Part 01 : please don’t equate print publication journalists to online / internet bloggers,
Part 02 : please tell us what you want. In terms of coverage,
Part 03 : going to events / covering them is WORK for a blogger. People get PAID for WORK,
Part 04 : yes, you can have the images to use in your marketing brochure for an additional price and
Part 05 : you don’t just sit on your hands when the blogger is delivering the goods. Amplify..

Sixth, set expectations in advance.

Really, how hard is it to set some ground rules in terms of what you want the blogger to do for you and what you will be paying / giving to the blogger in return?

Instead of running around like headless chickens and ruining relationships. Don’t call up a blogger the night before the event and demand a blog post especially when all your previous conversations mention nothing of the sort. If you were feeling shy earlier because you don’t know how it works, you’re only making it worse now.

The counter argument to this usually is, “But bloggers should tell us what they will do and what they want no?” Well, I’ve tried. “I charge X and I will deliver a blog post plus related tweets and FB updates alongwith Instagram and Pinterest updates as well. Please tell me what your hashtags are as well as all social media brand handles so I can tag them.” The typical response, “Hehe. There’s no budget. Also we don’t have a Twitter account. We only have Facebook. Let me check with my team and get back to you.” Which I know means, “Fuck off and die. Who pays bloggers anyway!?”

And sometimes they do get back. One day before their event. I get paid in advance, so… THAT will never happen.

“Hello Naina! My client has a new collection out. Would you be interested in doing an outfit post like your #CoverUp?”
“Well sure, what client is this, what are the clothes, what is the budget, what are the other marketing activities that your client would like to tie the blog story in with?”
“Oh! There’s no budget. Sorry. But we can give you a Rs. 500 voucher for their store.”
“Haha. No thanks. *Click*”

Come on!

If you’re unwilling to pay the blogger for their work, why in the world would you expect them to deliver ANYTHING? For example, if it’s a restaurant review and I get to eat delicious food with my husband and we’re picked up and dropped and don’t have to drive AND I get to take home a piece of my favorite pudding, BUT it was “just an invite” and no expectations were clearly discussed – and then the “blogger” does NOTHING, you better not complain. We don’t blog from the goodness of our hearts please! ( In all probability, someone like me will probably do everything – like post a blog story, take photos, tweet and update in Instagram and FB – but I’ll do it because it was an enjoyable experience and I received some value apart from free food. But you can’t string me up if I don’t. Unless it was clearly discussed previously. )

It’s true for most creative professions, if I’m dying to do it because it sparks my imagination and provides a feeling of warmth, I’m likely to do it for very little. But if it’s boring as fuck AND I’ve already done something similar earlier, you better have deep pockets if you want professional blog coverage.

Relationships are important to me as is my work and reputation. If I’m not happy doing something, chances are, I won’t do it. And I will convey as much in as many words – if you are offended personally, then you’re not looking at this as a professional decision – and I can’t do anything about it except take you out for coffee and bitch about the industry. Won’t change a thing except you and I might become friends.

As marketing managers and PR agencies, YOU have to fight for us when budgets are being set. And that’s impossible if you don’t even know how bloggers work.

This is a good read on some pointers : I Hate PR People: The Rules of Pitching Bloggers and Media

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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