Pitching To Bloggers Done Right

June 12, 2008 at 6:26 am | Posted in Blogging, Coke, Email, Facebook, Marketing, Online marketing, Public Relations | 9 Comments
Tags: , , , , ,

There’s been a lot of hubbub around pitching to bloggers. The Chris Andersons and Gina Trapanis of the world don’t want to be solicited to by PR companies. They have some good points – including explicit warnings not to email them – and I don’t fault them for their actions.

However, PR does serve a valuable purpose in business and it’s certainly not going to disappear in the new media landscape. In this post, I will describe essential elements of a stellar PR pitch to a blogger.

The Right Pitch

I received a great email yesterday from Christina at The Advance Guard for Coke’s new Facebook widget. Here are the good things about it that too many journalists and PR folks forget:

  • Short: The total email was 130 words long. Already, this sends the message that she respects my time.
  • Introduction: In one sentence, she explains who she is, who the client is, and why she’s writing to me.
  • Description: Again in one sentence, she sums up the product with a minimum of the adjectives that decrease believability (“best,” “great,” “unique,” etc).
  • Seduction: I would have made the mistake of describing at least one feature or benefit. Instead, Christina piques my interest just enough and then leaves me two links from which to garner the specs. I had clicked these links before I even finished reading the email.
  • Help: Another one-sentence reminder that I can contact her with any questions.
  • Thanks: She ends by acknowledging my limited time and thanking me for reading. Even if it sounds heavy handed (which it doesn’t), the blogger is getting his/her ego stroked and that never hurts.
  • Transparency: The postscript is not only transparent by again mentioning the client, but also encourages transparency if I write about it. This mentality builds trust.
  • Tone: The tone is helpful, but reserved (not one exclamation point!).

If your copywriting follows these simple rules, you cannot help but improve your response from bloggers. In the end, it comes down to being respectful, professional, and sounding like a human being. (It turns out people prefer other people rather than PR robots. Who knew?)

Postscript For PR People

Personally, I love being pitched, especially if there’s free stuff or advanced notice involved.

I’m sure this will change as the blog picks up pace, but considering how much media I consume to write this blog (and how much that costs), I certainly do not mind someone sending me a free book or whatnot. (And considering the amount of books alone I mention positively, your chances are pretty good I’ll find something I like.)

But please follow these rules when you make contact. We bloggers are people too.

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9 Comments »

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  1. Thanks for the kind words about our outreach surrounding the CokeTag initiative. As bloggers ourselves we are constantly changing our outreach messages to make them as straight forward and to the point as possible. We love hearing both the positive and critical reactions so that we can make them better the next time.

    Christina is a very valuable member of our team and I know this is going to make her morning when she sees it.

    Have a great day.

  2. Would you mind sending me a copy so I can look at it please? I’ve received so many bad pitches as a print reporter and blogger I love good ones, and use them as examples for my readers of what to do instead of what NOT to do.
    tks

  3. As a PR professional I am in complete agreement with this list of pitching “dos”. I would also add, have some idea of what the blog is about before pitching it. Make a reference to a recent post, or acknowledge in some way that you understand the blogger. Blogs are very personal, there are many clues you can pick up on that will help you craft a customized pitch.

    Also, and this is somewhat connected, never blast email a blind cc pitch to a bunch of bloggers at one time. Yes, it’s more time consuming, but you’ll get better results when you pitch each blog individually.

  4. Thanks a ton for the kinds words. It’s easy to pitch well when you love what you do and adore your client. Although that may sound cheesy, I think it’s the true secret – everything else just falls into place.

  5. I completely agree with everything you say. Being both a communications professional and maintaining a blog, I (much to my surprise) occasionally get pitched stories.

    One, from a tech company which will remain nameless, was astoundingly bad and left me with no idea what it is they actually do.

    When I just ignored it, I got sent the copy I was expected to write a week later and with good measure a logo was attached.

    I was actually horrified that we come across like this to some bloggers and I also know that some of my competitors are touting – and winning business – on what are glorified bulk email services.

    The advice I always give to people internally here is this: Treat a blogger much as you would a trade journalist. His / her knowledge about your industry will be the same, and build relationships in the same way you would with someone from a key trade title.

    That doesn’t involve spamming them and does involve getting to grips a little better with what they actually do and write about.

  6. […] | Tags: blogging, blogs, Email, pitching, PR, Public Relations Last week, I gave an example of the correct way to pitch to bloggers. In this post, I will show the wrong way to pitch to bloggers – learn from this person’s […]

  7. As a member of a small company seeking reviews and mentions for our product and website, I appreciate the tips given in this blog. I will remember to utilize all of them from now on when I am doing my pitching.

    Thanks again,

    Jake

  8. Some great versatile advice there, that is relevant for anyone cold-emailing others for any reason.

    BTW: Your post too, was the perfect length and left me with 8 simple points to take away.
    – Short emails
    – Short clear introduction
    – Short no-hype description
    – Seductive Links
    – Easy to follow up
    – Time considerate and thankful
    – Transparent
    – Relaxed tone

  9. Excellent advice.

    I’m glad I didn’t make it on the “How not pitch” post.

    Michael E. Waddell
    http://www.michaelewaddell.com
    http://www.toyboxleadership.com


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