Batter up... Bad pitch is back
I hope everyone enjoyed the customer service series, and if in North America, had a great holiday week.
Over the past two weeks, I've seen at least one example of every poor blogger relations practice, so I thought I'd resume our discussion with a refresher on the mechanics of blogger outreach.That's everything related to form and focus.
Later this month, we'll get into making the secret sauce. Pitch content. How to develop a blog pitch that resonates with the intended audience like this one for Lucky Charms did for Mom-101.
1. Don't spam. Try to determine if the blogger would be interested in your product or service. That still doesn't mean he'll respond, but it improves your chances from zero.
2. Follow up in reasonable timeframes. Not twice in the same day. And if the blogger doesn't demonstrate any interest (or worse, makes fun of your pitch on her blog), don't send a follow-up a week later. And another two weeks after that. Just shows you aren't reading the blogs you are pitching.
3. Address the blogger by name. Not by her blog name, someone else's name or as a database field, as in these two examples:
4. When a blogger responds to your pitch, even if it just to ask why you sent her the pitch, be courteous. Reply. And not just with a slapdash apology for the intrusion. Answer the question. If you don't know why, why did you send the pitch in the first place?
5. Make sure the blogger could realistically attend the event to which you are inviting her. Don't invite someone who lives in New York to an event in California unless you are planning to pay travel expenses, and please please don't send a glowing update about an event to which the blogger was not invited. That's just mean. Related: don't barrage people with press releases about political campaigns that aren't relevant. I may be a loyal Democrat and I might even be interested in a small tidbit about your race in Texas but neither of my blogs are political columns. I don't want every damn release.
6. Include the relevant information. Nothing sillier than pitches with blanks or notes to <insert info here> If you offer samples, send them when promised, and don't ask for them back. If your budget can't afford samples, don't offer them, or target even more narrowly so you can afford to give them to the bloggers that respond.
7. If you are offering products for contests, make it as easy as possible for the blogger and don't offer stuff that has a limited audience. Gift certificates for a national restaurant chain, good. Gift certificates for a local restaurant, not so good for a blog with national (or international) reach, with certain exceptions. What's an exception? A gift certificate awarded prior to a convention that the people entering the contest are attending.
8. Don't include paragraph upon paragraph of product info. Keep it brief, and respond promptly to questions. Don't answer a question with a canned response unless it is actually the answer to the question. Hint: it probably isn't.
9. If the language your pitch is written in is NOT your native language, please have a native speaker read it before you send it. Really. This point enough I cannot be stressing. Okay, I made that up, but the following two screen captures are selections from a very long pitch for something called a balance bike, a toy that teaches young children how to balance before they face the problem of wheels. It sounds like an interesting product for young children but the pitch is nearly incomprehensible.
Let's just say, hoping I am that this person a native speaker of English not is.
10. Review the email to make sure it is all in the same typeface, size and color. Nothing says crappy pitch like a document that is clearly "cut and paste" from other docs. Especially since they usually also have poor grammar, missing information and database errors.
11. Press releases are links, not attachments. My personal pet peeve is press releases sent in the body of the email with no cover note. Extra demerits if it is included as an attachment as well.
Some notes on my good pitch/bad pitch policies:
I intend to continue using screen grabs and blocking out product, company and agency names from the bad pitches.
If you are considering a PR agency, and would like to know if they have been included here as a bad pitch, call or email me. I will answer your yes/no question: Has agency X been included in a bad pitch post? However, I will not provide a list of agencies that have been included in bad pitch. Don't ask.
I do identify companies, products and PR reps on the good pitches. It is important to give credit where credit is due.
If you forward me a pitch you received, good or bad, I will not identify you by name without your permission.
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