How NOT To Pitch To Bloggers

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Today’s topic is slightly off topic for Write on Track, but still relevant if you are considering our previous advice on offering to write guest posts for other blogs and websites, or you have a product or service you would like other bloggers to write about.

Marketing and Public Relations people often pitch to bloggers in an effort to get their product or service featured on leading blogs. As the owner and manager of several blogs which range from business to health and science related content, I am pitched to on a regular basis. The majority of the emails I receive go straight to trash. A quick glance at the first line is enough for me to decide whether it is worth my time reading through to the end of the email. This might sound harsh, but when I open an email that says “Hi Blogger”, or simply “Hi”, without being addressed by my name, I know that far from this pitch being tailored to me, it is a generic email with no attention to whom it has been sent.

Here is an example of an email I received last week:

Hi,

We are interested in forming a content relationship with (Insert Blog Name). Our writers can construct a carefully researched guest article for your site. The aim is unique and interesting content for your readers to enjoy. Our goal is to provide high quality content that can naturally attract traffic and links. This way we both win! We just ask that we can place one reference in the article or bio back to our site.  Our site is an education site for students researching college options.

Strike Out

My name is clearly visible on my site, so strike one for not including it. Strike two for Insert Blog Name. The email goes on to list examples of what they can provide, completely unrelated to the content on my health blog, so strike three for irrelevant content.

I’ve had it up to here with bad pitches, so these are my tips on how to do it right!

Pitching To Bloggers – How To Do It Right

1. Do Your Research And Make It Relevant

A simple Google search will help you to find blogs relevant to your product or business. But, don’t stop there. When you have identified relevant blogs, visit the site, check the kinds of posts and the audience s/he writes for, read their about page, and make doubly sure your pitch is relevant to them.

2. Personalize It

Read and comment on their blog posts, engage with them on Twitter and try to build up a relationship with them before you pitch. Of course, try to do all this without looking like a stalker!  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, I will always consider their pitch carefully, and more times than not, end up featuring them.

3. Don’t Send a Mass Email

The blogging community is small in niche blogs. I know when the same email has been sent to a number of bloggers in my community, with the exact same pitch and spiel. Even more shameful for the pitcher – no attempt to disguise the fact that it is a mass emailing by cc/ing all recipients in email.

4. Make It Brief

Honing your pitch to a few relevant sentences will increase your chances of being read. You can always provide links to further information, an attached press release and your telephone number and other contact details if the blogger wishes to follow up on your email.

5. Don’t keep emailing.

Here’s what PR pro Gini Dietrich has to say on this point:

If I don’t respond, I am not interested. You forwarding your previous email to me, to show me how many times you’ve sent it to me without response is not charming or enduring. I get hundreds of emails a day. If I want to do something with yours, you will hear from me. If it’s not well-researched and the pitch isn’t relevant to us, I will delete it without responding. Don’t contact me again.

When Pitching Works

I have established a long term relationship with a publishing company, who send me their newly released titles  (relevant to my health blog) for review. They got their pitch right to me from day one, and we have had a good mutually beneficial working relationship for the past three years. I know they won’t pitch me anything that isn’t a good fit for my blog and my readers, and they know they will get an unbiased, trustworthy review and their product in front of a large number of readers. To quote the hapless pitcher from my failed pitch above – “”this way we both win!”

Do you have any questions or observations on blogger outreach you would like share with us?

Related Post:

How To Be An Outstanding Guest Blogger

About

Marie Ennis-O’Connor BA, MIAPR, holds an Honours degree in History from University College Dublin. She is a graduate of the Irish Academy of Public Relations and has worked in a variety of PR roles over the past 12 years. Marie is editor of several award-winning blogs ranging from life sciences to health to business. She is a panel member of the newly established Bloggers International and is a regular contributor to Health Works Collective, an online community for thought leaders in international healthcare. She is a featured blogger on Webicina, an online service that provides curated medical social media resources in over 80 medical topics and over 17 languages, and has been awarded a top blogger accolade by Empowered Doctor.com and most inspiring writer by WegoHealth. Marie is also in demand as a trainer in social media marketing and travels the country teaching small business owners how to get online and maximise their online presence.

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