Bloggers receive so many pitches on any given day that PR firms that know how to reach and engage them have a huge advantage. I know this might be painful to read, but we often hit delete on many emails that might have great tips or really expressed an interest in working together in their final paragraph. You can tell from the first sentences in a pitch email on whether this public relations executive respects your work, understands your work and is looking to build a relationship. A generic “Dear blogger” or worse, misspelling the blogger’s name, tells you from the get go that this is an impersonal mass email campaign, so why should you care? Also, “mommy blogger” is not a term most like (myself included), as mentioned by Type A Parent’s founder Kelby Carr and this article by AdWeek.
I have the utmost respect for PR professionals and agencies. It’s an extremely stressful job and when it’s done well, nobody can tell the huge amounts of effort behind a well-executed event, pitch or campaign. However, some need to understand that bloggers are writers, quite often self-employed, and have to be true to their voices and communities.
To help PR professionals who want to successfully pitch bloggers, here are 10 tips:
- Read the blog you’re planning on pitching before you even send the first email. If the target is not a good fit, don’t even waste your time. A tech blogger with college-age kids will not be interested in baby food or diaper bags.
- Don’t assume that if the blogger is a woman, she’s a parenting blogger. Too many female bloggers I know and admire don’t even have children. And women blog about dozens of other topics aside from kids.
- Address by name. Don’t ever begin the email with “Dear Mommy Blogger”, “Dear Blogger” or “Dear Influencer.” If you’re serious about working with somebody, take the time to find out their name.
- Allow a few days to pass before following up, unless you’ve hired the blogger and she/he hasn’t met a deliverable you have agreed upon.
- If you’re looking for an honest review, do not send talking points. The idea is to get the blogger’s honest opinion. However, it’s okay to send instructions on how to use the product and pictures.
- Understand that bloggers do not have a steady paycheck. There is no big media company paying their income so whenever you are asking an influencer to work on a project, it is only fair for them to expect compensation. Don’t be insulted if they ask you upfront whether this is a paid campaign.
- Don’t expect a blogger to use their social networks to amplify your messaging or share your links just because you asked nicely. Influencers know what resonates with their community and unless you have hired them for a social media push, they are under no obligation to share with their audience what is on your agenda.
- Make pitches as organic as possible and encourage a blogger to use their own point of view. Instead of focusing on breaking news, concentrate your efforts on trend releases or features in which the blogger can add their own storytelling. Blogging at its essence is about sharing the blogger’s unique voice and point of view.
- If you’re sending a product sample for review and need it returned, include a prepaid label to cover the cost.
- Do send relevant photos. Although many successful bloggers are accomplished photographers, it makes your life much easier to have a picture of the product, service or website that you are pitching.
A final word of caution: if you are pitching Latina bloggers, don’t assume they all speak Spanish. It’s a common misconception. If you know they are fluent (for example, their blog is in Spanish), feel free to pitch in español but only if you are sure that your Spanish is strong. Common web translation tools are notorious for providing bad translations, so if you don’t speak the language, just pitch in English.