As PR people, one of our primary goals is often to secure positive media coverage for our clients. As bloggers continue to grow in stature and credibility, clients can be well served by a strategically placed blog mention, review or guest post. However, pitching bloggers is a new form of outreach for many PR people. (If blogger outreach is new to you, check out these two resources: how to craft a solid pitch for bloggers and blogger relations myths.)
Recently, I received two pitches that I wanted to compare and contrast. Neither email is “pitch perfect,” but there are a few best practices worth sharing, as well as some worst practices that should never appear in your blogger outreach.
The first pitch:
Subject: Guest Posting on Your Blog
I just started blogging at [redacted] – and I’d like to build up my site the way you have built yours. My goal is to deliver quality content about all things car and insurance related. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, so hopefully I can slowly create a quality resource to help people out!
Would you be interested in a well written guest post from me? I’m flexible to topic, length and style for posting. My articles have been picked up by National Radio Shows like Car Talk, have gone viral on twitter and Reddit, and have been extremely popular on a number of high traffic websites – I think I would be able to do the same thing for you!
I look forward to your reply.
The second pitch:
Subject: Contributing a Guest Post for prTini
Hey Heather,My name is [redacted] and I am the co-founder of B2C ecommerce startup [redacted]. I manage all of our marketing and PR efforts, specializing in Media Relations and would love to do a guest post with you guys.
I have contributed to blogs like HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Blog, Search Engine Journal, HuffingtonPost, ReadWriteWeb and TheNextWeb [sender linked to samples of his contributions]. I have also been interviewed (both in video and text) about my advice for PR for entrepreneurs and have been quoted in stories about Social Media Marketing and Media Relations.
You’ve actually read and commented on one of my RWW posts. [linked to the post]
Please let me know how I might be able to contribute a post!
4 “don’t ever do this” takeaways from the first pitch:
- “Hey” is very informal. If you’re going to use it, you should have a preexisting relationship with the recipient, or at least take the time to include my name, as illustrated in the second pitch.
- Don’t start by listing your goals. As a blogger, I’m not really concerned with your goals. I’m concerned with producing enough quality content to achieve my goals and satisfy my readers.
- Know your audience. I’ve never written about cars, car insurance or anything along those lines. If you are a car person, but can make a connection to my subject matter, spell that out in the email. Don’t make me guess what you might write about.
- As a whole, this pitch is very cookie cutter. I can all but guarantee that it was copied, pasted and blasted out to dozens (if not hundreds!) of bloggers. It’s not specific to my blog, my readers or my interests. Why would I want content from this person?
3 “That’s a good idea” takeaways from the second pitch:
- Use the blogger’s name. It doesn’t take a ton of time to discover the person behind the blog. Find their name and show that you did a little research.
- Include links to writing samples. If we don’t know each other, boost your credibility by showing me examples of your work. It also doesn’t hurt to mention high-profile where your work has been featured, like the emailer did.
- Add a personal touch. Apparently, I commented on a RWW post this person had authored. I was impressed that he knew I had left a comment and then managed to work that into the pitch. This small gesture helped establish familiarity and credibility.
I’d suggest both people offer more detail about the specific topic they’d like to write about. Don’t make me email you back asking for topic suggestions. Just throw that into the original email. (That said, I did respond to the second pitch and this person is now working on very interesting guest post for prTini!).
When you pitch or get pitched, what do you like to see in the email? Let’s talk about blogger outreach best practices in the comments. It’s your turn … I’m all ears!