Being a blogger isn’t a cakewalk. It’s a lot of hard work, where often you’re playing so many different roles at the same time. You’re your own writer, photographer, editor, marketer and stylist rolled into one. Most of our time goes into coming up with quality content for our blogs but often, so that we can sustain ourselves and recover the many costs that go into running a blog, we work with brands and PR agencies to bring you some interesting new launches, products and more. In this part of the series, I’m going to talk about certain things we wish PR agencies knew before working with us. Coming up will be another part where I talk about bloggers and their approach to PR agencies too.
- Better event handling: As bloggers we get invited to a lot of events by brands that are looking towards us as influencers to experience it and speak about it on our respective blogs and other platforms. Such events require time, effort and travel on our part. However, most brands are happy to club us along with journalists and we end up paying huge amounts on our cab, only to see that the event may not even be worth our time and effort! The least brands can do is arrange for cabs for us to and from the event, or at the very least clearly specify the schedule and deliverables and provide a proper gratification for the same.
- Vouchers/Products are not payment: We wish PRs would understand that vouchers and products/services are not payment. When you get in touch with a blogger, you are asking them to promote your brand on a platform they have built possibly over years, and on their social media. This involves writing, photography, editing and styling, all of which are professional services, which is then disseminated to an audience the brand is taking advantage of. Why then, do they insist on giving us vouchers and products? Just as everyone gets paid a salary, bloggers too deserve to be compensated for their professional services. A voucher eventually gets spent on the same brand. A better way to approach this if brands do want to use vouchers is to make payment in part in addition to vouchers.
- Delays in payment: We do not like constantly hounding PRs for our payment. One of the pet peeves every blogger has is when payment for campaigns is delayed for months together. It’s very frustrating to have to chase PRs for our payments only to keep being told ‘we are working on it’. Not to mention that in this digital day and age, we are asked to courier numerous ‘hard copies’ to and fro and yet get paid nearly 3-6 months later. It’s high time there was more professionalism in paying us our dues. Following up is very frustrating and we don’t like to keep asking for our money.
- We are not journalists: Often, bloggers get clubbed with journalists, and then certain expectations arise which do not apply to us. Here’s the difference – journalists are associated with a certain publication, and are paid to travel and cover events, the cost of which is borne by the publication. They look for stories to write for as that is part of their job. Bloggers choose projects based on their interest, and are not paid by anyone. Therefore, when they collaborate with brands, they need to be compensated for the brand’s usage of their platform to promote itself. Expecting free coverage of new launches and events is misguided.
- Stop spamming us: Just because a PR has a blogger’s email address doesn’t give them the right to spam them with press releases and other info that journalists receive. I have lost count of the number of irrelevant emails of this sort I have received from PRs, and when I politely reply that I’m not interested, they don’t care and continue to persist. Dear PRs, if you don’t want to end up on our Spam lists, kindly understand when someone tells you they are not interested.
- Take us seriously: At the end of the day, though blogging is a passion, it is also an alternative career for those of us who seriously and sincerely work on our blogs. A lot of blood, sweat and tears goes into building, engaging and maintaining our blog’s audiences. Treat us with respect and we will respect you too. Engage with us in a professional manner, build a working relationship and do not expect favours just because we are bloggers. Give us our due as we have worked super hard to be where we are, just as you might have.
At the end, I should say that I’ve had the pleasure of working for some PRs both on the brand side and agencies who have been nothing short of amazing and super easy to work with. Some of them have even become more like friends, and we help each other out mutually. I also have tremendous respect for the profession because I’ve been on the other side and I know it’s not easy to wow your clients. But I’m hoping PRs can see our perspective too and maybe be much more aware in their dealings with us.
Blogging as an industry still has a long way to go here, and I’m hoping posts like these can help bring out more awareness. I love my blog and reaching out to all of you, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything! I’m hoping my fellow bloggers will relate to this post and that we come together to set a standard for the industry.
Until next time. Follow us on Instagram for all the behind-the-scenes fun, unboxing, reviews and more!