Before You Pitch
Know in advance what is relevant to each blogger.- Do check out the sidebars for content categories. In short, be familiar with what they like to write about.
– Do send your pitch in advance of your news happening or your product release. If time constraints are an issue, ensure the blogger understands and honors embargoes.
Craft Your Pitch
OK, so now you’re ready to make your pitch.
Do follow these steps:
– Write a precise subject line.
– Briefly introduce yourself at the start and mention the blogger’s name in the greeting.
– Explain why you have chosen the blogger as the recipient of your pitch. You will probably be ignored if a blogger suspects you are merely crossing a name off a long list of contacts.
– Reveal why you think your pitch would interest a typical reader. Be straightforward and secure in the importance and value of your news, but not overconfident. Keep in mind that objective descriptions work better than personal notes. Facts are preferable to flowing prose.
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After Your Pitch
You’ve made your pitch to a blogger. Now what?
– Do consider time zones while awaiting a reply.
– Do give the blogger a chance to digest what you have pitched. Remember bloggers’ overflowing inboxes.
– Do more than ask if your pitch was received. If you get a reply from a blogger or follow up with a, provide some interesting information that your pitch didn’t include.
– Do carry on a conversation, but remind yourself that bloggers have the final say. Besides being the creators, the bloggers are most likely authorities on the subject matter. Could you treat them with respect? Relinquish control unless asked to provide more input.
– Do be honest when answering questions. It’s important to suppress the urge to exaggerate the benefits of your product and the positive aspect of your news.
-Consider the nature of the site where your piece will appear and realize that the truth will eventually be revealed (think of all the fairy tales you read as a child). So, fess up any potential conflicts up-front.
– Do link to the blog you pitch if you have a blog.
– Do send swag. Bloggers like complimentary products that they often review, sometimes without being asked. Exercise caution, however. Bloggers want to maintain their credibility by remaining objective. So their reviews might not be positive when they offer an honest opinion. Before sending anything of value, contact the blogger to see if they are interested.
What Not to Do
Here are tips so you don’t get on a blogger’s bad side:
– Don’t make the huge mistake of being pushy with a blogger. Bloggers are usually their bosses; they are in charge. Dictating when you want your information to be blogged or by what date your product needs to be reviewed is a no-no.
– Don’t pitch old news; keep it fresh. Move onto something else if your info has already been featured on popular blogs dealing with Web 2.0, social networking, and content-sharing sites (e.g., del.icio.us, Facebook).
Remember — bloggers like to be a step ahead of journalists. Otherwise, you will waste their time since most popular marketing bloggers receive their news via RSS feeds. If they see a stale pitch, they’ll know you are not offering exclusive content. Bloggers look for original material, not information that makes them look like they’re jumping on the bandwagon.
– Don’t include the entire press release in your email or attachments. Bloggers usually prefer a bare-bones pitch. Write no more than 50 words, but offer a URL that a blogger could include directing readers who would like more information. That’s particularly useful when bloggers don’t have the time or desire to cover your topic. Never attach a Word document, PDF, or PowerPoint presentation.
Don’t claim you are if you don’t read the blog regularly and are not a huge fan.- Don’t flatter. Buttering up a blogger to try to get coverage can backfire.
– Don’t be exceedingly familiar. Even thoughabout a blogger may be readily available, try not to think of them as your acquaintances. They may be completely ignorant of who you are and turned off by the informal nature of your email.
– Don’t leave advertorial comments. Be relevant and professional; otherwise, you’ll make a bad name for yourself. Why? First, your comments are probably moderated anyway. Second, you are looking to establish a solid relationship with the blogger.
– Don’t put words into a blogger’s mouth. Present your information without telling them they will love the subject of your pitch. The way to go is to ask for their opinion on how useful it might be for their readers.
– Don’t try to control the write-up. If a blogger bites at your tidbit, act as an assistant rather than a director.
– Don’t retaliate. You have done everything correctly, but your news hasn’t been featured. Refrain from sending an angry email reply unless you want to risk being ridiculed in a post. Bloggers are not obligated to write anything; they are the masters of their domains. Don’t take their lack of interest personally.
– Don’t violate someone’s trust. If a blogger mentions your product or service, don’t assume it’s acceptable to use them in a future testimonial without their permission. You still need to ask. If you don’t, you will lose a potential advocate.