How to pitch to bloggers

Pitching, or selling in, a story to bloggers as a PR can be quite daunting. Just how to do it, if it’s your first tentative steps in to engaging with the blogosphere, can be difficult to fathom. Now, many bloggers will get ‘bad’ pitches from PRs who just haven’t done their homework, and this is inexcusable. But just what is a ‘bad’ pitch?

To me, there are two types of bad pitch:

1) Unresearched
2) Badly written

And it is the former of the two which usually gets most bloggers’ backs up, and rightly so. If, as a PR, you do not take the time to look at the blog you’re going to be sending your e-mail to, why should the blogger be at all bothered by your contact? Indeed, unresearched could also be identified as spam, depending on the tone of the e-mail.

So, let’s help out the PRs here – it might not necessarily be their (my/our) fault. The best way to correct a problem is to address it, work out where the errors are, change them, and try again. So let’s work through a practical example shall we?

I received an e-mail pitch a few weeks ago and it (and the subsequent pushy follow up e-mail) riled and amused me a little. I have for the sake of identification, removed all of the distinguishing features of the pitch. I do not intend to name and shame (this time), this is an exercise that I hope will stimulate a debate. I will not publish the PRs name, agency or contact details because I do not intend on harming the PR or the PR agency’s reputation. I want to help them and others like them to develop and become better. This is not saying that I have all the answers, this is putting forward how I would go about sending the same press release.

* * *

Hello,

Please find attached the xxx official press release which describes the results of research undertaken in xxx by xxx, a xxx at the xxx and the xxx in xxx.

The study concludes that adding xxx xxx or xxx (xxx xxx xxx) training to a xxx (weight loss) diet can help achieve a sustained long-term weight loss of xxx in adults. In that contention it appears that xxx et al have drawn the conclusion that xxx training on a xxx machine incorporating a range of exercises including squats , lunges, calf raises, push ups and abdominal crunches is as good as conventional exercise ( group cycling, swimming, running step aerobics and general muscle strengthening exercises) in helping initiate and maintain weight loss.

Importantly xxx exercise on a xxx machine appears to be better than conventional exercise in reducing xxx more than conventional exercise in xxx and in this regard could prove a viable alternative to weight lifting. Visceral adipose tissue is the fat tissue between the xxx. It is this fat that is a major health concern as there is a strong correlation between xxx and the xxx as heart disease, hypertension as well as diabetes.

xxx however does not want people to think that the xxx can do it all on its own. xxx is clear that a healthy diet together with appropriate aerobic exercise… (see the xxx regime used in the study ) is vital and that there are no short cuts available. “xxx generic quote xxx” xxx says.

This data is formal confirmation of anecdotes which surround the use of this xxx and adds another weapon to the armoury of those professionals and individuals seeking to manage obesity and so improve health outcomes.

Please do let me know if you need any further information or would like to see the full study.

Kind Regards,

xxx

* * *

So, first things first: ‘Hello’ just will not do. What is the blogger’s name? There is nothing lazier than not finding out the blogger’s name if it is available, especially if there’s a big fat about page at the top of the blog, or a description box near the top of the blog.

Secondly, do not start your first paragraph with ‘Please find attached’; a) I don’t want an attachment unless I ask for one b) what story are you trying to get me to engage with OR introduce yourself before trying to sell me something.

And thirdly, don’t copy and paste or even paraphrase the study (which you’ve already attached) into 5 paragraphs. You’re putting something in front of me and telling me to read it, not asking if it’s of interest and if i’d like to know more.

So, with this example I would have structured the initial e-mail something like this:

Hi Matt,

My name is Matt Churchill, I work for Suchandsuch PR on behalf of Suchandsuch Client.

{Include a link to both your agency and the client so that if the blogger wants to know more, they can find out. This eliminates the need for a full explanation in to what you and your client are about}

After reading your blog, I thought that a new piece of research from Suchandsuch would be of interest.
{Include why you think it’s relevant; ask yourself how it’s relevant and what the blogger’s readers will get from it}

The key themes from the study say that…
{Pick three key findings, and fit them into no more than two sentences}

If you’d like to know more, we can send you the study in full, or you can find out a bit more on xxx website.
{DO NOT ATTACH THE STUDY. Clear? Cracking. If you can point the blogger in a direction where there’s more info or the study in full, complete with pictures, audio or video, ace}

Best wishes / kind regards,

Matt

This keeps the content of the e-mail down to a minimum so it is as unobtrusive as possible. Hopefully the tone that you take will make the blogger want to know a little bit more and pick up their interest.

This can be a hell of a culture shock for PRs who are used to the full bodied press release, but, as with any PR approach, it needs to be tailored specifically. You wouldn’t target a top tech journalist without at least including their name would you?

Approaching a blogger is in a way, the ‘perfect’ form of communication. Perfect as in perfect anarchy, not perfect as in Watford’s defence. It is communication at the most basic level, but the hardest to do well. If we work together, instead of picking fights, Journalists, bloggers and PRs might be able to break down the current barriers which stand in the way of providing quality news and features for our respective audiences.

6 thoughts on “How to pitch to bloggers

  1. Pingback: How to pitch to bloggers | diabetes

  2. Pingback: Weight Loss » Blog Archive » How to pitch to bloggers

  3. Well said my friend! The three things that irritate me the most when PR send press releases include, not knowing the blogger’s name, long emails that don’t make any sense (like the one you received) and big fat attachments!

    When will they learn?

  4. Pingback: 6 Month Blog Stats « The Seldom Seen Kid

  5. Pingback: Blogger Engagement « The Seldom Seen Kid

  6. Pingback: How (not) to pitch to bloggers? « The Seldom Seen Kid

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