I'm a firm believer of the idea that if you don't ask, you don't get - whether it's for favours, finances or food. Now, not everyone agrees with bloggers reaching out to PR companies for collaborations, but whatever - some of my best brand relationships have come from me sending out a simple email saying hello. Think of it as more of an introduction, rather than straight up networking. After all, the best relationships come from, well, good relationships! Just think about it, would you rather get a free dress from a company and never speak to them again, or would you rather work at a quality relationship, and work with that brand for years to come? I know what I'd prefer.
Now obviously I have to put a little disclaimer here and talk about the fact that blogging isn't just about freebies and getting paid. Fact is, if you're in it for the free swag you won't get too far - that's just the reality of it. PR companies can smell freebie hunters from a mile away! But, there's no denying that working with brands has become a pretty integral part of the blogging industry. Question is, how do you even get in touch with those lovely PR guys and gals?! It's not always as easy as filling out a simple contact form..
Utilise your LinkedIn account
Don't have a LinkedIn account yet? You need one! It might not be the most thrilling website in the world, but when it comes to networking with real life people in the working world, it's pretty much all you need. It'll take a while to build up your profile but once you have it'll open up all kinds of doors. It's also a great resource if you're looking for a PR contact's name. Not sure who the blogger outreach person is at your favourite online shop? Thin of LinkedIn as your new Google.
Make the most out of PR websites
Amazingly enough, there are tons of PR sites out there for journalists and members of the press to use to their hearts content. They're not always the most updated sites in the world, but you can still find a bunch of useful contacts if you do a bit of digging. The best PR sites tend to charge a monthly subscription (like Fashion Monitor or FashionInsight) but there are also some really great free sites around, such as PRShots.
Use an alternative method
Sometimes certain brands can be super secretive about, erm, everything really, and whilst that's probably a bit of a sign in itself, it doesn't mean you should stop trying altogether. Chances are, even if a contact page doesn't have a direct email , they'll probably have a postal address or phone number, or at least a customer service switchboard. Hey, we're in the 21st century here people - women are proposing to men and cats have their own published books these days - who's to say you can't pick up the phone and call your favourite company? You never know, they might even appreciate the personal touch!
Google it (over and over again)
There's a reason people always tell you to Google things, and that's because it really does have all the answers! Okay so you might not be able to find the exact email you need just by typing '*insert brand* pr contact' but if you chuck together a few variations of what you're looking for you'll be able to find that contact in no time. You might have to do a bit of skim-reading to find the exact website, but once you've got that skill down you'll be building up that contact list in no time!
Make your blog PR friendly
So we've come to terms with how hard it is to get in touch with PRs sometimes, so the next steps is to make sure that doesn't happen with you! Like I said, sometimes it's good to contact people yourself, but you know a brand really wants you when they contact you directly. To make sure they know how to find you, be sure to make your blog PR friendly in a way that it shows up as high as possible on those search engines. I wrote a post all about SEO tips to benefit your blog, so be sure to give a whirl.
Hope this helped some of you guys out! Be sure to leave any of your own tips in the comments section for other people reading. Also, I'd love to know your thoughts on the importance of collaborating with brands! Is it a good thing or bad?