Blogger outreach lessons learned from recent pitches I’ve received

Over the last year or so, I’ve received a number of pitches around my blog. Surprising to me, really. I guess I still think of this blog as a place where I merely share my thoughts on the digital marketing world around us. Seems odd to me that anyone would want to “target” me.

As I’ve gathered these pitches, I’ve noted the good ones–and those that could use some work.

Today, I wanted to call out the latter. Not as a way to point fingers, mock and ridicule. But instead, as a way for us all to learn. And hone our craft.

So, I’m going to share a few pitches I’ve received, with names/companies blocked, and my thoughts around a few ways these folks could have tweaked their approach just a bit to make for a better chance at success:

Pitch #1

Hi Arik,

As your blog was named as one of PRWeek’s “required reading,” we believe that your readers will be interested in knowing about the upcoming (CONFERENCE) in (MONTH HERE).

Taking place on (DATE HERE) in (CITY HERE), the conference features the individuals, organizations and case studies leading the charge in the new age of digital and interactive media, through a mixture of keynote addresses, speaker panels and practical workshops. Some of our speakers include: (IMPRESSIVE LIST OF SPEAKERS HERE)

We hope that you can help us by spreading the word about the conference to your readers as this will be an event that shouldn’t be missed. For more information and to register, please visit (WEB ADDRESS HERE). Please let me know if this will be a possibility.

Lesson: Make sure you address the “what’s in it for me” issue. Re-read this pitch. What’s in it for me? Sounds selfish, but this is how bloggers (and people) think. In this case, why would I want to share this information with my readers? What’s my payoff? If it were me, I would have included a formal invitation to the event. Ask me to “cover” the event as an exclusive guest of the organization. Better yet, give me a free pass to give away to my readers. If that’s too much to spend, even give us electronic access to the speakers or event organizers before the event–give me an opportunity to share content my readers won’t be able to get anyplace else. But, asking me to help you “spread the word”? Please.

Pitch #2

Hey what’s up? I was searching on Google and found your site,  and I really like recent “6 Facebook changes and what they mean for your brand”.

I will keep this short and sweet!  Two of my friends are launching a product on teaching how to make money via advertising on cell phones.

Check it out here (WEB URL HERE)

You may have heard that mobile advertising is the next big thing since there are a ton more people with cell phones then computers.

Anyway since I really enjoyed your site, I thought I would pass along their cool new product and its live now.  You can make up to $200 per sale!

Can you tell I am excited?

If you have a subscriber list you could mail to about this cool opportunity or if you’re like you can just put up one of their banners and let them do all the work as you collect sales!

The Sign Up is here (WEB URL HERE)

Either way I keep up the amazing work and I wish you the best of luck with everything!

Lesson: If it’s not relevant, it’s in the trash can. How fast do you think I deleted this message? If your answer was anything other than 5 seconds, you’d be wrong. The pitch started strong by mentioning a specific post–points for that. But, the pitch went completely downhill from there. Yes, they pointed to a specific post I wrote, but what does what I write about have to do with cell phone advertising? I actually rarely write about the topic of mobile advertising. If it was me, I would have offered up a few ideas on posts I could write about topics around mobile advertising as it relates to digital marketing and/or PR–then give me an exclusive “sneak peek” at the product. Now that pitch I would have been interested in.

Have you received pitches from companies or PR firms lately? What have you found to resonate with you, as a blogger, and what hasn’t? Let’s share to learn.

9 comments

Most of the people I know are smart, talented PR people, but there are enough bad ones out there who make the rest of us look like we don't know what I'm doing.

Somewhat related: When I write about blogger outreach, I tend to see a spike in traffic to my site. I appreciate that people are trying to find resources and "how-to" posts (like this one!), but it also tells me that people need more help in this area. Seems ripe for professional development opportunities and/or sessions at conferences. Hopefully, the organizations charged with educating their members in "Outreach 2.0" will see this need and help provide the ongoing education.

Heather@prTini

Khaila
Khaila

Thanks for this. I think that sometimes folks tend to slack off a bit in their approach to bloggers because they falsely perceive them to be more invested in advancing their personal brands & influence rather than purveyors of quality, targeted content. Great reminders.

Arik:

Great takeaways from those two pitches.

Regarding the conference pitch, I suspect that the pitch came from a marketing or PR department and not from the meeting professional or content programmer. It shows how silos can actually hinder the overall conference experience.

This was probably the first time you've connected with this conference. And it came across as very sterile, unfriendly and corporate-speak. What a sad way to start that conference experience. For me, it shows that this is just going to be another status-quo, average conference.

IMO, the person pitching the conference should have done more research about you. They should have read up on what interests you, who you connect with and your passions. Then they should have customized the pitch to connect with you personally, sell the WIIFM up front and give you a taste of the overall conference experience. That might have whetted your appetite for more.

Unfortunately, many conference host companies follow the standard pitch that you outlined. It's like it was created in the meeting pr/communications 101 template archives. Ar-g-h-h-h.

Thanks for pointing out how to do it better. Let's hope more conference organizers are reading!

Arik Hanson
Arik Hanson

Duly noted. And I completely agree. I gave a talk at a local PRSA event here in the Twin Cities last fall. It was well-attended and I noticed a lot of folks taking notes and asking informed questions throughout. More evidence to your claim.

Arik Hanson
Arik Hanson

Sure, there are some bloggers out there that fit the description you're talking about here, Khaila. But, there's a whole bunch that don't, too. Those are the bloggers you want to target, if you're a brand in the marketplace right now. Those are the folks who have built trust with their readers.

Arik Hanson
Arik Hanson

Thanks for the comment, Jeff. I fear your silo take is right on. One of the bigger (and very avoidable) mistakes many folks make is simply not doing enough research on the front end. I don't hide much online. You can find a whole heck of a lot about me by visiting my blog, Twitter page and Facebook page. Now, why wouldn't you do a little reading and tailor the pitch a bit? Wouldn't that extra 20 minutes be worth the potential payoff? That's the part I just don't understand. Without that work, blogger outreach is an exercise in futility.