Carefully Crafted on April 21

HOW TO: Pitch Group/Collaborative Blogs

Continuing the series on pitching tips (first how to pitch Mashable then healthy-living bloggers), today we turn our focus to collaborative/group blogs. Group blogs can either be a PR person’s dream come true, or a total nightmare. Who do you pitch? How do you know which writer is looking for story ideas? And, how are you supposed to tell which writer would be most interested in your story? (The simple answer is research, but it’s not always that easy.)

Because pitching group blogs presents its own set of challenges, I thought it might be helpful to hear from an editor of one such site: PR Breakfast Club’s Nathan Burgess (formerly known only as PRCog). PRBC spun out of a group of people chatting every morning around — you guessed it — breakfast time. Now including approximately 20 writers, the blog is a PR must-read. Nathan was kind enough to spend a few minutes to offer advice for PR people who want to pitch PRBC and other group blogs.

Since you’re in PR and you’re the editor/publisher of PRBC, you can offer a valuable perspective. What advice would you offer to PR people trying to pitch “group” blogs like PR Breakfast Club? How is it different than pitching blogs with one author?

Interesting question – it’s probably easier to pitch us since we cover such a wide range of topics than an individual blogger that has a specific topic they usually address.  We cover everything from analytics to peer to peer working relationships.  As far as PR folks trying to pitch us – the usual rules – read the blog.  If something touches on an topic previously addressed mention that.  The generic mass mailed press releases don’t go very far, even when it comes from ‘big guns’ (i.e. large companies).

As PR Breakfast Club has grown in readership and stature within the industry, are you receiving more pitches asking for coverage on the site? On average, how many pitches does the site and its contributors receive each week?

We really saw an increase in pitches in the last few months.  Part of that would be based on updating our listing in the various media databases.  The remainder (and my favorite pitch) comes from pros (and students) who actually read PRBC and believe they have something to contribute.  They’re usually on point and know what kind of posts are published.  We tend to get between 3 and 5 completely unsolicited (or from new contributors) per week.

For group sites, do you suggest PR people pitch the main editor, or should they contact an individual writer? What advice would you offer if they don’t know who to contact?

Another great question.  I’d say first check to see if there’s a contact us type page and follow those instructions. Failing, or in lieu, of that if someone has a personal relationship with one of the editors or regular bloggers I’d reach out to them first and ask what the process would be.  Failing that I’d just say pitch the main or beat (if applicable) editor.  Can’t really go wrong that way for a relatively small organization.

Thinking through all the pitches PRBC has received, what’s the best one? What made it effective? What should other PR pros learn from that pitch?

Interesting.  No one pitch really stands out as the best.  The best ones though all know what we cover and have a similar theme.  We’re also entirely volunteer-run so rarely actually have time to do interviews and research.  Byline or offers of a Q&A to be conducted by email will (for us) usually get the most traction.  Realizing we’re not all sitting around a clubhouse, but actually works as pros, and blog in our spare time and shaping the pitch around not only our topics but also how we write is extremely helpful.

Do PRBC contributors want to be pitched via email or Twitter? Or, is there some other outlet that the writers prefer?

Anything works.  I usually defer folks to email if they DM me first.  For me it helps keep the thread and information easy to locate if it takes time to respond on either of our ends.  So a warm up by DM is fine, but that’s really just the start.

Nathan Burgess (@prcog) is the Editor and Publisher of PRBreakfastClub.com. By day he’s a Senior Account Executive at BlissPR (http://BlissPR.com), which specializes in B2B PR and Marketing.

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