Establishing a relationship, to any degree, with public relations firms or representatives can often make or break any blogger. If you’ve been blogging for some time, you’ve likely received a pitch that offered a free product coupon or other compensation far below what you normally accept or are willing to post for in exchange for your hard work. Saying what we’re sometimes thinking is not the way to maintain a relationship with a rep, but it’s vital to respond with respect and poise or you’ll destroy a good relationship, even before it begins.
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Why It’s Important
The great benefit to working with any single PR rep is that you have multiple companies and products at your disposal. While one of their clients may not be suited to your blog, they have an arsenal of others that might be ideal or could bring a good amount of traffic to your site. You never know what opportunities will come their way at a PR firm. If your response is a simple “I would never work for that [product/payment],” then you’ve closed yourself off to other opportunities by essentially blacklisting yourself.
What You Should Consider When Responding
Your goal with any response, whether you’re accepting an assignment or refusing, is to grow or maintain a relationship with that rep and, by extension, that firm and their brands. Keep yourself from being blacklisted. Instead of telling them no – for whatever reason – try responding by offering to help with their mission.
Thank you for offering me this opportunity but it’s not something we’re interested at this time. If you’d like, I’d be glad to share this with other bloggers for whom this opportunity may be a better fit.
Not only have you responded gracefully, but you’ve offered to help them accomplish their goal and it took no more time that it would have to simply refuse them. If they allow you to share, you can also build relationships with fellow bloggers by sharing with them an opportunity that might be a great fit for them.
Don’t Lose It
I recently had a fellow blogger propose the question about how they might respond to a pitch that, while the offer was for less than she was willing to work, offered the opportunity to work with a prestigious company. The advice I offered was to let them know how hard you’re willing to work for them, as you do all of the companies you partner with.
… we work hard to promote not only our posts, but the company, as well. The companies with which we’ve worked have been more than pleased with our honesty, our well-written and thought out posts and our promotion of their company and products.
We will often get paid for sponsored posts because of the time involved, or we keep the products we review in exchange for our time promoting the company. Thanks for the offer, but we’ll have to decline. If in the future you change your restrictions, please keep us in mind, as we’d love to work with you in the future!
It can be scary to offer a response like this; the rep will either thank you for your honesty and move on or offer you what you’re looking for. Just be clear about what your looking for, let them know what you’re willing to do for it and why it benefits them, and be honest and respectful. They’re doing their job, you are doing yours. Many times, when I’ve offered a response similar to this, I’ve gotten what I wanted. At the very least, it opened the correspondence to negotiation.
What Else You Should Know
If you’ve worked with PR reps for any length of time, you may have received one or a few emails informing you that they’re no longer with the firm. First, you should immediately introduce yourself to the person who’s taken their place, if they were kind enough to leave a forwarding email address in their auto-response. Most importantly, if you’ve conducted yourself well – whether you had a chance to work with them or not – they will likely keep you in mind as they move into their new position. Even better if their new position is as a PR rep at a bigger and better firm.
Another important point to remember is that you’re a business. You’re only worth what you believe you’re worth and if you don’t conduct yourself professionally, you’ve already reduced your value. Passing on an opportunity that isn’t right for you doesn’t mean you’re ‘missing out.’ It means that you’re more prepared for the next great opportunity. Every opportunity is just that – an opportunity. Take advantage of every opportunity and you’ll find yourself in good company, both with PR firms and with other bloggers.
About the Author
Dusty is the owner and editor of As Mom Sees It, a product review and family matters blog. She is the mother of two in Ohio and has maintained successful partnerships with companies like Nike, Kolcraft and Kingston Technology. She also assisted a well-known National publication with a product launch campaign. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and sign up for her emails.
This post was previously published on February 6, 2013 on my blogging blog. I’m closing that blog down and moving the content over here. Keep an eye on my Blogging tips category! Want to start a blog? Read my post about how to start a lifestyle blog.