PR Interview with Louise Harris, founder of Rock & Roll Baby World
Mummy blogger Louise Harris decided to set up her own PR agency, Rock and Roll Baby World, after seeing how exposure on parent blogs could make a big impact on brands. Working with clients such as Dora the Explorer and Justin Fletcher, she explains her work on tapping into the online parent community.
About the agency
What was the idea behind founding Rock and Roll Baby World?
The idea came after the birth of my second daughter whilst I was on maternity leave. I discovered the world of parent blogging and quickly got involved with the online parent community and became a blogger myself. I realised that this community was a highly engaged one and their opinion and coverage could make a real impact on a PR campaign. So Rock and Roll Baby world was set up to focus on blogging initially but has now expanded due to client demand to include national, regional, online, radio and TV coverage. We have also set up a marketing arm of the company, which we hope to expand this year to enable us to offer even more services to our clients.
Why would a brand be eager to engage with mummy bloggers in particular?
In the last 2 years companies have realised the impact parent bloggers can have on their brand as it drives traffic back to their website and helps increase their Facebook and Twitter numbers as well as their Google rankings. Many companies have realised that blogs are an important factor in their marketing strategy and can work better than traditional PR in some cases, as the audience is an engaged community, rather than just an anonymous reader.
How do you ensure your clients get the right coverage in these blogs?
We set up reviews, competitions and interviews on our client’s behalf. We research the bloggers that have children that fit the right age demographic and target them with appropriate projects. We treat bloggers the same as if they were national newspaper journalists and have really tried to build strong personal relationships with these bloggers and this makes a huge difference to the output we get from them. We also provide the bloggers with all the tools they need, which are approved by the clients so we ensure the right message is getting across.
What has been the biggest challenge for the agency?
As we have grown and gained more clients we needed to find another team member, which took some time, but we are now a happy team of 3!
Can you list some of your most well-known, or respected clients?
Nickelodeon (Nick Jr.), Dora The Explorer, The Bopps and Little Demon, in which we have worked with brands such as CBeebies, ZingZillas and currently Children’s TV legend Justin Fletcher as well as music labels such as Music For Baby.
We have also worked for fashion and baby brands such as Rockabye Baby, Smart Mum, Festival Kidz, Splats and really unique music projects such as Rockfords Rock Opera and The Land of Sometimes.
Tell us about one of your clients you are working with at the moment. What campaign do you have planned?
We are working with a music audio book called The Land of Sometimes; it’s a fantastic album with a storyline and original songs aimed at children and families. We have organised a launch party at the Groucho Club, have a parent blogging campaign with reviews and competitions, and we are getting national and regional press, radio and TV coverage.
On the marketing side we are working with schools, nurseries, libraries etc. and arranging tours, workshops etc. We are setting up advertorials and ad campaigns and direct marketing to the target audience, as well as one or two really creative elements!
How do you balance the use of social media and traditional PR in your campaigns?
It’s becoming clearer that the social media part of campaign is a fundamental starting point and should be taken very seriously; we see it as the backbone of any campaign and prioritise this before we move onto traditional PR.
Is there a potential client you’d love to work for?
More consumer brands would be great such as Thorntons or Avon!
Which media outlets or bloggers/journalists do you find you work with the most often?
We work with so many different bloggers and journalists its hard to pinpoint the people we work with the most!
What can you offer to bloggers/journalists seeking a story on one of your clients?
We offer the products to be reviewed, provide all images, press release and web links, can offer competition prizes and generally will have someone available for interview.
How do you build and maintain strong relationships with bloggers/journalists?
By being interested in what they are writing about, knowing their names and their children that they write about, treating them as valued individuals rather than as numbers and a way to bulk up a traditional PR campaign.
In your experience, do you think the relationship between journalists and PRs is always harmonious, or is it more of a love-hate affair?
I think as long as you are clear about what you expect and when you want things to run the bloggers are very respectful and professional. Obviously we get the occasion when we have to chase people, as the review didn’t run when it was supposed to but this is quite rare. With journalists as long as you know the product you are targeting them with is going to be of interest then generally you get a good response. It’s all about building relationships and being respectful.
What did you do before setting up Rock and Roll Baby World?
I have worked in music and consumer PR for over 13 years as a PR manager, managing a team and running the high profile accounts of general celebrity and household names.
Are you involved in any other projects?
Yes I consult for a PR company for whom I worked for before I had my children. I am working with Sony Records on an artist called Ramin as well as a new Universal signing called Krystina Miles.
Name three guests you’d invite to a dinner party and why.
Peter Kay to provide the banter, Richard Branson to pick his business brains and Justin Fletcher to entertain the kids!
What’s the first rule of good PR?
Always check that the client you are pushing to a blogger or a journalist is relevant to what they write about! Sounds painfully simple but so many agencies don’t do their research and it’s a sure fire way or alienating that contact.