As a blogger, I often receive pitches from PR agencies that do not follow the cardinal rule of blogger outreach: know the blogger you are pitching.
Unfortunately it seems many PR pros still take the ‘spray and pray’ approach, blindly sending out pitches to bloggers and hoping one will stick. If that is the strategy of your agency or in-house PR team, it is time to reconsider your plan.
Just last week, I received an invitation from a PR agency to attend an event in Los Angeles. One quick look at my ‘about’ page would reveal that I am based in Toronto. I wrote back, letting the PR person know that I cannot attend as I am not based in Los Angeles, and requested they update my location information. A couple of days later, I received another email from the same PR person, following up to make sure that I “don’t miss the event of the summer!”
The PR person obviously did not read my blog, and worst of all, did not even read my email.
Avoid similar faux pas in your strategy by following these five tips to nail that perfect pitch to bloggers:
- Bloggers have jobs
Some bloggers have been known to blog themselves to fame and fortune, however, more often than not, bloggers have a day job or are full-time parents. They do not blog full-time. So when you are pitching a blogger, keep in mind they might be juggling ten other things that day and blogging may not be at the top of their to-do list. To improve your chances of pitching successfully, keep your pitch concise and to the point. The blogger can then choose to selectively cut and paste content right into a blog post if he or she does not have the time to compose an original piece.
- Get to know the blogger
The fundamental key to blogger outreach is that, even before you begin pitching, you should know who you are reaching out to. Add them on social media, read their posts, read their ‘about’ and ‘contact’ pages. You will be more successful if you make bloggers feel special through a personalized pitches, even if it’s just addressing them by name in an email versus making them feel like just another entry on your media list.
- Keep it relevant
I receive so many irrelevant press releases that it’s shocking. If PR professionals just took a minute to read my blog, they would know the topics I cover. Irrelevant emails get the Delete Upon Arrival (DOA) treatment and repeat offenders are marked as spam. Bloggers, unlike journalists, have no qualms about severing relationships with companies, so read at least five blog posts before pitching so you don’t end up in spam-land.
- Looks matter
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so use images to bring your pitches to life. A whole chunk of text can be boring to read through, and images can be a great way to break up your paragraphs. It also gives the blogger an idea of what images are available for the post. Take the extra step of creating an online media library in advance so bloggers can have high-resolution images or other useful files at their fingertips. On occasion I’ve received a pitch and wanted to publish right away, but by the time I received images, it was old news or I was nose-deep in other commitments. Just remember that you might be pitching within a small window of opportunity, so make it count!
- Optimize for digital
You can never have too many links in your pitch. Links help a blogger save time searching for information. Link to Wikipedia for background information, your client’s page, product page, venue information and social media pages – addressing the when, where, how and why of your pitch – anything that will reduce the time a blogger needs before he or she can publish.
If you have more tips on how to pitch bloggers or questions on how your company can reach this important audience, leave a comment below.