Better Beauty Blogging: Working with PR Companies

© Gil Segev 2015

© Gil Segev 2015

     I won’t lie, there’s great appeal in getting free products, event invites, and money in return for beauty blogging. All the big bloggers do it, so why shouldn’t you?

     The simple answer is that you shouldn’t work with PR companies if you’re not comfortable with it. I could probably come up with some valid reasons to avoid blogging partnerships, but that’s not what this is about. This guide is for those who have considered the pros and cons and have decided that working with PR companies is right for them – welcome to the club!

     Working with PR companies as a beauty blogger can mean anything from reviewing a new shade of eye shadow to becoming a brand representative. And for all purposes when I say ‘PR companies’ I mean the individuals that oversee such opportunities in a company – not necessarily the implied third parties.

     I’ve had the good fortune of meeting some absolutely lovely PR people in my blogging journey – I see them as close friends much more than just brand representatives, frankly. With their help I’ve done dozens of campaigns since I began blogging, ranging in value from $5 all the way up to $400+. The benefit to them is that I’ve given them the exposure and readership they desire, and you can too.

     These are my tips for helping you work with the PR people that will hook you up with everything you want – and how to make sure you’re both happy with the result.

Setting a policy

     Before you ever accept a sponsorship or free lipstick for review consideration, write out your specific policy in regards to the whole thing and post it publicly on your blog. This policy should outline what you accept, what you will and will not do with a product, and anything else brands should know before starting the process (for example, I work on articles several months in advance before they go up, and companies need to be aware of this ASAP). This will help to avoid misunderstandings, lawsuits, and other unpleasantries.

     To see my own policy for inspiration, check out my Disclaimer page.

Proactively reaching out

     I’d say over 50% of my PR interactions begin with me sending out a query letter. I list all the brands I’d like to work with, locate their PR contacts (preferably by name), and respectfully pitch them my idea(s). It’s helpful to know exactly what products you are interested in writing about and what angle you will be writing from, so the PR rep can better assist you. In addition, prep a blog portfolio with your information and past partners that you can have ready to go anytime someone asks.

     In all honesty, chances are that most of your queries will go unanswered. Don’t be deterred! Aim, lock, and keep firing until you get a definitive answer. The worst anyone can tell you is no!

Being grateful

     Remember when I spoke about people that don’t answer their comments? Well, receiving a package from a PR person and not letting them know it arrived safely is like that. They’ll be anxious, you’ll come off as uncooperative, and nobody will be calling you up for future collaborations. Send a quick heads-up email and be done with it!

     Similarly, the first time I work with a new company I send a handwritten thank-you note in the post to the person I worked with. Not only is this the proper way to thank someone for their work, dedication, patience and generosity, they can also share it with their bosses and be rewarded – everyone wins! I can tell you that sending these notes has changed the status of many of my collabs from ‘finished’ to ‘let’s do that again!’ Buy a roll of stamps and get writing.

     From making sure everyone’s on the same page to keeping your contacts up-to-date, these are my tips for helping you navigate the waters of working with PR companies. Remember that at the end of the day all these people are just that – people, who want to succeed at what they do. Create awesome content for them and they’ll be singing your praises all the way home, and you’ll even have a new friend for when you need something.

     To recap: be proactive, be friendly, and be grateful – you’ve got this! What other beauty blogging questions should I cover? Let me know in the comments below!

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