pbuyvr-parent-bloggers-unite-vancouver-event-meetup-salina-siu 2

#PBUYVR ft. Samantha Sheffield from NATIONAL Public Relations

Posted on November 22, 2013

On November 21, 2013, Parent Bloggers Unite hosted their fourth meetup event at Brentwood Town Centre featuring Samantha Sheffield from NATIONAL Public Relations, who shared how to build relationships between international PR firms and bloggers when it comest to outreach campaigns.

Since I started getting into blogging, I’ve been wanting to meet other local bloggers and learn more about how blogging works. Eschelle Westwood (@Eschelle) reached out to me on Twitter and told me to check out their next Parent Bloggers Unite event. I wasn’t so sure since I’m not a parent or a mommy blogger but she promised me it was for everyone. And wow, I’m so glad I went!

Not only was the event extremely well planned and organized, everyone was very helpful and friendly. They created a very open atmosphere for honest opinions and questions to come out and I felt that I learned a lot. Huge congratulations to Eschelle, Raj, Kerry and Rebecca on a very successful event! They had tons of sponsors…coffee, tea, bread and snacks for us, awesome door prizes, including a Blackberry phone from Rogers, and swag bags that included a Canucks t-shirt and glitter nail polish for everyone! Did I mention that this event was FREE?!

pbuyvr-parent-bloggers-unite-vancouver-event-meetup-salina-siuHow to create and maintain relationships between PR companies and bloggers?

  • Bloggers can approach them with an email to introduce themselves, ask (or research) who their clients are, what campaigns they have going on, tell them what topics you blog about and what topics you’d like to blog about. If you have ideas, share them and be creative! You could pitch right away and include your media kit or try to build the relationship first.
  • You can also connect on Twitter. Chat first and get to know each other before either side starts pitching.
  • Samantha feels as though she doesn’t want to ask for your media kit right away – like it’s asking what your dress size is. So bloggers may want to offer the information first. She likes it when bloggers post their media kit information publicly since it makes her research easier.
  • Samantha tries to come up with creative ideas to pitch to bloggers to help them engage their audience. It’s about helping each other! And she is happy to help share your content on different social networks for you to grow your readership as well.
  • There needs to be trust and understanding from both sides if you want an on-going relationship. It’s about give and take – you can’t just be thinking about yourself.
  • If a pitch from a PR company is not aligned with your blog, you can definitely decline but give them feedback. Are you not interested in the topic, you don’t have time or you live in a different city? They are interested to know!

How do invitations to publicity event work?

  • They understand that not everything and every event warrants a blog post. They are happy to have posts, tweets, retweets, instagrams, photo albums, etc. about it as well. It doesn’t have to be a blog post!
  • When you receive an invitation (or a request for collaboration) always ask for their expectations so you’re both on the same page.

What to do with press releases?

  • PR companies are happy to have you copy and paste their press release onto your site because it contains all their key messages.
  • Although your readers may notice if a bunch of different websites have the same blog post with copied and pasted content so it’s best to put your spin on it.
  • You can ask PR companies for exclusive photos that no other blog or website will have to stand out.

How to handle negative experiences?

  • Some bloggers noted that they never do negative reviews. If you didn’t like the product, you can send it back or tactfully tell the company you won’t be posting a review. You can share your feedback and the company could try to fix the issue.
  • It’s important to look authentic though or your viewers will be turned off. You can’t love everything so find a balance in how you speak about brands and products.
  • PR companies will notice if you have negative reviews on your blog.
  • If Samantha collaborated with you on a campaign and your wrote a negative review, she likely would not want to work with you again.

Does quality of content matter for sponsored posts?

  • Raj admits to publishing blog posts that don’t meet her usual standard of quality sometimes due to anxiety to meet deadlines.
  • Sometimes it happens. Not every blog post can be your best blog post.
  • Samantha notes that it matters when the post becomes unappealing to your viewers, then the engagement and reach won’t be there.

What about the money part of things?

  • Some bloggers strongly believe in never working for free and will immediately reply PR pitches with their standard fee for sponsored posts. This may range from $75 – $250 per post.
  • However, at NATIONAL Public Relations, Samantha has never done any paid collaborations with bloggers. The exception was when a blogger replied with an opportunity for the client to sponsor an upcoming event they were hosting and $5,000 was sponsored.
  • PR companies can provide free products and other benefits, but these cannot pay the bills for bloggers.
  • While making money is important for bloggers to make a living, it’s important to remember to support the causes you believe in and are passionate about – even if they don’t have the budget to pay you. If it’s a company you love and something you would write about anyway, be flexible and build that relationship.
  • If you create that long-term relationship with a PR company, there will be times of give and take where you do them a favor and work for free.
  • Since many PR companies do not have budget in the campaign to pay bloggers, how can PR companies find awesome and creative bloggers who will work for free? The PR people need to cultivate the relationship first – before pitching for a higher chance of finding interested bloggers.

Samantha had some questions for us as well, including:

  • Do you mind PR companies tweeting or calling you?
  • Do you want PR companies to send you pre-written tweets?

Stay connected with Parent Bloggers United on their Facebook Page, which will be undergoing a rebranding soon! The next event is in January and Raj promises that’s going to be a big one with lots of awesome surprises! The January topic will be YouTube (my favourite) so keep a look out for the event invite!

What Others Are Saying

  1. Salina Siu November 22, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Too bad you couldn’t stay. But of course, mom duties are #1! I think it’s quite the advantage for bloggers who understand both the blogging and PR side of things!

    I totally agree with you. When you push out content that’s subpar, your readers can tell and they won’t like it. You hope it’s okay if it’s just once in a while but it’s never good for your brand.

    Yay, thanks so much for sharing it!

  2. Salina Siu November 22, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Thanks Josh! I wonder if this could become my thing? I love doing it – forces me to learn everything I heard.

  3. Josh Rimer (@JoshRimer) November 22, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    You do great recaps of key take-away points from these kinds of events Salina – thanks!

  4. @Eschelle November 22, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Amazing recap from @salinasiu http://t.co/ovdAkgMmE7 of our #pbuyvr #digitallyyours event!

  5. @SamanthaRG November 22, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    @salinasiu Great recap of last night’s event http://t.co/O4IkeLiNXZ Thanks for having me.

  6. Rebecca Coleman November 22, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Thanks for this! As you know, I had to leave early due to a childcare situation (I am a mom and a blogger!). One thing I wanted to comment on is copy/pasting press releases. I work in PR, so I recognize a press release when I see one copy/pasted into a blog post. As a PR person, I don’t mind that much, but as a blog reader, I don’t like it as much. As a blogger, I understand the need to create content, and why bloggers copy/paste press releases, but I think the best bet is to take the middle of the road, and write some of the post yourself, and them pull key words and phrases from the press release.

    Thanks again for writing such a great post! I’ve posted it to our PBU FB page. 🙂

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