A Public Announcement

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?!


  1. very well said i run a fashion blog and got offered household goods to review lol xx

  2. I soooo agree with you, I have a commpany that rings and emails me each week asking if I've tried their products, then trying to sell me the reason I should use it urrrggghhh! The remind me of my first telesales job, CONSTANT PESTERING! Stop pestering ya hear! I might just send every annoying pr person this post, perhaps they'll take a hint. Great post hun xx


  3. OK, so I'm not a blogger and not quite a brand in the way I think you mean (but do re-sell on behalf of beauty brands). However, I read the bog and thought I'd comment!
    Since I started in the beauty industry (13 months and counting), the power of the Beauty Blogger community has been obvious (MAC Rodarte anyone? The REISS dress size scandal, giveandmakeup.com ). I certainly haven’t came across anything quite as powerful in other industries!
    I personally have tried to make contacts, spread the word on our website but hopefully in a non-assumptive way. It’s not forceful, more away of keeping an eye on what’s hot, what’s not. I know now never to underestimate the power of bloggers being representative of public opinion!

    Yip, we send Press Releases, we provide samples when we can, but we never force for positive reviews, links or mentions. I’ve had loads of samples sent out that have come to nothing – it’s marked down to creating long term brand awareness and shrugged off!
    What I don’t get is why there are still people out there treating bloggers in the way they do; from a marketing point of view, it’s sheer stupidity! Surely those with even very limited PR/Marketing experience realise this (or did they miss Marketing 101)? For someone who studied marketing for years it can be very frustrating to see others acting like this and giving us all a bad name!

    Good on you for raising the point again – hopefully some brands and PR’s will earn from it! (And I’ve bookmarked the page for future referece, just in case)!

  4. I am pretty new to the blogging community as my blog has only been up and running for 2 months and already I have experienced all the things you have mentioned. Some PR's have been so lovely but the rest can be a bit too pushy for my liking and one was so rude to me when I enquired about a product that I will now probably never feature the brand in my blog even though I love the brand. I live in the South-West so when I get invited to events for the next day it's so obvious that there are places to fill, I know that as a newbie I am low on the pecking order and like LBQ, I work full time (running a business with my husband) so can't just drop everything. Oh and I hate to be nagged!

    I have only come across a few PR's who have been guilty of all of the above, most have been more than helpful and friendly, but it sounds like I have been lucky so far.

  5. This post is spot on and I love that we were discussing this last night! All we want as Beauty Bloggers is resect for what we do because lets face it we are all in our own way superwoman! Some of us work way too much (me), some are working mums and some are mums with very young children..we all find time to write about product and give honest, straight down the line reviews on products we use! No where else give the honesty we do! So in the words of Aretha Franklin.. R.E.S.P.E.C.T

  6. Sorry for the long reply!

    It is great that you have voiced this. I'm sure that a lot of blogger's out there agree and seeing this is very useful for us "brands" to see.

    I have been working at a company for a few months now to try and build the PR and marketing of one particular brand which coincided with the launch of our website.

    I send samples out, because at the end of the day, bloggers want to try the product before they recommend it. I love seeing our products being used as they look a lot different on to what they do in the packaging.

    In my somewhat (limited) experience in this role contact with bloggers has been lovely, and I hope that I don't come across as being forward when I ask if they would like to try something. I try not to chase anyone up, because at the end of the day, it is THEIR blog and THEIR decision to include a product or not. If they love it, then great; if not, then I don't worry.

    I admire blogger's so much as I have no idea where they find the time to not only try the products, but to write about them too! Especially when a lot are holding down a full time job.

  7. Whilst I agree with the majority of points you've raised - especially the 'have you had time to try the product yet' relentlessness, I'm going to play devil's advocate for a second because after three years of blogging I've come to realise:

    a) the PRs are under massive pressure to get coverage;
    b) often the job of 'chasing' goes to the most junior member of staff who has yet to learn the skills of 'gentle persuasion' (PR agencies, listen up);
    c) PRs act primarily for their client and not for the convenience of bloggers so if *client says* agency must do;

    You are correct that there are some absolute horrors out there and we've all been the butt of a bad day or a lack of understanding about the blogging world. PRs who educate themselves about blogs and bloggers will always be leaps and bounds ahead of the game, but now the world of blogging has become commercialised there is no turning back. Nowadays, I don't accept products unless I am pretty sure they can be tested (with good or bad outcomes) and given a hearing. It's overwhelming for newer bloggers who are swamped with products and not nearly the beauty nirvana they'd anticipated! Some PRs are rude on a daily basis and you can be sure that this isn't just bloggers that experience the sharp end.

  8. I think the paragraph on the fact that just sending a product doesn't guarantee a review is spot on. I have seven face moisturisers to use at the moment, I can't use them all in one day and I like to use something for about two weeks so I really get a sense for it. And I can only wear one nail polish at a time. I also agree with the whole 'don't get funny about sending me products.' Several times I have been told: "Sorry, I don't have any products to send out, but would you like a high res image instead?" Last time I checked a high res image was not the best thing for dry winter skin, chapped lips, or hairy legs.

    That all said, I do get a little bit why some PR companies are cautious, there are a number of beauty bloggers who are only interested in the freebies, and seem delighted in their daily free hauls without wanting to respond with some form of coverage. It's got to be a two way street.

  9. I've been running my blog for a year or so now and it is a total mission to find time to write it, but I do because I love it.

    I've worked at a lot of consumer magazines in the past and PRs churn out zillions of samples everyday to them - I'd even go so far as to say most are full-sized products. Most don't bother chasing to see if you've tried it and a hell of a lot don't get reviewed - many get reviewed or featured without even being used. Bit of a shameful but true fact.

    PRs who don't already really need to realise that bloggers tell the truth more than mags and will also devote more time to a product if it's relevant to them. The flip side of that is that if the product is crap... they might get a bad review. It's definitely a bit of a sticky subject but it's undeniable that the blogosphere has a wealth of power that PRs shouldn't underestimate.

    Great honest post xx

  10. I couldn't agree more, I'm really amazed when I'm sent a press note regarding any given product -and yeah, I've been sent info about running shoes and stuff like that, even though I'm not interested in fashion, and my blog clearly reflects that. What do they expect me to do, to post a praise on their products that I haven't even had the chance to try because they're too stingy to send a goddamn sample? And it makes me somewhat sad when I see other bloggers gladly posting this kind of free publicity without realizing that they're being taken advantage of.

    And regarding the e-mails suggesting link exchange, don't even get me started on that!

    (btw, sorry for the long comment)

  11. I must have missed you writing this..so thanks for a good read and so true!

    I agree that they should actually read the blog, to see the style, tone and perhaps potential readership...before offering to send out etc

    I also agree with the invites a day before... it is so obvious!


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