I’ve always considered Wisconsin Mommy a PR friendly blog. I did my best to make it clear that I love to work with brands and (hopefully) made it easy for them to work with me. Since taking a part time position with a locally based, international clothing company, I have learned a LOT. Sitting on the brand side of the computer and doing a fair amount of searching out the right bloggers for a specific campaign and then pitching them has given me a whole new appreciation for how this whole dance works. It’s also given me a LOT of opinions on what bloggers are doing that might be keeping PR from pitching them – without even realizing it. Here are the top five I have come across (so far).
1) You do not have an easy way for me to email you.
This is first for a reason – it’s a BIG one! I work part time and most of my campaigns have hard deadlines I need to honor. If I need to spend more than 2 minutes searching for your email address, I am going to move on. Don’t hide it in your “about me” write up, don’t use a contact form – have a big ole EMAIL ME button or link, please. (About contact forms – I often will be reaching out to multiple blogs with one email and I need to add your email to the list and simply don’t have the time to fill out 50 contact forms.) At the very least, have contact me or email me as a menu heading. I understand that spam is a pain, I do. Feel free to put your email in the name (at) whateverdomain (dot) com format. I’ll figure it out, honest.
2) You have light text on a black background.
Just don’t. It hurts the eyes of most people and rarely looks good. (Yes, a select few can pull it off, but that’s probably not you. Really.) I am also going to expand this to include animated headers that blink, flash, or otherwise trigger my migraines and loud music or video that starts playing as soon as I open your home page. Luckily surfing blogs is part of my job, so I don’t get into trouble when your favorite Kenny Chesney song starts blaring out of my speakers, but some of your readers might be secretly surfing at work. Shhh – don’t rat them out!
3) Your blog is a cluttered mess.
Okay, I know that was kind of harsh – I’m sorry. But if I have to search through distracting backgrounds, haphazardly placed ads, and floating pop-ups to try and find your content, I am probably going to move on pretty quickly (as will many of your potential readers). I would love to attach some screen shots on this one, but I won’t.
4) All of your review posts are copied press releases and you don’t add any of your voice to the reviews.
When a brand offers you a review, it’s because they want you to share their product in a way that they can’t. You have a unique perspective and that’s what brands are looking for. Oh, and please include your own pictures. I know PR always offers “high res photos”, but we love to see you using the products in your real life situations.
5) You are all over Facebook and/or Twitter blasting other companies you have worked with.
I know this one is going to hit a nerve with some people. Yes, most of you are right when you complain about how you have been treated by brands or PR. No, PR should not renege on the promises they make you when you begin working together. However, decide early on if that method of revenge is worth what it may cost you in lost opportunities and then craft a policy for yourself and stick to it. You may feel better, but it rarely results in the targeted PR/brand saying “Gosh, you’re right! Let us give you all the things you are asking for!”.
If you are looking for a way to vent your frustration, try finding a marketing or PR contact at the actual company. You may find that the PR person is making changes without the brand’s knowledge. If that is the case, you may get better resolution with the brand itself, especially if you present it as “I don’t know if you realize this is going on, but I’d hate for your company’s reputation to suffer because of it..” You may get resolution or you may find out that the brand itself is behind the behavior. In that case, make a mental note not to work with that brand again and move on.
Okay, I know a lot of you guys also represent brands and search out blogs to work with. What did I leave off the list? Feel free to leave a comment with your biggest turnoffs when searching for blogs to work with.