Have you ever wondered what a PR team is and how you get on one? Well, you aren’t the only one. More and more shops are looking for people to join their PR teams every day. Also, there are more and more planner ladies asking the question of “How do I get on a PR team?”. The short answer is, apply and see what happens. Today I’m going to be talking about what people don’t when it comes to PR teams. I’ll also try and share some of the experiences I have had of being on a PR team.
I’m gonna prefix this with a warning. I am going to be honest, as always. This may at times come off as a bit harsh, but to be honest, I think that it is needed sometimes. So I will be dropping some truth bombs on just how it works. It’s no help to you if I sugarcoat some of my experiences and this post has also been floating around in my head for a while, so I thought it was time to put it out into the world.
I also don’t want this to come off as conceited and that “I’m doing this for the good of the community!”, I am doing this because there is no-one talking about the good and the bad side of being a PR girl. That doesn’t mean that I want to put people off doing this. I want this to help those looking at becoming a PR girl and let them know what they are signing up for.
So, I have chatted with other PR Girls and asked them about the subject I am going to cover. I will not be naming names! Phew, now that’s out of the way shall we get on with it!
What is PR?
Well, that’s what you are here to read about yeah!? Well, this get’s asked a lot so, what is PR? What do they do?
PR (Public relations) is about managing reputations. A career in PR involves gaining understanding and support for your clients, as well as trying to influence opinion and behaviour. You’ll use all forms of media and communication to build, maintain and manage the reputation of your clients.
So that’s what it is but what does it mean for shops in the planner community? Well, for a shop wanting to increase the reach of its audience, they have a team of people – planner girls – showing how they use their items and provide feedback on ideas they have and make suggestions. They will also help manage a Facebook Group and interact with the fans of the shop in question and answer any questions they might have.
I have been on 6 different teams in the past three years, I have had my high and low points but the high far outweigh the low, and I have made some amazing friends along the way.
Where to start?
Well, first and foremost why do you want to PR? This is something that a lot of people don’t ponder. And unfortunately, a lot of people just apply to get free stickers and they don’t do anything else. This can put a lot of shop owners off even having a team.
Really think about why you are wanting to do this. Are you wanting to help your favorite shop grow? Maybe you want to introduce your followers to a shop they may not have heard about. Remember this is not just about getting free products, they are just the compensation you will get for your time and becoming part of the team.
I started my PR Journey and continue it with a passion to help the Girl Bosses of our community with their passion. Don’t get me wrong getting free stickers/products from my favorite shops are a perk but not the whole story.
I have a background in customer service and I also have experience in Social Media Marketing. I wanted to help and continue to help the Girl Bosses in the community make the most out of there social media. I also try to help them in whatever way I can by providing feedback, suggestions, and ideas for the shop.
Harsh Warning! Don’t do PR for free products – love the product and the shop owner.
What shops should you apply for?
Well, you know those shops that you are buying from month-in, month-out? Are they looking for a team? Is there a shop that you have been following for ages that are looking for some PR people. Well now is the time to apply! You already love the shop and tag them in every post possible, you’re doing a good portion of the job already.
Look at the expectations and see if this is something you can do. Make sure that you can fully commit to helping the shop owner in what they are asking for. Some of the tasks that you will most likely see in the applications.
- Two weekly posts of our stickers, sales, or giveaways.
- Create 2 spreads or pages per month linking to the shop Instagram.
- Be active in the Facebook group and the Instagram community.
- Suggest ideas and provide feedback.
- Answer questions and link to shop when people ask for recommendations.
These are just a few of the things that you will be asked to do when on the team. If it is a new team then they will also most likely change as and when the owner of the shop decides what else they would like from the team. This is something that will be discussed with you as part of the team as you are also a sounding board for any new ideas.
Harsh Warning! It’s a job at the end of the day with expectations that you need to fulfill.
Have no experience?
Neither did I when I applied for my first PR gig. It’s not always applicable if you have a passion for the shop and genuinely want to see them succeed and grow. It should come across in your application. Read the application over and over to get a grasp of what they are looking for and show how good a fit you would be.
Show them what you would bring to the team and if there is anything extra that you can do that isn’t in the application. Show off what you can bring to the table, for example, I do photography as a hobby so I often take a lot of photos of the products I get and then give some to the owner for them to use as they see fit. Whether that’s on social media or in their shop. What can you do that the others can’t?
Also, don’t forget that when you are applying you need to be honest with the shop. If you don’t use a certain planner or sticker type then say let the shop owner know. That will help them decide whether you would fit their shop and their brand. Explain your planning style in your application, which planner do you use or are planning to use, this will help them if you get on the team.
It also means that you don’t just accept stickers from the shop that you don’t use. And then you won’t feel pressured to use them when you know that they won’t fit your planning style. Be clear and be honest.
Try to give some examples of your planning by either tagging them in the photos on Instagram. Or if you have it send them a few photos via email. Let them see how you can be an asset to their shop and that you have a genuine love for their products and what they do.
Harsh Warning! It’s not a popularity contest. I know it may feel that way sometimes but don’t get dishearted! I have seen people with only a couple hundred followers but are loads of teams!
Already on a team?
If you are already on a team for a shop, I would suggest ensuring their products are different so not to cause conflicts of interest. Most shop owners prefer their team to just be dedicated to just them and not be on other teams.
This varies from shop to shop. Make sure you check your commitments before applying, and if you are not sure then ask. You don’t know if you don’t ask! If you do go ahead and everything is A-OK, don’t suggest ideas from one shop to the other!
Don’t cause beef between shop owners, not only does it reflect badly on the shops you are representing but also you are a person. Just remember Wheaton’s Law;
Once you are on a team not only are you representing yourself but also the shop. You become part of the face of that shop so you need to make sure that you are not badly representing them. This could lead to being asked to leave the team. I have had has happened to me before, not the badly representing a shop, but leaving the team.
I did everything that I said above. I okayed everything with the owner of the shop team I was on. I was then asked to leave the team. I was never given a reason as to why it happened and had no response to my emails.
Make sure you know why – if you don’t already know if you are being a dick – so that you don’t do it again.
Harsh Warning! If both shops sell charms then it is probably worth passing on apply for that second team. It will taint your reputation as a team member.
You got the job! Congrats! Now what?
Well, can you meet the expectations? I hope so because that’s why you were picked. Read and re-read the brief, ask questions if you are not sure about something, get clear! You don’t want to be damaging the shop brand by doing the wrong thing.
Get the discount code in your bio and a link to the shop as well if you can. Linkt.ree can be really helpful for this if you are on multiple teams or have a blog and youtube channel you want to keep in place.
Start thinking about how you are going to fulfill the requirements and participate in the team or group. A little planning here can go a long way. Also, check if there is a rota in place or a certain day they would like you to post on each week. If you’re not careful you can start to feel spammy and that’s not cool!
I have seen some Instagram accounts that are a sea of pr code and not actually showing how they use the products. This is why you were picked! To show how the products are used and kinda why you want people to follow your account, well I hope so. Being spammy can have a negative effect on you following and you may see your numbers decrease. Ain’t no one wanting that!
Harsh Warning! Remember it’s a job at the end of the day with expectations. And don’t spam – It’s not cool! – show how you are using the products.
Didn’t make the team?
Sorry, there is always next time! Don’t let this stop you from trying. See if you can get some feedback and then hone your application. Maybe focus on your feed and how you present your planner. I would have a look at some flay lay photography tutorials. Take some time to re-evaluate and move on, it’s not a popularity contest. There will have been someone more suited for the shop. So get to improving your already awesome skills!
I know that it sucks to not get picked when you really want to help the shop. Remember this is not about getting free products, take this as a learning experience and a chance to improve. Don’t get bitter about it. Have a look at the feeds of those that were picked and see what they do differently to you. And see if you can incorporate it without copying and keeping it in your own style!
Harsh Warning! Suck it up buttercup there is always next time! You do you and you’ll find someone that gets you.
I hope that this was helpful to you. And that you now feel a bit more confident applying for your favorite shop’s team! And remember;
- Don’t just do it for the free stickers
- Love the owner and the shop
- Don’t be a dick! That’s Wil’s job!
- Keep improving and keep trying
That’s all for me today! I will also be doing some followup blog posts for when you are on the team! So keep an eye out for those. If there is anything else you would like me to cover then let me know either in the comments or drop me an email! You can follow me on Instagram @samalderson_. Or alternatively, you can sign up to get notifications every time I post. Just fill in that box on the left.
P.S I know since writing this that there has been a change in the laws around Influencer Marketing and this is something that has affected the way that those of us in the UK have to mark our posts.
I am hoping to get a post together that helps people understand the difference between the different responsibilities that you as a PR person will have with this change. But for the time being, remember that if you are posting ANYTHING that has anything that you have been given from a shop it is an #AD.
But does this mean my weekly spreads are an #AD? Yes if you have stickers in your planner from shops that you are pr’ing for. But I will try and get some more details.
But what if I only have <500 followers? You are still advertising to them regardless of how many or how few followers you have. It is still an #AD.