Written by Lauren Henley, every1’s Digital PR & Outreach Manager.
Earlier in the year, I was scrolling through our outreach Twitter feed (@every1PR) and I couldn’t help but notice how many bloggers struggle in their relationships with marketers. From the day to day problems with dodgy outreach emails to bigger, more high profile betrayals – PRs and SEOs sometimes let bloggers down.
So, how can we avoid annoying bloggers and influencers? I’ve spent the last four months surveying close to 300 UK based bloggers, across all niches, and talking to them about their experiences, allowing me to put together this list of major things that annoy them.
Lazy outreach email
Out of the bloggers I talked to, 40% of them had turned down a brand’s collaboration request solely due to the outreach email being rubbish. Some brands and agencies are still sending out hundreds of bulk emails to bloggers and not even including their names. Pitching your brand or client to a blogger is almost like a sales job; PRs have to prove their client or business is worth a place in front of a bloggers readers, so they deserve some personalisation in their emails (and not just “I saw your recent blog post and loved it”). At the very least make sure you include their name and no grammar or spelling mistakes.
“I’ve had bad experiences with people who email you and don’t use your name and address you as your blog name, those who know nothing about you and what you write about and are just looking for follow links with no recompense are the worst.” Jade, raisingtherings.com
Getting to know the blogger you’d like to work with can also help with understanding what they want out of brand relationships. Most bloggers will have a media kit or a collaborations page on their site and this should set the tone for the kind email you send. If you can’t find one then all you have to do is ask. Reading the blog and media kit should also give you a good idea on whether your brand or client will fit with the bloggers posts and readership. Again, this was a huge problem for the bloggers I spoke to, and over 80% of them had to reject PR requests because the post required didn’t fit with their readership.
Lack of budget
If you don’t have budget to work with a blogger then firstly, why not?! If it’s a charity project or awareness drive then fine, but you can’t expect bloggers to jump at the chance of working for free if it isn’t something they are passionate about. If it isn’t a charity project and you’re working at an agency on behalf of a client, or in-house marketing for a brand, then asking people to work for free not only reflects badly on you, but also the company you’re representing, and guess what? It’s not just money that talks, bloggers do too.
When you have no budget to work with then be honest with bloggers. If you have a product sample to gift them to review then that’s better than nothing, but don’t try and offer social shares or ‘exposure’ and definitely don’t be pushy or rude if a blogger isn’t interested.
And, if you’re asking bloggers to buy your product to review on their blog….
A brief that keeps on asking
One of the biggest things I learned from talking to bloggers is how much they value honesty and transparency when working on collaborations. If you’re open about what you need from a project from the very start, things are much more likely to go smoothly. Don’t agree the terms of a blogger collaboration when you know you aren’t giving enough information on what you’re expecting at the end. Bloggers need to judge whether the budget and work involved are worth their time and effort.
“A company agreed for the post with no-follow links, once the post was up they tried to really pressure me to change them, they didn’t pay and I had to pull the post.“ Helen, helerinablogs.com
Another main issue that bloggers seem to have with marketers involves links. SEOs trying to sneak links into ‘guest posts’ and do-follow links are the cause of many blogger and brand conflicts. If the project you’re working on requires links or follow links then ask at the first opportunity, otherwise you risk wasting both parties time.
Not paying or saying thanks
OK – working in marketing means we are always spinning several plates but, does it really take that long to send a blogger payment or say thanks for a job well done? If you were waiting weeks for a blogger to write some content for a project you’d be chasing them daily, and you probably wouldn’t be too keen to work with them again. The same goes with sending blogger products for review or prizes for competitions. When it comes to dealing with different bloggers, keeping them onside and making sure the relationship between you and them is fruitful, is crucial.
To learn more about the relationship between bloggers and brands request a copy of our Bloggers and Brands Report.
Meanwhile, if you’re an in-house marketer we’d also love to explore how our non-annoying outreach strategies could deliver results for your business. To arrange a brief telephone conversation with one of our team, call 08447 550 350 or get in touch to find out more.