HOW TO: Effectively Pitch Bloggers

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USA, California, San Bernardino, baseball pitcher throwing pitch, outdoorsThis week, I’m presenting at a local conference on blogger relations, which has me thinking about what separates the “good” blogger relations from the bad.

We’ve all heard that relationships matter, right? But, it’s not always realistic to think we can build a solid relationship with every blogger (or traditional journalist, for that matter) before the pitch. Especially if you work in an agency environment, with clients in multiple industries.

So, what’s the secret to effective blogger outreach?

Not too long ago, a blogger emailed this to me after receiving my pitch:

I really appreciate you taking the time to know a little bit about me before you emailed me. You have no idea what a difference that personalization makes. Or, maybe you do. But in case you don’t hear it enough, good job!

Personalization. You’ll notice this is the beginning of a theme . . .

In the Anatomy of a Great PR Pitch, Geoff Livingston shared a pitch he recently received. (Tip: Read it. It’s a good pitch.) Admitting that he rarely follows up on “cold pitches,” Geoff cited four reasons that this one worked. Reason No. 1: “Did his homework and knows what I tend to write about …” And, the second reason? “Went beyond the norm and researched my personal interests, and even included a motorcycle pic.”

Need more evidence that it’s the personalization – not a pre-existing relationship – that really matters? This summer, the Hoosier PRSA blog shared a pitch from Liz Pope. What made it so great? From the post:

Lesson One: Read the Blogger’s blog and connect with them.

Here Liz Pope, along with her Sevans colleague, Kairi Soosaar, do three very important things:

  • Address me by name.
  • Demonstrate they have read my blog by referencing it in the opening sentence
  • Show they know exactly what I’m interested in “online community that [are] bridging the gap between traditional and new media.”

Liz and Kairi also use the word “share,” which is more friendly and helps build that relationship. They are also concerned about my readers by referencing them in the opening sentence.

The next time you build a blogger list, don’t just hunt around on the targeted blog for an e-mail address or contact form. Find a way to establish a connection. Personalize the pitch by referencing a relevant post or a shared like or dislike. And, don’t forget to check the blogger’s Twitter stream to find those nuggets ideal for personalization.

What advice would you offer to help PR people craft stronger pitches to bloggers?

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