Guess what? It’s Wednesday so that means it’s another Wittering Wednesday… I have said in the previous posts (here) I like to write and I hope you guys like to read it but I know that beauty review after beauty review may get a little monotonous. I want to point out that whatever ‘topic’ it is they will be my views, thoughts and opinions, I am open to any kind of discussion about these in the comments so feel free to leave your thoughts and experiences. Shall we get on with it then?Yet again I am skiving from the WW posts and letting an amazing writer and all round good egg take over; the gorgeous London blogger Laura who writes for Six Out of Ten Magazine, which I might add is one of my favourite online reads, so you NEED to go check it out. Anyway, here is Laura’s amazing post.
Doesn’t everyone want to work in PR? I’d wager more people want to work in public relations than as a magazine journalist now. The glamour, the champagne, the five star restaurants, arranging press trips, and hobnobbing with award-winning editors, it sounds dreamy doesn’t it? Wrong. Working in a PR agency is like working in sales. You have targets, you have restrictions, you have deadlines and strategy planning meetings, you have budgets and clients who know nothing about anything but expect all and everything, you have official working hours, and then actual working hours… in short it’s stressful. So what should bloggers know about how PR agencies work?
CLIENTS AND THEIR CRAZY EXPECTATIONS
There’s a weird relationship between a client and the agency. For a start, each PR manager will be handing 2-3 clients and sometimes more. They’ll be responsible for getting coverage, sorting out briefing meetings, relaying upcoming actions, and pestering the client for news and stories the press will be interested in. The fact of the matter is that a client’s priority is rarely a PR agency. They’ll ignore emails. The client will be unreasonable – they’ll want things done their way for some reason – and the PR will think their client is ridiculous for spending at least £3,000 on retainer while assuming the PR team has no clue what they’re doing.
What this means for bloggers: PR people are the middle men. You might think they’re rubbish for never replying to an opportunity, but half the time they’re acting out a client’s orders. If a client says no, it’s a no. Don’t shoot the messenger.
SELLING-IN AND PRESSURE TO PREFORM
Should they call a blogger? Should they email? Should they chase up that press release? Should they leave it? Each journalist and blogger wants to be contacted in different ways and each agency has someone at the helm with their own ideas about how it should be done.
For me, there’s nothing worse than waiting for an email when I know I could get an answer in three minutes if I called a journo. But as a blogger, every time I see a PR’s number on my phone I either don’t answer as I’m busy, or I do answer, have no idea who the agency is and what client they’re representing, and am in no way able to make a decision about anything.
What this means for bloggers: PRs are under a lot of pressure, and they find themselves in lose-lose situations weekly. If you really want to work with a particular agency, make their job easier and be accommodating. If you’re not interested, say no and they’ll move on to the next one.
STRATEGY AND WHY THEY SAY NO TO SOME BLOGGERS
Nothing is done on a whim. Every campaign has some form of strategy behind it. There are targets and objectives, and the client’s wishes and wants too. The client has key performance indicators (KPIs) which are what they’ll use to see how well a campaign is working and the PR wil need to help the client reach their targets. Each client has different way of wanting things done, and PR execs and managers are expected to work to their strategy. It takes a lot of time, and can rarely be altered.
What this means for bloggers: Don’t worry if you’re turned down for a sample, review or campaign. If you give the PR all they need to know about you and your blog, they’ll be more likely to consider you when you align with the next strategic plan.
BUDGETS, AND TRYING TO ALLOCATE FUNDS
PR agencies usually charge on a retainer basis. This means for a set fee, a client gets an allocated number of hours for press release creation, selling in, meetings, planning and strategy. Anything else, like samples and review costs need to be footed by the client. And sometimes a client wants a lot of bang for their buck. Not only are they spending thousands, but they want to ensure the additional budget they allocate is going to get them the most in terms of coverage. Is that £200 bar tab the PR gave to a midrange blogger going to give them good return on investment (ROI)?
What this means for bloggers: Bigger bloggers will be seen as a better investment. They have a bigger reach. Don’t worry if this is a reason why some may turn you down. Work at building a following and readership and highlight how amazing your engagement levels are.
CREATING BUZZ FOR THE CLIENTS
In the old days, people would use an actual ruler to measure the coverage they got in a newspaper and allocate an advertising equivalent to the feature. Basically, this translates to the amount a client would have to spend if they had paid for that space in the newspaper. But PRs really know it’s about engagement. Who cares how much an advert would have cost – would the client have ever entertained spending £30,000 for national coverage? No. So it’s become a really old-fashioned way of judging how good coverage is. A viral post however, means more.
What this means for bloggers: Always show how engaged your readers and followers are. This may well swing it for you when considering who to work with. Will you share socially, and will your readers leave 50 comments? That’s worth shouting about.
If you were contacted by a PR agency about a brand and months later want to take them up on the offer, don’t be surprised if the agency no longer works with them. Clients move on at the drop of a hat. And with new agencies forming every month, promising better value and new ways of working, it can be hard to keep track.
What this means for bloggers: If you want to work with a brand, keep following their achievements and their story – don’t worry too much about keeping up with a PR agency. You might well build a great relationship with a PR only for them to lose the client you want to connect with.
WHEN PR’S MOVE ONTO OTHER THINGS
There’s a lot of movement in the industry. Some PRs don’t very much like the industry after a while and will end up moving in-house or some will try their hand in another niche. When a PR moves onto the next role, they’ll take their contacts with them. A PR will want to work with bloggers they know help them towards their end goals. Especially when they move into a new job. It’s easy to impress a new employer and new clients if you get quick wins on a new campaign.
What this means for bloggers: Just because a PR works in one agency doesn’t mean they’ll stay there forever. Annoy a PR who them moves on to work with a brand you love, and you can guarantee there’s no way you’ll be able to feature them again. Be nice. It’s really that simple. Feature a client without asking for money or samples. Give away a little and you’ll get a lot back.
What would you love to know most about the day to day life of a PR? Ever fancied moving into the stressful world yourself?