I don’t consider myself religious or an expert in the media relations business. However, as fate would have it, I get to be both the PR pitching to the blogger and the blogger being pitched to by the PR folk. Interesting situation, no?
When I read countless articles of PR blunders, I take it in stride and go, ‘Well of course, who would be stupid enough to do that?’. Well folks, sadly there are people who do that.
So the blogger in me decided to write this post, but the PR professional in me decided to keep it concise (it’s a very confusing world sometimes in my mind). Here are my 10 Blogger Outreach Commandments for PR Professionals.
I know you have a huge list of bloggers to go through, but take the time to personalize your pitch or press release. I’m more likely to continue reading the entire release if it’s addressed to me and not to “Mr. Gastrofork” (yes, this has happened to me before – please PR pros, do your research).
2. No Harassment Please
Call backs and follow up emails are a pain in the butt. I understand completely because I dread every cold call callback I have to make when I pick up my phone. One email or one phone call is enough after a couple days after you sent the release. It is NOT okay to email or phone me several minutes after you’ve sent the release. It is NOT okay to email or phone me every day until I answer. This reeks of pure desperation and is above you, dear PR pro.
3. Keep It Concise
As with journalists, bloggers do not have the time to read the short story you’ve written on the latest ice cream maker your company has created. I completely understand that sometimes this is above your head and your hands are tied but for your sake, please have a conversation with the wonderful writer of this release to shorten it! If that’s a no go, write an introduction paragraph with all the key points (AGAIN KEEP IT SIMPLE) and include the ridiculously long press release that your boss made you send.
4. Keep it simple with Visuals and Colours
Again, keep it simple. I’ve received lovely looking press releases with vibrant colours that still do the trick quite well. But I’ve also received press releases that consist of Comic Sans, bright Pink Italicized size 28 font that burn a hole through my retinas. Again, colour is lovely but please know how to use it anddo not abuse the format button on your email program!
5. Pitch Me
Believe it or not, I do like being pitched to. It’s a good exercise for me to see how other PR peeps do their job and an interesting way to meet someone even if it’s virtually.
6. Get to Know Me
In the same respect of number 5, you should get to know your media/bloggers. I’m not asking you to stalk me on Snapchat, hang on every angry tweet or check out my daily food pictures on Instagram – but you should have enough insight to show that you actually do give a damn about me. Read my last post and tell me that you thought it was great or maybe you thought it was utter garbage. Either way, show me that you know why you’re contacting me.
7. What’s in it for me?
Oh yes, I’m going here. Now before you write me off as a greedy blogger that only wants the perks that come with the job – hear me out. I don’t expect every single release to come with bells and whistles, but I want to know WHY you think MY blog should cover it. An Oceanwise fundraiser since you saw that I was fundraising on my blog for causes? Great sleuthing job, PR friend. A blender that supposedly blends 9000 times faster than the best one on the market since you saw I have a decent readership? No bueno. Believe me, we bloggers know why you’re pitching to us.
8. Be Available
I’m not a needy girlfriend, but if you want me to write a post about your product or event and I need extra information, I’ll need you to answer in a timely fashion.Don’t let more than 24 hours go without answering – and if you have to, apologize for the delay. A simple apology goes a long way.
9. CC = No Bueno
Please, please please…no CCs. I don’t need to know that Tom, Dick and Jane are getting the same press release or invite to the event that I am. And what’s even worse? When you reply all us! Please…use BCC or send it separately.Nobody wants to see your large CC.
10. Leave the Flattery at the Door
I recently had a situation where someone was flattering me beyond ridiculousness. I mean full on -“You are amazing!!!! You are so influential!!!!!” What? My mom doesn’t even listen to me – how exactly am I “so” influential? Basically grovelling. Please don’t ever do this. EVER. This is SO below you as a PR professional. Please KEEP IT REAL. I don’t take flattery well because my instant reaction is – whaddya want from me?? And guess what, that will probably be 90% of real bloggers’ reactions.
So now that you’ve gone through these commandments, please take a moment, let it sink in, write it down even. I promise if you follow these steps, your life will be a lot easier. You will gain the respect of (most) the bloggers you are pitching to and bloggers will actually open your releases!
Now it’s your turn my blogger friends, what are some of your pet peeves when you’re being pitched to?