Why should people read your blog?
To get honest product reviews and an insight into the male grooming world that’s hopefully done with a big dash of humour. I like to think of The Grooming Guru as a BS-free zone.
What’s the most important issue in your blogosphere?
There are lots of things like disclosure, plagiarism, trolling and how blogs avoid becoming ‘dumping grounds’ for cheap product placement – these are constant ‘issues’. To me the biggest issue, though, is how some PRs (and their clients) still don’t understand blogs or value them (I suspect the two things are linked!).
What’s your favourite blog and why?
British Beauty Blogger. Nobody in the beauty industry is more clued up about blogging than Jane Cunningham. She gives her readers the lowdown on all the new beauty products, of course, but for me it’s her posts about the absurdity of the industry and her advice to bloggers that are essential reading. She’s started vlogging now, too, something I may do myself if I can get some (very) flattering lighting sorted.
How often do you aim to post?
As often as I possibly can. I’m a journalist and consultant as well as a blogger so inevitably work gets in the way sometimes but I do try to post a couple of times a week at the very least, often more. I can’t really see the point in blogging once a month – that smacks of ‘maintenance’ to me rather than true blogging. Really good blogs give you a regular ‘fix’.
How do you feel about guest posts?
I have had guest posts in the past and they can be fun. They’re a good way to add a different perspective but at the end of the day a blog is more akin to a diary than anything and how often would you let someone else – a stranger even – write in your diary? Like most bloggers I do get lots of emails saying, ‘we’ve got some great content for your blog!’ to which my reply is always, ‘thanks for the offer but I have my own’.
How does a good PR work with you?
My favourite PRs are the ones who understand blogging generally and my blog specifically. It shows they’ve done their homework. As a writer I don’t think you can ask anything more from a PR than efficiency in getting product, information and images to you really. Clearly the ones that get results are the PRs that make an effort to build a relationship with you and that takes time and effort on both parts. When it works, though, everyone’s a winner.
What do PRs do that’s bad?
Most are great. There are the stalkers of course – the ones who send a product, assume you’ll write about it and then hound and hound you until you’re forced to change your mobile number and the locks on all your doors. My own pet hate is emails that leave off my name or skip the niceties altogether and just include an attachment.
Some PRs are also great at getting stuff to you but not so good at following things up after you’ve written about their product. Trust me, a little thank you note or email goes a long way – and gets you remembered. I actually think that what the industry lacks most these days are basic good manners, and manners still matter.