Last week 130 PR people, brands, and bloggers gathered at Establishment in Sydney for a ‘meet up‘ hosted by Stellar* Concepts in partnership with iBlogFashion & Beauty. The aim of the night was for PRs to gain a better understanding of fashion and beauty bloggers and to encourage dialogue between the two. On the agenda was a panel discussion and Q&A with (from left to right below):
- Elise from Stuff That I Bought & The Nail File (@stuffthatibought)
- Sarah from BellaSugar Australia (@sarahmacrae)
- Helen from SASSYBELLA + IBlogFashion & Beauty (@sassybella / @iBlogBeautyAus / @iBlogFashionAus)
- Tania from Fashionising (@fashionising)
Having reflected on the event in the days since, I’ve been left with these thoughts…
Firstly, the 15 tips on blogger relations post I wrote last year rings true even though it was written with food bloggers in mind. If you’re after a short and practical guide to blogger outreach, check it out.
Secondly, blogger outreach comes back to two key factors:
RESEARCH: Take the time to get to know your target and you’ll reap the rewards. Shift your thinking about bloggers and challenge perceptions of the medium. Blogs are not a cheap and easy way to increase hits or reach and bloggers are not mouthpieces for PR messages. Drop this misconception and start thinking of bloggers as powerful partners in situations when you’ve got a brand match, content piece or experience. Think twice before you add bloggers to your media list if you’ve never had direct and personal contact with them. Have a read of Issue 1 of both iBlogFashion and iBlogBeauty. You’ll find a handy directory of bloggers with contact details, areas of interest and stats etc. which will assist your research and selection.
RELATIONSHIPS: Business is built on relationships; people like to do business with people they know, trust and like, however somewhere in the rush to produce results and be time efficient some of us have forgotten this. If you’d like to collaborate with bloggers, take the time to know them and build those relationships. Email or call to introduce yourself, grab a coffee, ask questions, pick their brains, learn about them and you’ll build your understanding of both the individual and the medium. Never be afraid to ask questions that you think might be silly.
Left to Right: Elise Phillips, Tania Braukamper, Renee Creer, Sarah Macrae and Helen Lee.
The following is also worth mentioning if you’re a PR professional:
- PRs should never assume fashion or beauty blogs are all the same – they’re not – and even the blogging communities that form around a category are all vastly different from each other. They all have unique norms, customs, networks, needs etc. so learn about them and respect the differences. In addition, provide them with unique content that appeals to their focus and reader base.
- In the beauty category in particularly, PR people need to distinguish between online publishers / web portals like BellaSugar, Adore Beauty, Primped, Beauty Heaven and beauty bloggers. Although the former use a blogging format they are inherently different to bloggers in many aspects, namely, they are paid to produce content (it’s their full time job), most are trained journalists, they abide by legal and ethical guidelines etc.
- PRs need to be mindful and savvy when selecting bloggers they wish to approach and collaborate with. There are blogs popping up all the time and not all bloggers have the same motives or moral compass. Some are truly passionate about blogging and have spent years building their reputation and readership base. In contrast, some see blogging as an easy way to get free product and event invites. Scrutinise the blogs you’re interested in and deal with credible, ethical, professional people that reflect the kind of brand or client you’re working with.
If you attended the meet up last week, what did learn or take away with you?
Big thanks everyone who came along; to our lovely panel (especially Tania who flew up from Melbourne); and to Fashion Hayley for the pics.
ps. I’m hosting a breakfast for the PRIA on blogger relations later this month, details here.
Posted by Renee Creer