As a freelance social media manager, I spend a lot of my time conducting blogger outreach for clients. I contact bloggers on behalf of brands and try make some magic happen. Outreach is definitely one of my favourite parts of this job. I didn’t get to do it much in my last role, so I’m always grateful when a client lets me do it. My clients range from interior designers, retailers to even an events organisation passionate about female sexuality. Work is pretty varied and I absolutely love it.
In addition to that, I’m also a blogger myself. Although I do less sponsored stuff now, I’ve worked with brands in the past. As I was a blogger long before I worked in social media, I have definitely made a ton of mistakes. Some things definitely became clearer once I started conducting outreach myself and I’m glad they did! I think now I have a much better understanding of what’s expected from both sides.
Generally speaking, the biggest pet peeves amongst bloggers are brands pushing do-follow links, PRs ghosting them and companies not paying up. But what about PRs, brands and social media manager’s peeves?
Here are some things I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers do that can be frustrating for PRs. They’re not as anywhere near as infuriating, but I do think they’re definitely worth noting. Some of these things made me edit my own blog after noticing them. So if you’re a blogger who works with brands (or wants to), here are some things you can do to make our lives easier.
Make sure your blog has clear categories
The number one thing that makes me click off is lack of categories. I have zero patience, so I could be overreacting here. But when you have 100+ blogs to go through, categories do come in handy. You’d be surprised at how many bloggers don’t do this. If I have to spend more than five minutes trying to find a body of work on your blog, I’m sorry I won’t be working with you. Granted, it’s a hefty task. I still have a few uncategorised posts laying around here. I think as long as your main subjects are categorised, that’s all that matters really.
Pro tip: Want to make our jobs even easier? Leave the URL that leads to the desired category when emailing or applying for opportunities!
Have a search bar at the top
You’d be surprised at how many people forget to add a search bar to their blog too, it actually took me months to add one to my blog. I think we’re so focused on other things like the overall theme and content (rightfully so), that we can sometimes forget about simple things. If there are no categories, the next thing I do is try search for them. If you have neither of these things, it’s likely I’ll veto you too. It may sound harsh but when you have so many great blogs to get through, you’ve gotta be selective somehow.
Don’t make your email impossible to find
This is something that really frustrates me, but I also kind of understand why people do it too. Having your email so readily available can be daunting, this is why a lot of us bloggers have a separate one for things like this. Popular places to display your email include: the sidebar bio, a clickable button amongst social icons, and on a contact page. If you have a contact form, please include your email as well! Contact forms can often go to spam folders, I’d much prefer to email you directly. My favourite bloggers are the ones who have their emails in their Twitter bios, it definitely speeds the whole process up. You could also have your direct messages open on Twitter if you don’t want your email there.
Only apply for opportunities if you meet the brief
A lot of PRs will use Facebook to conduct outreach. There are groups you can join to find out about opportunities, they’re the first place I go to these days. Due to the size of these groups, it’s a lot easier if you only apply for the opportunities where you fit the entire brief. For example, I once posted a opportunity for fashion bloggers only and had around eighty bloggers apply. A huge percentage of bloggers were from different niches and it just created more work. Had I stated that I would be willing to consider lifestyle bloggers too for example, this would have been okay. Ultimately, it slowed the whole process down. It’s nice you’re keen, but it’s equally frustrating when you’re trying to find blogs quickly.
Please stop private messaging people
Following on from my last point RE Facebook groups, stop private messaging people. You don’t need to, we’ve seen you’ve applied and we’ll be in contact if the brand wants to work with you. Some PRs report this to admins and some groups will throw you out as well. I know some PRs who blacklist bloggers for doing this and the above point, so be careful!
Be constructive, play nice, or keep it private
There’s one last point I’d like to raise, brands can and will look at your Twitter feed. If your feed is a bunch of subtweets or if your replies show you’ve been engaging in a Twitter war, how do you think this looks? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you can be constructive with your criticism. Whether it’s towards a brand or another blogger, there is no need to get so nasty. It also makes you look pretty immature and unprofessional. Take this from somebody who has been in many a Twitter wars! I know I’ve definitely made myself look bad in the past.
Social media is a great way to solve issues (like a brands not paying bloggers, for example), but I do think we should hold off on threads and give them some time to resolve things first. I will hold my hands up and admit I have immediately taken to Twitter to air stuff like this in the past. Having been on the other side, I understand the delay sometimes. However, there are some brands/PRs out there who treat bloggers appallingly. It’s good bloggers can warn others so easily, I have definitely avoided a few this way. As I get older, I realise there’s a way of doing these things. I guess it’s about picking your battles!
I hope this blog post didn’t come across as too harsh and ultimately gave you something to think about. Working freelance and doing more hands-on outreach has been really fun and interesting. It’s been pretty eye-opening too and I think it’s always good to learn from past mistakes.