Sometimes there isn’t enough recongition or celebration of things that other people get right. The Oylmpics has shown us exactly how skewed things can be. This time two weeks ago, not many of us had heard of Jessica Ennis (a hard working, dedicated and inspirational athlete who generally keeps herself to herself) but most of us could name a footballer or two who had disgraced himself on a night out. Similarly, we know all about x,y,z celeb who slept with so and so or swindled the tax man, etc etc etc. The point is, we notice the bad stuff and the bad stuff gets reported. We don’t often sit back and tell people about the good stuff, mainly because we sometimes take positive actions for granted.
Last week I read a post by Attachment Mummy about a PR approach that had gone badly wrong. It led me to thinking that while I had every sympathy for her complaint against the PR, why does nobody celebrate the things that PRs actually do for bloggers? It seems that blogging is a little like being a celebrity (hear me out PLEASE!) – at first, they need the media to get themselves out there and get people to recognise their work, but after a while the media attention becomes tiresome and they start to feel overwhelmed by it all. Likewise, bloggers need good PRs to help them to raise their profiles and to build relationships with brands. But there comes a point where deleting email after email also becomes tiresome so its easy to forget why we bothered in the first place. So I’ve been wondering- what are the good things that PRs do?
1. They read your blog
We’ve all had the email that says “I’ve been reading your blog and I really love it! I wondered if you would like to sample a packet of tasty dog treats…” when you are a single mother with no pets and no desire to feed dogs. But every now and then we get a lovely email that really shows us our blog has been read. Some of them even comment on specific posts, which is fantastic. Tristan Harrison from Philips Avent said
“When dealing with parenting bloggers the most important thing to do is also the most obvious and simple thing you can do. This is familiarise yourself with the blog in question. This will instantly let know whether or not the parenting blogger in question will be interested in your product or story.”
2.They take the time to have a conversation with you
This is a good one. They do want you to do something for them because as a blogger, you are useful to them in promoting their brand (and they are also useful to you) but they don’t just leave it there. I’ve had some genuinely lovely emails with Emma at Cosatto that often have little do to with whatever we’ve been discussing for the brand/ blog. We’ve chatted about being battered by toddlers and she’s imparted advice on weaning. Via email, she comes across as approachable and friendly. She isn’t all business and let’s face it- as bloggers,we are mostly all in it for the hobby. It’s not our job and so its nice to come across a PR who recognises that. Leading on to the next point…
3. They don’t put unrealistic time restraints on you
Parent bloggers are parents first and good PRs recognise this. Its unlikely we can make it to a central London event tomorrow if we live in Manchester. Good PRs will know where you live and will give plenty of time for you to make arrangements. When completing reviews, good PRs will allow you sufficient time to use the product and to write the review. Excellent PRs don’t chase reviews and they certainly don’t badger you to include specific details. I’ve had the pleasure to work with lots of PRs that have allowed me to juggle my job, my kids and my blog last because it is my hobby, not my job.
4.They organise good blogger events well
Bloggers love being invited to events that are well organised, interesting, relevant and manageable. The best events have childcare and travel costs covered, PRs inform the bloggers why they would like them to attend and they also let them know why it is worth their while. This isn’t to say that bloggers are only happy to attend events that have a decent goody bag. Rather, bloggers like to know that their time is being valued and a good PR will know this. I attended a fantastic event at Mamas and Papas, which was organised by Lynne and Nicola at Mum Panel and I’m told that Next throw a good bash too. Others worth a mention are Daniel Johnson PR (via Molly at Mother’s Always Right) and of course I need to mention Cosatto once more for their fantastic Great Cosatto Cuppa. The latter isn’t only open to bloggers either, any of the brand’s fans are able to apply for golden tickets and the point of the events is simply to meet the mums who use the products. A good blogger event doesn’t have to sell you something or provide content for your next post, although a good event will certainly prompt a post anyway.
I should point out here that I have also attended an event that was not so well organised and did leave a bitter taste in my mouth. BUT I have to say that once I had let the PR know what had gone wrong, things were rectified efficiently and I feel this is important. Things do go wrong now and then and good PRs know how to handle that. Most bloggers are happy enough to get a polite and constructive response to their complaints and let’s face it- that doesn’t cost anything.
5. They stay in touch…
… and not just when they want something from you. Nickie at Typecast has had excellent relations with the PR company for Men Are Useless. She worked on a campaign with them two years ago and since then they have kept in touch. PRs don’t have to do this, but its nice when they do. I regularly have emails from PRs I have worked with in the past that are just ‘checking in’ and I think its nice to stay in touch that way. You never know when you might work with them again so its worth keeping in touch just in case.
Obviously, there are many PR approaches that bloggers are not happy with, but they have been written about already. I’m sure that excellent PRs have also been written about too but what the heck. No harm in sharing the love, eh? Others worth a mention certainly include Bump PR, who have been lovely to work with, Louise at Your Virtual PR (always lovely to deal with) Jackie who deals with Kiddy Car Seats and River Island. I’m sure there are many, many more so I apologise if I have missed any. The point is, it isn’t all bad and as long as there are parent bloggers, there will be parent related PRs, so we may as well get on with it.