PR Pitches and ROI For Brands And Bloggers

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Brands and Bloggers

News magazines and television shows have entire staffs and reach millions; blogs are usually smaller, but target the exact audience brands are looking for. News magazines and television shows charge millions to reach a broad, non-specific audience; we may charge hundreds to be a trusted voice to a targeted audience. Brands and bloggers can be very beneficial to each other.

Bloggers love establishing good and lasting relationships with brands and want to encourage more brands to partner with us. It’s our hope that more brands and public relations reps understand the benefit of working with bloggers and why we can be a vital part of a brand’s marketing plan instead of being an afterthought. Just as PR reps and brands seek out partnerships that provide a noticeable return on investment, bloggers do, as well.

Our influence has great worth or brands wouldn’t be contacting us. If we’re not ‘worth it’ to you, then take us off your contact list.

We know what our readers are interested in, we have our own story ideas and and we can’t pay our bills with high resolution photos. We’ve tried; the electric company just laughed at us.

PR Speak Translated From Brands to Bloggers

PR email says: “We have a story idea for you”

It means: “We’re gonna hide a link and promote our company in an obvious way but we’re hoping you won’t notice.”

PR email says: “Here is something your readers might be interested in”

It means: “We want you to post this for free and make sure you feel guilty if you don’t.”

PR email says: “We’ve included high resolution images”

It means: “Nope. Not gonna pay you for either posting this shit or having to take time to edit these giant photos.”

PR email says: “We don’t have a budget for…”

It means: “I get paid. You do not.”

PR email says: “I wanted to follow up on the information I sent about…”

It means “I’m going to email you 78 times to ask why you’re not going to work for free.”

PR email says: “Please feel free to reach if you would like additional details or images, as I am happy to provide,”

It means: “Please don’t ask me for samples ’cause you’re not getting any.”

PR email says: “We looking for earned media.”

It means: “Although we have no established relationship, we’d like you to scratch our back without our having to go near yours.”

Why Bloggers Can’t, Or Won’t, Work For Free

Thanks for the opportunity, public relations rep. Bloggers see their hard work, sweat, tears, and time they could be playing with their kids or getting a more steady paycheck, as a business. Maintaining and working hard on their blog is their income. If we agree to ‘earned media’ it’s because it is, indeed, earned with a brand with which we have a long standing or previously beneficial relationship with. This might include having had multiple paid posts on our site, or they’ve sponsored us for an event, or perhaps they’ve sent multiple products for us to review and feature on our site.

It can take a minimum of one hour and sometimes up to 5 or more to compose a blog post, especially if it involves photo editing. It takes another hour minimum or more to sufficiently promote the post and brand on social media to ensure that the brands with which we work are ensured a respectable ROI. Where is my ROI if I decide to promote a brand with which I have little to no relationship with? My job is not like your job; I don’t get paid regardless of how much work I accomplish today; I get paid based on the amount of work I get done today.

I’m afraid we’ll have to pass on promoting the event which will take our time and offer no ROI to us. There are few people in the world, if any, that will work for a “chance” at receiving an item or other compensation.

In short, this is our job. We are choosy as to which brands we partner with because our readers trust our opinion. People read a magazine and expect to find ads; those same people read blogs because they’re looking for a trusted source and an honest opinion.

Why Bloggers Might Work For “Free”

In some cases, we may decide to partner with a brand or PR rep “for free” because there is benefit to us or our readers beyond traditional monetary compensation. These might include, but are not limited to:

  • It’s a product that we’ve just discovered and love or want to share with our readers – because we want to.
  • It could garner the page views we seek just because it’s good content – because we want to.
  • It’s a charitable event or group that we feel passionate about – because we want to.
  • It’s an event we’re already attending, or you’ve provided us with travel and accommodations to attend, and we’re covering the event for our readers. – you know what I’m going to say here.
  • We have a long standing or mutual beneficial relationship with the brand or PR rep
  • We’re developing content in a series on our blog so that we can expand our blog’s opportunities (such as producing more DIY content to work with DIY friendly brands)
  • If it’s a public service announcement, such as a recall of a significant product, to inform our readers
  • The blogger WANTS to, as it’s our business

What other challenges do you find as a blogger when working with brands? If you’re a brand, what challenges do you experience when working with bloggers?

20 thoughts on “PR Pitches and ROI For Brands And Bloggers”

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this. I actually replied to an email the other day stating “I’m sure you don’t work for free, and neither do I.” Makes me mad when brands think we’ll just spend all this time for nothing in return.

  • Wow Dusty, this is a great post. Loving those translations, really spot on. I get SO many of these emails, I just started deleting them instead of trying to convince them to realize my worth.

    • Thanks, Dawn! Some of the emails that we get from PR really are laughable and very difficult to convince them of your worth, I agree.


    I would like to add – If I DO want to do something “editorial” or “earned coverage”, don’t blow me off, only to send the rest of what I need 2, 3, 4 weeks later. Chances are, at that point, I’m no longer working on this, and now I really don’t want to give you a freebie.

    • Yes! It seems when you finally do throw them a bone, it’s when they start dragging their feet. It’s too bad. Thanks for your comment!

  • Yes! Yes! Yes! It makes me frustrated when companies get upset when I ask what’s in it for me. Um, dude, I am trying to make money just like you. We can either help each other out, or not. Your choice. Having said that, I am doing an upcoming giveaway for no pay. What I will gain in readership and follows, though, will hopefully pay off in the long run. By the way, I shared with all 2,311 of my closest women blogging buddies in the group just because I liked this so much.

    • Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ Of course – I actually know of a blogger that used the link as her response to a horrible pitch. LOL Thanks for your comment!

  • Dear Dusty,
    I just started blogging and I really appreciate this article. As a semi-retired business lawyer, I’m amazed at the number of people who gladly expect others to work for free. Ask them to work for free and see what happens. I don’t mind sharing the fruits of my labor, but if you’re going to scr*w me, please kiss me first! Just call them out! The word “NO” has so much power! Sorry! Rant over.

    You are spot on about the 5 hours per blog post. We are all proud of our work and it takes time to do a good job. I am still trying to manage the whole process so I can live my more normal “pre-blog” life and get more sleep! [Next time I am going to pay someone to design/set up my site. I sometimes feel like I’m doing solitary confinement in front of my mobile/pc screens!]

    Folks, you want to know about business, read the following: Hansel & Gretel, 3 Little Pigs, The Scorpion & The Frog, Little Red Riding Hood or watch any episode of ‘Mad Men’. Are you going to trust these people??

    Keep up your good work and save us from the pitfalls and time suckers!


  • Thank you so much for sharing this! It is all so true and as I am learning to say “no” to them more often, it’s still a struggle sometimes. I should start talking to them like I talk to my kids… I seem to be able to say “no” to them an awful lot! ๐Ÿ™‚ Great post!

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