Thursday, 3 May 2012
Working with PR companies - an interview with Louise Harris, Founder of Rock and Roll Baby World
I'm thrilled that Louise Harris has agreed to talk to me about her work in PR and some of the exciting clients she works with.
If you're a blogger who'd like to know more about how PRs tick, or just a reader of blogs who wants to understand how the relationships work and why companies ask blogs to write reviews, then read on...
Can you tell us about Rock and Roll Baby World. How it came about and what you do?
Rock and Roll Baby World is a pr and marketing agency, we are split into two divisions on one side we handle baby, family and parenting PR and are parent blogging specialists. Our clients range from fashion, toys, album, DVD and Book Releases, Luxury family hotels and many more.
The other part of the agency is dedicated to music promotion of artists and bands that have single or album releases coming out or need promotion for a tour.
I started the agency after the birth of my second daughter whilst on maternity leave, I became a parent blogger myself and made lots of relationships with other parent bloggers. My mission was to treat bloggers with the same respect as I would a national newspaper journalist this was important to me as so many other pr agencies use bloggers to pad out a campaign when they are struggling to get other coverage I knew that a blogging campaign in its own right could make a real difference to a brand so I really wanted to specialise in this area.
I had also set up a baby pr division in the company I previously worked for so I had lots of contacts in the national and regional media too and it came as a natural addition to the blogging campaigns as I found the clients really wanted to utilise my knowledge in this area so I found myself providing a full service campaign.
Because of my music and entertainment roots I quickly gained clients in this field some I had worked with before and thankfully word of mouth spread and we have been keeping really busy. Earlier this year we set up the music side of the company this came about after I left my old company who I was consulting for and it meant there wasn't a clash of interests and luckily my boss gave me his full backing. I am known as primarily a music pr this is what I've done for over 12 years and I really love it! I've worked with lots of big names from Barry White, Stevie Wonder, Russell Crowe, Meat Loaf, Robin Gibb, Van Morrison, Sir Cliff Richard, Chris Rea, Robert Palmer, Simple Minds, Human League, Russell Watson and many more.
My specialist area is more the household names and classic acts and they are such fun to work with.
Who are some of your clients at the moment?
Currently on the Baby Side we have some great projects from The Land of Sometimes, Blade & Rose, Rockfords Rock Opera, Splats, Smart Mum UK (Home of Teething Bling, The Book Club and we are just about to start working with a fantastic new online boutique called Babatude.
On the Music side some really exciting projects coming up one of which I can't tell you about yet its top secret but its a well known band that have a new album out in September! Other acts include YolanDa Brown, The London Community Gospel Choir, Billie Myers and Michael Armstrong.
Tell us about working with bloggers. What do you look for in a blogger and how do you choose which blogs to work with?
I look at their blog, look at how they write, what their interests are, how old are their children etc so we can make sure what we are offering them is going to be of interest. I also look at Twitter to see how many followers they have and if they have a Facebook page too.
I am not too concerned about blog rankings, it does help but I like talking to new bloggers who are just starting out if your writing style is good and your blog is super snazzy then that is good enough for me! There are some projects where we do have to make sure they have a big outreach so we would in that case take everything into consideration.
We choose to work with the blogs we feel would love the project we are working on at the time.
What do you think is the key to good blogger/PR relationships?
Communication! If a blogger emails about a project or they respond to a tweet its really helpful to include your details in a signature at the bottom of your email so we can refer back to it. We love the bloggers who send us a link once they have reviewed that’s so helpful we check the web most days but its just great to have a good review land in your inbox they we can post on the clients Facebook page and send the link to them.
It is very rare for us to get a blogger who says they are going to do a review and then you can never get hold of them again, thankfully all the bloggers we use are just brilliant but we have had a couple of occasions when posts haven't run its really disappointing especially when a lot of effort has been made to send on a trip or a special review pack has been sent out.
I didn't want to be one of the pushy pr agencies we won't stalk people and chase them for review again and again we will follow up of course but we want to work with mutually respectful people.
How do you think bloggers can help promote your clients and what to blogs offer that's different to traditional media?
They are real parents with honest opinions their reviews make a difference as their readers are spot on the clients audience they want to reach, they are trusted sources of information and their opinions can make a huge difference to a campaign.
Its great for google too to see lots of lovely reviews come up and unlike getting a piece in a national paper or regional paper its quite hit and miss if your target market will read it but on a blog you are hitting your target market every time.
What's the best thing about your job?
Being able to combine working and still being around for my two daughters who are both still under the age of 5, I work 4 days a week but on the days I am working I can still make their dinner and be there to put them to bed!
Also being able to take them to shows through my work and they have been backstage at concerts, they also get to trial lots of products and reap the benefits of having a mum in this line of work! My eldest is always asking me is that Justin on the phone (Justin Fletcher!)
What's coming next for Rock and Roll Baby World?
This next 12 months will be about continuing the good work we have started expanding, getting an office, and adding members to the team.
If any bloggers are reading this and want to work with you, how should they get in touch?
They should email me with their blog URL, name, address and ages of children and then I can add them to our list and if anything comes up we can get in touch. Also they should sign up to the website feed / Facebook and also follow on Twitter as that’s where we put most of our requests out.
Special thanks to Louise, for taking the time to speak with me and share her thoughts. On a personal note, I got to know her through my blogging work for Nick Jr. She's a joy to work with, so if you are a blogger looking for some new and exciting projects to work on, do get in touch.