Today I’m so, so excited to introduce you to Julie Meyers Pron, who runs VlogMom and Julieverse. She’s a PR professional who’s gonna give you a behind-the-scenes look at what PR and Marketing people are looking for on your blog. I just about squealed out loud when I received her post and it’s just that awesome.
Many bloggers call themselves “PR Friendly.” You’ll see the term in their headers and on their sidebars, announcing themselves as the bloggers that Public Relations professionals and marketers will want to work with. But is a PR agent truly looking for that? I asked brand marketers what the term “PR Friendly” means to them.
“Seeing PR Friendly on a blog means nothing at this point in time. It’s the hot buzz word and everyone adds it to their about me/home page because they see others doing it.”
“This wording doesn’t mean anything to me either, actually for some reason it turns me off. If I find a blogger I’m interested in working with, I’ll reach out to them directly. I figure most blogs are PR friendly, but if not I’ll find that out when I contact them.”
“I assume PR Friendly means they have their hand out for freebies (and probably aren’t very sophisticated bloggers). Most of the bloggers I work with regularly instead include media kits or thorough About Me pages which would lead a PR person to a contact form.”
“To me it means that they are more of a review blogger.”
“I think that it’s a signal that they don’t have a discerning eye for what a PR person sends to them.”
With five brand marketers in agreement, the question bloggers should be asking is what are brand marketers and Public Relations executives looking for when they look at your blog?
Brand Marketers Want to Know You
Brand marketers want to know more about who you are. If they’re going to recommend you to their client, they need more information than they’ll find in your five latest posts. For nearly every campaign I’ve run I’ve looked at bloggers’ About pages to get a bit more information about the blogger. Make sure your About page includes your personality, your interests and your background, as well as information about your blog. (Melissa offers fabulous About page critiques.) As suggested in the comments, above, it’s not a bad idea to have a Media Kit available on your site.
If there’s one thing that drives marketers crazy, it’s when they fall in love with a webapge and can’t find a way to easily contact you. Make your contact information so easy for them to locate that they have no excuse not to contact you, and do that by including your email address several times on your page.
I made the mistake of having just an envelope icon on my webpage when I shared this suggestion on my website, and I was slammed with criticism–bloggers telling me I should practice what I preach because I didn’t list my email address. Well, I did. In that envelope and on my “work with me” page. But I didn’t shout out “CONTACT ME” and that, truly, is what people need to see. So, go ahead, make CONTACT ME a header and list your contact information on your about page and any PR pages you host on your site.
A Word about Contact Forms
Contact forms look wonderful. And they are easy to use, especially for you because they follow your format. But keep in mind that brand representatives are often making long spreadsheet lists of information about bloggers they’d like to propose to work with. An embedded contact form won’t fit on a spreadsheet and won’t copy into a blind cc email. Feel free to keep your form, but offer an alternative email address above the form on your page.
This is bound to raise eyebrows for many bloggers. When marketers pull together a list of bloggers to recommend to a client, they want to recommend a name–your name. Your full name. It’s much easier for a blue suit in corporate America to understand that she’s contracting to work with Julie Meyers Pron and Melissa Culbertson than Julieverse and MomComm. A name makes you a person. A blogger should be a person. Still not sure? Consider what Carol Schiller, Social Media director at Cozi, shared with me:
“I can’t tell you how many times I have decided not to contact a blogger because I didn’t want to write Dear ‘Name of Your Blog’.
Not convinced? Look around at the websites you consider to be the “top bloggers” who work best with PR companies. List twenty of them. Then check through to see if they include their names. I’m betting 95% of your 20 top bloggers include their full names. (While you’re looking at their sites, peek around and look for other things in common. They’re doing a lot of something right, and should be role models to the rest of us.)
Your Location and Information about Your Family
I’m not telling you to give it all away. No where on your blog should you list that you live at 123 Sesame Street, YourTown, ZK 01234. But you should list your nearest local town or the region in which you live. For example: Greater Philadelphia Region, Baltimore Suburbs, Los Angeles, or Rural Kentucky. Brand Marketers often have demographics to fulfill when pulling together a campaign and they’ll want to include bloggers in or around specific towns and states.
Additionally, some campaigns will target parents with children in specific age ranges or the campaign will be gender-specific. For this reason, it’s recommended that you include a family picture or basic information about your children.
Adapting pseudonyms for your kids is fine (mine are the very uncreative Big, Middle and Little, while another blogger calls her three kids Peanut, Pumpkin and Purple Pea) what’s more important than their names is that the marketer will have an easy understanding of the kids and their age range.
Afterall, if you’re a mom of 12-year-old boy twins, chances are you aren’t likely to join an American Girl Tea Party with your daughter and probably don’t want an invitation in your inbox. (However, if you do accept guest posts and queries that you’ll forward to your writers, make sure to include that in your About or Work with Me area of your site.)
And for those of you who are non-parents, tell a bit about you. Obviously, you have a blog and interesting things to share that will attract certain brands to you. Identify them, making it easy for brand marketers to get to know exactly who you are.
Just because your site says “PR friendly” doesn’t mean that you are. Your site design should be easy to navigate and easy on the eyes. And your response to emails, tweets, and any other forms of communication should always bear in mind that you represent you, 24/7. (Ironically, I originally typed 23/7 and needed to edit. I suppose that hour in your bed each night you can be unfriendly if you so choose.) If you’re having a rough day or feeling stressed, turn off the email and don’t respond until the next day. With a clear head, you’ll represent yourself as you know you should, and you’ll be better thought of than a rough response would.
You only have one opportunity to make a first impression. Use that opportunity wisely.
For more tips for bloggers on blogging and social media, see my post: Dear Bloggers, Please…
Julie Meyers Pron has been called a “Momcyclopedia” and a “real life Google.” A mom to three, wife, educator, marketer, cheerleader, budding organizer, and me-time enthusiast, Julie shares her knowledge, lifestyle tips, business-savvy suggestions and real life stories helping you to parent confidently while remaining your stylish self. Founder, owner and producer of #VlogMom and lead-everything at Julieverse, Julie has been working in Social Media since her marketing agency-boss shook his head and told her “you’ll never buy pizza from a webpage” in 1997. (She left that job about 2 weeks later.) In addition to parenting, education and lifestyle suggestions for moms, Julie includes Social Media tips regularly on her blog. Follow her on twitter and YouTube, and, go ahead, “like” her facebook page.