As a PR, I see it all the time. Bloggers moaning about PRs left, right and center on Twitter as if they’re actually the devil. A) if you’re going to blame anyone, blame the client. We’re just the messengers. B) Bloggers can be JUST as bad, if not worse in my opinion! And I say this as both a blogger and PR with over a year’s experience in both.
Here’s the thing. PRs have tight deadlines and bitchy clients to please. We don’t have unlimited budgets but we do have KPIs to reach, so sometimes it may seem we’re asking for too much. If that’s the case, just say it’s not for you and move on. Don’t bitch about it on Twitter and claim that all PRs are horrible people and should die. If you really feel that way, don’t work with them. End of. I’m not excusing rude PRs but that’s just a few bad apples – don’t generalise! I bend over backwards to make sure I contact relevant bloggers with personal emails. And in return, most of the bloggers I work with are great. Friendly, responsive, does the job well and enjoys what they get out of the relationship. It’s easy, it’s nice and it’s exactly what we both want from a relationship. And it is a relationship, because I’ll work with them multiple times if I like them.
Then there are bloggers who make me want to tear my hair out. Bloggers who have made me literally shout a stream of swear words and ask my colleagues what is wrong with people. Bloggers who have been such hard work I end up missing targets and deadlines and looking like I’m shit at my job, when in reality they’re just unreliable. I have had bloggers cease all contact once they’ve been sent products, or take six months to post about something. I’ve had bloggers post about the product I’ve sent them, but say it’s from a different client (yep, really). I’ve had every thing under the sun that makes you curse working with anything other than animals and robots.
These bloggers are blackmarked in my work and miss out on any future clients I work with that would be perfect for them. That’s the thing with PRs. We often work across several clients. You piss us off once, you ruin your chance to work us them ever again. If we move company, we remember you and will hold that grudge.
With that in mind, here are some things you don’t want to do if you want a good relationship with PRs.
Ignoring emails or taking ages to reply
All PRs appreciate that most bloggers blog around work, education, family and friends. We don’t expect you to reply within the hour, or even within the same day really. But taking four weeks to reply to an email, or not replying at all is just taking the piss. We freak out if you don’t keep up communication as we can’t tell the client what is going on, and that means trouble for us.
Not keeping us up to date
I’ve had collaborations with bloggers where communication has stopped the minute I’ve said I’ll be sending something out. An email to say you’ve received your parcel or scheduled your post really helps us out and means we don’t have to worry about looking like we are pestering you when really we’re making sure everything is okay!
Taking aaaages to post
Like I said before, we know bloggers are short on time. We don’t expect you to have your post ready in a day, but six months? Come on guys, there’s a chance we won’t even have the same clients in six months. And if we do have the same client, guarantee we have daily emails from them asking why they have given away stock for no results. If you’re so busy you know you won’t have time to post within the next month or so, explain that before agreeing to a collaboration. It may be we choose to work with you at a less busy time for you – that works out best for both as we’re not stressing about deadlines and you’re not rushing to put a post up.
Saying your post will be “up at the weekend”
If you are going to take forever to post about something, please don’t ‘humour’ me by telling me it will be up at the weekend. Every single week. For four months. I’d rather you say, “I’m sorry it’s taking so long, I’m really busy this week but I’ll try to get it within the next four weeks”. At least then I know and don’t need to constantly email like, “… Erm sorry but you never actually posted so do you have another date in mind.” Awks.
Publicly bashing us
Or any PRs. It’s unprofessional, for one thing, but a lot of the time the issues you’re raising are more to do with the big bosses behind brands who want results but don’t want to spend money to get them. Sometimes I get given a budget and my heart sinks because I know it’s not great, but short of saying to the client “yeah, nah” there’s not much I can do but get on with it. Rather than send me an ironic email and tweet about how I’m a joke, why not just say “sorry but it’s not for me, have a lovely day”. Manners do not cost a thing. Remember working in retail and hating rude customers so much you wished you could hit them? Rude bloggers are the rude customers of PR. That’s not to say PRs are never rude, I’m sure some are and I apologise on their behalf but please don’t stoop to their level.
So yeah, PRs are people too and we would be extremely grateful if you were mindful of that when working with us! It’s all too easy to see blogger-brand collaborations as a way of getting free stuff but it’s so much more than that. Building relationships with PRs means you can have on going collaborations, and if you’re especially nice and reliable we’ll recommend you to our colleagues and give you first dibs on everything!
If you do want to work with PRs, make sure you check my post out on what PRs look for in a blog!
Do you have any tips off what not to do when working with PRs?