I have a confession to make. I am an incredibly cranky blogger when it comes to pitches. I get a ton of emails from people asking me to write about their companies, products, videos and more and I have to admit—if I don’t like the way you pitch I may be inclined not to write about you, regardless of how amazing your company, product or video is. I’ve had it up to here with bad pitches, which is why I have decided to impart unto you, oh mighty pitchers, some tips on how to get even the crankiest blogger (aka me) to consider writing about you.
Research First, Pitch Later
One of my biggest pet peeves is when I get pitches for things that are completely irrelevant to Social Times. In case you weren’t aware, here at Social Times we write about stuff that is related to social media (a fact that I thought was obvious). I am always surprised by the number of pitches I get that have nothing to do with social media whatsoever. Pitching me is a waste of my time and yours.
Before you do a mass PR emailing to bloggers, please do your research! You can use tools like Technorati and Google Blog Search to find blogs that cover your industry or product. Then, visit the blog before reaching out to double check that your pitch is actually relevant to them. It may take a couple of minutes, but having a good list of relevant bloggers to contact for all your future PR mailings is worth the time.
Call us narcissists if you will, but us bloggers like to hear that people have read our posts and are familiar with what we write about. That’s why it’s always a good idea to personalize your emails. Say hello, tell us you’re a fan, share a link to one of our posts that you particularly enjoyed…If you can tie your company or product in to something we’ve written about in the past, even better!
When someone sends me a pitch that sounds as if they know me, are familiar with my work and genuinely think that what they are pitching is a good fit for me and for Social Times I am much more likely to take a look at what they’re selling. And I’ve got news for you—it’s really easy to fake this sort of thing. Even if you’ve never read anything by a particular blogger you can take a few minutes to read a couple of their posts, browse their Twitter stream, read their bio and write an email that sounds as if you’ve been following them throughout their entire blogging career!
Note: Don’t get too personal. I once got a pitch from someone who knew my dog’s name, where I lived, that I had recently gotten over the flu and that half a year prior I had been majorly obsessed with the song ‘Alors On Danse’ by Stromae. There is such a thing as getting too personal.
Mass Emails Are A No-No
Mass emails are a definite no-no. Unless you are pitching some really big news about a really big company they are pretty much always a bad idea. Why? Because they are very easy to ignore.
When I receive a mass email I generally assume that I am just one of one hundred bloggers being sent your pitch and that, as one little fish in a whole sea of bloggers, you probably don’t care that much if I write a post about you. So I don’t.
My distaste for mass emails gets even more pronounced when I get them from people who I have communicated with in the past—either via email or in person. If you know me and you can’t take the time to say a quick personalized hello along with your PR then I can’t be expected to take the time to write about you.
Be Brief & To The Point
This one’s important! Bloggers don’t want to have to spend ten minutes trying to decipher your pitch to figure out exactly what it is that you, your company or your product are. Do your best to fit your entire pitch into a few short sentences. If it sounds intriguing and worth writing a story about, the blogger can find out more in a press release that you attach to your email, or can reach out to you with questions.
Sometimes I receive email pitches that explain the history of an entire industry or problem before getting to the point and telling me what it is, exactly, that they are proposing I write about. I have a pretty short attention span and If I can’t tell what your pitching within the first couple of sentences you’ve lost me.
Here’s a tip–before you send out your PR have a friend take a look, preferably somebody who isn’t familiar with the announcement. Ask them if what you’ve written makes sense and if you’ve gotten to the point quickly enough.
Tell Me Why I Should Care
Finally, make sure to explain why your company, product, campaign, etc. is interesting, different, exciting…tell me why I should care! If I tell you that I’ve invented this new potato peeler that is about to take the potato peeling market by storm but I don’t tell you what makes it different you may wonder, “What is it that makes this potato peeler so special?” If I told you, however, that this is the first potato peeler that turns the potato peels into gold, well, you’d be crazy not to want to write about it!
Okay, maybe that example is a bit ridiculous, but what I’m trying to get at is that you shouldn’t expect bloggers to have a major “Ah Ha!” moment about what you’re pitching on their own, but if you tell them why they should care and why your pitch is super relevant to them then your odds of getting covered will be a whole lot better.
Learn more tips in Neil Glassman’s post on 5 Steps to Successful Blogger Outreach.
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.