Previously,
Part 01 : please don’t equate print publication journalists to online / internet bloggers and
Part 02 : please tell us what you want. In terms of coverage.

Thirdly, going to events / covering them is WORK for a blogger. People get PAID for WORK.

It’s a marketing activity like any other. A blogger is not doing it because their photo will appear on Page 3 of their local newspaper ( I know all those press photographers and I know it doesn’t work like that ). Neither is blogging a “hobby”. Sure there are some bloggers who come from well to-do families or are married to well to-do husbands and claim they blog “because I’m bored” but that’s a very small percentage and I’m not talking about bloggers who don’t blog professionally.

As brands and PR agencies, please expect to invest real hard cash into getting bloggers to work for you. At least the good ones who mean business and actually get you relevant eyeballs. I say “relevant” because THAT is research you need to do as a client for your brand. Is it ok to have your story covered on a Bollywood blog? Or should it be a niche blog that caters to an audience that actually can buy your brand / aspire to it? How will it affect your brand’s image? Are you doing it only for a set of eyeballs and for “just getting the word out” or are you hoping to generate something more? What is the blogger’s credibility? How long has the blog been around? Is the blogger present on other social media so that your “awareness” campaign can be tied in across all platforms?

Think of it as the advertising model that print publications use. Happy to sell you some ad space on our blogs.

Too many times I’ve overheard, “Oh these bloggers. They only go to these events because they get stuff for free. Free food, free clothes, free shoes, free whatever. Shameless.” That’s true for everyone most people who works in media. Yes I love free stuff but if you believe anything is truly “free”, you’re stupid. Thanks.

Bloggers are given books, fragrances, shoes, clothes, a meal, ear phones, mobile phones, laptops, vacations to exotic destinations, spa dates, salon dates, a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce etc. I’ve always said thank you for what I got and shared the receivables publicly alongwith the story. The audience that reads my blog / views my work is important to me and I don’t want to mislead them. ( In the U.S., it is a legal requirement to disclose “what you got” and I prefer to work with international industry benchmarks anyway. )

It’s business and we bloggers love it when you treat us like business people. Don’t coddle us, we’re not kids who will run away with you because you gave us a lollipop. We love talking to strangers. ( Of course, not all bloggers are created equal – do your research – get reference. )

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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5 comments

  1. Hi naina
    You put up a great point regarding free stuff, we do not write to get free but for our love for writing, what i want add is in our country creative work is not appreciated too much and I personally have to really fight for my share of money, i would be glad to have some insights on that

    1. Hi Sneha!

      Well I do love free stuff and I’m not particularly a fan of writing but my business model doesn’t have to be the benchmark.

      I do it for the love of photography. For the story. It needs to be something that excites me. And yes I like getting paid for it.

      As far as India is concerned, yes there’s unprofessionalism but there are people who are not. It’s all about relationships. And one has to be doing really good work to stand out.

      In the early days of one’s career, the tendency is to prioritize “doing” rather than getting paid. Which is fine. Be patient & persevere. And remember you will will always find someone who’s doing better than your are – primarily because they started before you did. Yes, sometimes it’s that simple.

  2. Great Article Naina. What bugs me the most is that there is no distinction between a “beauty blogger” and a “fashion blogger”. PR agencies send invites to all the email ids they have in their data (by marking BCC) and that is something I find very unprofessional & bothersome ! There have been multiple incidents in the past where I have said no to hardcore fashion events (because that’s not where my interest is) They aren’t concerned about the niche of the blog, how many readers it has or how established it is.. they just send out press releases or invites blindly to everyone ! They think they are doing us a favour by calling us to events that has no agenda !

    Brands want to promote their products on blogs without paying any fee ! Very recently I have started charging brands for any promotion they want to do on my blog, and surprisingly lots of them have agreed to pay ! I believe we have to make them understand that blogging costs a lot of money & time and it has to be a win-win situation for both the parties.

    1. Hi Shalini, Thank you for adding to the discussion! In India particularly, the term “blogger” itself is much misused, hence expecting differentiation in the types of bloggers might be slightly premature although I can testify that this is changing. At the latest Lancome event, I was probably the only “generic” blogger – pretty much everyone else invited was a specific beauty blogger because it was the launch of a beauty product. I’d wager they called me in because I cover luxury and Lancome is supposed to be a French luxury brand. So, good research by the brand / PR in my opinion.

      Ah and I feel your pain with the mass bcc. So what is your response to such emails? I ALWAYS respond even if it is to tell them that this is irrelevant to me and I do not appreciate such treatment. Without feedback, it is unfair to expect changes in how we’re treated. Don’t let it bother you – believe me, I’ve let it bother me a lot and I’ve come to realize that it’s useless – instead, I channel my energies into doing good work and giving feedback.

      Lots of people and brands and companies want a lot of stuff for free and the trouble is that a lot of them do get it for free, which is why it’s a bit of a task explaining why some of us like to get paid for the work we do! You are spot on about your observation that brands do pay – once you ask them. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard, “Oh but we didn’t pay because they didn’t ask.” and most of us, are shy to ask for money. ( Now why this is is a whole different can of worms! )

      Agree on the win-win. There’s no cookie-cutter way of dealing with brands or bloggers, which means there are massive creative advantages and some professional disadvantages ( people’s lives are simpler when they have a list of things to do – unfortunately, each blogger has a different list ). Another thing that I believe causes some friction is that most bloggers are independent entities, sometimes we ever pay salaries to a small / large staff, whereas most brand managers and PR people draw a salary and might not be motivated to try different approaches. We need to account for these differences to come to a win-win resolution for each transaction.

      There will always be some that get away and we need to be okay with those.

  3. I completely agree, Naina. We all love freebies (who doesn’t!) but they always come at a price. And yes, I too think its best to insert a disclosure as the international standards in order to honestly let your readers know about how you obtained it.

    Great job 🙂

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