So we’ve covered the first three steps of the FREPT system: Find, Research and Engage.
Now, the part you’ve all been waiting for…
All your hard work to this point can go down the drain if you don’t do this part correctly.
But hey, here’s the good news. If you’ve already done all the hard work to research and engage the bloggers, the pitch becomes easy. It becomes a “soft sell”.
There are several components to remember when pitching a blogger. Here are some tips to help you succeed:
1) Write captivating email subject lines.
As media relations trainer Michael Smart reminds us, “The sole purpose of the subject line is to get the blogger to open the email.” Don’t get too cute or sensational with your subject. Just get them to open it.
That doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want in the subject line just to get them to open the email. If it’s not honest, and consistent with the message, you’ll fail fast once they open it.
2) You must personalize the email message.
At the very least, use their first name.
Sometimes, it helps to start the pitch with a reference to one of their blog posts and share a quick thought on it.
The point here is to make it very clear that this message was written for them, and only them.
Ignore this if you choose to mass message bloggers. A personal approach is always better, but if you have to mass message, then don’t try to make it sound personalized… it will just come off sounding fake and cheesy.
Want a sure way to ensure that the blogger knows the pitch was created specifically for them? Send them the pitch in video format. Just you, in front of a camera talking, to the blogger. Real. Personal. Works like a charm.
3) Remind them of previous connections.
If you’ve connected with them before, you could remind them.
If you contacted them by email once before and they replied, you may even want to just reply to that last email thread when you pitch them. It will remind them of what you spoke about.
If they don’t respond to your initial contact, it’s okay to send them another email in a couple weeks. Sometimes they don’t see it.
4) Beauty in brevity.
Keep it short. No more than four paragraphs.
5) Be a knowledgeable and helpful resource.
How can you provide as much information and multimedia as possible while still keeping it brief?
You can attach separate files to the email message. If you insist on adding a press release, it’s best to add it as an attachment. Don’t paste it in the email message.
If you sent them something physical to review, like a book or product, include a flash drive, or a QR code that leads them to the other content.
It may be smart to use a service like Pitchengine where you can package and share all of your PR assets with bloggers without including it in your email. This way, you can keep the email short while providing all the additional information and multimedia (videos, pictures, etc.) on your Pitchengine page.
The idea is to make it really easy for the blogger to form a story. They’re busy people. Save them time.
6) There are more channels than email.
According to Technorati, around 80% of bloggers reported using Twitter. The most popular reason for using Twitter was to promote their blog. 56% of bloggers directly link their Twitter account with their blog.
87% of bloggers use Facebook (but only 34% of bloggers have a Facebook page dedicated to the promotion of the blog).
If you’ve done a good job of connecting with the blogger on Twitter or Facebook, it can be effective to initiate the pitch in a private message. Send them a quick direct message saying “Hey, wanted to run a story by you. Mind if I email?” This way they’re expecting the email and will be more receptive to it.
LinkedIn could also be a good place to message the blogger…depending on the blogger and their industry.
If you message them on these platforms, and they use them regularly, chances are they’ll at least see the message.
Some bloggers prefer receiving pitched through these platforms because it ensures that they’ve connected with you before. Others hate it. Do your research first.
7) Give First.
The #1 thing to remember is that a pitch should be an opportunity for the blogger, not a request for a favor.
Remember to make the pitch about the blogger and his/her readers. Sometimes, a good story is enough. Other times, a blogger may need more.
One way to provide value is to literally give them something either to use, or to give away to their readers. You could give them the product you want them to review, or a free account to the site you’d like them to cover.
Another option is to send traffic to their blog. Can you link to their blog from your site? Perhaps you can add a section to feature bloggers that write about you.
Sometimes, a blogger may just want cash payment, though I wouldn’t recommend this approach when looking for product reviews. It makes more sense when you’re looking for bloggers to write an article for your blog/site.
The point is, the more clear value you offer them, the more receptive they’ll be to working with you. Remember though, if you give them anything, they have to disclose the relationship. It’s the law.
There is no single solution for all your pitching needs. The value in doing your research and personalizing your message cannot be stressed enough.
It’s important not to sound too “salesy”. No one likes being sold to. Approach it naturally and comfortably, and you’ll be fine.
What methods have worked for you when pitching bloggers?