Although I’m a food blogger by night, by day I work in PR and Social Media, representing both consumer and B2B brands. That means that when PRs get in touch, I know what they’re looking for from me… And also how much work they’ve put into forging a relationship. It’s nice to sit on both sides of the divide!
As a general rule, when a PR contacts me, I’m up front about what I will and won’t do. On my contact page I’ve included a few terms and conditions staying that I don’t accept sponsored posts or guests posts. I’ve also included my policy on reviewing products – they have to be relevant and interesting and, if a brand really wants me to review their products, they need to set me a challenge.
Being a nice blogger
What journalists and bloggers sometimes forget is that PR people are your friends. They provide you interesting content, the opportunity to try amazing products and an education in something new! Believe me when I say that the majority of PRs will think very carefully about contacting you and work hard to develop content you’re interested in.
One of my biggest pet hates is mean bloggers. They receive an email from a PR, stick their nose up at it and head on over to Twitter to rant about it, publicly. The PR who sent it could well see that post – and it could upset them. If you think a PR could have approached you better, drop them a note. If you’re not interested, politely decline. PR people have feelings too!
Take the moral high ground
So, you’ve blogged about cakes and against fad diets – you preach ‘all things in moderation’, then a diet product/brand offers you a freebie and you throw caution to the wind and go against everything you’ve ever talked about. Not good.
When choosing PR pitches to follow up, be incredibly selective. Set out some guidelines and stick to them. A well know sweetener brand offered me their product to review – and I said no, because I love sugar and alternatives can give you cancer – I’m not willing to endorse that.
People will read your blog because they respect your opinion – that’s why you should always take the moral high ground never compromise on it for the sake of a freebie – you could risk your readers losing respect for you.
Always say how you acquired a review product
By law you’re required to say how you came about owning/acquiring a product. Not only that, morally this is the right thing to do.
I’ve recently starting reviewing foods and products and I will always say where I got them from – if its a gadget/product I will always offer to return them. You don’t have to make it too official, simply say something like ‘the nice people at this brand sent me this’ or ‘look what arrived in the post from this brand today’ – just make sure you include where you go something from so your readers don’t feel mis-lead.
Don’t sell out
I could write a blog post everyday reviewing free stuff – but no-one would read it. Instead be really selective about what you review and keep PR influenced posts few and far between. Make sure that it is something that fits with the tone of your blog and that your readers will be interested – no one likes a sell out.
Are you a food blogger? What’s your top tip for working with brands and PRs?
Hayley Jayne xx