I like to write and I like to eat. As a result of these two interests, I’ve been blogging about dining out and cooking since 2009. Because of that, pitches from fellow PR folks often land in my inbox.
When I receive good pitches that align with my interests, I try to help. Sometimes I throw a party. However, I rarely feature giveaways or promotions and don’t endorse products that I wouldn’t use at home or review a lot of restaurants in the suburbs that I rarely frequent.
I receive a fair amount of decent pitches, a few very well done ones, and many, many poor ones. Can you guess where the below pitch falls?
Yeaaah. So with that in mind:
How (Not) to Pitch a Blogger
Sending a blind CC. This person has pitched me three times to date, all in the same format. I’m sure that blogger outreach is just one of the things on this PR person’s to do list. We’re all busy. A copy-and-pasted blind CC email to a large list like this, however, is just lazy. If you are expecting a blogger to endorse your client, take the time to type their name. Then double-check it to confirm you typed the right name. Take five minutes to read through the blog you’re pitching for basic info. You’re probably billing in 15-minute increments anyway.
Asking for free work. “This is great exposure!” Seriously, this is a cliché at this point. A blogger’s time is worth something. Blogging is not free. The computer I use to write the posts and the camera I use to take my food pictures for our blog did not magically appear, nor did the software I use to edit the photos. Please don’t dangle “exposure” in front of a blogger like a carrot on a stick when asking for free work. It is insulting.
Requesting bloggers do your errands for you. Let me get this straight: You want me to go shopping for your client? And then basically file an expense report for reimbursement? Who works for your client here, you or me? This is just rude. When requesting an endorsement or feature, make the ask as easy as possible to complete—especially if you are asking for something for nothing (but think of the exposure!), which this person is.
Thinking we quit our day jobs. As mentioned previously, this is the third “TIME SENSITIVE, first come first serve” email I have received from this person. Not only is this unprofessional to send because it makes it look like they don’t have their content planned out, many bloggers have full time jobs. Some have several part time jobs. Few have the flexibility to drop what they are doing, and appear on TV for you (and do your shopping!) less than two days away. This is simply inconsiderate.
Trying to play ventriloquist. I’m not your personal shopper, and I’m certainly no dummy. I have my own blog for a reason—I like to write what I think about food. Not talking points drawn up by your client. You’d never send an email like this to a reporter (or at least I wouldn’t). Why would you think you could send it to a blogger? I’m noUSA Today, but just like reporters, I have an audience of readers, a reputation and credibility. Promising a client you can get a blogger to repeat their copy word for word is likely one that will be broken. So don’t make it!
When you pitch a blogger to feature or endorse your client’s product or restaurant, you are asking them for their help. You are asking them to use their earned credibility and their hard work to further your marketing efforts. While the audience for a blog may be smaller than a major publication, if it wasn’t worth your time, you wouldn’t be doing it in the first place. So please take the time to do it well, for your client’s sake.