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Q&A: ADVICE FROM THE UK’S TOP INFLUENCERS

With the ever-increasing power of online influencers, as a PR agency it is crucial we know how to maximise on influencer relationships so that we can generate opportunities for our clients.

A strong relationship with a respected influencer and positive blog reviews can be a great way of increasing brand credibility, raising brand awareness, driving sales and increasing an online presence.

To get the inside scoop first hand, we interviewed three of the UK’s top lifestyle influencers, to talk targeted approaches, PR turn offs and best practice for PRs. This advice is invaluable and highlights the importance of a targeted approach, considering whether your brand is a good fit before contacting influencers and how to entice influencers to events, with the aim of gaining high quality, and credible endorsements in return.

Lauren Ellis

Lauren Ellis UK Blogger

Lauren was first inspired to set up her own beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog after studying PR at University. She has been running her blog and social media channels for over 3 years now, and her goal is to keep her followers informed on the hottest beauty and fashion trends you can find on the high street.

Following:

Instagram – 51.8K

Twitter – 4.2K

YouTube – 2K

How do you like to be approached by PRs/ brands?

Definitely via email. I find it easier to develop a working relationship via email in comparison to Instagram direct messages, for example. It enables the chance to have a direct contact to speak to and build a relationship with. 

What do you look for when it comes to brand partnerships?

I think it’s important to only work with brands that you genuinely like and have an interest in. I also find it really encouraging when a brand contacts me with regards to a partnership having really researched my blog / social channels. 

Do you ever directly approach brands you would like to work with?

Yes, absolutely! Because there are so many bloggers we shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to a brand we would like to work with! 

What do you feel makes for a good blogger/Press event and what entices you to attend?

I enjoy attending events that are attended by the PR company / brand as it enables you to introduce yourself and meet somebody that you have been liaising with over email. I have been to a few events in the past where it has been difficult to differentiate press with actual PR’s / employees of the brand, making it difficult to build relationships. 

In terms of encouraging attendance, I feel it’s important to give the blogger an exclusive. E.g. first look at a new collection or an actual sit-down event whereby you get to hear more about the brand / products etc. For me, it isn’t all about receiving a goodie bag! 

Which social media channels do you find most engage your followers?

Instagram primarily but ever since the algorithm issues, I have found Twitter and Snapchat to be increasingly engaging.  

Do you have any advice to budding bloggers?

I would say go for it! Don’t be afraid that there are already lots of bloggers out there, there is definitely room for everyone and if you are passionate about it then put yourself out there! Be consistent (difficult, I know) but make sure you post about something you love! 

Carms London

Carms London UK Blogger Influencer Handbook

Carms is a London based lifestyle, fashion and beauty blogger. She uses blogging to explore her interest in fashion, and to express herself.

Following:

Instagram – 87.6K

Twitter – 1.6K

Have you had any bad experiences working with PRs?
I have had a few bad experiences, mainly including lack of communication, late payments, different replies from multiple people from the same brand causing lost thread in emails, and having to redraft content multiple times!  

Is there anything that puts you off working with certain PRs/brands?

I usually love working with new PRs and new brands, but honestly I wish brands understood the hardship that goes into the effort of creating content, I sometimes take up unpaid work as I love the brand of the current campaign in hopes of repost or to help build our own profiles, but at the end of the day it is our jobs so paid campaigns, even if not always helps keep a strong relationship with brands/ PR’s as it doesn’t make you feel like you’re always doing it for nothing.

Do you ever directly approach brands you would like to work with? 
Yes – I have done before with brands that I really love, or feel really suited to! This is via email, showing stats and examples to see whether the brand wants to collaborate with too. 
  
Do you ever post negative reviews and if so, how do you manage the relationship with the PR or brand?
I usually try and be professional even with brands PR’s that I’ve not had a good relationship with – I think being professional but friendly is important!  But, if there is an issue, I do usually try to discuss it directly with the brand and try to find a way to overcome the issue. 
 
Which social media channels do you find most engage your followers?

Instagram, even though I am slowing branching to YouTube as I feel like I will be able to engage to my audience there more too! 

Do you have any advice to budding influencers? 

Consistency, quality and an aesthetic is key! Keep posting! You will have times where you peak, where you’re slow, but keep yourself inspired! 

Style and Stylus

Style and Stylus UK Blogger Influencer Handbook

Rashpal is the man behind Style and Stylus, a menswear fashion blog. He started his blogging journey back in 2014 so that he could pursue his passion for fashion. Originally a fashion and illustration blog, the blog has evolved into a fully-fledged fashion destination, with Rashpal’s overall aim being to “challenge how menswear is perceived to the modern man.”

Following:

Instagram – 5.7K

What do you look for when it comes to brand partnerships? 

A brand must fit my style and we both must be on the same wavelength. I also look for long term partnerships, I like to have a close relationship with brands so we can bounce ideas off each other and create great content together. 

How do you distinguish between paid for/non-paid for content on your blog and social media channels?

Wording plays a key part in how I distinguish paid/gifted content. I am transparent with my audience about this on my social channels. Also, all paid content is listed under collaborations on my website. 

Is there anything that puts you off working with certain PRs/brands? 

It’s good to be paid or be gifted for great content and in some circumstances, product loans. Free articles and content is something I avoid, as it devalues my contents worth.

What is the strangest request you have ever received from a PR?

One PR sent me a women’s facial mask without any email or prior notice, needless to say I declined featuring it!

Do you ever directly approach brands you would like to work with?

If I am genuinely passionate or love a brand ill make sure they know, hopefully they keep me mind for future campaigns. Its best to be transparent in this industry and brands rather work with someone who appreciates their product. 

Do you ever post negative reviews and if so, how do you manage the relationship with the PR or brand?

I don’t post negative reviews, but I avoid working with brands that I don’t like and in some cases declined working with them

Which social media channels do you find most engage your followers?

I find Instagram the most successful for promotion, although for product reviews you can’t beat a website. It’s good to have several social media platforms so you don’t narrow your reach.

Do you have any advice to budding influencers?

Create good, interesting, and appropriate content first and foremost, make sure you blog about something you are passionate about and do it for the right reasons.

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