Being a single blogger in a sea of Manny MUAs and Jaclyn Hills can be pretty intimidating, especially when they show a new huge PR haul with free name brand goodies on a daily basis. You can’t help but wonder, ‘How can I get some of that stuff myself?’ Well, now you can stop wondering, because I’m here to help. While I am no Youtube or Instagram star, I am a relatively small beauty blogger who has been fortunate enough to receive a generous amount of PR, despite my smaller following. I am constantly receiving questions from YOU beauties about how I am fortunate enough to receive this PR, so I was inspired to start this blog and share my experience so we can all share the fortune.
How do I get in touch with brands?
“How do you begin getting PR?” – @attractiveanalysis
My best advice that I can give to this question is this: Do not wait for brands to come to YOU. As I mentioned before, we are all lost in a sea of beauty bloggers, desperately trying to get a fabulous pink sparkly boat that is one of our favorite brands to hear our whistle blowing and maybe stop to bring us on board. *cue Titanic theme song*
The best life saver in this situation (besides a floating metal door) is to introduce yourself via email. If you do not have a professional email dedicated to your blog already, I highly suggest creating one. I would advise against giving a personal email or an email that you previously used, as it is easy for important emails from brand representatives to get lost in those endless emails from Bed Bath & Beyond reminding you to use your 20% off coupon.
Once you have your own email set up, the next step is to find the brand’s contact email. If you discover a brand via Instagram, they will typically have an email button on their profile, if their profile is a business profile.
If they do not have an email button, they may have their email in their bio. If there is no sign of an email anywhere on their Instagram profile, the last step would be to check the brand’s website. Typically, a brand will have a Contact Us tab on the bottom of every page of their website, or under their Menu tabs.
Here, you may encounter one of two things: the email address you were looking for, or a contact form to fill out. A contact form will typically ask for your name, the subject of your inquiry, your email and/or phone number, and your message for the company. Fill out everything carefully and accurately, and cross your fingers that the brand will get back to you via the email address you provided.
Why should brands work with me?
Now that you know how to get in touch with the brand you’re interested in working with, the next concern is what to write in the email. Before you get to the main body of the email, make sure you fill in the subject line. It may seem arbitrary of me to remind you of this, but this is the first thing that the brand representative sees from you in their inbox, so you want to be professional and to the point. In a few words at most, let the brand know why you are emailing them and what the email is about. If it is about PR, I would include the term PR in the subject line, so they can direct you to the correct members of their team, if necessary.
Now, we finally get to start writing the actual email. I would recommend starting off the email with a professional, yet friendly greeting. You don’t need to be too formal, as you want some of your personality to shine through the email, and you don’t want to sound like a robot! You can say something such as Good morning/afternoon/evening, Greetings, Hello, etc.
As for the substance of the email, this is the most important, and most personal, part of the whole process! This is when you get to appeal to the brand and tell them why they should work with you. This is the part that I leave up to you! Although we are all lost in a sea of bloggers, this does not mean we are lost to ourselves. No one knows you better than you! So highlight your unique qualities, your blog’s strengths, what services you provide (reviews, product shots, blog posts, etc.) and anything else that makes you as a blog stand out. Also, be sure to mention if you have prior experience working with brands similar to the one you are reaching out to, and even if you don’t, don’t let that deter you from reaching out! We all have to start somewhere, right?
Which brands do I reach out to?
“Do you use the company’s products and feature them on your Instagram page prior to asking for PR?” – @cosmeticsbychristina
It is easy to get caught up in bigger bloggers/Youtubers PR hauls from huge companies like Urban Decay and Tarte. While I do think that we can all get to that level of success if we work hard enough, if you are just starting out as a blogger, or don’t have much experience with PR, it is probably best to start off small and work your way up with stepping stones. As your blog grows, more opportunities will be given to you & more of these bigger, high end brands will have you on board. Until you get to that point, look to work with smaller, indie brands who are trying to make a name for themselves, just like you. If you have smaller brands that you know & love, try reaching out to them, first. If you can review products you are already familiar with, you can then go on to review products & brands that are totally new to you with even more accuracy! To answer Christina’s question, I do tend to work more with brands that I never have tried before – however, it has allowed me to discover new favorite brands and new holy grail products. However, do not reach out to new brands with the goal of receiving as much free stuff as possible. While the feeling of receiving free product is exciting, if your heart is in it for the wrong reasons, it will show through everything you do. I say this because it is good to reach out to new brands to try out their product, but do it for the right reasons!
As beauty bloggers, when we receive new makeup goodies, we are always inclined to share it with our followers right away. A good way to do it is through Snapchat or Instagram stories, so we can vlog us unboxing our new product. As beauty bloggers, we also love to see what goodies other fellow makeup addicts get, so we can see if we need to get it for ourselves! Watching other people’s unboxings is a great way to discover new brands, especially if it is a PR unboxing! If they are a similar account to yours, or have a similar follower count, it is more likely that brand will be willing to work with you, as well.
Another part of being a beauty blogger is to, of course, post about any PR that we receive, or new makeup purchases we are excited about. Staying active and scrolling down your Instagram feed will ensure that you see other bloggers posts about new PR they receive, as well as PR that they are getting around to reviewing. In both unboxings and regular posts, be sure to check who is tagged in the picture, as that will give you access to the brands’ Instagram page so you can check out their posts, website, and eventually email them with PR inquiries.
What is a PR firm?
“How do you begin to work with PR firms? I have reached out to quite a few of them and did not hear back.” – @glamourandgiggles
To my understanding, a PR firm is basically a middle man for a company and people of interest to that company, who they would want to send complimentary product to. The PR firm is hired by the company to seek out people like celebrities and social media stars or beauty bloggers who would be beneficial to the company if they shared their product. PR firms also do things like organize events, and even more than that, but for the purpose of a beauty blogger, you will most likely be dealing with them for PR inquiries. In my experience, PR firms may be a little more tricky to get a hold of than the companies they may represent. They are less likely to have Instagrams, and more likely to have websites. Of the ones I have found on Instagram, only a handful have corresponded with me, or responded to me at all. However, the couple that I have worked with have been beyond generous and such a wonderful experience. In terms of PR firms, my best advice is to not be discouraged if you do not get much of a response, as some of them do focus more on planning events and getting written exposure for their brands, rather than exposure through social media. Try to find the diamond in the rough and you will get a PR firm that will work best with you!
I really hope that this post was helpful to those of you who are curious, confused, or scared of PR, or even those who are experienced with PR! This is just a basic beginner’s guide, and I do plan on making more posts in the future about PR, how to improve your Instagram, and much more. If you have any specific questions, feel free to leave them here, or on my Instagram @beautyandabeatface, linked above & next to this post. Until next time!