Like many other marketing and PR blogs, we get a lot of inquiries from PR agencies and reps to write about their clients. I ignore about 80% of them.
Why? It’s mostly due to the pitch not being relevant. OMB is an agency blog with the purpose of promoting thought leadership for TopRank Online Marketing. It’s not a news site, it’s not a blog starved for ideas or in need to cover the latest software launch.
With blogger outreach, a lot of focus gets put on the hook or the angle of a pitch. Even if the message is relevant and compelling, I find a lot of those pitches still fail by leaving out one really important thing. Even if the pitch is only 90% relevant or if the hook wasn’t entirely compelling, including that one thing means there’s a good chance I’d act on it. What’s the one thing?
I’ll answer that question by sharing an example of a pitch that I recently received. It was a well written email, personalized, topically relevant, to the point, included data and bullet points and then the close just killed it for me. The classic:
“Are you interested in speaking to someone at [Company XYZ] who can talk about the big takeaways for marketers? I wanted to offer you the report before it’s released to the public Monday morning, so please let me know if you’d like me to send it over.”
Why does that close cause a sigh of disappointment from me? I get so many pitches and have so many other obligations besides being CEO of a fast growing agency, I really don’t have time to coordinate interviews with execs at companies promoting new research or products. I see this particular call to action so often, it must be what PR students get taught at University.
What could save the pitch? What’s the one thing missing?
Provide something to share.
PR has been in the content business for a very long time and now it’s even more important, because content fuels everything we do online. Along with the stats and bullet points for the research within the email pitch, an infographic or a link to a summary of the research plus suggested social shares would have provided something to take action on.
With a release on Monday, the suggestion could be made for Tweets and other social shares to be scheduled using Hootsuite or other social media management software. It’s so simple, I don’t know why more PR and media relations – blogger relations pros aren’t doing it.
When I first wrote about blogger relations in 2006, the focus was on being relevant, personalized and understanding the difference between a blogger’s writing style and that of a journalist. Make it easy for a blogger to cover your story and you’ll see a lot more positive responses. While the PR agency is trying to meet the brand client’s expectations, they must also empathize with the preferences and goals of the bloggers they’re pitching. An interview with a company exec vs. providing or linking to compelling content that’s easy to share or use within a blog post is like night and day for an actionable blogger pitch.
If you’re a blogger, what kinds of pitches and outreach do you find most useful? Do you find it more useful when the pitch includes links to resources or media that you can point to from a blog post or share directly with your social networks? Or do you prefer the executive interview?
By the way, I just received a copy of Deirdre Breakenridge’s new book, Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional, which I’m sure is chock full of great blogger relations advice. Be sure to check it out on Amazon or BN.com.