I've been contributing to ThisThatBeauty.com for about three years and during that time I have met some Public Relations professionals that are true professionals. I have also met a few that are clearly out of their depth, by that I mean, they do a poor job -- aka, they kinda suck. Recently I had a Beauty PR pro contact me asking the questions below. I responded to her very quickly because I had already jotted down the points with the plan to write a blog post. While I wrote this from my experience dealing with PR pros who work primarily in beauty, I think these tips apply to Public Relations professionals in general.
What are three things that beauty publicists can do to make your job easier?
1. Publicist needs to understand that bloggers don't work for them [it is more of a symbiotic relationship.] I understand that they work hard for their clients and they are trying to get the most coverage possible but they can't demand coverage. It is best to ask the blogger what their process is for coverage. For example: I'll often tell PR that it takes 8 - 10 weeks after I receive a skin care product for me to really have any opinion on how effective it is. On the other hand, it may take a week to review a fragrance because I can know immediately if I like the fragrance and a day to know how long it wears and how it changes throughout the day. It then also depends on what else I'm working on. If publicists know the process and how long a review may take from a particular blogger they can know when to mail products to receive feedback within a certain window of time and better schedule their follow-ups.
2. A proper press release is kind of a big deal and there is absolutely no excuse for a PR person who doesn't have the necessary product information or doesn't know how to get it. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. It also drives me a little nuts when I ask a question about formulation and product claims and a PR person makes up a completely ludicrous answer. If you don't know, don't guess. Ask the client and make sure you are communicating the right information.
3. While event invitations in JPEGs are cute, listing the information in the body of the email is more convenient and easier to work with. I view many emails on a mobile device, if the event information is listed in the email I can quickly click on it and add it to my calendar without trying to open a JPEG then typing the info into a calendar. It seems small but everyone is busy and sometimes between seeing the invitation and going to open the calendar something else might pop up. Also, you can't search information in a JPEG, so, if you later remember the invitation and go searching for it, that JPEG may not pop up in search results.
What are three things that beauty publicists should stop doing? (Results may cause you to pop a bottle.)
4. I think publicists need to understand that there is a difference between submitting a product for editorial consideration and a sponsored post or review. If a publicists submits a product and has stipulations such as: when to publish, where to link, hashtags to use, specific hot phrases, etcetera, that is a sponsored post and the next few question should be related to budget and costs.
5. I don't know about other bloggers but I don't like being stalked. If you have a product for review consideration, pitch it and follow-up. Stalking is not allowed. Don't send emails every other day followed by tweets and DMs. Stalking really annoys people and in most cases this kind of behavior will get your product moved to the reject bin. Bloggers may even stop opening your emails.
6. Relationship building is central tenet of PR but I see many account executives and coordinators that seem to have missed that day in class. Thanking someone for a review, offering to be a resource for upcoming posts or even casual social media engagement with a blogger (outside of a pitch or follow-up) can help start a meaningful Publicist/Blogger relationship that will make both their lives easier. When you have that relationship with a Blogger you can say things like "I have this event coming up in a week, would you consider sharing it with your audience? " Or "I'm working on a deadline it would be a huge favor if I could get your thoughts on this product within X time. Please let me know." [Asking me for a favor when I have no relationship with you is almost pointless.]
What's the one thing that most beauty publicist don't know but you think they should?
7. [I don't think that it's a case that they don't know this, I think some publicists may be a bit lazy and don't want to invest the time.] I understand that it can chaotic and confusing when trying to decide which bloggers to work with but it is important for publicist to take a few minutes to go through the blogs and social media platforms of the bloggers with whom they intend to work. Don't send random form letters with pitches that don't make sense for that particular blogger. Also, nobody is named "Friend" or " There" so no email should start with "Hey Friend" or "Hey There." Take a few hours (or days) to get your mailing list in order, it will go a long way in helping to start a meaningful professional relationship with bloggers.
Nothing in this post is revolutionary or even that insightful, to me, most of it is common sense. However, these are things that happen so frequently that they are definitely worth mentioning.
What would you add to this list?
PS. If you see a typo let me know...self editing is not my thing.