Well isn’t this the million dollar question to any blogger (or potential blogger) out there. Whatever your motives are when setting up a blog, you’d be lying if you didn’t say that you wanted a piece of the action when it comes to free goodies. We are all naturally like metaphorical magpies that are attracted to shiny objects (or should I say free stuff) I mean, a free top here, some beauty products there, a piece of jewellery on the wrist… need I go on? But I can tell you this now, those who are purely in it for the free stuff tend to not last very long- anyone who runs a well kept and growing blog will tell you that it is bloody hard work. I spend around an extra 20-25 hours on my blog a week and that’s on top of a full time job, socialising, seeing family, and going to the gym (and I’m not even exaggerating!). I tend to find myself working on my blog every single day and if I didn’t love it so much, I would be in the gutter like many of the ‘freebie hungry’ bloggers out there (ooh I just felt like I had a bit of a Mean Girl moment there). Before I go into my own PR story the most important thing is to have good content and a well presented blog. If you are not prepared to build your own content and are not willing to use your own money/products as investment, you might as well quit whilst you are ahead. PR companies want to know that you are able to create attractable content and that you are reliable- no one is going to give you a product if you are going to only create a ‘half assed’ review. The process takes time and if you are willing to wait then you will soon be on that yellow brick road to PR success (‘where do I sign up’ do I hear you scream!?).
Now I bet you are wondering, what is my PR story? I started my blog back in August 2013 and I got my first PR post in the November that year (a cheeky little Casio review, click here if you want to see it). So it inevitably took a good three months until I got my first contact and as you can probably imagine, I was chuffed (beyond belief). Personally I would say that getting my first PR contact in three months was a pretty quick turn around seeing as though I was new to the whole blogging world, but I can tell you this, what went on behind the scenes in those three months was a lot of hard work (like constantly contacting PR companies and getting rejected for instance). But after time my content started to grow and my images started to enhance in quality, and now 2 years on, I am able to write this post to share all of my valuable tips with you all (how exciting!). So with time flying by, today I would consider myself to be very fortunate as I am now lucky enough to receive a constant amount of PR offers whilst having the ability to work (and currently with) some amazing people and brands. I must add that I am particularly fussy when it comes writing reviews as I do not accept every single PR offer. This is because some offers are not suitable for this blog or I do not wish to come across as a ‘blagger blogger’ purely due to a lack of time and knowledge (so don’t feel obliged to accept everything!). Whilst the ‘freebie’ and ‘blagger’ bloggers may have stopped reading by now, here are some valuable tips for you to consider:
1. Be Visible & Contactable: It is very important to have your contact details clearly visible on your blog and you can do this in many ways, for instance, you can have a little bio of yourself in the right/left hand column of your blog or a tab purely for PR and Advertisements. The key is to be approachable and friendly so never be afraid to send an invitation or two! It may also be worth putting some examples of your work on your PR and Advertisement page because that way companies can have a little snoop at your fabulous work (a little bit like window shopping!).
2. Join a Free Blogging Network: it is always nice to be apart of the blogging community and doing so can be extremely valuable to you because like they say, there is always someone much more knowledgeable than you (so get involved in those blogger discussions). Bloglovin’, Bloggabase, and Best British Blogger may be worth having a look at.
3. Have Good Pictures: now this is where the whole using your own money for investment comes in action. Having good quality photos will make your blog look ever so appealing to PR companies because after all, they want their products looking their best (of course). I wrote a post on ‘The Best Blogger and Small YouTube Camera’ so swing on by to check that out (click here). IT’S SERIOUSLY AMAZING!
4. Contact PR Companies Yourself: like I mentioned above, I spent the first three months contacting PR companies and getting rejected by them (it felt like applying for graduate jobs all over again) but the key is to keep on trying. It may be worth creating a ‘Digital Catalogue’ which shows off your work, images, and the previous brands that you have worked with (do not forget to put your contact details on there too!). It may also be worth checking out etailPR (they were one of my first PR contacts!).
5. Be Professional & Earn Their Trust: no one wants to send a product to a blogger who then doesn’t review it (kind of defeats the object really). Also taking the time to send courtesy emails to PR companies will also score you brownie points too, for example, a line saying that you received the product safely and dropping them a link when the post is up. Also try and not leave a huge gap between receiving the product and publishing your post- PR companies also work to deadlines! Work together, be polite, and stay in contact- all the little things help!
6. Network, Network, Network: throw a competition or two, comment on other blogs, attend some blogger events, or even create your own event! Getting friendly with other bloggers and PR companies will seriously help you grow in popularity. For instance, I am known to throw the odd cheeky prize give away and such endeavour attracts traffic. It has come to the point where I have thrown that many prize giveaways on my own, PR companies are now sponsoring them themselves (for example donating 10 products for a give away!). Check out my elf Cosmetics (click here) if you don’t believe me!
|Other sponsored prize give aways include: Michael Kors, Carrera, and London Retro|
7. Your Blog Itself: how often you blog is extremely important as it shows many things, for example, the effort that you like to put into your blog. Blogging not very often shows that you don’t necessarily have a steady flow of repeat readers and such point is imperative for PR companies. Also the engagement with your readers doesn’t go unnoticed too so try replying to comments and communicating with your readers via Tweets for example.
8. Show Off Your Blog Investment: spend some money on a good and attractable template, it will cost you a minimum of £30.00 for a good one (or even less in fact!). Such investment was so valuable to my blog because it not only increased attraction from PR companies, but also in blog views too. On the left (below) was my first ever blog design and as you can see it is rather dark and not very personal. On the right (below) is my new blog design (that I updated over a year ago) and it it is fresh, clean, and shows off my love for face masks very well! You can find some really good blog designs on etsy so go and check a few out.
|Left: old blog design Right: New blog design|
9. Know Your Stats: some PR companies have stats requirements so knowing them is very important. You can use tools such as Google Analytics or other simpler versions like the one installed on your blogger homepage (but there are some very useful YouTube videos on how to use Google Analytics if you are unsure). My biggest advice is to never buy followers because it only makes you look worse rather than better to PR companies. PR companies want their products to be endorsed on honest populated pages so ‘honesty is the best policy’- how cliché.
10: Be Unique & You: most importantly always be yourself and don’t go copying other bloggers (that is both content and images). PR companies love coming across a quirky blogs so never feel as though you are not doing as well as others (don’t worry we all get like it).
Whilst I do not claim to be a blogging expert, these are just some of my own lessons that I have learnt throughout my blogging experience. I endeavour to help anyone so please feel free to drop me a question at firstname.lastname@example.org (I will try and respond to you as quickly as possible).
I hope you find this post useful! What are your top tips?
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