While it’s tempting to say “hey you blogger, work with me, I’m awesome and you won’t be sorry,” the world requires us to use a little more tact in our pitches. After all, a pitch to a blogger is your first impression and if you screw it up, they won’t think you’re awesome and they won’t work with you.
Because I don’t want my fellow PR and marketing friends to pitch bloggers poorly, I sought out a few bloggers for pitching advice. After all, who is better qualified to tell you how to pitch than the people you’re pitching?
So I chatted with a few bloggers who get pitched A LOT to see what they have to say about what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to being pitched.
Dog health blogger
Kimberly runs a blog that focuses on all things dogs and she’s one of the more successful bloggers in her niche. Needless to say, she gets pitched on a daily basis.
She’s worked with some really good PR professionals and has been “spammed” by some really unprofessional ones.
“The pitches that work come from people who have taken the time to check out my blog, read my About page, and check out my social networking profiles.”
Kimberly really stresses the effectiveness of a personal pitch. Pitches that don’t address her by name tell her that someone is going through a list of URL’s hoping one of them will reply.
What Doesn’t Work
Not actually reading the blog is the quickest way to end up in the junk mail box. “It doesn’t take long to realize that I write about dogs. So pitching me about products for humans, cats or horses won’t get someone very far.”
And then there are people who try to prove that they read the blog when they haven’t. There is no need to reference a blogger’s own site in a pitch, in fact in can do more harm than good. “Pitches that tell me I’ve been reading http://www.keepthetailwagging.com for a while scream MAIL MERGE,” Kimberly advises.
Jerlene has been running a successful and active beauty blog in the UK for 4 years.
She continuously works with brands and had some great advice about what she looks for in a pitch. Jarlene says that she’s receptive to pitches that contain the following:
- The pitch is relevant to the blog’s focus
- It has a personal touch but doesn’t have to be time consuming or gushing
- The best tone in a pitch is professional yet friendly and she says this is a tough balance to strike but it can be done!
- Be upfront about the type of collaboration you want. Whether it’s a product review, paid blog post, etc.
- An arrangement of reciprocity works best.
Classic video game blogger
Rhys runs a classic video game blog.
What Doesn’t Work
Since Rhys’s blog has the word “garden” in the title, he gets pitched by gardening and horticulture firms all the time. Who, are clearly not taking the time to do their homework. He calls these pitches “the bane of my life.” Not a good way to get a blogger’s attention, to be the bane of their life, right?
Here is an example of a pitch he got earlier this year: “It might be snowy outside but we’re planning the year’s first garden party at the Garden Press Event. This year we’re at the Barbican so a change of
venue for us all – and yes, it’s on the 14th February, but there’ll be
plenty of roses to make us all feel special. We’d love it if you can brace
the weather and come and join us on the Fiskars and ebertsankey stand.” Not something that shows they read his blog. About video games.
Rhys’s biggest piece of advice is simply to read a blog before pitching. Pretty easy, right? Bloggers simply don’t want to waste their time reading irrelevant pitches.
Sam writes a cocktail blog based out of New York.
He says the pitches that work best for him are one that give him access to a product or content that he can use such as a new spirit sample to review or an interview with a master distiller.
He also advises brands to offer good images to use in his posts when asking for coverage.
When pitching to get coverage on an event, Sam says to make sure you send the pitch in plenty of time so that the blogger can have time to put something together. He’s had pitches for coverage the day before the event…
He has one best practice to share with PR and marketing pros when pitching bloggers: “read the outlet you’re pitching.”
What Doesn’t Work
Sam says the pitches that don’t work are the ones that ask him to run a story about a party someone threw last night but didn’t invite him to or pitching the types of products or events that he doesn’t cover.
The biggest pitch “turnoff” has been pitches that were full of typos and poorly written. He says one pitch was so clueless that they named a cocktail after a movie character who was an alcoholic. And others included disgusting drink recipes.
Linsey Knerl is a parenting blogger who has been blogging since 2007 and gets 50-100 pitches a day!
Considering her background, I’d say she really knows what makes a good pitch and she says a good pitch contains the following:
- A proper greeting. “Hello! Dear Blogger or no greeting at all are signs that the person pitching me hasn’t done their research.”
- There should be foreplay. “No one wants to be bedded without the obligatory dinner or at least a drink.” She says to start with a warm up sentence or two, maybe saying something you like about the blog or that you have a child the same age. But don’t be creepy…
- A reasonable request. You offer something and request something in return.
- Manners. “They can go a long way to show that you are a human with a heart and that you care about the people you are emailing.”
What Doesn’t Work
Linsey says pitches that don’t work try “tired sales closing techniques,” or they name drop. She says she’s also gotten pitches from people she’s worked with before but the pitch is the one that they send all new contacts, don’t forget about a blogger you’ve worked with in the past!
What does all of this advice have in common?
If we find the common thread of advice that these blogger’s offered, I’d say we have the secret to pitching bloggers…
When asked nothing more than what makes a good pitch and what makes a bad pitch, every single blogger I talked to came back with a desire for someone to read their blog before they pitch them.
So if anything is taken away from this post, read the blog before pitching. Simple enough…
If you’re a GroupHigh user, not only can you find niche fitting blogs but you can read a blogger’s post straight from the platform.
With this advice in hand, you’re response rates are about to go through the roof!
Hey bloggers and PR pros, do you have any additional advice to share? If so, share in the comments below and I may use it for part two of this post!