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The conventional rules of pitching are well-known in the industry, but what about blogs? There are an estimated 31 million bloggers* in the United States alone, and that can be daunting for even the most seasoned PR professional. With an understanding of the basic “do’s” and “don’ts,” navigating the pitch process becomes easier.
Make it personal –The foundation of any good pitch is a strong relationship with the writer. Good blogger relations demonstrates your interests are not one-sided. Connect with bloggers early. Follow their work, comment on posts and share through social media. When you finally do reach out with an idea, refer to those posts and connect them to your pitch.
Make it specific – Never start a pitch with “Dear Blogger.” Beyond that, ask yourself how your product, event, service, etc. relates to the intended writer. Why should this blogger care about what you have to offer? Doing the research and building good relationships with bloggers (see above) lends itself to making the case for why your pitch is relevant to a blog.
Make it practical – Once you’ve established how your pitch relates to the blog, explain why that connection is important. Explain what readers stand to gain from your product, service, event, etc. Bloggers have room to personalize and editorialize in ways that traditional journalists do not, so focusing on benefits is okay.
Make it brief – Bloggers and journalists differ in many ways, but both are constantly being pitched and both will toss a pitch the length of an essay. I always try to condense the crux of my pitch into one paragraph. A brief pitch also allows bloggers room to develop your idea in a way that matches their tone and style, making a successful placement more likely.
Mass produce – Do not copy and paste pitches from one email to another. Never send the same pitch to 100+ bloggers, particularly in one “bcc” email. Do not send the same exact pitch to different writers within one blog. The blogosphere is incredibly interconnected, and pitch mistakes are shared and criticized.
Distract from your message – Too many hyperlinks and images distract from the main points of your pitch and break the rule of brevity. Blogs are a creative, interactive way to share information with the world, but it’s important for PR professionals not to get carried away with that idea in the form of multimedia attachments.
Fall prey to buzzwords –Though this rule applies to all pitches and PR-related writing, it’s easy to “synergize!” or “revolutionize!” when pitching the more non-traditional blogger. Let your idea speak for itself. Leave out the buzzwords.
Be overly persistent – Research a blogger’s preferred method of contact. If they do not receive calls, do not follow up with voicemails until they respond. A follow-up email may be appropriate to flag a pitch, but proceed with caution. A great rule of thumb at Walker Sands: with proper planning, there is really no pitch that requires daily follow-ups.