Monday, January 10, 2005

How to Pitch Bloggers

Technoflak will be teaching the How to Pitch Bloggers Workshop at the New Communications Forum. Obviously I have my own ideas about this, but I would be interested in what my readers think. Are you a blogger? What pitches did you use? What gets your delete button? What gets your PR hall of shame?

Have you successfully pitched a blog? What are the differences between pitching a journalists and a blogger in your experience?

Ed Cone has some advice that goes to the heart of all PR pitches, “think less about what I can do for you than what you can do for me.”


Tom said...

Alice - first off, congrats on getting involved in this session - should be a good thing, for sure.

I'm finding that PR folks are getting a bit better in the last 2-3 months than they were 6-8 months ago with regard to pitching stories. Most of what I receive are just "heads up" emails about articles that might fall under my coverage area, which is great - because there's so much news and information, that I can't possibly read it all, or even find it all, no matter how many Google Alerts I have. I enjoy these, as long as they truly are under what I cover. That said, I have found that replying to messages with pitches that are a step or two away from what TMD covers generally gets a good response, but not always.

In my "hall of shame" are two PR firms who insist on emailing me restaurant openings and other sorts of things completely and totally unrelated to media. That said, I do periodically take part in a hyperlocal blog about a certain town, but these pitches have NOTHING to do with that area. Kind of embarrassing, if you ask me. And to boot, I've tried to get off the list with no result.

I don't have a problem with pitches, as long as they're smart and not too pushy. If you're going to pitch bloggers, you're going to have to respond to them in the same manner that journalists would, as long as they treat you with the same level of respect that a journalist should. It's not just free pub and another clipping.

Alice said...

Thank you. This reinforces my own views, but adds some additional insight.

French said...

The top failing among PR agencies and vendor marketing/PR pitching my site (Tekrati Industry Analyst Reporter) has been in sending me items that are clearly outside my editorial scope. It's particularly annoying to get a personalized email from someone who clearly never looked at the site. I do not reply to or acknowledge those emails.

Given the sudden rise of directories of blogs, I fully expect to end up on many more PR distribution lists compiled without validation.

The number 2 failing is in not trying to convince me to cover their client's research initiatives, which are outside my editorial beat but very closely related. No one has tried to engage me in a conversation about the value of covering analyst reports or teleconferences sponsored by their vendor clients. So, of course, I continue not to cover them. This situation amuses me, because their clients pay big bucks for integrating the analysts into marketing collateral and lead generation. What other editorial coverage will they get? I guess I would label this as a missed opportunity -- perhaps a lack of understanding of the more fluid and inspiration-based approach to editorial in new Web media.

On the more pleasant side, the winning tactics are used by people like you: a concise, personal (as opposed to personalized) email that describes the proposed content in a way that enables me to see immediately why the item is of interest to me. I give these people my direct email address and encourage them to send submissions at any time. And, I assume two things: these people are validating their blog/new media outreach lists carefully; and these people understand that being less formal is not the same thing as being less professional, when contacting publishers.

On a related note, I'm preparing to convert one of my standard news columns, "AR Scene", to a true blog, and am looking forward to learning from you and the others at Blog U. This will be the first content area of the site that I open to reader comments -- a touchy feature when you cover industry analyst research -- and to my own comments.

Greg W. Hoffman said...

I just started my search engine optimization program and i've found pretty good success in pitching my main blog. The USA Today link from Jan. 3 took about a month to come around. Others I'm seeing about a 7-day turn around.
I hope you enjoy my yahoo group for Small Shop PR Agencies. Even though I don't have a small shop, I did for five years and the group gave me great mentors.
Good luck.