One of the most frustrating parts of being a blogger in India is dealing with brands/ people/ professionals who have no clue how to really work with Bloggers. I have to say, we as bloggers aren’t too great at working on this side either and there is definitely a lot to learn in terms of how to really make your blog sustainable . While I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best PR firms in the market (Tandem who handles Mac is fabulous, the guys at PR Pundit are great, and so are the PR firms for Shiseido and Chambor), I also have had the misfortune of dealing with the not so great ones.
Tips for Brands who want to promote themselves on Blogs
– Please always address our emails using our name. It is common courtesy, and frankly we will never even open a mail saying “Dear Blogger”. That is like me responding saying “Dear PR Person”.
– Please understand that bloggers are flooded with close to 120 emails daily without staff to answer them, and it is possible for yours to be missed out (specially since most bloggers have full time jobs). Please be patient, and if you really want to touch base and understand why your email has not been responded to, give it atleast 3 days …A whatsapp or message on the day you emailed is a good way to remind us – without a direct call
– If you want completely free publicity, you will get it from blogs who don’t garner that much traffic. Any high quality , self sufficient blog charges a nominal amount for some sort of sponsored content (Eg: Reviews are never sponsored, but giveaways, etc might be)
– Speaking of giveaways, our traffic is worth much more than a 500Rs discount coupon at your site, so please dont insult us by bringing up things like this.
– If you have given a product to a blogger for review, be prepared that the outcome might be negative. Otherwise, don’t give the product. I have had PR people write in a note to me that they were ‘dissapointed’ to see a not so great review considering they gave me so many products. Im sorry, the last time I checked I wasn’t the one asking for those products.
– Please PAY bloggers on time. I have had the WORST experience with Vogue Eyewear (A brand I will never work with again). I had the trust in them to put up their so called competition before they paid me, but after that not only did they not get back to me about winners they still haven’t paid me after a year. It puts my credibility on the line when my readers enter a contest whose winners are never announced (FYI- Elie Saab winners coming up right away ..lol!)
-Please dont express shock saying “Oh yr a paid blog”. What does that even mean? Bloggers are supposed to live on air and water while you can charge whatever you want to for your product? We do not charge for reviews or 90% of the content. Some bloggers internationally even charge just to appear at events, so trust me what we ask for in India is completely small.
– Please have some sort of understanding what my blog is about before approaching me. I will not write about the latest plywood or about Sachin Tendulkars book launch for obvious reasons.
– Be nice to new bloggers with limited traffic as well: Case in point- OPI once threatened to sue temptalia when she did a post review about OPI polishes back in 2010. Temptalia was a nobody then, right now she is the #1 beauty blog in probably the world, and after that incident has stopped featuring OPI on her blog.
Tips for Bloggers to engage with Brands
– Value your traffic: The brand is not doing you a favour by giving a free toothpaste to your readers. So please relax, unless there is a brand who you absolutely idolise, please value what you get in return from them.
– Value relationships: There will be PR People, Brands, professionals who will take time out to listen to you, or who will work with you even when you are a nobody. Remember those names and pay them back when you do become a somebody .
– Say no to freebies: I was speaking to this corporate guy the other day who was telling me about how every marketing guy in a brand knows that bloggers in India just don’t know how to run blogs. They joke about how internationally, every single blogger would charge for a sponsored story but in India we get happy with a gift coupon and they use it to their advantage. So there. Say no to ridiculous freebies, they are not worth it.
– Do not get swayed by a brand name while reviewing a product: It is perfectly acceptable if there are 100% positive reviews in the market, and yours is the only bad one. Beauty is a personal thing, if only 1 opinion counted there wouldn;t be so many beauty blogs right. It is completely fine that you found a cream that costed 5000 rs worthy of a ‘C” , even if it was given to you for free.
-Treat bloggers like co-workers not competition:Think of bloggers like colleagues- there will always be healthy competition, but the minute you try and cut some people out and start thinking – oh i wont give a link to her blog, or what if my readers go her way, you can rest assured you will be done . Those other bloggers may have blogs eventually that become more succesful than yours. Stay on their good side plus its a great networking opportunity. Have a question about how much to charge, how to go about doing something. Reach out to other bloggers. While some will not reply back with these kind of answers, some are pretty open.
-Respond to emails in a timely manner, do posts as committed to the brand on time : This is something I need to learn to, I am invariably lagging behind committed posts. But the more professional we become, the more professionally we are treated. So there
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