Tuesday, July 5

What Australian PR's think: Best piece of advice you could give to bloggers how to work with brands effectively?


There are so many blogs with bloggers offering each other advice these days (including mine) but I want to go straight to the source where it comes to getting advice from PR's who many of us work with on a regular if not daily basis.  Today's post isn't just for those already in PR territory but also for those who are starting out in blogging with their PR relationships ahead with them.

I have asked some of my favourite PR's who are working with bloggers to increase public awareness of their clients' brands: Best piece of advice you could give to bloggers how to work with brands effectively?




Allison Lee, Director, Business and Strategy - Impact Communications:
Don’t be suspicious. Some bloggers believe that PRs/brands are out to subvert their blogs or opinions. In almost call cases this isn’t true. PRs want to be able to open an honest dialogue with you. We value your opinion and we want to hear it – on and off line.




Trevor Young,  - TREVOR YOUNG – Strategy + Innovation, Edelman Australia


Work with them. If a PR person comes to you with an idea that may not be 100 per cent spot-on but has merit and at least they’re on the right track, then discussion between both parties may result in a fruitful exercise for all concerned.


 (That said, I don’t expect for you to do the PR’s job for them – and if they’re way off the mark and simply not being respectful of what you’re trying to achieve as a blogger – ignore/berate them, you have my blessing)


If money is involved via a sponsorship of sorts, then you move into partnership territory. It’s critical you have a good understanding of – and empathy for – what the brand is trying to achieve, while at the same time remaining true to your authentic self. 



Tony Chilvers, Social Media Community Manager - Draftfcb


Being an individual who has sat on both sides of the fence, my advice to bloggers is to be proactive. Remain enthusiastic about content and possibilities, and find ways of including and collaborating with the brand as naturally as possible during the evolution of content.


The formation of this relationship with the brand may take time to realise before content co-creation can begin, but don't give up. Keep your requirements simple and stay on top of the game. When the brand is ready to make decisions, they remember bloggers who are consistent, update content regularly and include their brand naturally in their content cycle. Remain proactive in approaching the brand and be prepared to accommodate requests from the brand while formalising your working relationship.


Don't hold the brand to ransom for what you have done previously, but rather work with the brand to create new interesting content that benefits your audience and the brand target market. Be weary of collaborating with or approaching competitor brands simultaneously. Just as bloggers are watching brands, brands are watching bloggers, and where conflict of interest becomes evident, brands become reluctant to engage with bloggers further. 

If you happen to be working through a PR or advertising agency, get to know the individuals and respect their pressures too (they manage multiple brands simultaneously). The better they know and understand you, the easier it will be for them to find your fit. By getting them on your side and to believe in your product, they become the face and voice of your blog when it gets in front of the brand and this is good for you! 

Probably the last and most important advice, be authentic when working with the brand. Don't be afraid to tell the brand what your concerns are or to suggest a different approach. By getting the first collaboration right you pave the way for an ongoing working relationship, that no doubt will be fruitful for both parties. I guess it's fair to add that brands AND blogger need to step up the respect and rather work together instead of treating each other as vendor and service. It's 2011 and it's all about collaboration. Help the brand understand you and your market and the transition to a working relationship will be smooth.




Does this advice help you?  Would you offer any supplementary advice?

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8 lovely comments:

Ms Styling You on July 5, 2011 at 11:31 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I think it's important for PRs to not "saturate" the blogging world with their client's product or message. As bloggers, many of us talk to each other and if we are all receiving the same pitch, writing the same thing or giving away the same product, that's not a win for anyone.

tatum on July 5, 2011 at 12:43 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I think that Nikki's made a great point about oversaturation...I don't read blogs to win free stuff, I rarely enter giveaways, I'm more interested in reading something engaging (although I understand how the giveaway helps draw the readers)...recently I've noticed several blogs giving away the same things at the same time...I don't stop to read or bother to visit.

Dorothy on July 5, 2011 at 2:34 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

It seems to me that most PRs and brands seem to consistently go to the same blogs they have already worked with, or ones they find higher up in an alphabetical listing.

Smaller, more eclectic blogs may have just as much to offer a brand if not more....

Frankly, I'm at a point where I can't be bothered playing the PR game any more, because the returns for me jsut aren't there....

Corinne – Daze of My Life on July 5, 2011 at 2:48 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I think what Nikki is saying is really valid. I got a pitch last week with a really interesting idea, but I was immediately suspicious as I didn't want to do something 85 bloggers were also doing (which seems to be happening in recent months). I was happy to hear they'd only approached one other person and were planning a 'drip-feed' approach. I think this will work better for the brand and for me.

Megan Blandford on July 5, 2011 at 4:05 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Loving these posts, Liss.

I think bloggers and PR companies are still finding their feet in working together, and there is a lot of suspicion and uncertainty out there. But when the two come together well, it can bring out a brilliant blog post that is helpful and enjoyable for everyone involved.

katepickle on July 5, 2011 at 5:36 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Great info and ideas...
From a bloggers point of view, the advice I wish I'd gotten (or taken) about 18 months ago would be to really think through my blogging goals and set myself some personal guidelines for working with PR and brands. I confess I was flattered and dazzled and made some bad decisions in the beginning because I didn't really know what I wanted.

Tony on July 5, 2011 at 5:42 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Thanks Liss for letting me have a say on this interesting topic... I think the feedback in itself tells us there is a lot of learning to be done on both the part of the blogger and the brand. What I can tell for sure is that brands are open to working with bloggers, enthused actually. As brands start finding the balance between a marketing venture (85 bloggers with the same request) versus a collaborative article, we'll see a natural evolution in content that works (and is trusted by the community), as opposed to content that is being massed produced and overlook as easily as a billboard along the main roads.

I believe good relationships between bloggers and brands will, through winning content, start separating the great bloggers from the truly influential bloggers.

Diminishing Lucy on July 5, 2011 at 10:09 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Liss, your post, and the subsequent comments are fascinating. Such useful insights...I am loving this series of posts - thank you.


 

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