Influencer marketing is a relevantly new thing and many people are now considering blogging as a career when they had never before. Blogging is an exciting opportunity to work with brands, do fun things they never would have gotten to do before, and make some money. However, in order to be successful, it’s important that we understand as much about marketing as we can and make sure that we understand the other players. So today I’m here to share with you what bloggers need to know about PR. We’ve all heard of PR and we may have even received some emails by PR people, but often times it can be hard to understand exactly WHAT they do!
Katie-Rose Watson is a publicist based in Dallas, Texas. She was the head of PR and social media at an advertising agency prior to starting her own PR company three years ago. She represents mostly fine arts, nonprofits, and lifestyle clients. In her free time, she runs a luxury food and travel website called The Rose Table.
So everyone has heard of PR, but most of us don’t actually understand it. Can you give a brief rundown on what a PR person does?
Katie-Rose: Great question! PR is definitely something people have heard of but few could actually tell you what a publicist does all day. I work in earned media, meaning I pitch story ideas to journalists in order to get my clients featured on TV, radio, in magazines, newspapers, and on blogs. A big part of my job is finding the right story for the right journalist from coast to coast. For instance, you can’t pitch an entertainment story to a medical reporter!
In any given day, I might write an SEO-friendly press release, update a media list, pitch stories directly to journalists, shoot b-roll for the news, design a media kit, plan an event, run through interviews with clients, or assist clients at a news interview. There’s never a dull moment in PR. No day is ever the same!
How do PR people work with bloggers and influencers?
Katie-Rose: I work with many bloggers and influencers for various clients. Because I work in earned media, I don’t have an ad budget. I work strictly in editorial but many bloggers do not, so I usually approach with complimentary tickets, services, or products for bloggers to write about. Bloggers often have full time jobs outside of their blogs so PR reps like myself know we need to offer something in exchange for their time and effort.
What do you typically look for in an influencer to work with your clients? How often are the brands looking to work with influencers when they reach out to you? How do you find the influencers you work with?
Katie-Rose: I absolutely look for great writers first and a website with a strong brand. Followers are great but from a PR perspective, articles are pure gold. The reason for that is when someone Google’s an event, show, or company, individual social media posts don’t pop up but articles do. I have found that the more followers a blogger has, the less likely they are to write an article for free and most publicists work exclusively in earned media, meaning we don’t have a budget to pay for publicity. However we often can often offer influencers and bloggers media passes to events, a complimentary service, products to review, that sort of exchange for their thoughts and time.
You’ve had the opportunity to work with some pretty amazing influencers and bloggers and some not so great ones. What have been some of your best experience that cause you to work with them multiple times? And what are some more subtle things that turn you off from working with an influencer?
Katie-Rose: How much time do you have? I definitely have some influencers and bloggers that I love to work with, including My Curly Adventures! The question I ask myself is: will this person do right by my client? You would be shocked at how many bloggers will accept tickets to something with no intention of writing or even tweeting about it. That’s so disappointing and publicists will very quickly stop sending someone opportunities if they never write anything. I reached out to one blogger over a year ago to introduce myself. I mentioned several of my clients and she asked for four tickets to a very expensive event with no coverage plans. I suggested an idea on how we could collaborate to promote the event and she never responded. Instead, she went directly to my clients and asked for the tickets. They gave them to her and she went and never mentioned it – not even on social media! My client was furious. Needless to say, she will never get tickets again. If she had rocked that opportunity, she could have been frequenting the venue for years to come.
As a PR person you also run your own blog, The Rose Table. Can you tell me about your blog and also what PR skills you have used to be able to be a better blogger?
Katie-Rose: Absolutely. The Rose Table is my sanctuary, a place where I can totally be myself. After a busy day in PR – sometimes fifteen hours of action-packed work! – nothing makes me happier than pouring a great glass of wine and cooking a three course meal for my friends. On The Rose Table I post my original recipes, party ideas, garden inspiration, and in-depth travel guides. One of my readers said it best: “The Rose Table is my favorite escape.” I love that! If I can light up one person’s day, that’s a great day.
You’ve gotten to go on amazing trips and whenever you go you’ve always been told that you’re one of the best people to work with! Tell us about some of your favorite sponsored trips and what you do to stand out!
Katie-Rose: I am very proud of the feedback I’ve gotten as The Rose Table from other publicists and that is likely because I’m a publicist myself so I know what they’re looking for! We’re all looking for the same thing: great coverage. I can’t tell you how often I see bloggers on vacation who post one picture per day. I probably post half a dozen every day, tagging the appropriate pages, and shooting fun videos. I’ve had many instances where bloggers over promise and under deliver. I strive to make good on my promises and then go above and beyond with content.
As for the content, it’s really very simple: I just ask myself, what did I need to travel here to know? I’m going to tell you what a place is like, if you need a car, if you want to stay at the resort or go out and explore. I started out writing vacation recaps but that quickly evolved into more thorough travel coverage. Now I often write eight or nine articles about a single trip. I often see blogger travel content that include two dozen photos of themselves and a line about the place they’re staying. As a publicist, that would be disappointing to me! You never know who’s reading that. I had the opportunity to review two resorts in Turks and Caicos. I wrote an enormous amount of content and within a couple of months of publishing, I had tons of resorts all over the Caribbean asking me to come visit and produce similar content for them. Think of everything you publish on your blog as an audition for another fantastic opportunity. Your website is your resume as a writer.
You help brands get onto major media outlets with hundreds of thousands of site visits and video viewers! As influencers and bloggers are trying increase their followings and reach why is it beneficial to hire a PR representative?
PR is not cheap but compared to advertising, it’s a bargain! PR is really an investment in your brand. I work largely on retainer but I am available to promote events on a short-term basis, and that’s a great way for bloggers to get publicity. I always tell my clients that PR is great for two entirely separate reasons: to reach a new audience and to have on your own website. If a brand or company is interested in several different bloggers and one of those is on TV all the time and has a ton of publicity, that’s going to help that person get other opportunities.
What is the biggest piece of advice you can give to a small influencer (Under 5k)?
Katie-Rose: If you don’t have a huge following, it’s all about the content. My first ever Rose Table trip was to a Ritz Carlton. I pitched them by introducing myself, sending some of my vacation articles, and asking them to keep me in mind for any future press opportunities. They invited me to come and I made sure to tag them on social media frequently and write a high-quality article. That article was fresh on my site when I got the opportunity to travel to Turks and Caicos. I received a press release from a resort and told them thank you so much for thinking of me, but I only write about my own trips. I sent some examples and told them to please keep me in mind if they were ever looking for travel writers to work with. Turns out, they were!
What is the biggest advice you’d give to a medium sized influencer (10k+)?
Katie-Rose: Stay humble and remember that all of the “free” perks that come with blogging aren’t free: somebody is paying for you to be there, eat that, see that, have that. I always think of it this way as a blogger: I am expected to pay for that event, product, or resort with content instead of cash. And I never skip out on a bill!
If people are looking for PR services how should they contact you?
Katie-Rose: I would love to talk to you! My all-inclusive PR services start at $2,000/month for DFW PR. You can learn more about services at katierosewatson.com.
The great thing about traveling in Texas is you really can set your own budget. With stunning waterfalls, so much international influence, and incredible landscapes, this guide only scratches the surface of all that can be done in Texas
This website contains affiliate links. If you click on one and purchase something, I may get a commission at no extra cost to you.