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The Dos and Don’ts When Speaking to a Blogger

Speaking to a blogger isn’t a fine art, but it can go horribly wrong if you forget who you are talking to!

Blogger outreach has been one of those tricky tactics that PRs and SEOs mostly get wrong. They understand that bloggers are a very influential bunch and that they are slowly taking over magazine readership figures. What most PRs seem to easily forget is that the reason why bloggers and internet figures are so influential is because they are highly opinionated individuals who enjoy disseminating their personal views!

This means that you cannot buy them with advertising, a fancy lunch or (even worse) flattery. Bloggers, like any professional, want to be respected in the same way that you want to be respected in your field.

I have worked with bloggers for most of my PR career, and I know there are certain bugbears that bloggers are instantly put off by. I reached out to a few blogger friends on Twitter, asking them what they would recommend to a PR who is dabbling with blogger outreach. These fantastic bloggers (ok, a little bit of flattering might work) came back with these gems:

Do keep communication consistent


Chloe Borderick from Nine Grand Student tells of the one time a PR contacted her, asked her for her address and then never got back to her. This is common practice with PRs. They outreach to a number of bloggers, casting the net far and wide, and then, when bloggers reply, PRs do not repay the favour. This could be because the PR received too many replies, or got a response from a blogger on their gold list. Whatever the reason, PRs need to make sure their communication is consistent and that their outreach is targeted.

Do not send an email to every blogger on your list – offering reviews, invites or giveaways if don’t intend to follow through with your offer. Rather target the relevant bloggers on your list, who you would love to feature your product first, and then work your way down the list if need be. This ensures that all bloggers have a running dialogue with you – and that you don’t upset anyone in the process.

Don’t try and sound personal in a mass email

London is Living

I have heard this bugbear from many bloggers and journalists about PRs. Sending to all, or a ‘Round Robin’, in PR speak is completely fine. This means you can get a press alert or an emailer for a client out to number of titles and sites at one go. What is a big no-no is PRs sending an email to a very large list with a failed attempt at sounding personal. PRs are fighting an endless battle to be liked and respected by press and bloggers. Do not send them a fake attempt at a personal email that has all of your contacts BCC’d in (they can tell!). Carla from London is for Living had this to say on the topic: ‘I don’t mind a mail merged press release, but when a PR pretends it’s a personal email and it isn’t, that drives me crazy!’

Do keep your contacts relevant

Fatty Must Run

Each blogger has a theme that they stick to. In turn, they attract a following that will be only be interested in the topic that they write about. In other words, it’s not OK for a PR to ask a blogger to feature or review a steam cleaner if the blogger only writes about luxury fashion! Nor is it ok to expect a story about hand cream to be featured on a DIY blog.

As a PR, you need to know the bloggers on your outreach list well – well enough not to pitch them something that they’d never go for in a million years because it’s off topic. Do they typically write about updates on brands – or are they the type of blogger that wants to get their hands on the product? As Julie from The Fat Girls Guide To Running states, make sure when sending your press release or contacting a blogger that you having something newsworthy/interesting to tell them. It is very easy to think that a client press release is newsworthy – but take a step back and try and imagine the blogger you have in mind featuring it before you press send!

Don’t pitch and drop

Suggest Digest

PR stands for public relations. The latter word is the most important one to perfect. If you do establish a relationship with a journalist or blogger, you need to keep up the communication. This doesn’t mean consistently emailing them about your cat or what you are going to eat for dinner. It’s about keeping up that communication after pitching, especially if they have featured the client!  As Kitty from Suggestive Digestive stressed, all bloggers have an edit option and if you begin to drop communication after you have gotten what you want, it is hard to claw your way back into their good books.

Keep it consistent.

Do keep your PR flexible

Ginger Hibiscus

When dealing with journalists, you have strict deadlines to adhere to and the slight slowness to your PR can affect your client’s results. This is not the case with bloggers. As Ginger Hibiscus stated, most bloggers have a full time job and will either work far in advance, or will blog instantaneously. As with people, bloggers are unique. This is the very reason why you need to get to know the bloggers you reach out to and know their time scale. If you know a blogger that wants to get an exclusive, but know that they are time poor, keep this in mind. I used to send over samples to a beauty blogger that was a nurse who worked night shifts.  I would email and send her products before any other blogger, not because she wanted the exclusive, but because this gave her enough time to test out a product and construct a decent review.

This also means adjusting your expectations – not every blogger will feature a PR story at the same time, especially if they have a busy schedule (as most of them do). No one likes a PR that pushes for a feature every day.

Key Takeaways

If Digital PR was a fine art, the steps to a PR masterpiece would be these key takeaways:

  • The Golden Rule– treat journalists and bloggers the way you would like to be treated.
  • Get to know the bloggers on your contact list – instead of spending time sourcing 100 mediocre blogs that are semi-relevant to your client. Get to know the ones you already have on your list. This will make pitching easier and reduce the risk of sending out irrelevant PR stories to the wrong people.
  • Always reply – no matter if it’s a yes or a no, have the politeness to always reply back to an email a blogger has spent time sending you.


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Jodie Harris heads up the Digital PR division at MediaVision. She has worked in publication relations since 2008. She specialises in bringing the rules of traditional PR to a digital platform.
  • Maria White

    Very good post Jodie.
    There are hundreds of articles and posts on how to approach and engage with Journalist, however very little in regards to bloggers.
    Bloggers are also online publications. Sounds silly to make this remark, however some brands and PR’s tend to forget that bloggers are as important on campaigns as Journalists are.

  • Great read. I think if there’s one thing I would add it is this – be very clear as to whether you’re pitching an editorial idea to the blogger or are suggesting an advertorial/ad or other deal.

    Sadly, I make this recommendation because agencies (PR, social, search) have muddied the waters and bloggers writing out of passion for a subject they like aren’t always in the best place to appreciate the legal differences.

  • I could’t agree more. The best tip for PR’s person is to always contact and follow with the bloggers. The inability to respond can ruin the future relationships if any.

    Mass emailing is something not appreciated for reaching the bloggers to feature a product or review.

    Bloggers are equally busy, no one likes the pushy behavior and definitely blogger won’t for sure. I am also working and blogging, it is tight schedule, and it is mandatory to be flexible for things to work out.

    This article will help many, who will have a read through this. Loved it, anyway I found the link to this article on Kingged.

  • Hi Jodie,

    It’s my first time here.

    In the past I’ve been interviewed a few times and what I think is most off putting about PR is that some feel we should be grateful or thankful for them in a way that is over the top.

    I think you’re article underlies the reality that some are just arrogant and don’t feel the need to respond or maintain communication as if they are doing only us the favor.

    The truth is that if done right, we are doing each other a favor. We both have audiences the other wants access to and currently do not.

    The other experience I’ve had is with a PR person who was too busy and would start something but not finish it. This person was always chasing the next big thing instead of seeing the smaller things cumulatively as a big thing and as a result never really getting anything done until a deadline hit and then you need someone.

    That’s just bee my experience to this point.

    I’m sure there are amazing PR firms and professionals out there.

    It was a great read that is making me think about my next approach to PR and media.


    PS – I did find your article on kingged.com

  • Hi Jodie

    It is really a wonderful idea to manage good relations with bloggers with all types of communication both oral and written.

    Many bloggers don’t have much time to read email and they just read the subject line and assume what that email will have.

    So it is a smart move to talk to bloggers, to chat with them at social media and never miss a chance to interact with them.

    But a newbie blogger needs to do all this without irritating any of his senior or even fellow blogger. It is right pointed out most of the bloggers remain busy so we need not to much disturb them.
    I found this post at kingged.com and also kingged it there.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post here that has much value for readers.

  • Miriam Garcia

    Great tips, so true. I’m sick with PR’s that never reply… They go straight to my blacklist, that’s for sure. And maybe they’re just not smart enough to realize that my blog may not have the traffic they’re looking for NOW, but it could have it in the near future…

  • Hi, Jodie! 🙂

    I must say that this is indeed an interesting post on how to speak to a blogger. Well, as for me, this article is a useful reference for those who want to speak to a blogger in the right approach.

    I’e learned here that there are certain rules to consider in speaking to a blogger, such as the golden rule: treat bloggers and journalists the same, or always reply to a blogger who has spent time writing back to you.

    All in all, a very nice and stable article about speaking to bloggers that people should use because probably half of them aren’t speaking to them right. 😉

    Thanks for the shared knowledge!


    I’ve found this post shared on kingged.com and leave the same comment there.

  • Emmanuel Cudjoe

    Hello Jodie,

    The name here is Emmanuel with kabenlah.com and I found this post of yours shared on kingged.com
    Gone were days I thought every blogger was of my age so communicating with fellow bloggers was more or less like casual until I met this blogger with wife and kids who were almost my age.

    Being nice was from that day onwards became an option for me when I am chatting with anyone online.
    Thanks for this.

  • Sam

    Great post Jodie, as a blogger I have to agree. But, then I have also experienced bloggers doing some of these back to my fellow PR mates.

    • Charlotte Barnes

      Same here Sam. I’ve worked on both sides of the fence and found the door swings both ways.