Laurence Borel

Bloggers vs. PRs series: Under the skin of Beauty Bloggers

As part of my ongoing social media work with Ford of Britain, I’ve recently had the opportunity to work, and meet in the flesh a few top UK beauty and fashion bloggers.

I am very conscious that relationships between PRs and bloggers are tense, and PR fails such as the Bangs and a Bun affair reflect badly on our industry. PROs should make an effort in understanding what bloggers want, the type of content they’re interested in, but most importantly forging ongoing relationships; blogger outreach to me, is the equivalent of a one night stand…

I asked the lovely Sarah and Gemma from the popular London Beauty Review blog to answer a few questions about their relationship with PROs,, the good, the bad and the ugly. Here’s what they had to say:

Describe your blog in 140 characters or less

Absolutely honest, balanced reviews, news, and gratuitous product photo porn.

How many PR pitches do you receive on a daily /weekly basis?

We get about 10 emails a day; releases, pitches, event invites, etc.

What makes a press release stand out from the crowd?

Getting our names right!  We’ve had Gemma and Sarah, Sarah and Emma, Gemma and Laura… Great quality photos, clear descriptions of products, and most importantly, conciseness.  Massively long releases don’t really grab us.

Now let’s talk about bad PR…

What really irritates you about PRs?

The name thing, naturally.  Lack of detail, vagueness, and bad spelling/grammar.  For some reason, we’ve been signed up to a few fashion newsletters, which we’ve never asked for – we’re quite obviously a beauty blog, and we’re not really interested in fashion news.

What do you think of the Bangs and a Bun recent Nokia PR fail?

It sounded very much like the PR agency in question didn’t follow through properly after their initial approach, which is very poor.  Does look like Bangs got a good deal out of it on a personal level, though, so I’m not sure it’s all as bad as it appeared.

Finally…

Are you generally happy to work with brands? What do you want from brands?

We started blogging out of love, and we continue blogging out of love; doing this much work alongside full time day jobs, families and social lives is hard work and we wouldn’t do it if we weren’t genuinely excited by beauty.   From brands, we want clear, concise messaging, a response to emails even if it’s just a quickie.

Are there any tips you’d like to give PRs on how to best approach you?

Be friendly, get our names right, and be personal.  Writing “I really love your blog, keep up the good work” generally makes us think you’ve barely read it.  And PLEASE be timely with event invitations; we get invited to things with less than a week’s notice more and more nowadays – with limited time, it’s hard to schedule.

Also, I would love it if we could get rid of paper press releases and send everything digitally.  We fit our blogging in at all times and we don’t always have access to paper releases, as we don’t cart them around with us.  Our email follows us everywhere!

If you have a good experience with a brand (good engagement, great event) does this improve / change your perception of the brand?

Definitely.  Brands are by definition impersonal: meeting the people behind the brand, whether PR, product development, marketing or whatever gives us more of a feel for the brand beyond just their products.  If an event is well organised, relaxed, with lovely people, we’re more likely to think the same of the brand – whereas a badly organised event with disinterested people is more likely to make us think they don’t care about their customers.  Ultimately, as bloggers, we are a mid-point between the traditional print media and the average consumer – and as consumers, we tend to relate how we’re treated by a brand to how much a brand appreciates the public’s custom.

Thoughts? Reactions? Questions? The comments box is yours

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6 Comments to "Bloggers vs. PRs series: Under the skin of Beauty Bloggers"

  1. Very interesting feedback. Thanks.
    I do receive some PR and I agree with the name thing and “we love your blog” speech. Annoying!
    Although I wish I received more PR stuff. But I guess my target audience is not so huge: I blog in French about London in London.
    Any tip?

  2. Great post lolly, thanks for providing a nice behind the scenes look at how bloggers react to PR approaches. Just one thing literally scared me… some people are still sending PAPER press releases? To bloggers? OMG.

  3. Darika says:

    It’s amazing how many people are mentioning getting emails with their name wrong. I’m really surprised that something so basic is still one of the biggest problems – and so noticeable too!

  4. Its great to read from a site owner’s POV. Wow, 10 pitches daily? Thats just astounding

  5. […] for my Blogger vs. PRs series (you can read the first instalment with London Beauty Review is here) offering a few tips on how to best approach […]

  6. Aryn says:

    Please send me a message on my e-mail answering my question..

    Im intrested to know how you start being found by these PR’s, do you first start to ask them or wait for them to notice you. Exactly what is the process.

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