Wild (PR) Pitches

BlogHer Original Post

Dear PR WonderKids,

Everybody wants to get their products mentioned on the leading blogs in their target blogosphere, and I know it's part of your job to comb through social media outlets and find places for your clients to be showcased.  I admire your tenacity and your understanding of the impact that blogs and social networking sites possess.

BUT.

(You had to see the "but" coming, right?  Anticipating the market response?)

The pitches I've seen lately have been atrocious.   One started out with "dear blogger," as part of a mass email with undisclosed recipients.  Another had "Hey, Kerri!" as the opener, with my name in a different font than the rest of the email - cut and paste much?  Or the email that contained the phrase, "Type 2 diabetes, which is your main concern, can be helped by [product name]."  Or the one that ended with, "I suggest writing about 300 words on this product would be sufficient."

PR ladies and gentlemen, you need to take a breath.  I receive several dozens of pitches from companies a week, and for the most part, they are disappointing.  However, there are a few PR mavens who I have actually developed a good working relationship with, because they have taken the time to get to know me and my blog, and they let me know that I'm not just another outreach effort.  

Looking to tap the blogosphere for your next PR adventure?  Please take these suggestions into account:

  1. Know my name.  Seriously.  Know it, use it, make me think you care about it.  Addressing me as "blogger" or making it obvious that you pasted my name in to a boilerplate (see also:  keep your fonts matchy-matchy) shows me that you don't care enough.
  2. Read me.  I write about type 1 diabetes.  Don't pitch to me about the latest in gastric bypass surgeries.  Don't sell me on the benefit of losing weight to come off of insulin injections.  Make me believe that you know what my blog's focus is and that you care about the audience I'm reaching, not that you're just trying to get the word out to "anyone."
  3. Tailor your email.  One of the best pitches I ever received came with the introduction of "Hi Kerri.  I know you got married two weeks ago and I wanted to give you a little time to sift through your emails and catch up on things.  Congratulations on your marriage, and my best to you and Chris!"  Then she went on with her pitch.  But she let me know she reads me, knows about my life, and appears to care about my commitments.  It sounds trite and slightly arrogant, but if you take the time to know me, I'll take the time to respond to you.
  4. Be patient.  If I don't respond to your email right away, sending another one that says "PLEASE RESPOND" isn't cool.  Your time is valuable, but my time is valuable, too.  Appreciate the fact that my job is not to spread the word about your client.
  5. Follow up.  If I write about your pitch, follow up with a "thank you" email to me.  Let me know that you appreciate my efforts.  That can help establish a good working relationship and potentially future promotional efforts.

If you aren't able to follow these five simple rules, then maybe you should steer clear of pitching to my blog.

Best,
Kerri Morrone Sparling

(Not "Hey."  Not "Esteemed Member of the Diabetes Community."  Not "Diabetes Writer."  And definitely not "Blogger."  Kerri.)

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