Nine tips for influencers when approaching PRs and brands…

Nine tips for influencers when approaching PRs and brands…

As a non-sector specific PR agency and with the meteoric rise of influencer relations, a large part of what we do now involves working with bloggers and online influencers. At Liz Lean PR, we work with parenting bloggers, lifestyle, outdoors, active retired… you name it, we’ve done it. This means we’ve seen the good, the brilliant and, unfortunately, the bad, when it comes to influencer pitches.

We’ve built up a little list of insider tips that we hope will help influencers when drafting pitches and give examples of simple steps bloggers can take to ensure they are giving their pitches and requests the best shot at being successful.

  1. Check your spelling

We want only the cream of the crop for the brands we represent, so we’ll always favour the influencers and bloggers who deliver quality work. First impressions really do count so it’s well worth proofreading pitch emails.

We are looking for people to represent and embody the brand, and that, first and foremost, means naming the brand correctly. We often received several requests on behalf of Paultons Park – Home of Peppa Pig World from influencers that have named the famous pig ‘Pepper’ or confused the park to be called ‘Paulsons’.

  1. Always include a link to your social media accounts and blog

It’s a no brainer but we are often asking influencers who have emailed in to send us a link to their social and blogs. If you don’t include a link to your social media and blog, we have no way to review your request. Even if you have been referred through another channel, always include these. Clickable links are always preferred for speed and ease too, especially given that most brands and agencies will be receiving a lot of requests.

  1. Tailor your email for the brand you want to work with

A copy and paste email in any context will never bring great success and it is no different in this situation. Explaining you’ll showcase the ‘product’ on your blog when you’re hoping to collaborate on a day out or an overnight stay isn’t going to work in your favour. Another reason to proof-read your emails. Do your research to make your pitch as specific to the brand as possible.

  1. We will always choose true, relevant and demonstrated engagement

Bought followers and likes have always been a big ‘no-no’ for PRs and brands, putting influencers straight into their bad books. The same is absolutely still true and in recent months we have seen more and more influencers engaging in ‘follow loops’ to boost their following.

From our perspective, engaging with an influencer who has built their following through loops isn’t particularly valuable as the influence they have is only on other similar bloggers, within the same ‘circle’. We do decline requests if there is evidence to show that influencers have used ‘follow loops’.

Authentic and real engagement is paramount and where the value wholly lies from brands engaging with influencers. As much as we often have guidelines in terms of the following size, this will only matter if it is true and real. Alongside other stats and insights, most brands will look to see how engaged the audience is by reviewing the comments on posts, is the audience truly engaged?

  1. Give us extra information where you can

The best requests will explain who their audience is and why they feel they are the perfect fit for our client. Including screenshots of your Instagram audience data or a media pack is always helpful and adds weight to your case. Explain how you see the partnership working and where the value lies for each party.

  1. It’s so cliché but be unique and organic

The influencer market is so saturated these days, especially within the parenting space, so setting yourself apart from the rest is important. High-quality images are a must and having your own style helps too. Venture into a niche and do things a little differently. Almost anyone could be an influencer, so what makes your offering so valuable?

  1. Be professional and be suitably friendly

As much as it’s nice to have a friendly and approachable tone on email, a partnership and working with brands is very much in a professional capacity so colloquialisms, pet names, and kisses at the end of emails often feel a little out of place from a PRs perspective. Being polite goes without saying though.

  1. Don’t be disheartened if we decline your request

Just as journalists don’t always place our releases in their publications, PRs and brands can’t accept every request and there will always be a reason for declining you. It may not be down to your size of following, it could be that your content doesn’t quite align with the brand or that influencer relations aren’t within the current strategy. At Liz Lean PR, we always try and give this feedback where possible and encourage influencers to join our GDPR compliant database so that we can contact you for other, more relevant opportunities in the future.

  1. Once the agreement has been fulfilled, send us links to your social posts and blogs

It’s always helpful when dialogue continues until all deliverables have been finalised and posted. Sending links of the social and blog coverage to your contact and thanking them for the opportunity always ends the collaboration on a positive note. We will thank journalists when they publish our press releases, and so, this almost feels like an industry standard.


Haskins Garden Centre employee partners with local schools through Cultivation Street Ambassador scheme

Haskins Garden Centre employee partners with local schools through Cultivation Street Ambassador scheme

Sophie Lyall, assistant team leader for customer services at Haskins Garden Centre in West End, has partnered with local schools in Hampshire to help their development through the positive power of plants.

The West End garden centre has donated gardening products to four local schools as part of Sophie’s role as a Cultivation Street Ambassador. Haskins is currently working with:

  • Beechwood Junior School – a variety of seeds has been donated for the children to develop their interest in gardening, including x125 packets of mixed flower seeds, x9 packets of thyme, x15 packets of cress, x9 packets of rosemary, x6 packets of tarragon, x2 packets of lemon balm, x4 packets of mint and x8 packets of coriander
  • Bitterne Primary School – helping the school plan for the refresh and repainting of their Play Shed and developing the surrounding garden
  • Thornhill Primary School – a variety of seeds, bulbs and gardening gloves has been donated for the children to enjoy during their lunchtime gardening group
  • Durley Ladybirds Nursery – beginners’ seed packs have been donated to encourage enjoyment of hands-on gardening from a young age

Cultivation Street is a campaign founded by David Domoney, celebrity TV gardener and broadcaster, which focuses on encouraging communities and schools to get involved with gardening projects. The campaign was specifically introduced to celebrate community gardens and their ability to bring people together, using nature to inspire, heal and connect the communities they are a part of.

Each year there is a Cultivation Street Ambassador competition, to reward those that have gone the extra mile for their local communities. Sophie Lyall, based at Haskins in West End, has been an ambassador since February 2018 and was announced as a runner-up in the competition last year.

Sophie’s role as a Cultivation Street Ambassador is to co-ordinate the provision of compost, plants, bulbs, gloves, seeds and bird food to local schools. Sophie commented: “I thoroughly enjoy working with a range of local schools to help increase children’s interest in gardening from a young age and help schools develop their resources for green-fingered children.

“I’m passionate about teaching children what I know about gardening because they’re the next generation of gardeners. It’s great seeing how excited they get over a plant they have grown and it’s great to get children interested in being outdoors and enjoying nature, rather than sat in front of a computer screen. This is something Haskins is really keen on encouraging – getting children interested in gardening from a young age, which is evident from our Garden Gang campaign.”

As part of Sophie’s role, over the course of 2019, Sophie will continue to visit Beechwood Junior School, Bitterne Primary School, Thornhill Primary School and Durley Ladybirds Nursery, to join in with gardening activities, as well as endeavor to strike up new partnerships with neighbouring schools.

Sophie Lyall is Haskins’ designated Cultivation Street Ambassador for the West End centre, serving as a dedicated point of contact to support local community groups and schools with a garden. To contact Sophie, visit Haskins in West End’s Customer Services department.

Haskins is located in Mansbridge Road, Gaters Hill, West End, SO18 3HW. For more information visit

How an egg broke the internet and why we love it

How an egg broke the internet and why we love it


How do you like your eggs in the morning? Scrambled, poached, fried or with the world record number of likes on Instagram and a side of 10m followers?

On January 4th this year, @world_record_egg took to Instagram with a goal to become the most liked post, stealing the title from Forbes youngest billionaire, Kardashian sister, Kylie Jenner, with a record of 18 million likes. It was almost an overnight phenomenon as everyone scrambled together and began to share the post to try and knock her off the top spot.

A week later, Jenner had been beaten and the original egg post has now ranked up an impressive 52,198,988 likes.

Fast-forward a fortnight and another post reveals the egg is beginning to crack. Hinting that there’s possibly more to this egg than we all first knew, the suspense and anticipation begins to rise.

We’ve seen the egg crack a little more every so often until Friday when the egg takes the form of an American Football and TV streaming site Hulu takes ownership of the secret, telling followers:

51417453_242720103271165_392916269801668608_n“The wait is over. All will be revealed this Sunday following the Super Bowl. Watch it first, only on @hulu”

What it could be was anyone’s guess, but as of today, it’s fair to say we haven’t been let down.

London based ad-executive, Chris Godfrey, initially started the account to see if an image as simple as an egg, could drum up the same engagement as Kylie Jenner’s picture of her daughters thumb did.

After creating an egg-splosive social media campaign, Godfrey knew he had to make the most of the audience he’d gathered.

Featuring in an advert first aired on Sunday’s Super Bowl, world_record_egg became an advocate for mental health and the pressures that social media puts on us all.

In the video, the egg proclaims that the recent cracks are a result of the pressures of social media. It then goes on to encourage others to talk to each other and links to a new account and website, @the_talking_egg, giving useful information on mental health.

We think this is a l-egg-endary way to utilise the egg’s new found fame and is so relevant to the audience they’ve engaged. Having been shared by millions of young people, and become a hot topic in schools, the egg now carries an important message that everyone, especially young people, need to know.

Having grown up with social media, young people today don’t know any different and therefore it’s sometimes difficult to recognise how social media can impact our wellbeing and mental health. The youngest people on social media are probably still too young to even recognise and understand this.

The once playground trivia of friendship dilemmas, and social pressures are taken online and offer no break for our young people.

A group of girls who excluded you at playtime now follow you home on your iPhone and you see pictures of their after school play dates, heartbroken you’re not there too. The guy, who used to show off at sixth form about his new car and trips abroad, now fills his feed with ‘the good life’, making his mates feel inferior. The people, who don’t feel like they’ll ever be loved because they don’t look like the celebrities on the front of magazines, now see them from every angle on their daily Instagram posts.

Nobody (not even the egg) is invincible and there will always be something that hits a soft spot in all of us, sometimes it can just get a bit too much. @world _record_egg highlights that this is ok, and that it’s definitely ok to talk.

It’s taken such a simple concept and addressed a universal, highly important issue in an audience- friendly, engaging way on a global platform.

I, for one, know that my 15 year old brother shared the post and follows this egg. He was engaged in its rise to fame and as he’s at such a tricky and confusing age, I am thankful that this message has passed on through a channel, he might actually listen to and remember one day.

Chris Godfrey admits the success of the account is a fluke but told the New York Times: “It’s a fluke that caught the world’s attention,” he said. “It’s what you do with that attention that counts.”

As an ad exec it’s a possibility he knew the account would be worth a bit if he achieved his goal, but we think he’s kept this accomplishment sunny side up.

So really we should say; “How the internet broke an egg and why we love it”- but what a fantastic, 21st century, turn of events. Social media done good.



**Social Flash** – Tinder launches student only platform, Facebook videos will soon become more interactive and Instagram launches it’s ‘Parents Guide’

**Social Flash** – Tinder launches student only platform, Facebook videos will soon become more interactive and Instagram launches it’s ‘Parents Guide’

Facebook videos will soon include interactive polls, graphics and more:

  • In recent weeks it seems some Facebook users have been able to test new features introduced onto videos
  • Screenshots show different ways the user can now interact with content including polls and questions
  • This comes following a blog post by Facebook in June which states “Our vision is to make video on Facebook truly interactive. Watching video doesn’t have to be a passive, one-way broadcast. We believe that many traditional formats — from game shows to reality TV and even scripted content — can be reinvented to be more participatory and community-centric.”


FACT: Over 80% of accounts on Instagram follow a business, while 200 million Instagram users actively visit the profile of a business every day {via Instagram}


A new resource for the Parents of Teens on Instagram:

  • In a blog post last week, Instagram launched their new ‘Parent’s Guide’ to help parents understand what their teens are doing online
  • The guide focusses on privacy, interactions and time on Instagram and includes the basics on how the app works.
  • The app has also written a discussion guide, helping parents and guardians have open conversations with their children about Instagram.
  • Instagram has worked with education and social media experts to write the guide.
  • Marne Levine, Chief Operating Officer wrote “I work at Instagram, and I’m also a parent. That’s the lens I bring into the office each day, just like many other parents who work here. We know the social media landscape will continue to change, and we’re committed to being here every step of the way to make sure parents and their teens have the tools they need to make the choices that are right for them.”


Tinder wants to help students make friends at University this year with Tinder U:

  • Tinder wants to help students in the US make friends quicker using their new platform Tinder U
  • The addition is only available on iOS attending a four-year accredited college or university in the U.S. Students have to enter their college email address to gain access
  • In principle, the app then works in the same way where users can swipe, message and match with students around campus
  • Tinder U takes the app back to its roots giving that they launched at The University of Southern California in 2012


FACT: 53 percent of Twitter users expect a response from a business in less than an hour. But, if they’re upset or have a problem, that number rises to 72 percent. {Via Search Engine Journal}


Instagram may soon let you tag your friends in videos:

  • It has been reported by Engadget that Instagram is testing a feature to let users tag their friends in videos
  • It is expected that there will be a button which takes you to a page listing users tagged in the clip
  • Since this is a test, there is still areas which are left uncertain including whether tagged videos will be shown on users profiles
  • Users have been able to upload videos to Instagram since 2013 so it’s about time tagging hits our screens, especially considering the apps recent focus on video with the introduction of IGTV


***Social flash***: #Hashtags on LinkedIn, Snapchat in chronological order and a baby elephant splashing in puddles

***Social flash***: #Hashtags on LinkedIn, Snapchat in chronological order and a baby elephant splashing in puddles

LinkedIn is forcing users to add a #Hashtag

  • Following on from rival social media sites, LinkedIn has added #Hashtags to its posts. However, unlike others, it won’t let a select group of users hit ‘Send’ until they have added in a category
  • Previously #hashtags were not used on the site and so many people are seeing as a major turnaround as LinkedIn looks to boost engagement
  • Other updates include a new layout for profile pages when using the desktop version of the site


Automated bots post the majority of tweeted links for popular websites


Snapchat might be changing back to a chronological order

  • In a move which users have been calling for since the re-design which included a more algorithm-defined feed, the photo-sharing app is considering allowing users to see their friends’ stories and pictures in the order that they were sent (Sound familiar?)
  • Celebrities including Kylie Jenner and Chrissie Teigen have shared their displeasure at the re-design on Twitter, which has not gone un-noticed by Snapchat and its shareholders


And in other news…

This baby elephant is having the best time splashing through puddles and it’s a great watch if you’re having a rubbish day….

Baby elephant splashing in puddles Credit: @AMHQ

Baby elephant splashing in puddles Credit: @AMHQ

*Social flash*: Twitter stops spam scheduled tweets, Facebook updates and DJ Kaled’s latest collaboration

*Social flash*: Twitter stops spam scheduled tweets, Facebook updates and DJ Kaled’s latest collaboration

Twitter is trying to stop spam ‘Tweetdecking’

  • The social media site has tried to prevent people who run a number of Twitter accounts from scheduling the same spam message across all of them
  • It has also put a stop to automation sites that will like or retweet a post to help it falsely gain in popularity. As a result, it suspended a number of accounts that were seen to be doing this
  • Twitter made the update to the scheduling site, Tweetdeck, to ‘limit the ability of users to perform coordinated actions across multiple accounts’ said Yoel Roth from Twitter


Facebook updates its privacy controls in wake of Cambridge Analytica scandal


Pinterest adds ‘Following’ tab to suggest other pages to look at

  • In a similar style to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter’s recommendations tab, Pinterest has jumped onto the bandwagon in terms of recommending similar pages to users
  • It has added the ‘Following’ tab which makes it easy to see which boards you automatically see updates for and which ones you might like to see


And in other news…


DJ Khaled’s latest collaboration is with…erm…. Weight Watchers and of course they’ve already announced a tour together….

DJ Khaled