There have been a lot of discussions recently between bloggers about our little bloggerati world. This post has been a long time coming and I’ve debated about writing it for at least a couple of months, but now I feel is the time to let loose. There is something going wrong in the blogger world and on this chilly November Friday I would like to attempt to fix it. If you are a brand or PR company I strongly suggest you keep reading...
Firstly, if you don’t know what a beauty blogger is (and why not if you’re reading a blog?!) then let me clarify... The majority of us are working women (and that includes a large proportion of mums who may be at home, but looking after kids is much harder than my 9-5) who do this in our spare time, for fun. Get that? This is not our career, we do not get paid for it, we do not get any reward for it other than the satisfaction of writing our thoughts down and getting a buzz when people read them. We are not a money-making magazine beauty editors. We are not doing this for your benefit, we are doing it for our own fulfillment and the joy of our readers.
So we’ve cleared that one up... so why, oh why, oh why do you not understand how to deal with us? Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of brands and PR companies out there that totally get it and are an absolute pleasure to deal with, but some are not. Far from it. In fact there’s a large number of you that absolutely do my head in. I am not a free advertising service that will write about anything that you send me just because you asked me to. I am not here as your own personal outlet for everything great going on in your world. I am not sitting at home waiting for you to send me a press release so I have something to write about. I am an intelligent, savvy, marketing professional that will write what she wants, when she wants and will not be pressured into anything.
Another thing that has been winding me up recently is the amount of rubbish I get sent that is clearly in no way relevant to my blog. All you have to do is click through on a link and spent 0.3 seconds looking before you have the realisation that... oh, yes, she’s a beauty blogger. Now, let me ask you – do men’s limited edition jeans come under that category? No, didn’t think so – so why ask if I’ll write about them? It doesn’t take that long to take a few minutes looking at my blog and figure out if your product or brand is suited to me and my readers; please invest those minutes wisely or otherwise you’ll just get ignored.
Furthermore, if your product is relevant to me and I do accept a sample to try, in no way is this a guarantee that I will write about it. It may sit in a pile for a few weeks waiting to be opened or it may grab my attention straight away and be on my blog within 24hrs... but that is down to me. If you send me something that isn’t particularly easy to use (like a lipgloss or moisturiser) then I may not get round to it for a while – this doesn’t mean you’re being ignored, it means I haven’t got hairy enough legs to use your wax, I’m not showing enough flesh to use your fake tan, my hair doesn’t need dying or I haven’t gotten round to using your hand cream. The more you pressure me, the less likely it is that I’ll actually use your product. A lot of the reason I don’t post about things I get sent is because they’re not different enough or give me a reason to write about them... or they could just be rubbish. Do you want me to write a slating post about your product?!
Events are a whole other story. The world of blogging has changed so much, even in 2010, with more and more brands having blogger events. We know this is a learning curve, but it’s not rocket science to get it right. If you take all of what I’ve said already into consideration then you’ll understand that a 9-5 event in the arse end of nowhere, where I have to sit and watch a presentation is not appealing to me. I love going to brand events and getting to know the people behind the brand... it’s also a social occasion where I can catch up with my blogger mates (and usually have a bitch about everything I’ve covered so far,) grab some nibbles and a glass of bubbly after a hard day at work. But please understand that we’re not sitting at home waiting for an invite to drop into our inbox a day before the event – we know when you need to fill up your RSVP list and bloggers are a last resort, so at least be subtle about it. I really respect the companies that ask for help and advice – you can tell they want to get it right and there’s no shame in asking for a suggestion or two.
Anyway, enough ranting. Here are my top five tips for brands and PR companies wanting to build up blogger relations.
1. Take the time to read the blog you’re targeting. Look at the last month’s posts and it will give you a pretty good idea about what that person writes about and what they like. If they write about sparkly makeup then it’s unlikely they’re going to want to try your organic foot cream.
2. Treat us like you would like to be treated yourself. We’re normal human beings that like to natter and hate being bugged. Think about it from our perspective – how would you like to be treated if you were going home after work every night to write?
3. Give us a reason to write about you. Don’t just send me a picture of a person with nice skin – I want to know what this product is, what it does and how it’s different. I don’t have time to read a 16 page press release so make yours appeal to me – and don’t just send the same stuff you send Woman’s Own.
4. Don’t get funny about sending us samples. This is a big issue, but how are we supposed to write about something we haven’t tried? If you’re so confident in the product’s ability then you won’t worry if we give it a whirl, will you?
5. Be nice. If you’re a nice person who I enjoy chatting to and spending time with, then I’m much more likely to listen to what you say to me or what lands in my inbox. We’re people – please treat us accordingly. And give us champagne... that helps a lot.
Brands/Bloggers - what do you think about my massive whine?!