I never thought this day would come – I’m being pitched.
A three-year Finn Partners PR executive, I’m supposed to be the one pitching right? Well, since I started my blog last year, MaryinManhattan.com, I’ve received a number of pitches from other PR execs, and I have to say, I have never understood the importance of a good pitch as much as I do now.
We all understand the life of an agency PR person; we juggle many clients, and always wish we had more time for pitching. As PR people, we also understand the importance of bloggers and see them as valuable media – they have tight followings on social and offer a first-person perspective on a product, destination or event. The problem is, I’ve seen a serious disconnect with some of the pitches I’ve received for my blog, and want to share my experience so we as PR people can begin to understand what bloggers really want to see in their inboxes.
The Blogger Pitch Code
Make the pitch easy to digest: I spend five seconds reading a pitch. The first thing I see is the title. If I choose to open it, then I look at whatever stands out, likely bullet points or photos. There’s no time for attachments, and press releases are hard to read. If you really need to send a release on behalf of your client, break it down for me in the pitch note. You may be well-versed in the format and content of your release, but to me it is confusing and it’s not worth taking the time to read.
Customization is key: When I saw the subject line, “Turn your garage into a plush home office,” I deleted immediately without opening. I live in a tiny New York City apartment…there is no garage to be seen. This PR person clearly never read one post of mine. Maybe I’m a sucker, but I really appreciate when someone shows that they read my blog; “We love your coverage of New York happenings,” was the latest. Not only does mentioning that you read my blog stand out to me, but reading it will help you target the pitch further and really know if it’s right for me. Needless to say, I’m definitely working with this particular PR person again.
Don’t tell me what happened after an event – invite me: There’s nothing worse than receiving a post-event press release that displays awesome pictures of a celebrity-ridden event that I wasn’t invited to. Blogs have the benefit of being from the perspective of specific people, like a personal journal. A blogger wants to attend the event, use their own pictures and post in their own point of view.
Immediate follow up is unnecessary: It’s great to see a follow up email a couple days before an event that says, “Hey, we have you down for this event, hope you can still come.” But, I’ve seen some iffy follow up tactics. In one instance, I said thank you for the information, and that I would save it to include in my upcoming story. The PR person started following up with me every day. I ignored the emails for a while, but finally had to say, “I don’t have time to write it yet, but I will. Trust me. I’ll send you the link when I’m done.” I recommend waiting at least a week for follow up, or else the blogger might be offended. For most bloggers, their blog is their business and they are on top of everything they find important.
Bloggers are always working: I don’t start checking or responding to emails until after dinner, because that’s when I have the time. Some bloggers are halfway across the world, so they are checking their emails at 4:00 a.m. your time. I say this because sometimes pitching in late afternoon is seen as a bad thing – but for bloggers, it can be done.
Do offer a story idea: Sometimes bloggers get so caught up in their current editorial calendars that they don’t see how your client could fit in as a post. If the PR person offers a story idea, a blogger can start to visualize the post. For example, I normally post about New York City events and things to do, but a PR person showed me how to fit décor into my repertoire, and I ended up using their suggestion.
For bloggers, there’s no formula for the perfect pitch. Just show us that you love us, and don’t pitch us if it doesn’t make sense for our blog.
Are your pitches on par? Anything you’re dying to know about the mind of a blogger? Tweet at me: @MaryinManhattan.
Mary Apesos is Senior Account Executive of Travel & Lifestyle PR at Finn Partners