Bloggers: Dos and don’ts of relationships with PR people

Posted on May 1, 2011

Photo by Marlon Hammes via Flickr Creative Commons

As interest in your blog grows and your readership base begins to explode, the number of PR folks contacting you also grows. At first, you may be flattered at the attention and then as more PR people hear about your blog, the number of emails from these new “friends” can become overwhelming.

Your first reaction might be to automatically hit the delete button, and for many of those e-mails, hitting the delete button is the right move. But in that stack of emails there will be some that are right up your alley, in fact, exactly what you need to help boast your readership even further. A good relationship between a PR professional and a blogger is one that works for both of you. Ideally, they aren’t spamming the blogger universe but are offering information or products that can help you.

Since there are two sides of building a relationship with a PR person, here are some Do’s and Don’ts for bloggers to consider:

Do:

  • Delete e-mail pitches that are clearly a mass mailing and aren’t even close to hitting your topic areas.
  • Consider the ones that match your blog and your interests. If their idea for a blog post isn’t perfect but has some merit, think about building upon their idea to make it more of your own.
  • Respond back to the e-mails that interest you promptly while the idea is fresh and before other bloggers cover the news long before you do.
  • Ask for more information or an opportunity to interview one of their experts which can give you content that no one else will have.
  • Reply to PR people who have a good pitch that won’t work for you right now but is clearly something that you would be interested in. You can start to build a relationship with them where they begin to feed you’re the exact content that you need and before other bloggers get that information.
  • File away emails from PR people that may help you in the future. You might not be writing about that particular topic today, but that PR person could be a valuable resource for a future blog post.

Don’t:

  • Stop communicating after you have shown initial interest. You don’t want PR people to pester you, yet if you keep them hanging they will be forced to send you more follow-up emails than you want to receive.
  • Stall on a committed exclusive. While exclusive opportunities aren’t that common these days, if you do commit to a PR person to cover a product or topic on an exclusive basis, follow through with a timely post. If you wait too long to post, you place the PR person in an awkward situation. They don’t want to pester you about posting, but at the same time they could be reaching out to someone who will post. If you can’t post within a timely fashion, tell the PR person that you will need to pass on this one but would consider another exclusive opportunity when you have the time to devote to it.

If you follow these simple pointers, you will begin building relationships that work for you and help to build stronger, timely content for your blog.

What’s your experience been like when working with bloggers or PRs?

Ursula Herrick is the president of Herrick Media, a boutique PR agency focused on media relations and social media marketing.

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