Public Relations Partnerships: Five Things Influencers Hate
Have you ever partnered with a public relations agency to promote a concept or brand? Were you pleased with the outcome? Often times public relations agencies form partnerships with bloggers, writers, social media influencers and content creators to increase awareness of their clients new projects. These partnerships are often underscored by agreement terms that outline the responsibilities of both media and agency. During my six (plus) years of blogging, I have worked with some stellar agencies on some truly amazing campaigns. Unfortunately though, not all of these partnerships have been mutually beneficial.
On occasion my brand is approached by public relations firms with the hopes of partnering together to cross-promote a new restaurant, food related product or event. With an overall end goal of increased product awareness. These relationships are crucial to a bloggers brand, and without proper care can be very one-sided.
In a recent poll, a few Houston influencers were asked to share things that “grind their gears” when partnering with public relations firms? Some of these points are hilarious. All of them are true. Public Relations Partnerships: 5 things Influencers hate was created as a guide for public relations professional and aspiring influencers.
I. BLANKET PRESS RELEASES | ” Hey, can you cut and paste this onto your website?”
We [influencers] receive numerous press releases from public relations agencies and brands informing us of a clients new product or service. Some releases contain great information that bloggers can use for round ups and feature posts. Requesting that we cut and paste content directly from a release isn’t cool, nor creative. Most times a press release will contain details that are best tweaked to convey a particular writing style, or voice.
“Sending over a press release and expecting that I copy/paste it as a blog with no edits or creativity, is a total turn off.” – Mila B. of HangryWoman
Additionally, proofreading all blanket release prior to sending to the media is crucial. Especially if the information has been cut and pasted from a previous email to someone else. Nothing stings more than reading a riveting, “personalized” release, only to be referred to as “Samantha” in the closing salutation. I am not Samantha boo boo!
II. “GOOGLE ME” | Do your research!
So, let me get this straight. You want me to highlight your clients flavored pork rinds, but haven’t researched my brand, and are unaware of the fact that I don’t eat pork!
One-sided partnerships aren’t beneficial. It’s important that both parties (media + brand) brush up on the type of content being produced. Partnerships need to make sense for all parties involved! I asked content curator of Chips & Yoga , Kim P., what her No.1 partnership pet peeve was? She talked to me about being a vegetarian blogger, and the myriad of meat-based product pitches she is asked to share. She also shared her annoyance with being invited to events where there are no vegetarian options available!
“Since I don’t eat meat, I always ask if there will be vegetarian options available. If not, no big deal — I can still choose to attend but stash a protein bar in my purse, or eat ahead of time! It grinds my gears when I’m told there will be vegetarian options, only to be disappointed.
Earlier this year I was invited as media to a liquor/food pairing event. I was assured I’d have options, only to find out there was nothing there for me. I was then presented with a side salad sprinkled with bits of sadness and despair.
III. “CATCH ALL” LISTSERV’S SERVE NO PURPOSE | A fail proof way to instantly get blocked!
Personalization is key to helping the brands/clients you represent, stand out. There are tons of brands reaching out to influencers to spread the word about their products. Nothing gets your emails flagged as spam quicker than generic blurbs with no clear and concise goals.
“Unless a cover email is provided describing how this partnership would work for me specifically, the probability of it being responded to is low.” – Erika Harrison, content curator of Black Girls Who Brunch.
Knowing your audience is crucial, mainly because you want to connect your client’s brand with influencers who are publishing similar material. Now don’t get me wrong, we are always open to “creative mashups” highlighting a connection between two brands. But sometimes it’s best to rely on the agency to define that vision.
IV. IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS. OR AT LEAST IT SHOULD BE!
Be upfront about the details of the partnership. As media we should not be responsible for asking questions like:
- Are tickets to the event complimentary?
- Does your client have any suggested social media tags?
- Who will be my on site contact?
- Who should I ask for upon my arrival?
Provide your client with the influencers media kit prior to their visit.
Being invited by an agency to cover a new restaurant or event, and being greeted with blank stares because the staff has no clue who you are, why you’re there or what you’re talking about, is quite humiliating (and humbling).
V. SHARING IS CARING | Influencers ROI
You’d be surprised at how many of my public relations partnerships have fallen flat after content has been created and shared. There have been times where I’ve emailed blog post links and screenshots of Instagram engagement to the agency following the end of campaign. Only to receive no communication or followup. Like, did you die? What happened?
Agencies not sharing our work tops the list of things content creators hate about public relations partnerships. Cross promotion is key in this business. Essentially it’s our ROI as influencers.
When agencies share our content it expands our brand into new markets. It lands our work in front of new, prospective subscribers and brands. Cross promotion is how influencers broaden their audience base, thus increasing their level of influence. Partnerships are built on trust and your feedback is often encouraged. Should there be a reason for the lack of sharing (i.e. poor writing, off topic post, etc.) let us know.
As the social media world continues to evolve strong partnerships are even more critical. Partnerships have a myriad of benefits for brands and bloggers — from boosting efficiency to growing their influence—but the true potential of partnerships is transformational. If we can forge meaningful partnerships, we can help create win win scenarios for both entities.