February 23, 2018

A case study in pitching bloggers

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 12/20/06

I was going to let this one go, but Paul Chaney suggested I write this up as a post on how not to and how to pitch bloggers to write up stories for their blogs.

This morning I got an e-mail pitch from a PR company to write about a pretty cool use of blogs and real estate.  This isn’t too unusual for me, not as common as say Scoble, who just gave me an obscene number of e-mails to look for blog fodder for the PodTech blog, but it happens.  The story, like I said, was interesting, but immediately I saw a problem.  The company that did the blog was Paul’s company Blogging Systems, which would be fine except that Jim Turner and I work together in a competing company One By One Media.  So I couldn’t really give Paul and co. props without twisting it to also highlight the work that Jim and I do with OBO.

I replied with a polite e-mail back the the PR person, copying Paul, asking how Paul might want to handle this.  Then the PR guy calls me to talk about it.  Well, I explain, Paul and I are friends, but we’re also competitors.  Oh.  Wait, it gets better.  The PR company in question is Lee Odden’s company!  So we have four bloggers involved in this, who all know each other, and all contribute here too!  Yeah I told you it got better.  This is why this makes a great case study.  This is no fault of Lee’s or Paul’s, don’t worry guys.

So first thing about pitching bloggers is you have to do your research.  Not just, oh he/she blogs about business, you have to dig deeper you have to look into who that blogger is connected to on the blogosphere.  Who does he/she work for (and there could be several alliances there)?  Where does he/she contribute?

Bloggers are a very social and interconnected bunch.  We often wear many hats and have several gigs going at the same time. We also tend to know everyone in our niche, friends will help friends but we have to draw the line at competitors (even if they are friends).  Researching the blogger will help with this little problem.

Next you need to contact the blogger before the first pitch to find out if they are interested in being pitched.  Some bloggers don’t want to be pitched.  Others, like me, don’t mind, but I do like to be asked first (I’ve even blogged about this).

I don’t think the person pitching me really knew who I was.  If he had asked Paul or Lee they would have told him … yeah great blogger, bad choice for this pitch.  Let me sum up my recommendations for PR folks pitching bloggers:

  • Do your research first
  • Don’t e-mail out of the blue with a pitch
  • Don’t call on the phone right away to push your pitch
  • Do tell the blogger why they were picked.
  • Don’t just say “I think this would be interesting for your blog” , unless you’ve already established a relationship with the blogger
  • Don’t be offended if they pass
  • Do thank them if they post
  • Do track mention of the pitch topic, you might be getting slammed or miss a great post

Like I said, this the best part of this story is the whole interconnectedness of the whole thing.  Paul, Lee, Jim, and I all know each other and contribute here.  Again, this is no fault of Paul or Lee.  I’m sure they will get a chuckle out of it.

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8 comments for A case study in pitching bloggers

  1. Misukanis & Odden is the PR firm my company, Blogging Systems, uses for marketing and public relations services. For the record, we are very happy with the level of service they provide, and I don’t want the fact I suggested Tris write this post to serve as an indication that I’m in anyway dissatisfied with their work.

    Lee and I are good friends, and I consider both he and Susan (Misukanis) to be top-notch professionals. I apologize if my suggestion to Tris to write this post gave any impression other than that.

    Truth is, Tris, I probably gave them your name sometime back and suggested they include you on their list of bloggers to contact. Consider that an honor because it means I consider you to be an influencer. (Your recent joining forces with Podtech proves I was right, too. You are!)

    Neither do I think in terms of you, Jim, Scott or anyone at OBO as competitors even though, in principle, you are. I consider you friends.

    Lastly, I don’t wish for Tris to be criticized in any way for writing this post. Like he said, he was going to let it go until I mentioned that it might be a good topic for a post. In all the time I have known Tris (and he was one of the first business bloggers I got to know), I have never known him to speak out of turn on a subject or be anything less than fair in his critique or review. I hold him in the same high regard professionally and personally that I do Lee. Both are friends, colleagues, and business blogging brothers-in-arms.

    Comment by Paul Chaney — December 20, 2006 @ 2:40 pm

  2. Paul, thank you. You are a good friend and consumate gentleman. I’m honoured.

    Again to echo what Paul said, this is post has no intended slight to Lee or Susan, it just turned out that because of the interconnectedness of us all it made for another facet to pitching bloggers.

    I also hope we can all chuckle about it.

    Comment by Tris Hussey — December 20, 2006 @ 3:13 pm

  3. Chuckles all around guys!

    Bill’s face is pretty red right now, that’s for sure. 🙂

    Blogger relations is a slippery slope indeed.

    Comment by Lee Odden — December 20, 2006 @ 5:38 pm

  4. That is so true Lee. Better that it happens “in the family” as it were than outside.

    Comment by Tris Hussey — December 20, 2006 @ 6:09 pm

  5. A case study in pitching bloggers : Business Blog Consulting…

    Tris Hussey has some tips for PR folk on pitching bloggers story ideas,,,…

    Trackback by IF! — December 21, 2006 @ 10:02 am

  6. Great list. I also cover this and posted a list awhile back on it. Here’s a link to the list at my blog – http://www.allbusiness.com/marketing/public-relations/2975292-1.html?postId=7092 . And I put it below too.

    Here’s the full list of ten tips. Keep in mind you’re never guaranteed coverage on a blog, nor should you be demanding about what kind of coverage you get! And above all, keep it honest and authentic in your approaches.

    Tip #1 – It’s never appropriate to demand that a blogger cover your company and the personal touch goes alot longer than the full court press PR agency tackle!

    TIp #2 – DON’T BLOG-BLAST! Do your research. This is is the tome of old PR, new PR, and Web 2.0. Don’t “blog-blast” a bunch of bloggers that have nothing to do with your news.

    Tip #3 – Don’t try to fake out bloggers. They’re smart and they’re dedicated and above all they are really good researchers and savvy about the Web.

    Tip #4 – Make the virtual connection via your blog first. Send a note to the blogger making them aware that you covered their blog. But always keep Tip#2 in mind. Do your research and don’t note bloggers on your blog if there is no relation between the two.

    Tip #5 – Utilize Technorati.com to build your list of blogs to target.

    Tip #6 – Send your news on a timely basis in relation to the blogger’s schedule, not yours. If you know for instance on Thursdays they always review new technologies, new books etc. then keep that in mind when sending news. (Tip – Don’t send it the day you want it covered!)

    Tip #7 – Let bloggers know about the beta! What this means is it’s good to give bloggers the scoop on things early and count them in as part of your PR push. It’s a mistake at this juncture of relationship focused PR and marketing to do anything but!

    Tip #8 – Don’t send out the same old approach letters! Be creative and above all be brief.

    Tip #9 – Don’t ask a blogger to highlight your company or its Web site unless they offer too.

    Tip #10 – Don’t send anything to a blogger that’s not newsworthy and don’t ask the blogger if you can preview their post!

    Comment by nettie hartsock — December 21, 2006 @ 4:17 pm

  7. I am baffled by one thing, though, chaps. The comment: “I couldn’t really give Paul and co. props without twisting it to also highlight the work that Jim and I do with OBO.” doesn’t make sense to me.

    I frequently write about colleagues and competitors without referencing my own works or clients. Am I missing something or do you need to expand your horizons a bit?

    Comment by Dave Taylor — December 21, 2006 @ 11:35 pm

  8. […] To really gauge how a person may react to a pitch, we have to look beyond the blog. I wish that every blogger who didn’t want to be pitched had his or her wishes plastered on the About page or in a badge, but we can’t always be so lucky. When you’re building a list of people you think would be interested in your pitch, ask yourself these questions in addition to the traditional ones. […]

    Pingback by Do you know who you’re pitching? « Fake Plastic Noodles — January 14, 2008 @ 3:14 am

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