to write this post:
“But before I go any further, a short but super important PSA: PLEASE READ ALL DETAILS AND DELIVERABLES (including dates) before applying. If you apply, we will assume you can participate and meet deadlines, etc. We are receiving far too many applicants who later realize they can’t complete the campaign, sometimes even after products are shipped which is frustrating and burdensome on our generous clients. We work really HARD to bring these opportunities in for you guys (sometimes way too hard) so don’t ruin it by being a bad apple in the bunch. It doesn’t look good on ya….READ details first. Ok, I’ve said my piece, so ithout further adieu, here’s the new opportunity:”
My thoughts on this email: If you hire the right people and pay them what they are worth, a lot of these problems could be avoided. A lot of folks are motivated to earn a couple extra bucks and when the product + audience + blogger + pay align, things tend to work out better.
Along the same lines, here is my advice on dealing with PR companies in general:
- Respect your audience. They follow you for a reason, so don’t hawk a product you wouldn’t consider buying with your own hard earned money. Be open to trying new things, just make sure they are a natural, organic fit. Your readership can tell if you truly love the product or are just doing it just because it was sent for free. Can you take me seriously if I came at you guys with some product that you know I don’t use, you would never use, and has now wasted everybody’s time? Like seriously SCB, tell us about your favorite curling iron??
- This is business, not personal. Be 100% professional when reaching out and replying.
- Work with brands directly. This can be a bit more challenging, but it is hands down the way to go.
- Don’t do anything for free. Gosh I despise that “F” word. This is where things can get complicated and you will have to decide if working with a brand is worth your time and effort. Not every brand or PR company is willing to pay cash. For me, if the product is kick ass but they don’t pay, it’s worth it. If the pitch is for “free” boxes of bars, I’ll pass. You have to keep your audience in mind. Don’t take every PR gig that comes your way because you get “free” stuff. I can’t tell you how much “free” crap I have been sent, tried it, hated it, tossed it, and never told you about.
- Doing giveaways are fun and great. For the brand you are working with. Not necessarily your brand.
- You don’t get what you don’t ask for. In other words, don’t be afraid to reach out to your favorite brands. Again, be professional, find the marketing contact and email them. Don’t leave a comment on on their social media account. It’s tacky and will likely not be replied to. The Marketing Coordinators that work for these companies are professionals. If you come across as a ditsy blogger that has 2 readers, your mom and sister, they will not be open to you. Act professional and tell them how partnering with you would be beneficial to both your brand and theirs. What can you offer? What are you willing to do? What do you want in return?
- They are not doing you a favor by sending you free stuff. Marketers know the power of blog & online influence. Demand what you & your audience are truly worth, not what they say you’re worth. Those same marketers main job is to get the biggest bang for their buck, if they can reach your targeted readers that look, act, and buy like you, then that has worth. Therefore you have value. Don’y underestimate yourself.
- Working with brands should be a small part of blogging & SM. Your opinion & recommendations are taken more seriously.
I think collaborating with brands that fit yourself & audience is a fantastic thing and I don’t ever want to discourage you from working with them. Everyone wins with the right partnerships! This isn’t all about making money, it’s about valuing your time, effort and audience. Promoting products & services is more than just snapping a few pictures and talking writing a few enthusiastic lines and posting it, so just be sure you are compensated for all of your effort.
That’s the beauty of blogging. You design your name, brand, what content to write and who you choose to work with. You have 100% control over you little corner of the internet. How freaking cool is that!?
Just wanted to share my perspective from personal experience. Per usual, take what I say with a grain of sea salt.