How bloggers can work with PRs

How to work with PRs - tips for bloggers

Before going on maternity leave I built a pretty good career for myself in the world of PR. I always worked ‘agency side’, so dealt with all manner of clients, publications, journalists, events and of course – bloggers. It was kind of what gave me the idea to set up my own blog once I suddenly found myself at home with nothing to do but look after a newborn baby (ha!).

I never thought I’d actually get approached by PRs myself one day and admittedly, I quite prefer it over this side. It’s refreshing to be able to write about whatever I like, and to be in control of what I get to publish. It’s also nice to be able to put my name to my own writing – rather than always bi-lining it to a client or having a journalist make a couple of edits and print it as their own. But as careers go, I do love PR and I continue to work as a freelancer now.

How bloggers can work with PRsSo I thought I’d share a few of the tips I’ve learnt along the way on how bloggers can work with PRs to get the most out of the blogger/PR relationship…

Don’t be afraid to make contact

PRs are always on the look out for new ways to promote their clients – through relevant and and effective media channels. Obtaining content on relevant blogs is fast becoming an intrinsic part of PR campaigns and something that their clients can see the value of. A friendly email to introduce yourself and your blog will certainly not be begrudged. If you have a media kit, send it out! They are probably busy and you might not get a reply, but the chances are they will keep your details on file for when a relevant opportunity does come up. Try emailing an account manager or an account executive, rather than a director, to increase your chances of getting a reply.

Get yourself listed on media databases

There are a number of media databases, such as Vuelio and Cision that PRs use on a daily basis to search for media contacts. Back when I worked in the office, blogger contacts on these databases were still quite limited in comparison to mainstream media, but it seems the research teams have responded to demand from PRs for better blogger contact information and indexing. Blogs can be selected based on a number of variables such as content, region, stats etc. Some databases will only show the top 500 blogs within a certain topic (e.g. parenting), which is based on your Moz ranking, but it’s definitely worth getting in touch to see if they can list you.

Be honest and up-front

The single most frustrating thing about working in PR is the empty promises you are constantly made by the media. Editors tell you that your story will be printed, you inform your client and then…nothing. I’ve had this with bloggers in the past too who took freebies or attended all-expenses paid days out without ever writing up the review or responding to follow-up emails. It’s a sure-fire way to get you on the ‘blogger blacklist’ and never to be contacted by that company again. If you can’t commit to seeing the project through then don’t take it on. Likewise, if you can’t stick to a deadline you’ve promised just let them know. Most of the time PRs just need to keep their client informed and will be grateful for your honesty.

Remain professional

You may write your blog from your sofa in your pajamas at an ungodly hour in the morning, but PR is still very much an office-based industry where every day 9-5 (actually more like 8-6) counts. If you’re working with a PR, try and keep them up to date and respond to emails on a daily basis. Also bare in mind that they will always be wanting to showcase the value of what you’re offering to their clients – who they’ve convinced that you are worthy of their time (and therefore the client’s PR budget). So be sure to offer them details of how a sponsored post has performed in terms of page views, social media reach etc. At the end of the day, PR is all about getting results.

Respond to emails – even if it’s not relevant

If you receive an email from a PR but the opportunity doesn’t quite fit with your niche, or you just don’t see the value in the offering, try and reply with an alternative suggestion, or politely thank them for the information, explain it’s not quite right and ask them to keep you in mind for future campaigns. You’d be amazed at the amount of editors PRs contact each week with no reply – they’d probably appreciate the response and it’s a way of building up contacts for the future. I’m not talking about the press releases that are sent out at random on a blanket email and you’re one of 1000 contacts – that’s just shoddy PR if you ask me.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get

Similarly, if you receive a press release or are asked to do a product review, don’t be afraid to reply and ask if the client has any budget for the campaign. You decide what you think your time and influence is worth. When I first started to blog I would happily accept any (relevant) product for a review, but now I stipulate a minimum product value of £50 – which I think is fair given the time and effort it takes to write the post, edit photographs, promote on social media etc. Similarly I’ll always reply with options for sponsored content and guest posts on the site. Most of the time the PR won’t have budget available, but if they think it’s worthwhile, they may be able to convince their client.

How bloggers should work with PRs

Have you worked with PR companies? What other tips would you give for how bloggers can work with PRs?

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68 Comment

  1. New Mummy Blog
    March 1, 2016 at 8:19 am

    What a really helpful post! It’s so interesting hearing about the otherside. It’s also very helpful to know that sending emails to pr’s is appreciated, I know a few brands if love to work with, so I may just be brave and bite the bullet after your inspiring words. 🙂
    New Mummy Blog recently posted…#TheBabyFormula Linky 2016 Week 9My Profile

  2. Pamela | Life With Munchers
    March 1, 2016 at 8:55 am

    Great insight and tips! I’ll always feel nervous about doing this. Maybe I need more practice!
    Pamela | Life With Munchers recently posted…Bloggers’ Homes Link Up March ’16 | Featuring What The Redhead SaidMy Profile

  3. Cheryl
    March 1, 2016 at 10:38 am

    Great post and really helpful thank you! I’m still relatively new to the blogging world, so I’ll be saving this for later, but it’s good to know that when you get the confidence, you should be able to approach PRs. #TwinklyTuesday
    Cheryl recently posted…6 Reasons To Love Paris (& 3 to Not)My Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      Thanks Cheryl, glad it’s helpful x

  4. Little Pickle's Mom
    March 1, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Really interesting post – I’ve been amazed that even though I’m new to the blogging game that I’ve already been approached by companies for product reviews although this has been through inhouse teams so far rather than PR teams by the looks of things. It’s something I feel I’m very under-prepared for and wasn’t quite expecting so this insight is invaluable! Thanks! (From a fellow Brummy Mummy!) LPMx

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      That’s great news that you’re getting approached already! Hope this info has been helpful – and good to hear from a fellow Mum in Brum! X

  5. Claire at Tin Box Traveller
    March 1, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Fantastic insight Natalie! And, with my PR hat on, I totally endorse everything you’ve said. Building a relationship with PR people is so important, as is not being afraid to offer/ask for more. Staying in touch with PR companies has led to a couple of good opportunities for me in the past few months. Something that I must do is get on a few databases. I see requests coming in from the other side and think maybe it’s time to get listed x
    Claire at Tin Box Traveller recently posted…A family and dog-friendly weekend in Wales #GlamAdventureMy Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:59 am

      Thanks Claire – it is always interesting being on both sides of the fence isn’t it. I think if I didn’t work in PR I’d probably be baffled by it! Great that you’ve had some good opportunities, I do feel that with each month the realm of blogging is really becoming a key area for PRs to consider x

  6. Laura
    March 2, 2016 at 8:11 am

    This is such fantastic, useful advice – thank you! I’m just beginning to approach PRs now so very relevant for me 🙂 #twinklytuesday
    Laura recently posted…From Me To MeMy Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:54 am

      So glad it’s helpful Laura! Good luck with approaching PRs, feel free to drop me an email if you have any more questions x

  7. Rebecca | AAUBlog
    March 2, 2016 at 11:30 am

    this is so interesting to read – thank you. I need to be better at responding to emails, you never know what could happen with the brand eventually #sharewithme x
    Rebecca | AAUBlog recently posted…Is It Safe to Get Pets with Kids in the House?My Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:53 am

      I think we all need to get better at that. I do try, but sometimes it can be hard when there’s always so much other stuff to do. I’m not too bad though and have managed to convert a couple of opportunities into sponsored content x

  8. jeremy@thirstydaddy
    March 2, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    some good tips. I’ve been lucky enough to work on a few campaigns, but have yet to take the initiative myself and start contacting companies. Time to up my game

  9. ClearlyBex
    March 2, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    Some great tips you have given here, its great to hear what someone thinks from a PR side too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts #ShareWithMe

  10. Robyn
    March 3, 2016 at 1:10 am

    Great tips & so handy to get a bit of inside information from the mysterious ‘other side’! I’ve found it so hit and miss, working with brands. It can be quite difficult to get everyone on the same page, particularly if you or they aren’t upfront about the expectations. I guess that comes with experience though, knowing what questions to ask and what info to provide 🙂
    Robyn recently posted…LOVELY THINGS ABOUT TODDLERSMy Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:48 am

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head – I always try and be upfront about what I can and can’t offer and make sure that the agreement is on my terms in a way. At the end of the day it’s your site and you’re in control of the content. Bloggers are editors, not advertisers (in terms of posts anyhow!) x

  11. John Adams
    March 3, 2016 at 7:54 am

    I like your final point a lot. I also have stopped reviewing small value items (apart from male grooming items). I must get better at asking if PRs have a budget. I sometimes forget. #sharewithme
    John Adams recently posted…Taking the stress out of Mother’s Day with PaperchaseMy Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:45 am

      I think everyone starts out reviewing products and not really thinking about whether it’s really that worthwhile. Sometimes if it’s not a product I’d like, I sometimes consider a competition instead as this can add value to me in other ways in terms of blog traffic and awareness.

  12. justsayingmum
    March 3, 2016 at 8:04 am

    oo great advice – i’m only a couple of months in to blogging but have thought about developing a little further in different ways – I may explore this in the future and will certainly refer back to your advice! #coolmumclub
    justsayingmum recently posted…So, only last week …My Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:43 am

      Hope you’re enjoying your blogging journey so far! Good luck if you consider monetizing your blog one day x

  13. Beauty Baby and Me
    March 3, 2016 at 8:24 am

    This is so helpful thank you for posting xx #coolmumclub

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:41 am

      So glad it was useful lovely xx

  14. wendy
    March 3, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Great tips and very interesting to read how things work on both sides. I have had good and bad experiences when it comes to pr, I am yet to approach any myself as I’m not confident enough in my blog stats. Hopefully once my blog grows a bit more I will feel beavers contacting companies myself xx #coolmumclub
    wendy recently posted…Treat your skin with Hope’s ReliefMy Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:40 am

      Yep, you do definitely get some scenarios where it won’t be so much fun working with PRs. I think you have to work out what you think your time and effort is worth to you – it’s not always about blog stats either, niche blogs have such an engaged audience that sometimes it doesn’t matter if you don’t have huge visitor numbers xx

  15. Katie
    March 3, 2016 at 10:17 am

    You have perfect timing with this post and it was amazingly helpful. Thanks so much
    Katie recently posted…Eat The Story: Creative Ways to Get Kids to Eat & Learn!My Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:38 am

      Thanks Katie, really glad it’s helpful! Good luck with your plans x

  16. Madeline
    March 3, 2016 at 11:26 am

    This is a really helpful post, thank you. I’m new to working with brands and PRs and have found this really useful to know where to start and what I need to do to make it work. x #TwinklyTuesday

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:38 am

      Good luck Madeline, hope some of it comes in handy one day soon x

  17. Talya
    March 3, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Great tips. I totally agree with going back to ask for budget each and every single time, and the notion that if you don’t ask, you don’t get! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely x
    Talya recently posted…And the real cost of having a child is… £231,843!!!My Profile

  18. Eb Gargano
    March 3, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Thank you, Natalie. This is such an interesting and useful post. Thank you for sharing these great tips!
    Eb Gargano recently posted…Easy Peasy 5 Ingredient Creme Egg Chocolate TartMy Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:37 am

      No problems, so glad it’s useful!

  19. Mrs Tubbs
    March 3, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    This is really useful. I’m not looking to monetise at the moment, but have pinned it so if I ever do, I’ll get it right 🙂 Thank you

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:37 am

      Thanks so much for pinning – hope it comes in handy one day 🙂

  20. helen gandy
    March 3, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Some fab tips, thanks for sharing!! Lovely to hear from a professional perspective too. Thanks for linking up #bestandworst
    helen gandy recently posted…Best and Worst Linky #40My Profile

  21. Emma Jones
    March 3, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    Great post I’m relatively new so haven’t entered this area yet but hope to in the feature. #cool mum club lifeinthemumslane

  22. Amy @ Mr and Mrs T Plus Three
    March 4, 2016 at 10:55 am

    This is brilliant! I’m always being asked how I get work and the honest answer is I have to go out knocking on some doors, not everything falls in my lap. You make an excellent point about introducing yourself to PRs and I totally agree I don’t accept anything for less than £50 either, although I did when I first started years ago. Fab read, thanks for linking up to #thelist x

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:34 am

      Thanks Amy! I think as you said in one of your posts – smaller offers are definitely worth taking on in the beginning to get yourself established and show what you’re capable of. I think after a while of doing it though you have to work out what your time and effort is worth and believe in what you have to offer. If you don’t, who will? xx

  23. Leslie Rickerby
    March 4, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Brilliant post! Very helpful thank you. I’ve pinned it too

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:32 am

      Thanks so much for pinning! Glad it was helpful x

  24. Jess Powell (Babi a Fi)
    March 4, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Really interesting advice! I’ve written a few reviews so far, but haven’t made it as far as making any money out of it all yet. 🙂 #picknmix
    Jess Powell (Babi a Fi) recently posted…Friday Frivolity: First World ProblemsMy Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:32 am

      Hopefully it’s helpful Jess, reviews are really good too for helping to establish yourself as a credible source x

  25. Jemma - Anxious Mummy
    March 4, 2016 at 11:52 am

    This is really helpful for someone who doesn’t have a clue! Thank you 🙂 Jemma x #coolmumclub

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:31 am

      So glad it was helpful Jemma x

  26. Random Musings
    March 4, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Fab advice. I like that you have worked the other side of the PR relationship so you know exactly what they are looking for. I keep saying I am going to send my media kit out to brands but I always find a reason not to. I am determined to get it sent out by the end of the month. #TheList
    Random Musings recently posted…The Perfect Way To Not Get Your Content ReadMy Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:29 am

      It’s always one of those things that get put down the list isn’t it? Although you’re one step ahead of me – I still haven’t done my media kit! Task for the month I think 🙂

  27. Becki - The Mum From Brum
    March 5, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    This is just what I was looking for! Really helpful advice in layman’s terms. I’m relatively new to blogging and hope to work with brands in the future, and this should put me in good stead for when that day comes!

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:24 am

      So glad it was helpful Becki – good luck! 🙂

  28. Maria
    March 6, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    Excellent list of tips Natalie – I agree with everything you have said. So many times I stress out about how behind I am with something and when I’ve emailed the PR and been honest with them they have been fine. #PickNMix
    Maria recently posted…Could a Dedicated Play Space Tame Your Children’s Untidiness?My Profile

  29. A Mum Reviews
    March 7, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    Great list of tips! It’s very interesting reading the PR’s perspective. #TheList
    A Mum Reviews recently posted…J’adore Mama Mum & Baby Miracle Balm ReviewMy Profile

  30. Little Miss & Mummy
    March 7, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    A very helpful post, thank you so much for the information.

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:12 am

      So glad it was helpful x

  31. Mudpie Fridays
    March 7, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    This is a great post thank you for the tips I will be adding myself to those databases 🙂 Its also great to hear it from the other side of the fence as such since you use to have a career in it. #TwinklyTuesday
    Mudpie Fridays recently posted…Mudpie Fridays 1st BirthdayMy Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:11 am

      So glad you found it useful – good luck! x

  32. Kathy @ Hopes, Dreams and Chocolate
    March 8, 2016 at 12:50 am

    This is so helpful, thanks for sharing. I have only been blogging a few months and just today published my first sponsored post. I have no previous experience working with PR, either blogging or in my career so this really is a whole new experience. Kathy x #PicknMix

    1. Mum in Brum
      March 9, 2016 at 11:10 am

      Whoop for your first sponsored post! Glad you find it useful – good luck with doing more x

  33. You Baby Me Mummy
    March 9, 2016 at 8:26 am

    Great tips huni. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

  34. Jenny
    March 9, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    So helpful and so much to learn from your lovely post. I really need to work on working with more prs. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. Sorry to be late commenting we have my mother visiting from America. 🙂 Thanks for joining in. #sharewithme
    Jenny recently posted…Share With Me Blog Hop #10 + WINMy Profile

  35. Fiona
    March 9, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    This is a really helpful post thank you! Can I ask how many followers / views does a blog need to have before a PR will be interested in working with them? Thanks X

  36. MMT
    March 9, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    This is a great insight Nat – as someone now in an alien world (My background is in a very corporate Biolgical manufacturing plant!) I’m muddling my way through the PR elements of blogging. It’s always tricky when and if to approach a fee discussion…! I think I’m just going with my instinct 😐
    I think I need to get myself registered with some more PR agencies…#clueless! x
    MMT recently posted…‘Memory stick’ : Memories of Growing Up USB drive reviewMy Profile

  37. A Cornish Mum
    March 10, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    Love this post, great to get an insight in to how it is on the ‘other side’. I have et to do any approaching, but I always reply to emails even if it takes me a while, and I have had the PRs I’ve turned down politely come back to me with really good work later on. To be honest manners don’t cost anything and I only ever treat others how I would like to be treated.

    Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix

    Stevie x
    A Cornish Mum recently posted…Hatch Cards – Review and CompetitionMy Profile

  38. […] Another one for the bloggers here that I know lots of you will find useful. Mum in Brum tells us – how bloggers can work with PRs. […]

  39. Abby
    March 12, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Such a helpful post! It is very insightful and excellent for those starting out.

    Abby of Life in the Fash Lane

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  42. Single Mum Speaks
    June 22, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    I’m at the stage where I’ve been blogging a while but haven’t attempted to monetise. I’ve turned down a few offers as I’m quite choosy about who I work with. I didn’t set out to work with brands so it’s not a priority for me, but it’s always interesting to read what PRs are looking for, as someone with no knowledge of the industry, and this post definitely got me thinking about whether to approach brands I’m interested in.

  43. Felicia Gentile
    August 9, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Wow this post was so insightful! How do you even start a PR kit?! I would love to know how to do that!

  44. chloe
    August 21, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    I love this! Exactly what I was looking for!
    The only problem i currently have is i changed my URL and my stats are lower now but it’s definitely good to have the information to utilise later. So thank you!

  45. Hayley
    August 31, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    This was really informative and very helpful – Thank you! 🙂

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