How to work with bloggers

I’ve been in the blogging sphere for over three years now, my current project Kids Days Out Reviews being my latest project. I have seen PR approaches both bad and good, but one I’ve heard about through the parent blogging jungle drums has captured my interest, and not in a good way.

As a family travel blogger, I promote UK days out on my blog. Sometimes, I pay for the attraction myself or, in an increasing number of cases, the attraction send me a family ticket, both as an incentive to come, and as a thank you. Some of them also send goody bags, and food vouchers for on the day. Basically, there is a UK attraction group which I have contacted a couple of times with regard to ‘working with them’. The emails are being ignored, which is fair enough. I don’t reply to all emails I get if they don’t interest me, so I don’t see why they should be any different. 

So, this UK attraction has recently sent out random emails to other bloggers. They want bloggers to talk about them, run giveaways for them, and (hold your horses) maybe be in with a chance of getting free tickets for themselves and their families.

Wow! How lucky are we? We can do some blogging for free for a UK attraction – which is big enough to employ a full-time and marketing person – in exchange for the chance of maybe getting some tickets ourselves. Excuse me if I’m not sorry I’m not on your list (even though it’s one of the top family travel blogs in the UK and absolutely perfect for them).

If you have a product or service to promote and you’re thinking of working with bloggers, then this is what you need to consider…..

Bloggers (on the whole) blog for two reasons – a) because they enjoy it. It is a hobby. They like sharing things with others. They’re not going to promote you without at least having some first-hand experience of you or your products, or having some passion for what you are trying to achieve. Sorry, theme parks don’t spark that sort of passion in the same way that maybe a charity campaign does. Or b) because they earn a living from it. Promoting you for free kind of defeats this object, unless you run a very attractive affiliate scheme. You can’t blame the pro blogger for passing over your free work for something that pays.

That giveaways are not an attractive thing for established bloggers to do for nothing. Especially if it means someone can win a prize that they can’t have themselves unless they are one of the ‘lucky’ ones. New bloggers might do them for free to get some interest in their blog and boost their follower numbers, but they soon learn that compers don’t hang around too long, and sooner or later one of them will encounter a problem with a disgruntled comper which has the potential to warrant an investigation by some authority or other. I stopped running giveaways some time ago unless it’s a favour to a blogging buddy because I could see only risk and no reward.

If you’re too tight to send me a product to review, then I won’t be sharing it with my readers. I can’t recommend something I haven’t used. I can’t talk engagingly about your service if I haven’t experienced it. If you’re a theme park and you’re so full to capacity you can’t give a family ticket to me in exchange for a juicy backlink and exposure to my audience, then frankly, you don’t need my help. If you’re not full to capacity, then the ticket is akin to price-dumping. The ticket is costing you nothing, yet you gain a backlink and the exposure you want. Sorry it’s very bad PR to ask bloggers to spend their time doing something for you for free without even offering them the chance to use your services.

I think this week, I may be contacting the attraction and offering my blogger outreach services. Then again, maybe not!