Previously, Part 01 : please don’t equate print publication journalists to online / internet bloggers.

Secondly, please tell us what you want. In terms of coverage.

I understand if it’s a brand’s first time working with a blogger but PR Agencies have no excuse.

A typical scenario goes like this : I will get a call or an email ( that I will follow up with a call ) inviting me to an event or to review a restaurant / spa, etc. Let’s say the date is about 07 days from the day of the call. ( That’s rare though – usually the date is a day or two away – scheduling is always shit. ) The call / email will just be about the invite. Nothing about why they’re inviting me, what they want me to do, what are they paying if anything etc. “We’d love it if you would come!” Five days will lapse and then I will get a call telling me that they expect me to do a blog post alongwith Twitter & FB updates. What the actual fuck?

Where’s the brand brief? Why are you assuming that the blogger knows your brand already? What are the marketing goals that might be fulfilled if you collaborate with this blogger?

Tell the blogger what you would ideally like them to do : Simply attend your event / launch? A blog post with images? A certain number of tweets with / without photos? Instagram updates? Facebook updates? Instagram videos? Usually bloggers will have their pre-determined billing / charges for each of these and other combinations and will tell you how much you can expect to spend. Discuss all this in advance. If there is a particular blog / blogger that is especially suited to your brand’s marketing efforts, sit down with them and discuss a long-term association.

Sometimes when it’s a brand I have been day-dreaming about and THEY call me to be part of something that excites me, I am happy to not even talk about budgets. I’m happy to go, meet the brand manager, meet the team, and cover their event with images and a blog post with related tweets and FB updates anyway. They usually take care of me, arrange for a pick up and drop ( transport to and from the event ), give me some freebies and then share my blog story on their social media channels. They get a story out online with excellent images and I get some reverse marketing / awareness about my brand.

Once there’s trust between both parties – the brand and the blogger – the chances of professional engagements is higher and I don’t just mean “paid” engagement.

Trouble is, this is rare. Most events are boring. Most brands do run-of-the-mill things. There’s always alcohol – lots of it – and I don’t drink much – not anymore anyway. Food is usually minimal – bites on trays. And even the faces at these events are the same. The media community is not very large and we’re sick of seeing each other – we’d much rather hang out and discuss other things over coffee in a more intimate setting. I dislike Page 3 events and do not attend these.

Media events / Press days are no longer older men getting drunk and being lecherous with the few women who are present. There’s a buzz and whole lot more energy and the hunger to do good work.

I’d really like to work with a client who has at least some idea of what they want and are confident in their ability to have a conversation and figure out the specifics. Make an introduction and then schedule a date to discuss. Not all bloggers are equal – a LOT of it is about relationships. Once you’ve established a working relationship with a blogger, you won’t always have to discuss all the details and expectations before asking them to do a story.

“Blogging” is new but the business of marketing isn’t. Make a plan. Please.

Please do add your comments / suggestions / ideas in the comments section – if you, as a PR Agency / Prospective client would like some specific questions answered or if you’re a blogger and have something you’d like PR Agencies / Prospective clients to know.

The entire “How To Work With Bloggers” series.

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