As a moonlight wedding blogger, I think I have an interesting perspective when it comes to public relations; I’m both a PR girl AND a member of the media, so I get to see both sides of the coin on a daily basis. In fact, I truly believe blogging has helped me in my own media relations.
That said, I definitely see my share of horrible pitches. I’ve made a hobby of responding to the culprits of this bad practice, but I decided I wanted to go one step further and use my experience on the receiving end to teach some important lessons to my fellow PR pros. That’s why I’ve decided to start this series — aptly named “Pitch, Please” (thanks to Jody Collins for the great name idea!)
I’ll be posting these bad pitches as I receive them, pointing out what’s wrong and what should have been done differently. To protect the privacy of the offender, I’ll be blocking out all names, URLs, etc.
Pitch, Please Lesson #1: Bloggers & Journalists are Humans
So, what’s wrong with this pitch?
1. My name is not “Food Blogger”.
Bloggers and journalists are humans, just like you. Do your research, and address them by their actual names. Sure, it takes more time to actually find out someone’s name, but it makes a world of difference on how your pitch is received.
2. I am not even actually a food blogger. I’m a wedding blogger.
Sure, I’ve written about food before, but my blog as a whole is about weddings and married life. The person writing this pitch makes no effort to explain how this product relates to my specific blog in any way. If you want to make a successful pitch, tell the blogger/journalist how it relates to them and their readers specifically. I once covered a story about home/renters insurance because the PR pro pitching me did such a good job relating it to my readers and their lives. It’s an unlikely match, but her pitch was so on point that it worked.
3. This is a mass mailing, and I can tell at first glance.
See how my email address is BCCed? That tells me this mailing also went out to tens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of other “food bloggers” out there. That of course explains the other two issues, but I have to list it as in infraction as well because it’s just bad practice when you’re pitching someone for the first time. Sure, when you’re working on behalf of a company, sometimes you have journalists you distribute releases to on an ongoing basis that are fine with being on a distribution list, but if you’re making the initial contact, you need to go out of your way to make it personal. Otherwise, that first contact will surely be your last.
Stay tuned for more horrible pitches in your next installment of Pitch, Please!