4 additional thoughts on pitching bloggers and online influencers

I'm not a player, I just blog a lot
photo credit: jmoneyyyyyyy

Throughout the years, I’ve developed a series of (for the most part, positive) relationships with professionals in the public relations industry. I have also had some pretty substantial confrontations with (a very small number of) PR folks. And both of those are ok, particularly for me. I don’t make my living out of this blog, whereas PR professionals do get paid to pitch media, online influencers, etc. We all change through time and in particular, my approach to being pitched has evolved too. I have given a number of talks on Pitching Online Influencers and Bloggers, mostly from the personal viewpoint of someone who gets pitched all the time.

I have thought a bit more about this topic and wanted to add a few additional thoughts. As I mention all the time on my talks, these thoughts are applicable specifically to how *I* like being pitched. Other bloggers may not have the same kind of “hard, fast” rules as I do, and that’s fine too. Some PR professionals arguably may not have the time to engage in personalized pitches and their focus may be specifically on mainstream media. These thoughts are targeted specifically to PR professionals and agencies who would be interested in working with me for a client project.

1. Understand my business model and make a value proposition that makes your client’s project worth considering

I have conflated two elements here as my own business model is evolving. The first one is – understanding my business model. Right now, I’m in the midst of transitioning to a full ad-revenue-generating blog model, whereas before I didn’t have that many ads on my site (except for sidebar ads aimed specifically at media sponsorship per dollar value). If you want me to work on a project, I may decide (as other bloggers do, and I know local ones who function under this model) to consider covering a project for your client if there’s a promotion tied (e.g. ad) to the client.

If that’s not the case (which may be) then what you pitch me should have value for me (the second element). As someone who blogs for fun and doesn’t do sponsored posts, I’m not getting paid for the post (something I’ve also considered), then at least if I’m to blog about it I should find value in it. Is there value for me or for my readers in the project you’re pitching? Consider your answer to this question before pitching me.

2. Pitching bloggers is different from pitching journalists, and the method should be different too..

Journalists complain about bloggers
photo credit: DonkeyHotey

I know that there’s still A LOT of discussion around whether journalists are bloggers or bloggers journalists, etc. Personally, I care very little about the debate. But I know that some PR agencies and professionals send untargetted media releases to a media distribution list. This doesn’t work for me, for several reasons. First, because I feel that there is no personality in a media release. Second, because there is no relationship-building in a non-targeted press release. Third, because there is no uniqueness in a press release. Do I really want to blog about something EVERYONE ELSE AND THEIR MOTHER is blogging about? Certainly not. I’m sure other media outlets will pick that one out.

3. Build a long-term relationship (e.g. don’t be a “one-night-stand” PR person)

There have been a couple of times when I’ve been pitched, not been able to blog about something and then have a PR agency remove me from their media contacts list. This doesn’t lead to a good working relationship. It’s likely that I was overwhelmed and was unable to produce content on that specific project. I would think a better way of building a relationship is keeping me in your media contacts, but NOT on your media release distribution list. I like targeted pitches, and if you can work with that, the likelihood that I’ll produce that content will be higher. Another type of behaviour that doesn’t lead to a good working relationship is to not follow up after I have blogged about your client. A small “thank you” goes A LONG WAY.

4. Stay on course once we’ve established a good working relationship.

Shake the Ambassador's hand!

I don’t quite understand why when I’ve worked with some PR agencies, they pitch me in a targeted way (there’s a full page on how to Pitch Me) and then, a few months down the road, start sending me non-targeted press releases. What goes through my mind is “really?! what the hell happened? when did we begin not having a close relationship?!” If I’ve already produced content that your client has been satisfied with, why not stay with the approach of a targeted pitch? Why transition to bulk-mailed, non-targeted press releases. This one, boggles my mind.

I’ve decided that moving forward, I’ll only write about something when I find value for myself, for my readers and when the targeted pitch is up my alley. This may lead to a reduction in the number of press releases I get, and the number of pitches, but luckily, it will also lead to giving me less (unpaid) work. Want to work with me and have me blog about your client? Here’s my Contact Me page.

Related posts:

  1. My guest lecture on Pitching Bloggers (Simon Fraser University PR program) #sfuPR2011
  2. The ‘bag of additional stuff’
  3. Social Media 101: A Conversation with Vancouver’s Top Influencers (CPRS Student Event)
  4. Relationships in PR – My pitching tips
  5. Thoughts on South by Southwest Interactive 2010

Comments (1)

Michelle ClausiusSeptember 30th, 2011 at 11:50 am

Good one Raul.

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