Why is it important to know how to write a review for a PR company?
This post is for bloggers who want to learn how to work more with PR companies for their blog. If that is not one of your blogging goals, the advice here probably isn’t for you.
There’s many different reasons people choose to blog. For me, I chose to write Sunny in London from a publicity perspective. The name not only reflects my Florida childhood and move to London but also represents my brand. It’s not ‘Critic in London’, ‘Miserable in London’ or ‘Complaining in London.’
The material published on this blog promotes events, food, restaurants, attractions, products and experiences. On purpose.
If you’re a blogger whose brand is built on mostly sharing your life experiences, then working with PR companies might not be a big concern for you.
What you need to understand and accept when working from an angle like I have chosen is- these representatives are looking for promotion. Negative doesn’t work.
I’ve put together a step-by-step guide for those who are interested in boosting their connections with PR agencies and brands. Again, it’s not for every blogger. But, since I’m frequently asked by other bloggers to share advice on how to boost brand connections, I thought presenting a guide based on the strategies that work for me would be useful.
There’s two different ways to work with brands. They either contact you or you contact them. For the first part of this series, we’re looking at the initial steps of what to do when a PR company contacts you for coverage.
How to Write a Review for a PR Company as a Blogger: The Invitation
Foremost, to have integrity, you must have a selection process behind the screen. For the past few months, I feel like I’ve declined twice as many invitations as I’ve accepted. Why? They weren’t a good match for what I think Sunny in London readers would like and weren’t activities or products I felt I could endorse.
Some of the most interesting conversations I’ve had with bloggers involve the topic of how to choose from invitations and how to get the right ones that match a blogger’s brand and personal blogging goals.
Step 1: Timeline
– Decide if it’s possible in your blogging schedule to produce a review within a week of the event or receiving the product. That’s always the time frame I use. You may need longer if it’s something that needs a lengthier assessment (perhaps a fitness program or weight loss system). PR companies prefer to see results fast. Staying within this timeframe means they would be more likely to contact you again either for the same brand or others, assuming all else goes well.
– Make sure this feature doesn’t conflict with any other plans you have for your blog.
Step 2: Research
– Research the brand and past coverage. For restaurants or afternoon teas, generally I google them to see what surfaces. I don’t read the reviews from other bloggers because I don’t want it to affect my angle, if I choose to pursue the invitation. I’m sure other bloggers will disagree with this, but it’s the approach I take. Learn as much as you can about what the brand or venue is doing.
– If you decide this specific product or venue isn’t for you, look at the PR company’s list of clients to see if perhaps there’s a better match between your blog and the other brands they represent. If so, respond with a counter offer (which is well researched) about their other client(s) and what you would like to promote for them.
Step 3: Clarify
– After researching the brand’s website and deciding you would like to move forward, respond to the invitation and ask what the brand is seeking to promote. That’s another deciding factor for me. Again, I consider if what they are seeking is something I feel I would experience based on my preliminary research.
– Asking this question shows them that you’re not a blogger who just wants free stuff. It communicates that you appreciate their reason for blogger outreach.
Step 4: Social Media
– Make sure you clarify what’s expected. Are they just seeking social media coverage? One blog post? Two posts? I once had a brand indicate they would offer 5-6 bloggers a ‘tasting menu’ of their holiday selections. They wanted two posts per blogger based on this experience. Clearly, they didn’t understand the time commitment involved in attending an event and writing a blog post, much less two. I declined coordinating the blogger outreach any further.
– Consider advance promotion. This one is tricky. Since you may receive several offers for events that are on the same night, you might not want to publish any tweets or Facebook updates prior to attending. Also, you never know if the experience will be what you anticipated. I’ve been surprised a few times. Carefully craft your tweets or other promotional material with these possibilities in mind.
How to Write a Review for a PR Company as a Blogger: Final Thoughts
Those are the initial steps I take when a PR company representative contacts me to promote their client.
In this series, we’ll also take a look at how to write a pitch letter to a company and what to do during the actual experience. Finally, I’ll share the steps I take when writing the review for my blog.
If this has been helpful to you, please share it on your social networks. Also, be sure to include advice you have for those who receive invitations for coverage from PR companies in the comments below.