OK bitches. This is where I jump in a virtual rocking chair, grab a blanket and sit you mad ass mofos down, Granny style and impart my hard earned words of bloggy wisdom.
You are welcome.
Its the summer holidays, always a time when blog folk get bored and caught up with looking after our children ‘cos them god damn pesky and frankly inconsiderate teachers bugger off for six weeks down the pub. The bastards.
Its also a time when clearly the heat (or in this case, widespread rain and gales) makes us all go a little bit stir crazy.
Such is the norm in this situation, bloggers be bitching at other bloggers, then other bloggers join in on either side and it all kicks off, with me in the middle requesting peace and using words like shizzle in a vague and futile attempt to make everyone laugh and thus stop acting like nutters.
Today, one blogger in a rather ill advised newbie error, decided that, as it was her birthday next week, she would tie this in with brands.
Now, if she’d done this via email, I’d have to give Brownie points and think “why didn’t I think of this?”.
But she didn’t, and in a move not wholly uncommon for new folk, she used the much maligned #PRRequest hashtag on twitter, several times to every brand in the known universe (or so it felt).
This does have the effect of finger nails down a blackboard to some bloggers. Not to me personally, I don’t really hate on anyone who tries to get themselves out there to brands when there are flipping shitloads of bloggers these days. However, annoy people she did, and faced a backlash from some who didn’t decide to @ her in their bitchie comments.
Someone did though, publicly, finger waggling for her publicly contacting so many brands. It gives us a bad name she said.
Yes, it probably does. But there is a certain irony, not lost on me, for publicly bemoaning someone for publicly begging companies to work with them.
So, how do you go about approaching brands with a cracking tie in idea without causing the sort of multi platform social media shit storm that happened over these two and their tweets and Facebook passive aggressiveness?
Well, the best way is not to carpet bomb twitter.
The thing is, you can, and I have done myself, say hello to a brand on Twitter, have a little social chat, then say, “oh, are you looking to work with anyone at the moment?”
In fact, I would suggest that, if you put the work in and play the long game, you can happily build up a rapport with a brand are/or PR firm or individual and end up working with them. If you do chat with them, they will no doubt have a look at your Twitter bio, and they’ll know you’re a blogger. That way, if you are a friendly soul who sparks up a nice little chat routine with them, they’ll hopefully think of you when they are putting together a list for their next round of outreach.
If you aren’t in it for the long haul, or have a deadline to meet, say with Back to School or Christmas, then the best way to contact your desired brands is to make a list.
Once you’ve got your list, you need to fire up Google, and do your research. Attack it like you did your GCSEs.
This will take a while, but you now need to go to each of the brands, and scroll down the page, right to the small print.
Most brand’s websites will have a small Contact link, or, even better, one which says Press.
This is where you have to forget you are a lowly blog (cos we aren’t lowly. We rock) and click that press link. If the contact us link is there instead, you need to click it and find press inquiries instead. Take down the email.
I find with carpet emailing, the best bet is to write a standard email which I can insert the name of the contact in and the brand I want to work with. I also add my important stats, or my media pack with these in.
Do not be graspy, do not act like you are the best thing since sliced bread, but do say what you feel you can do for them and their brand. Explain that you can test an item out and will then insert a link to their chosen brand page, and that posts are then put out on all your social media channels. Got an instagram page? Make it known that you can show what you are currently testing and of course @ their instagram page.
You have to bear in mind that these people get lots of approaches, so you kind of have to sell yourself but without sounding too up yourself.
If you don’t get a reply, move on, try again next year. DO NOT DRIVE THEM CRAZY on Twitter. They will think you are nuts and they still, definitely will not work with you.
Most importantly, work on your blog, work on your social media output and gain a following first, If your blog is basically two three paragraph posts, and your twitter follower list is nearing on empty, that is not the time to hit up companies to work with you.
If you have a less than great DA (DA, this years PR for annoyance and smugness in equal measures and sure to be replaced by something else as before), but a good twitter following, mention that.
So, to recap, do not carpet bomb twitter in an epic style which will do nothing but offend.
Do build up relationships with brand, PRs, and other bloggers.
Do work on your blogging and social media output first.
And for Gods sake, please don’t be bitching at each other and causing fuckwittery. We were all new once upon a time and we all make epic faux pas. Just take it to private message, even if you have to ask said blogger to follow you first.
Elsewise your point about “making bloggers look bad via overuse of the PR hashtag” will result in “making bloggers look bad by causing epic who said what, she did this” anger and side taking. Which makes us look even worse.
And if you’d like any tips, send me a Tweet 🙂