As blogs become more important sources of information and competition for users’ time and attention against mainstream media, many marketers and public relations practitioners continue to stumble about the blogosphere like a bull in a china shop.
Online Marketing Blog gets about 5-10 pitches per week on average, which provides more than enough of a sample on how blogs are getting pitched these days. What’s the verdict? It doesn’t look good.
A few of these pitches are right on or just lucky. Many are simply crap. Some come from friends but never make it to a post. Some are from complete strangers, but are very relevant and get in. Some are borderline where I’m interested, yet I never hear from that company again.
To help pros and flacks alike, here are some pitching guidelines sure to help you resonate with the blogger audience.
- Be relevant. It seems so simple and obvious, yet it is the biggest mistake made when pitching bloggers. Look at the categories of the blog and look at previous blog posts. Is your pitch REALLY relevant for the blog? With a lot of the pitches we get, you can tell there’s been no attempt to look any further than the title of the blog. For example, I get pitches about things like online advertising or creative interactive advertising campaigns and if you look at our categories or previous blog posts, we clearly do not cover advertising.
- Personalize. Getting an email pitch with no personal reference at all, or just a press release and no message is a sure trip to the trash folder. Even more annoying is when there is an attempt to personalize, but it’s copy/paste and the fonts are completely different between the template being used and the “personalized” content, which often ends up not being very accurate anyway. Take the time to research the blog, make comments and get involved. Be honest about who you are in the comments and provide thoughtful insight that is of value and relevant to the blog post.
- Make it easy. Time and time again, I get pitches with one sentence and then the full press release copied into the email. Please don’t do that. Most bloggers don’t write 600 word stories in response to a press release. They are far more prone to link to a press release. So provide a summary to the blogger of the release, and a link to the full version. Some bloggers might just copy and paste your summary, add some commentary and a link to the full release you’ve provided. Remember, popular bloggers are very busy. Make it easy for them to blog your story.
- Schwag is good. I’ll admit it. I don’t mind getting books sent to me to review. In almost all cases I will at least mention the book in a post if it’s relevant to the topics we cover. I know one thing is for sure, if a search engine or company sent us schwag, we would absolutely post a photo of it along with some honest commentary. Does it suck or is it cool? People want to know!
- Be persistent. Don’t be offended or give up if a blogger doesn’t take your story the first time. Be courteous and smart about repeat attempts though. Watch to see if they really do pick up on your story before sending another pitch. Of course, this is not a problem if you actually read their blog.
Here are a number of additional resources on blogger relations and pitching bloggers:
- How to chat up writers – WebProNews
- How to get bloggers to write about your product – Dave Taylor
- Blogs and Public Relations – Online Marketing Blog
- 7 Tips on Pitching Bloggers – Influential Interactive Marketing
- Tips for PR Workers from the Journalists that Hate Them – Valleywag
- What Journalists Hate in PR People – India PR Blog
- Blogger Relations, Two Tips – Media Guerilla
- Pitch.Me Del.icio.usly – Steve Rubel
- Barging into the Blogger’s Circle – Washington Post
- What Reporters Hate About PR People – David Maister
- Building a Bridge Between PR and the Blogosphere – Blog Forward (Brian Solis)
- Finding Bloggers in Your Market – Blog Forward (Brian Solis)
- Blogger Relations for Click.TV – Shel Holtz
- How to suck up to a blogger – Guy Kawasaki
- Top ten things you can do to get blogged – TechCrunch
- Pitching bloggers – Andy Lark
- Pitching Blogs – NewPR Wiki