10 Tips for Pitching Bloggers
Yesterday, I was talking with someone very close to me about expanding the target audience for his company. As it turns out, I happen to know that the audience he’s interested in is very active in social media, specifically blogging. In fact, it’s not uncommon for members of that network to rely on blogs when making important decisions, like what to do and what to buy.
In my opinion, this as fantastic news for his company! Suddenly, members of this new target audience (who didn’t gather together before) have found a meeting place (social media) where they sit, converse and learn from one another. What a perfect (not to mention, inexpensive) way for him to reach opinion leaders within this audience!
However, gaining exposure in blogs can be trickier than it sounds. What many people don’t realize is that popular bloggers receive thousands of pitches every day, most of which get trashed before their second sentence gets read.
As a blogger myself, I know effective blog pitches (pitches that actually get picked up!) are rare, far and few between. Writing a good blog pitch is an art form in itself.
So, dedicated to him and his company, I am writing this blog post to help shed some light on how to effectively pitch a story to a blogger.
10 Tips for Pitching Bloggers
- Comment first, pitch later, according to Pro Blogger Darren Rowse. Before pitching a story to a blogger, you should read the content of the blog. Then, leave some comments. (Resist the urge to leave meaningless comments like “Great blog!” These types of comments make it look like you didn’t even read the blogger’s post. Instead, think of something intelligent you can contribute to the conversation that the blogger started.) Leave a few comments over the course of a week or two. Then, only after you’ve engaged in the blog, pitch your story.
- Only pitch information that is 100% relevant to the blog. Most bloggers have a niche topic and a specific audience. A common mistake that people make is pitching a story to bloggers that is irrelevant (or not relevant enough) to their niche. Like, for example, pitching a story about crocheting to a knitting blog. Pitching an irrelevant story will not only irritate the blogger, but it will also get your story thrown in the trash. This is an easy mistake to avoid if you follow suggestion #1 and actually read the blog before pitching to it.
- Tell the blogger why he or she should care. The main reason the blogger should care should be that the his or her readers will be interested in your topic. However, it’s not enough to say “Your readers will care about this.” You need to tell the blogger why your story is important. Be specific.
- Personalize your pitch. These days, there are way too many portals available that allow people to use key words to search for blogs. Let me tell you right now, if you’re sending the same pitch to 100 bloggers, the bloggers will know. Trust me. If you want your pitch to get picked up, personalize what you’re saying to each blogger. This means: A) Using the name of the blogger in your pitch. (And spelling it right!) And B) Commenting, in your pitch, on something they’ve written about. Preferably, the comment would not be about their most recent post, because that looks like you haven’t read past the first page of their blog.
- Get the blogger’s details right. Many blogs have entire pages (or parts of pages) dedicated to how they want to be pitched stories. The pages usually detail the content they’re interested in, their opinions about pitching, and how they want to be pitched (e.g., e-mail or Twitter). I guarantee you that you’ll get your pitch tossed in the trash if the blog has a page like this and you don’t bother to take the time to read it.
- Show that you know the blogger. Do your homework and make sure that you know something below the surface about the blogger you’re pitching your story to. Most bloggers have an “About Me” page. Always read it before pitching anything. If the “About Me” says that blogger went to NYU for college, and you went to NYU for college, say something about the school in your pitch. If the page says that the author has two golden retriever puppies, mention that you love golden retrievers and ask how the puppies are doing. Be creative. This is all part of creating and maintaining blogger relations, which is a very important part of getting your pitches picked up.
- Get to the point. But don’t skip an introduction. (It’s important that the blogger knows who you are.) After introducing yourself, spend no more than two or three paragraphs pitching your story. Within the first 10 seconds of reading your e-mail, the blogger should know who you are, what you’re pitching, and why it will benefit him or her. Don’t waste the blogger’s time.
- Don’t send press releases. Most bloggers don’t want to receive press releases. Instead, send the blogger a brief summary of what you’re pitching, then offer to follow up with more information if the blogger is interested. Providing links to more information is also a good idea.
- Send the blogger some goodies. But do it ethically. Always require bloggers to disclose any benefits they received from you. This will keep you both out of trouble. Always ask before you send anything. And never, ever, attempt to bribe a blogger.
- Give your first-choice blog an exclusive. Bloggers often don’t see a point in writing a story that someone has already written about. So, if you really want your product to be written about in one specific blog, offer to make the first story exclusively theirs.
If reading these tips left you feeling a little frazzled, don’t worry! It’s not as complicated as it sounds. In my next blog post, I’ll post a sample pitch so that you can get a better idea of how to pitch to bloggers.
Get excited for my next entry: The Sample Blog Pitch!
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