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How To Pitch For Publicity Without Being a Pain in the Butt

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

March 4, 2009

Comments (8)

man blog megaphoneEver heard that the best things in life are free?

It's true, and that includes getting publicity for your business.

Discover how to find bloggers, introduce yourself, and how to build relationships that may result in the publicity and coverage you are seeking.

Preface

This article was inspired by a presentation at PodCamp Toronto 2009 entitled "Building Relationships with Word of Mouth PR Practitioners While Maintaining Credibility with your Audience".

I've been thinking about writing an article on this topic for months and was pleased to attend a session where pitching was discussed featuring a panel of people who were in a position to either provide publicity or acquire it for those desiring publicity.

Below, you'll find a summary of what was presented by panelists Eden Spodek of the Bargainista blog, Anita Clarke of the I Want I Got blog, David Jones of Hill and Knowlton, and Matthew Stradiotto co-founder of Matchstick.

Building Relationships with Bloggers

If you want to get publicity where everyone can see it, your best bet is to approach a blogger who will publish their content online and make it freely available for literally the entire Internet using world to see.

At first glance, you might think that an article in a paper publication would be better, and depending on which publication you're talking about, perhaps it is, however, being featured on a blog is potentially more effective in the long run than the fleeting prestige of having an article written in a paper which is available for a brief time and could disappear behind a wall.

Bloggers Share Best and Worst Experiences Getting Pitched

What Should You Do to Get Noticed and Considered?

You can liken these first encounters to a well-researched cold call, only this encounter is via email and can be rehearsed and executed to perfection in a carefully crafted proposal. The message you send should represent you in a respectable manner and you will be judged based upon that message immediately.

Bearing that in mind, good pitches can be formulaic.

Here are a number of ideas and best practices when pitching a blogger:

๏ Good pitches provide relevant information and additional links to learn more
๏ The information provided should be able to serve as the basis of an article
๏ All communications should be personalized to the blogger
๏ Your pitch should be relevant to the material they generally cover on their blog
๏ Make information about your company easily accessible
๏ Be prepared to answer any questions the blogger may have
๏ The story you are pitching should ultimately add value to their audience
๏ Provide an option to be removed from your mailing list
๏ Respect and appreciate that the blogger's whole life isn't there to accommodate your client or you; realize that they might have other full-time jobs

Try to get to know the blogger and what they are about prior to sending them an email. This means take a spin around their blog to get a feel for what they typically write about, what interests them and who they are writing for (their audience).

Be sure to read more than just one article on the blog before contacting them as not all postings are indicative of their primary focus.

Once you've become more familiar with the blogger and their work, you'll be equipped to personalize relevant content that will be attractive to the blogger's interests when pitching them.

In a Nutshell, Your Pitch Should:

๏ Be appealing
๏ Include a personalized note
๏ A short story
๏ Easily identify the highlights
๏ Provide links
๏ Link to a social media news release if you have one
๏ Give the option to opt out of future communications

What NOT to do: This is What Useless (and ignored) Pitches are Made Of

In general, not many people enjoy being solicited, especially when the solicitation is ill thought out and has no apparent goal or motive other than to get some indiscriminate press.

Bad pitches:

๏ Are not personalized
๏ Do not give any information in the email
๏ Include spelling or grammatical errors
๏ Do not include a URL (web link for more information) to visit
๏ Are not researched and consequently irrelevant to the blogger and their blog
๏ Leave much to be desired resulting in little to no interest... and no coverage

Something many bloggers hate is being told what they have to write. Don't send an email and expect that what you've included will be published verbatim. That was an extreme turnoff for the bloggers on the panel.

Bloggers have their own writing styles and what you've sent them may need to be tweaked or turned on its head so that becomes meaningful to their audience.

Another consideration to be aware of is that the majority of bloggers are not full-time bloggers and have other responsibilities. As was mentioned above, they are not there at your beck and call, but can be great allies for you if you treat them with respect.

Engaging and Building Relationships with Bloggers and other Online Influencers

How do you make sure that you're targeting the right people to write about you?

Sometimes the hardest part is finding the bloggers best suited to work with you who are also interested in your story.

Instead of seeking out and compiling a list of every single blogger who covers audio, advertising or voice over, realize that quality over quantity rules -- send out less pitches but make those emails better, more targeted and measured.

A Must

The key is to build relationships with top bloggers, and to do that, you need to know what drives the content behind the blog. Get to know bloggers on a personal level. This small effort will go a long way.

Don't forget that these should be mutually beneficial relationships built on trust. If you give bloggers relevant content to share with their readers, they will reward you with publicity and potentially more opportunities down the road.

It takes more time to pitch a blogger than traditional journalists but there can be a greater return. If a journalist is pitched and doesn't like it, they won't cover it. A blogger may regardless of their opinion.

Also, news stories in the media have a shelf life and disappear after about 15 days. Bloggers' posts live on indefinitely.

Someone said that the best blogger outreach happens by people who are out there and active in the space themselves. Essentially, the pitchers and now being pitched.

Note that bloggers like to talk about everything openly and transparently. PR firms realize this and leave the discretion in the hands of the blogger. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Changes in Economy Trigger Changes in Traditional Marketing

If you are a blogger, you might notice that there are companies approaching you to review their products, some of which may compensate you with a product in exchange for a review, whether positive, neutral or negative. In these cases, upfront disclosure of where a product came from and why you're reviewing it may be necessary.

Whenever I do a giveaway on VOX Daily, the items are generally donated for that specific purpose. As a bonus, and personal rule, I review the items prior to giving them away, many of which are posted for all to see as a means to provide greater value to my readers and also recognize the value in what is being raffled off.

Content - Influence - Long-term Relationship

If you get anything out of this article at all, be sure that when you approach a blogger, you are:

๏ Prepared
๏ Selective
๏ Interesting
๏ Courteous
๏ Relevant

Any Comments?

If you enjoyed this or found it useful, please let me know!

Best wishes,

Stephanie

©iStockphoto.com/Konstantinos Kokkinis

Related Topics: bloggers, coverage, how to, PR, publicity, radio, Siri


Comments


    Great post Stephanie. The bloggers thank you!

    Posted by:

      Great article. I do like the recommendation on getting to know the blogger(s) first , where possible. It is much less of a pitch if a relationship has already been started and some level of trust established.

      Posted by:
      • Joe
      • March 4, 2009 2:51 PM

        Good article here Stephanie! I enjoyed reading it.

        Posted by:

          Thank you, Stephanie. I've considered starting a blog, but never really thought about the potential value in contributing to one.

          Posted by:

            Lots of great information in your article Stephanie! Though I am not in the voice-over field, it was still very interesting because your tips about approaching bloggers for publicity apply to any product / service.

            Posted by:
            • Lisa
            • March 5, 2009 10:54 AM

              Stephanie...
              As always this article is educational and to the point. Active engagement in the online community via contributions and honest comments gives you a chance to introduce yourself in unique ways. Respect for the forum (or blog/bloggers) is very good advice.

              Posted by:

                Stephanie - very pertinent and great information - free seems to be the buzz word of today with all the free blogs and social networking sites. You have brought up a great mutually beneficial added value means of publicity. Thankyou.
                Jeanne Fishman

                Posted by:
                • Jeanne Fishman
                • March 5, 2009 10:40 PM

                  I've typically only used my blog for publishing when I have a production out, but this post has made me think I should post it more often, especially just to share links to interesting podcasts and blogs. Link exchanges or trackbacks are key to boosting visibility on the web.

                  Posted by:

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