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.Â 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.Â The story, like I said, was interesting, but immediately I saw a problem.Â 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.Â 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.Â Then the PR guy calls me to talk about it.Â Well, I explain, Paul and I are friends, but we’re also competitors.Â Oh.Â Wait, it gets better.Â The PR company in question is Lee Odden’s company!Â So we have four bloggers involved in this, who all know each other, and all contribute here too!Â Yeah I told you it got better.Â This is why this makes a great case study.Â 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.Â 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.Â Who does he/she work for (and there could be several alliances there)?Â Where does he/she contribute?
Bloggers are a very social and interconnected bunch.Â 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).Â 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.Â Some bloggers don’t want to be pitched.Â 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.Â If he had asked Paul or Lee they would have told him … yeah great blogger, bad choice for this pitch.Â 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.Â Paul, Lee, Jim, and I all know each other and contribute here.Â Again, this is no fault of Paul or Lee.Â I’m sure they will get a chuckle out of it.