Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Collaborating with bloggers

I was recently asked for my views on collaborating with bloggers for a piece on Productive Blogging. 

You can read my thoughts below and read the feature here.

How bloggers can best work with PRs and brands on sponsored posts/collaborations

What do you look for when choosing bloggers

Bloggers contact us for different reasons. To review products, which mean we have to send the clients product to them. Generally this is not returned. Or the blogger may need comment for an article or a regular column. Choosing to work with a blogger can be for many reasons.  

The amount of pages viewed on a blog is essential and one of the first things we look for – there is no point having great content if no one sees it. Great bloggers normally have great stats.

A large social media following is a must. Like anything these days, social media presence is crucial for promotion. From a PR point of view, we provide a blogger with content or a product and we need it to be visible to as many of the correct audience as possible in as many places a possible. The blogger should share the story more than once on their social media pages for us and our client to engage with.

Good content is always crucial. The blogger needs to be able to write engaging copy that’s well written. We would also expect a backlink to the relevant website to be included. It’s the new journalism and we hope that bloggers understand that.

The website has to look appealing with high resolution and quality images. The website also needs to be easy to navigate. Without this, people will drop-off the website without giving the content a chance.

Do you encourage bloggers to contact you directly with a pitch? If so how do you suggest they do that? What would you like to receive from them?

Yes, we’re always interested to hear from bloggers – existing and new.

For us, email is best, or phone, but we need the information to make a considered decision etc. so email can do that.

We would always like to see a media pack, links to example features & their success.

What do you want to see in a media kit from a blogger? And what do you really NOT want/need in a media kit??

Keep it short, visual and factual.

Key information:
·       who you are
  • demographic
  • page views
  • average entries for competitions & third party data permissions
  • links to feature example

We don’t want to see the following:
  • the bloggers life story or personal information 
  • poor images – resolution, lighting etc.
  • poor use of language
  • poor or no examples

What can a blogger do to make themselves be more likely to be chosen for a paid campaign?

Be higher profile.

We would probably know them already as they would be a key figure in our industry.

Offer as many statistics and data as possible, we like to see proof of deliverables.

Investigate the products/feature their looking to promote so they know what they’re talking about before making contact with PRs.

Offer a thorough review/feature with a minimum word count, number of images and backlink to the relevant website.

Guarantee regular engagement on social media, using the right tags and hashtags.

Be willing to negotiate on price. Smaller clients don’t always have a large budget and product offerings can be pricey for them.

Include engaging imagery in blogs/posts. If it’s a product and you can’t take good photographs, ask to be supplied with imagery to use.  

What advice would you give bloggers in negotiating the best fees for a project?

Know your PR and the clients you want to work with. Generally the fee will be relevant because you know your audience and what you are writing about.

There is an art to negotiating, but the outcome needs to suit both the PR and blogger.

There is often a lot of frustration in the blogging world about lack of fees/low fees. How can we work together to best improve that situation?

Fees in traditional media came from advertising and the two rarely crossed over. Editorial was about a good story.

Everyone wants value for money and the above and below the line has become blurred. A PR knows when they should be paying for something because they will see the value.

PRs get approached several times every day and many bloggers are happy to feature for free if the content is good and will get them good engagement.  This is because in the end it is win win. 

Offer a series of features over 12 months – a long term partnership will have ongoing engagement is the way we like to work.  As its relevant for all.

We get asked for a lot for paid for entries, but the bloggers statistics just aren’t big enough to warrant our clients paying for a feature.

Invest the time, resource and relationships to get a great looking blogs and increase your social media following before asking for paid for activity.

What do you like about working with bloggers?

That they’re open to ideas and features opportunities. It’s great to work together on specific angles.
What would you like to see more of in the blogging industry?

Bloggers coming back to PR’s every quarter to see if we have any news to share. We try and keep our contacts updated with all the latest news, but it’s great to touch base and check in every now and then. It also strengthens the relationship.

More thorough features/reviews, not just one or two sentences. It’s very disappointing to see, especially when there has been an investment, either in a fee or by sending a product to the blogger.

Better quality images. There are no excuses these days. Mobile phones and Instagram filters means that anyone can have great images.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

How to get the most out of meetings & make them productive & useful

Organisations, businesses and individuals need to have meetings.  Sometimes face to face is the only technique to build relationships with your peers gets things moving.

Why do you think so many people feel meetings are a waste of time?

  • Because they are generally not ran properly, they do not keep to time and nothing really gets actioned. 
  • People don’t turn up on time or have to leave early
  • Some people don’t respect the other participants which leads to problems
  • There are too many of them
What are the most common mistakes made in meetings?

  • Actions from meetings are not made accountable i.e. people think they can get away with not carrying out their agreed task and wait until the next meeting or a meeting after that to give a reason why.
  • Late to meetings.  Participants don’t realise that actions are actually taken and given without them.  If the meeting starts on time and is ran correctly then no one should ever be late.
  • Meetings starting late.  This is disrespectful to the participants
  • Don’t stay on track and move off the subject being discussed
  • Running over
  • Travel it takes to get to them not considered

What can be done to make meetings more productive and useful?

  • Agenda one week beforehand so people can be prepared
  • Minutes from the last meeting attached
  • Get things sorted outside the meeting.  Small details can be ironed out and sorted before a meeting so you only confirm what is to be actioned inside the meeting.
  • Only discuss a certain amount of points and keep to time and don’t run over
  • Only have the necessary people at the meeting

Can you give any personal examples of good and bad practice around meetings?

  • I have been involved in hundreds of meetings and one good practice that the late Dame Anita Roddick  had was to lock the meeting room door if people were late.
  • She would then proceed to give all the actions to that person.  No one was ever late to a meeting with Anita.  Her time was to precious anyway.
  • Where a meeting lasted 4 hours.  No one can sit there for 4 hours and concentrate.

What tips would you give for making meetings productive and relevant?

  • The first thing you must always do with a meeting is get someone to chair it/run it and someone to take actions Keep them short and to the point.  The meeting will be well managed  
  • Some actions can be taken offline before the meeting ensuring that only the really important things that need a big discussion by the group get air time.
  • Use technology to get things sorted quickly outside of meetings – WhatsApp groups, messenger to get group agreement before a meeting
  • Don’t have so many so things have to be carried out between meetings – 4 a year
  • Get actioned confirmed by email on a regular basis.  Trello is a great PM tool.  My company use it and it’s very effective at getting results