Blog: An influencer behind the lines in PR
Lottie is our new digital graduate. She has just finished a Masters degree in Creative Writing and runs her own successful blog, Lottie’s Kitchen (www.lottieskitchen.co.uk). Here she gives us her thoughts on the influencer/PR relationship, having now experienced both positions. According to Lottie, there is only one thing that is paramount to building a successful relationship.
How long does it take for a PR company to send out a blanket email starting ‘Dear Blogger…’. Five minutes? Ten if you’re being generous, or the typist is missing a couple of fingers. Then there’s the question of how many influencers reply to a ‘Dear Blogger’ email. I’m guessing anyone who has been in the game for more than three months deletes such an impersonal email without even reading the second line. Perhaps a couple of bloggers reply, but they are probably replying to everything, their metaphorical hands outstretched in the hope to catch some kind of collaboration with someone. Anyone. And whilst eagerness is good, this accept-all policy is not conducive to building a rewarding working relationship. If an influencer replies ‘yes’ to an offhand ‘Dear Blogger’ email, what else do they say yes to? And how much can they care about the product?
As a blogger, I learned to say ‘no’ very quickly. Giants in the field, including Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere, stress how they’re ‘extremely selective’ and ‘only partner with companies that are a natural fit’. Dire warnings and somber advice like this echoes across the blogosphere: if you spam your blog with shallow, counterfeit reviews your audience will wander off in search of more genuine climes. And this is true – insincere or irrelevant reviews are lackluster, lifeless and are certain to leave any reader disappointed. And the reader is of the utmost importance to the PR and the influencer. It is the readers who generate conversation.
So consider how long it would take to research and email ten appropriate influencers. An hour? Two, perhaps? That’s notably longer than ten minutes, but the ensuing results can be far more valuable. And this is what you need to know about working with influencers. Common ground is key. It is this common ground that is paramount to building a successful PR/influencer relationship. A genuine interest in an influencer’s content and the potential relationship it can have with the product engendered by 20 minutes of research is essential to building a relationship that works. Additionally, this research will indicate whether the influencer is a good fit for the product, or future products. A good fit is invaluable and not to be underestimated. The better the fit, the better the content. Indeed, influencers are looking for the best result for their platforms, too. They, like PRs, are working to generate positive conversation.
So getting to know your influencer will also often result in higher quality content production. A carefully curated relationship is in the interest of both the PR and the influencer. Knowledge, from an influencer’s content to simply their name, can determine any mutual interests and a shared goal for a successful campaign.
Now I’m behind the lines in PR, I’m looking forward to reaching out to fellow bloggers and to start forming relationships I think will work based on my experiences behind the blogger’s laptop. I’m eager to start putting in the research and finding the perfect influencers for the campaigns I’ll be running. It’s worth noting that making successful liaisons do not only come from being on the receiving end of ‘Dear Blogger’ emails. It is a quality attributed to many who work in PR, whose business is building successful relationships. However as a fledgling PR professional, my experiences as influencer have allowed me to get ahead of the game and get onside with my fellow influencers.
Take it from a blogger, if you really want an influencer to get on board with a product, do your research and find that crucial common ground. Whether it’s based on similar content, a mutual obsession with artisanal pastries or a shared dismay at season five Game of Thrones finale, find it, use it and watch your campaign thrive.