The savvier Public Relations agencies are doing research about pitching bloggers, in fact I just got off the phone with a representative who was interviewing mothers who blog.
For those business owners or small agencies who do not have research budgets, I thought I’d venture a few proactive tips. Many of these tips may have broader applications, and I do not claim to speak for all mommy bloggers, but hopefully some others will join in so more PR pitches “get it right.”
- Do your research: When you add someone to your pitch list, you should also add information about their focus, audience size, real names if available, etc. If a blogger responds, treat them as a resource to whom you reached out, not like a stranger who wandered in off the street asking for a handout. You initiated the contact, after all.
- Treat the blogger with respect: Believe it or not, many bloggers have careers, prior experience, extensive educations, or other talents. Talk to the blogger as you would any other business contact.
- Know what you want: Someone told you to pitch blogs. But why? Are you looking to get sales? Reach an audience? Associate your brand with a taste maker? Build quality inbound links? If you do not know why you are pitching, step away from the computer. Thinking about this ahead of time will help you approach the correct blogs in the right way and avoid disappointment.
- Be clear about what you want: Random press releases that do not make a specific request are likely to be deleted. Do you want the blogger to interview your client, review a product, give you their opinion, link to a site?
- Customize if you can: Take some time to target bloggers who are actually interested in your niche. Refer to other, related posts to show why you chose their blog to pitch. If I’ve written a post called “Ten reasons why I hate widgets,” your pitch will have a lot more resonance if you include reasons why your widget is a superior innovation.
- Personalize if you don’t have the resources to customize: Include names and blog titles if available. At the very least, don’t send a pitch to “Mr. Obviously Female Name” or “Sir or Madam” if the gender is obvious on the blog.
- But Don’t Fake It: If you can’t customize and personalize correctly, just don’t do it. A mass pitch may just get deleted, but an obviously poor attempt at customization and personalization, riddled with errors, may get you mocked. You won’t build a good relationship sending pitches with “Merge Name Here” still in the greeting, the name of another blogger, or the name of the blog misspelled.
- Offer something of value: Many mommy bloggers like to help out other mom business owners and share great finds with their friends. If you are pitching a blogger, that person has most likely worked hard on her blog. Her time and image are valuable. If you are asking for her consideration, offer something in return. Depending on the situation and the type of blog, this may take the form of a purchased advertisement, product sample, exclusive interview, a sneak preview, a link on a press page, or something else…be creative. Do not offer something you aren’t prepared to give.
- Ask Questions, Accept the Answers: You can always make requests, but understand that many bloggers place a high value on the editorial integrity of their site. If you want guaranteed placement, using your own images and words, take out an advertisement. If a blogger’s terms do not work for you, politely part ways without bickering.
- Become One With the Blogger: Networking is a longterm project. Build a relationship, and your pitching will feel more natural and be more successful. Even if you are a single guy in his early 20s, you can still connect with mommy bloggers by starting a blog, linking to reviews written about your business or your clients, using bookmarking services to spread the word about great posts, blogrolling some of your favorite bloggers, participating in social networking sites, and generally becoming part of the blogging community.