As part of our series on improving your blog, this week we focus on monetizing your blog. What better place to get information on how to set up your blog to make it attractive to PR’s than from a successful PR? Here we interview Kerry Jean Lister, Social Campaign Director for Doco.
BritMums: As a busy PR with a lot of clients and very little time, how do you choose which bloggers to contact?
Kerry: We have been working with bloggers for a long time so have an existing database of contacts that we know are reliable and provide great content. When researching new bloggers to work with we will always thoroughly read their blogs, follow them on Twitter to observe how they engage with others and check out any other channels they may have such as YouTube or Google+.
BritMums: Interesting that you look well beyond the blog! I know many bloggers put a lot of effort into raising their place on ranking lists or increasing their Klout scores–do you consider Klout scores, numbers of followers, ranking on networks or an index, Page Rank, or any of the other charts or scores out there?
Kerry: We consider all of them bar ranking lists but I don’t put too much onus on any particular one. We aren’t ‘stat’ queens here at Doco. A well written, engaging blog may only be a few months old and not have built up the readership of one of the more established bloggers but that’s not to say they won’t.
I will occasionally refer back to Wikio but I don’t really follow any of the ranking lists. I’m not a big fan of them to be honest!
BritMums: Do you ever look at the comments section of blogs to find new bloggers to contact?
Kerry: All the time! I will also look at people who are reTweeting/commenting on Facebook about blogposts. There’s a fantastic community out there that you can tap into if you know how!
BritMums: Do you ever find bloggers on Twitter?
Kerry: Absolutely! Twitter is a fantastic crowd-sourcing tool.
BritMums: When looking at a blog as a representative of a brand, is there anything that you really like?
Kerry: I love a good storyteller – some people have a fantastic ability to turn a natural everyday story into the funniest thing you’ll read all week. I also like bloggers who have the ability to weave reviews into their blogs without it becoming too spammy. It’s not an easy thing to do.
BritMums: Is there anything on a blog that will make you click away and not contact the blogger?
Kerry: Review, review, review, review, review! I know this probably sounds hypocritical given what I do for a living but it really is such a turn off. Also bad spelling and grammar. And also – if I’m reading a blog with my client head on – foul language and controversial posts that cause upset/offence/general bitchiness. I’m pretty good at weeding out the passive aggressive ones too 😉
BritMums: When a blogger writes a sponsored post they should fully disclose that the post has been paid for. Is there a way you prefer the blogger to say this?
Kerry: Be as transparent as possible – tell people you’ve been paid to write, but that you wouldn’t be writing about it if it wasn’t relevant for your readers. I also like the idea of using images – CMP.LY have a basic set and I LOVE the ones by Louis Gray.
BritMums: Some bloggers get really irritated with PRs who send out a request that shows the PR has not read the blog. Is there a good reply for these bloggers or should they just delete the email without replying? If people are serious about monetising, is it actually better to reply politely to all emails, in case the PR thinks of them for another campaign?
Kerry: I must admit that if a PR hasn’t made the time to read and research a blog thoroughly before contacting the blogger then the blogger in question is well within their rights to delete the email without responding. This is the only time I would sanction it actually! I know some of the bigger blogs are inundated with PR requests and if they had to spend time responding to each one sent in error they’d be there all week. I wouldn’t want to deal with a PR who hadn’t done their research – simple as that.
However, if I’m contacting you offering something that could be relevant, but that you’re just not interested in, then that’s the time to respond with a polite ‘thanks but no thanks’.
Sending nappy products/press releases to mums with teens is possibly the biggest #PRFAIL in the book! 🙂
BritMums: If someone wants to submit a novel to an editor, there are usually ‘submission guidelines’ the author must follow. This makes the editors’ jobs a lot easier because most people who submit will stick to those guidelines. Do you think it would be helpful to both PRs and bloggers if bloggers who wanted to monetise had a similar guideline for PR’s to follow, perhaps as part of their media pack?
Kerry: I think that’s a very personal thing. I like to think blogging will continue to grow organically and many will find a natural way to monetize their blog if that is what they want to do. I fear submission guidelines may take the personal, one-on-one feeling of a blog and make it feel too corporate. I understand that some people make a living from their blog but remember the USP of a blog is simple – it’s YOU. Your writing, your personality. There is no ‘one size fits all’ and I think each blogger needs to think about what works for them in each instance. An engaging, friendly email from a PR may work for some, a submission form with set parameters may work for others. It’s the beauty of blogging!
BritMums: Do you have any other tips for BritMums bloggers that would make your life easier when contacting blogs you’re interested in working with?
Kerry: My biggest message to any blogger is this: only review things you genuinely love/need/want. Because we PRs will really need you to blog/Tweet about it in an engaging way that shows how much you love our brand/product. I have had many bloggers come back to me and say ‘thanks for thinking of me but it’s not really something I’m interested in’ and I have a lot of respect for them. It’s not easy turning down free stuff!
Now over to you BritMums readers… Kerry will be checking in here this week so if you have any questions you’d love to ask a helpful PR professional, here’s your chance! Just leave your question in the comments below.
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