Fashion PR has a platter of idiosyncrasies in relationships that make it one of the most difficult PR niches – and that’s before you add bloggers to the mix. We already know blogs are one of the most cost-efficient, high-conversion ways to put products and brands in the public eye. But even after all this time, many PR professionals struggle to reach out to bloggers effectively.
I know this because I’m a fashion blogger myself – and as a marketing copywriter and former journalist, I’ve seen the best and worst of PR efforts across the board. I’ve had plenty of behind-the-scenes conversations with other bloggers about the epic fails of fashion PR. Here’s how not to be talked about as a bad brand and get the most out of the best blogs.
:: Treat blogs like every other publication.
You would never write to the editor of an independent magazine demanding that they create content for your website for free. You wouldn’t expect a newspaper to froth over your product without pointing out a single flaw. Yet, these sorts of things are expected of bloggers daily. Have some respect for creative workers, and they will respect you in return. This is the number one complaint I hear among fellow bloggers.
:: Pick bloggers who are either blogging full-time or working in fashion/marketing/media
The reality is some bloggers will burn you, but they tend to be the ones who don’t understand the pressures of PR and publishing deadlines. A journalist/publicist who blogs on the side is far more likely to give you great coverage on a short deadline than an accountant/engineer. Likewise, full-time bloggers have prioritised their content and are good at what they do and thus more trustworthy.
:: Personal style is personal
The best way to give the product to a blogger if you want them to wear it and blog about it is to give them a choice. What might look good to you won’t necessarily look good on that blogger, and it ends up being a lose-lose situation. If you let the blogger choose something that they love, your brand is more likely to be featured repeatedly, which means double, triple or quadruple the coverage for you.
:: Emails should be personal, too
Group emails are glaringly obvious and are always the first to enter the junk mail folder. Give the blogger an indication that you’ve read their blog – that way; they’ll be more confident that your product will fit in well. That doesn’t necessarily mean naming a specific post you liked; all you have to do is point out why your product will fit in that blog specifically.
Even saying something simple like “I’ve noticed you wear monochrome a lot”/”you’ve talked about loving draped fabrics”/”I want to partner with you because of your stance on sustainable fashion” will indicate that you understand the blogger. If you can’t take the time to read the publications of the people you’re reaching out to, their coverage probably isn’t worth your time either.
:: Bloggers want exclusive content
Just like with traditional publications, bloggers are more likely to offer you coverage if you reach out with an opportunity to publish something unique. These are simple to generate. It could be a 10-minute phone interview opportunity, an invitation behind the scenes at a photo shoot, or an offer to publish a lookbook before anybody else.
:: Don’t ask a blogger not to mention that a product was given
Not only is it offensive to dictate somebody else’s publication, but non-disclosure is also illegal in some countries. In Australia, it contradicts the national code of ethics set by the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, which most journalists and freelancers swear by. So don’t take it personally when a blogger says gifted products will be disclosed.
:: Don’t sign bloggers up to random mailing lists
I know I’m not the only blogger who constantly unsubscribe from databases publicists have put my address on. Some PR people think that we will give them coverage if they put our email addresses on their customer database. This will always have the opposite effect. It will make bloggers think and talk badly about your brand and block emails from your website. There is just no point.
:: Romancing bloggers takes more than just events.
An event like a brunch, shopping night or a small parade is a great way to meet bloggers and establish a relationship, but it’s just the start. Readers don’t generally care about events, so bloggers can’t cover everything you invite them to. If you must put on repetitive events, then offer the blogger an exclusive angle or take them behind the scenes because they will not offer the readers repetitive coverage.
Once you learn to foster a relationship with them, bloggers can be some of your most rewarding contacts. The only people more loyal and passionate than them are their readers. Picking the right ones can be like dancing on a tightrope, but what they offer you at a relatively low cost is too important to ignore. Just remember to read their blog before you reach out.