For some reason or another, I’ve been seeing quite a few links pop up (mostly on Twitter) to stories on how to pitch to bloggers. These drive me absolutely batshit crazy.
IMO, pitching bloggers is really no different than pitching any other media channel.
The number one rule – and really the only one that matters – is this.
MAKE IT RELEVANT.
It doesn’t matter if you’re reaching out to a TV network, a community paper, a website. Make it personal. If you haven’t done your research and don’t know anything about your target outlet, why on earth would you expect your recipient to give your pitch a second of their precious time?!
Tailor your pitch to the recipient. I don’t blog about Excel worksheets, so to the person who pitched me about a tool for converting Excel files, you are never getting a response from me. Know what they cover, how they cover it, and what their rules are. Does the blogger ever run sponsored posts? Run giveaways? Accept product to review? Read About pages, Media/PR/Sponsorship pages, and for goodness sake at least peruse a few of their recent posts.
Seriously. It’s not rocket science, guys – it’s common sense. And it’s not just a media thing. It’s basic human psychology. This applies to anyone you might ever want anything from. Sure, you can go ahead and ask your mechanic neighbour Dave for a favour. But you can exponentially up the odds of him helping you out – he’s way more likely to say yes if there’s something in it for him. Make it worth his while. Explain clearly what he gets out of it. Make it easy for him to agree. Don’t make it easy to delete or ignore your longwinded, confused request
I recently got a pitch at work that was short (tick!), but the one paragraph was completely incomprehensible. Every other word was an acronym or some other piece of jargon. Now, I know New Zealand is bursting with niche publications, and there may well be one out there in this particular esoteric space, but that is most definitely not us. The only words I understood in those sentences were ‘launch’ and ‘market’ (I think ‘trading’ may also have been thrown in there). I literally did not have any clue what the fuddle they were trying to pitch, nor did I care. I am willing to bet a month’s pay that the PR person didn’t know what she was shilling, either.
Even more annoyingly, said PR person followed up with a call (in which she made no further attempt to explain WHAT she was talking about or what the company actually did), and when I turned her down, sent another email that was more or less identical to the original, “just in case” I might reconsider. Way to waste my time.
Which leads me to a related point. A nice secondary consideration is to make it easy. (However, this is no use if you haven’t achieved the golden rule of relevancy.)
Keep your pitch short and sweet – a few key points in a few lines – and within one email (masses of attachments are a major turn-off). That said, be sure to include everything your intended reader would reasonably expect to know. Expand on the details further down in case the recipient is, in fact, interested enough by your dazzling opening to read on. But remember: Leaving out important info is not intriguing – it’s irritating. Make it as easy as possible for the person on the other end, or they won’t bother.
If it all sounds like too much work, I’ll remind you that this is your job. Like anything else in life, you get out what you put in. If you really want ANYONE to pay attention to your pitch, do the legwork. Otherwise, reset your expectations very, very low.