The art of snackable storytelling
It was early in my career and I was working on programs to connect with bloggers that would potentially write about products from my clients. It was time for my first pitch. I was sending bloggers that write about parenting an offer to have the brand I was representing pay for their child’s birthday party and provide treats (from the brand) for the party. In my mind, this was a useful and generous offer, but to my surprise, one blogger did not quite agree. Her response stated that she doesn’t work for free and required compensation. In fact, she saw the offer as me trying to take advantage of her, which was not my intention at all.
Many public relations professionals run into a similar situation. Like me, you may struggle to understand why bloggers demand compensation when your client is offering the blogger free product in exchange for inclusion on their blog. However, when you consider the blogger’s viewpoint, it may change the way you think about paid versus unpaid.
These days, to many, blogging isn’t merely a fun hobby, but a business. All of us expect to be paid at our jobs, and bloggers are no different. After all, it can take several hours to create a blog post, source images, site resources and such. Some bloggers will accept products without compensation, but some won’t. It’s important to be mindful of that when working with a blogger, versus going in with the expectation that she or he will write for some free stuff.
This concept also goes back to the notion of relationship building, and how that strengthens blogger relations programs. In other words, take time to get to know the bloggers you work with, and gain an understanding of their goals and expectations. Some clearly state in their blogs that they won’t post about a product without compensation, while others are opened to it. Consider what you’re asking. Don’t assume the bloggers are receiving an offer they can’t refuse, and work to understand their business. Be realistic about how much time it may take for what you’re asking them to do.
Beyond it being hard earned work, for some bloggers it isn’t just about the money. Compensation can be a way to weed out opportunities. Many brands are using bloggers in their marketing strategies, so you can imagine the number of opportunities bloggers receive in a given day. A bloggers time is valuable and payment is one more way to determine what they will or won’t write about.
Ultimately, PR professionals should take an adequate amount of time to research the bloggers they are reaching out to, understand what their site focuses on, learn about their editorial objectives and keep all of these things in consideration when strategizing your approach for outreach.
Have you worked with bloggers on a paid media strategy campaign? What are your thoughts on pay-for-play? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.
This is Part One of a three part series on blogger relations. The findings from these posts are from my personal experience, research and conversations with parent bloggers. Stayed tuned for Part Two of my series, The Best Advice Straight from Your Mama (Bloggers’) Mouth.