3 things you should never say to bloggers

Lisa Arledge Powell is President of MediaSource, named 2013 and 2014’s Best Health Care PR and Marketing Agency by Ragan Communications.

Our business is about relationships. In order to foster the strongest relationships possible, you want to be sure to always communicate with efficiency and strategy and never utter the following statements:

  1. “Did you get my email?”

As a current marketing pro and former news anchor, I think I can speak for almost every person in the media and say that there are few things more annoying than the dreaded “Did you get my email or press materials?” phone call. Nothing in the world of PR and marketing guarantees an immediate hang-up quite like this question. If you sent it, chances are good that they got it. They’ll let you know if they are interested. If a blogger chooses not to run your story, picking up the phone and nagging them is rarely going to persuade them to change their decision.

  1. “What type of posts do you write?”

Watch and listen before pitching. Educate yourself about the blog and that particular blogger’s stories before pitching them. Your story, angle, pitch, and everything you do relating to your blogger outreach should be customized, and that includes the timing of your outreach. Know their schedule for posts and deadlines and be respectful of it. If you want the blogger to take the time to read and fully consider your pitch, show them that you’ve taken the time to read and understand their work.

  1. “This is a perfect fit for you.”

When you say this, a blogger hears one of two negative things: desperation or bossiness. They might suspect that the story isn’t a perfect fit for anyone because you’re pushing too hard, or you could come across as a know-it-all. There are always internal pressures, personal pressures, and other planned stories to consider. Only the contact you are pitching knows how your idea fits into their big picture. Let them decide whether it’s a “perfect fit.”

Are there other common questions and emails that you would recommend never sending to bloggers? Weigh in below in the comments and cheers to a great discussion! 

This entry has 9 replies

I can relate to 1) and 3) in particular.

With 1) I get a lot of ‘follow up’ emails. My inbox is busy enough without those. As a travel blogger, I can’t always reply straight away as often I’m busy… travelling. But I do get back to people when I can, unless they are really persistent and that is just a big ‘turn off’!

With 3), I simply don’t like being told what is or isn’t a good fit for MY site. I am the judge of that! And invariably, when someone makes that statement, it’s because it *isn’t* a good fit, but they’re trying to compensate…

So what’s the best way to get across, clearly and simply, “I’ve read a ton of your work, and I reached out to you because I think you’re the person who will be most interested in the story I’m pitching here.” I want to tell an influencer or even a reporter that I’ve done my homework, and I’m contacting them because I value them. How do you say that without annoying anyone?

The problem isn’t really inquiring whether we received your email – it is that you shouldn’t open with that. Lead with why you’re contacting us. Be direct. Tell us what you want and if you’re pitching ideas rather than paid sponsored posts, be prepared to hear no most of the time.

Most bloggers are not paid journalists. They have to be making a living – and writing about your pet project for free – no matter how relevant it may be to their readers – does not have a high priority.

“All the other bloggers are doing it for free so we expect you to do so as well.” Nope, thanks. I have enough on my plate to also be willing to give up my time to promote your business for free. My time is limited and I value it highly, as I also value my blog’s readership which I worked very hard to acquire through years of consistent blogging. I have no interest in giving that way for free with absolutely no benefits on my end.

I agree with your post and the comments here. Also, I hate one someone has clearly never read my blog and pitches me something so off beat. When people want me to cover their idea or product for free I ask them if they work for free? I don’t work for free, do you? Right? Good post!

I write about marketing in China and I get a lot of people asking for free advice. “Can you help me…..” are the worst e-mails in my mind. I get 2-3 a week asking to help with research or to find an advertising agency for their brand or product. It is annoying because they expect help and offer nothing in return (no money, content, contacts, etc). It seems everyone wants something for free.

Hi Lisa,

Despite the reams of great advice for pitching bloggers out there on the web, I still cringe when I see how some people in our profession speak to bloggers.

I polled a few blog owners a while back and some of their impassioned responses show how frustrating the experience can be from their side: http://www.mattfieldingseo.co.uk/guest-blogging-outreach-by-bloggers/

In fairness, some do need a nudge every now and then and are grateful for the follow-up, but there is a right way and a wrong way to remind someone that you emailed them. General understanding of how your words come across in email communication is vital for any outreach specialist.

Not taking the time to understand the type of posts they write, however, is just rude.

So true

What is your mail .. I have something to ask

One of the most wrongheaded inquiries I’ve gotten came from someone asking me to review a list they’d put together. When I didn’t responded within a few days I got a followup that was the exact same email with a few words changed. Then a few days later…the exact same email again with a couple more words changed.

I had actually considered responding to the first email when I had the time, but those copy-and-paste followups made it clear I shouldn’t bother,

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