It seems simple. Make a blog, write some posts, get free stuff. Blogging is an unstoppable force in the twenty-tens, with the biggest personalities becoming celebrities in their own right. What’s more, unlike journalism, it requires no real training or qualifications and can be done by literally anyone with access to a computer and the internet. That doesn’t mean, however, it’s easy.
With outreach top of many of our clients lists, we’re always on the hunt for new bloggers and social personalities to work with across a huge range of products and organisations. However, we have extremely strict guidelines on who we work with and having a blog isn’t enough to guarantee work. What is it we actually look for, and how can you make sure you get the PRs pitching to work with you?
Without a doubt, quality is the most important thing any PR professional will be looking for in a blog or vlog. First off, it needs to look the part. If it’s a written blog, invest some time in its design and your photography - custom designs really stand out, but that doesn’t mean free options don’t look fantastic for those starting off.
The investment you put into your blog is precisely what you’ll get out - spending a small amount on proper hosting and site templates could be the difference between your blog performing well or it receiving no hits. In the same way, investing in lights and accessories for a good video set-up will make your vlog and photography look professional for relatively little cost. Similarly, do you have a media pack or statistics readily available? Do you have a process and timespan you promise to publish articles in? Spend time getting the key components ready - it makes a PR team’s job far easier and will always put you nearer the top for a potential job.
On written blogs, above all else, we’re looking for a good DA - that is domain authority - which is a way of understanding how well a website will rank on Google and a sign it’s well-written, trustworthy and of genuine interest to its readers. We’d go into the details of getting a better ranking but, in all honesty, the only way you can achieve this is hard work, good quality content and thorough promotion of what you produce. Which leads us onto the next thing we look for…
Your social media presence is pivotal in how successful your blog will be and how willing a brand will be to work with you. It’s not just handy in terms of how far your tweets reach, but it’s a good indicator of the quality of work produced and how people respond to what you publish.
You don’t need a huge voice on all channels, even just one can be enough to swing us (though two or three is normally preferable). Again, if you’re looking to turn your blog into a professional occupation or serious hobby, consider investing in Facebook or Twitter adverts. Keep in mind it should never be about promoting you as a person - it’s about promoting something you believe your target audience will find useful (for example a competition, tutorial or especially popular comment piece). This is the only way to grow your audience - people don’t want to follow others for the sake of it, they want you for your information and insights! Which brings us onto another point...
Don't do it simply for the freebies or money
We can’t stress this enough. We often get very new bloggers with a low DA and few followers approaching our biggest clients asking for freebies or for us to invest in a sponsored piece. This, first of all, shows us you don’t understand the importance of building your blog presence and secondly (more importantly) shows us your blog isn’t honest or trustworthy to its readers. You should work with brands because you trust their products and anything disingenuous will only turn readers away - we’ve heard it time after time in blogger talks that your audience often remember what you like better than you do. If you promote a product you don’t like or that doesn’t suit your audience, they’ll trust your insights less and will look for opinion elsewhere.
From beauty and lifestyle bloggers like Zoella to DIY and craft connoisseurs like A Beautiful Mess, the thing that makes any blog stand out - regardless of topic - is a genuine passion and interest in the topics it covers. Focus on what you’re passionate about and the offers (from the right brands) will come flooding in. It’s enthusiasm, knowledge and honesty that makes bloggers and brands a good match - pick the wrong relationship and it’s not beneficial for either party.
Be willing to prove yourself first
If you’re interested in genuine, long-term growth with PRs and brands, take your time. We find it incredibly important to build a relationship with anyone we work with and will often want to get to know your personality as much as your blog. If you get asked to do something small before the big piece and it’s someone you’re really interested in working with, do it. Think of the long-term benefit above anything else - if you prove yourself through smaller jobs, you’re more likely to make it to the top or receive justification for bigger work in the future. Above all, a PR is attracted to personality and perseverance - it’s a game of waiting, wanting and working hard. The secret to success - whatever you do!
If you’re a blogger interested in working with any of our clients, feel free to drop me a tweet at @SecretCelebrity.