You may have seen our recent post Handle with caution: #PRRequest, which caused quite a stir in the blogging world. There has been a huge response with 800 shares and lots of interaction — 99% good, the other 1% not so good.
Kitty, of Suggestive Digestive, said:
It’s such an interesting discussion — every time I read something new about it I change my opinion a little bit, and I doubt I’m the only one, which just goes to show its a necessary discussion too.
We discussed whether Twitter’s #PRrequest hashtag is a polluted outreach tool, with a minority of bloggers using it as a way of hunting out freebies. What we didn’t address was the other end of the scale: the equally demanding PRs out there.
PRs pushing their luck
As well as working as a Lead Digital Marketing Executive here at Mediaworks, I run my own fashion blog. On occasion, if I feel the resulting post will be valuable to my readers, I review free products sent to me by companies.
While this is a big perk of owning a blog, it’s not rare that the item in question comes with a page of instructions telling you which links and keywords to use, how many words to type, when to tweet and with what hashtag.
Caroline, over at No More Frizzy Hair Days, recalled one instance when a PR asked if she would review a pair of boots — and then send them back!
Strict rules compromise quality
I completely understand that PRs are putting a lot of investment into this and therefore want to get their product seen, but if everyone reviewing their products followed their rules, I believe it would be very counterproductive.
This type of online activity would look so unnatural and perhaps do more harm than good, SEO- and PR-wise. I don’t tweet about my blog daily, so my followers would immediately suspect I was being paid if I shared one blog post three times per day. Also, my blog is quite visual, and I never really write any more than 300 words. Publishing a wall of text at the request of a PR would look so out of the ordinary, and I think my readers would quickly get bored.
You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours
We did some more digging to assess what the feeling is among other bloggers about these demanding PRs. We caught up with Kellie over at Big Fashionista and her view summed up the concept of a two-way relationship.
The term I look for is mutually beneficial. I love getting involved in projects; it is fun. But it has to be mutually beneficial.
It’s a two-way street. Just like we recommend that bloggers think carefully about the relevancy of an opportunity, we believe PRs should be careful about the result of their collaborations. Successful partnerships are mutually beneficial and fair on both parties.
Using #PRrequest properly
Mediaworks’ Charlotte Thornalley said:
I think it’s as simple as knowing your product and your target audience. Make what you are looking for specific and concise. Granted, the odd ‘I review anything and everything’ retweet is going to find its way on to your feed, but ultimately #PRrequest is a tool that can be put to good use when targeted at the right people.
When used to match the right opportunities with the right bloggers, #PRrequest can help PRs form valuable relationships. The important thing is being flexible with guidelines to ensure the collaboration works naturally, and making it clear what benefits you’re offering the blogger.
You might not always be able to provide a free product or payment, but instead offer interesting information and opportunities. The best bloggers are passionate about the subject, so they’re sure to be grateful for insider knowledge. Plus, their enthusiasm combined with your insight will result in unique content their readership will love.
What are your thoughts on this? Have you ever had a demanding request from a PR? Share your opinon below.