Recently I wrote about my views on Monetising your blog and working with PRs I won't rehash what I said in that post so if you've yet to read it then go give it a quick read. Today I wanted to share ways in which that can help you sell your blog to a brand or PR, and also offer some advice on some big NO NOs.
Firstly a little disclaimer, I'm by no way an expert, I don't pretend to be either. I have only been blogging for just over a year now and I know I will find other ways over time, however having worked with several brands and PRs over the past year I do feel like I can maybe offer advice to anyone who is fairly new to blogging, or for those who maybe haven't found a way to make contact. Not every brand that I've contacted have responded to my email, however I feel like I've been lucky that a considerable amount of my emails do get a reply.
I just want to start off with saying that there's nothing wrong with you making first contact, afterall there are thousands of blogs out there, it's hard for PRs to keep up, so don't feel like you're being cheeky in sending an email, after all you could actually be the perfect blog for their brand, and if you didn't contact them then you may have gone unnoticed.
Create a Brand
If you want to start working with brands and PRs you'll need to start looking at your blog as if it's you're own brand, why? All you have to do it walk down any isle in Boots, or scan the magazine section within your newsagents to see brands all around you. We as customers buy into a brand and it's ethos and everything it stands for, so you really need to look at your blog as if it's a brand in itself, regardless of whether a brand is selling a product or a feature, we are all trying to 'sell' something. Me, I'm trying to sell my blog, JustJulie as a one stop guide to all things beauty related, somewhere that people can come visit to get advice, tips or listen to my general ramble and actually have faith in what I'm saying, Temptalia and British Beauty Blogger are probably the best two examples I can give in regards to beauty blogs, their branding is spot on and I very much doubt there is a single PR or company out there that wouldn't want to get a feature on one of their blogs. Brand yourself and your blog right and your half way there.
Once you know exactly what you want your blog to be and stand for then you really need to sell yourself when contacting someone. As I already said, there are thousands of blogs out there, beauty more specific, so what can you offer that brand or PR that another blogger can't? That's also a tough one to overcome as so many blogs are similar. Maybe you photograph products beautifully? After all I as a reader just adore beautifully photographed products on blogs and with Instagram and Pinterest being so popular, featuring a stunning photo of a product is really going to drive people to your blog.. What is your niche? Are you a feature blog or do you like to write full in-depth reviews? Do you like to post photos of the products on you? I'm sure you have some great examples of products that are similar to the ones you're keen on reviewing, this is where you should include a select few for the brand or PR to have a look at and see just how great your work really is, show them that they want to be featured on your blog and not the other way round. It's all about what you can do for them, as opposed to what they can do for you.
Have you been featured on any websites? Written blog posts for online websites and magazines? Been nominated or even won an award for your blog? If you have this will be great to share as it shows that you have a great work ethic, are sort after and it's also a great chance to share any work you've done outside of your blog, this is especially useful if the person you're contacting has a blog section within their website as you could be considered to write something for them, which is great for your blog.
Don't Be Afraid To Share Your Stats
The truth is if you only get 100 hits per day on your blog, have 200 followers on Bloglovin and just 300 followers on Instagram the chances of a brand or PR wanting to work with you is slim, what I would suggest in this instance is to not share your stats immediately and stick to selling yourself and your posts. However if your blog has grown quickly within a short space of time, receive a fair amount of hits per month and have a large following then yes share these, brands and PRs love blogs that receive high traffic, because this means their products will be reaching a wider audience, which to them means that more products will therefore get sold. One thing I will add is to not buy followers, this is always seen through and is obvious from the start, also please don't lie about your blog views as you may get asked to provide proof.
Try A Different Approach
Instead of coming straight out and asking to work with them you could always ask to be placed on to their mailing list. Explain that you love the brand, love to feature new product launches so would like to be in the know when they're releasing a new product. This approach was the easiest for me to do when I first started and actually led to them asking me to review products for them. You could also say you're writing a post about XYZ and wondered if they had a product recommendations for you to feature, they may just reply with offering you a high res image, but they may actually offer to send you something instead. Run giveaways often? Ask a brand if they'd like you to run a giveaway for them, share the success of past giveaways too as that will go a long way to getting a yes. You could even just drop them an email sharing a post that you have recently written about them, explain that you wanted to share your latest review and hope they liked it, because they may like it and may want to work with you in the future.
What Not To Do
Never come straight out and ask for a freebie, You won't get a reply and they will block you. If you're contacting brands just to get a freebie then you're blogging for all the wrong reasons and they will see through this.
If you're not their target audience then don't bother contacting them. If they sell an anti-ageing cream aimed towards the over forties and you're an 18 year old girl then common sense will tell you that you're not the right fit for them.
Don't just contact any brand, they need to fit with your blog, the same as you need to fit within their product, pretty much the same as the above, just be aware of who it is you're contacting.
If your blog is messy, unclear to read, layoust not great, photos are badly taken then I just wouldn't bother. Work on improving the layout and ease of use within your blog first, make sure your photographing clear products, in good lighting and at a good sized image first. Like I said about having great images, no brand or PR will want to see their products photographed poorly.
When you first start blogging and are in the position of receiving products to review it can feel amazing, however you should never look at these products as if they are freebies, their not. They're tools for your blog, without them you'd have no post to write, and after awhile, when you have an overflowing collection of PR samples, the novelty of these 'freebies' soon wears thin. If and when you do start to receive PR samples, always make it clear how long the post will take to be written. Keep a note of any posts that need to be written within a set time (as asked by the PR) Ensure you send the link to the post to the PR and brand once it's gone live and always always be honest with your review.
Before I go I'd also like to add that although legally you don't need to share that a product is a PR sample, unless you're paid to write the post, it is general practice to highlight to the reader that this was a PR sample. If you're doing things correctly then your readers will know that your opinion is 100% honest, it's when bloggers hide it that makes their readers question them.
I hope you enjoyed my second instalment within my working with prs and monetising your blog series. I hope there was atleast one helpful tip here for you. My next post will be about ways in which you can earn money from your blog. I may even make this a whole blogging tips series afterwards. If there is anything you'd like me to feature within this series then leave your ideas in the comments or tweet me.
Until Next Time