How To Pitch A Blogger

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Any blogger will tell you that as soon as they made their first few posts, the pitches for coverage or product mentions came rolling in. There's good reason for that — a mention on a few popular blogs provides plenty of benefits including brand visibility and incoming links.

Here at Website Magazine, we get plenty of pitches — from story ideas to products, every day businesses hungry for exposure send us an e-mail or product to try. Some are very effective, while others are relegated to the trash bin faster than they arrived. A proper pitch requires planning and execution.

Know Your Audience
Nothing triggers the “delete” button faster than a pitch that begins something like, Dear blogger... On the other hand, using the blogger’s name or the name of the blog usually keeps them reading. This personalization of the message not only engages the reader but shows that you value their time and their blog.

In the same way, do your research and know the blog’s purpose and audience. It takes just a few minutes to read a post or two from the blog, and knowing the subject matter will show in your pitch. Nothing is more frustrating to a blogger than spending valuable time reading a pitch that is completely irrelevant to their audience. This is a common mistake and often results in a “blacklisting” of the person making the pitch — future relevant pitches risk never being seen.

Be Succinct
Bloggers value their time. To be most effective, be upfront with your pitch. Tell the blogger what you want and why your product, service or announcement matters to them and their audience. If you haven’t stated your purpose withing the first two or three sentences, chances of exposure drops dramatically. If a blogger is truly interested in what you have to offer, they will take the time to learn more, if needed. After all, if you pique their interest, chances are excellent that their readers will want to know more too.

Offer Something
Bloggers want readers. And one way to ensure repeat visitors and new readers is to give something away. Based on the blog’s audience, offer something of value. It could be an online coupon, free product, free trial or free membership.

Also, tailor the offer to the specific blog via a custom coupon code or similar measure. The blogger wants to give readers the appearance of authority and value — by making your offer “exclusive” to the blog’s readers, they feel validated and the blogger benefits by becoming a valued resource. Also, people like to share inside information, giving your brand and offer a better chance of being shared to a wider audience.

Provide Resources or Creatives
Researching and writing blog posts is time-consuming. It can be very frustrating to receive a good pitch, then have to crawl all over the Web looking for images, landing pages or other resources. Make sure your e-mails have everything the blogger needs — links, images, even verbiage.

Ask Questions
If you’re having trouble getting the attention of a particular blogger (or any blogs at all), don’t be afraid to ask very direct questions. Find out what type of pitches the blogger wants.

• What type of products are important to his or her audience?
• How does the blogger prefer to be contacted?
• Are there particular topics of interest that the blogger would like to cover but lacks the resources to?
• Do they have an editorial calendar? If not, find out if the blogger writes any regularly-scheduled posts such as year-end wrap-ups or lists, seasonal posts, etc.


Finding the Right Blogs to Pitch
There are tens of thousands of active blogs out there — what are the ones you should contact? Start by simply searching your topic with keywords. Use search engines' custom search options like blog searches, related searches and Google’s Wonder wheel. You will find people posting on your topics and related topics. Search for topics on sites like Digg.com — find those submissions with high vote totals to identify influential blogs. Look on social networks too, for bloggers with high numbers of fans, friends and followers. Also look for popular blogs on blog aggregator sites.

When you find a few blogs to target, check some statistics. One quick and easy way is to use Compete.com to find estimated traffic levels — some blogs are very good at SEO, but might not have a very large following.

By asking questions, you give the blogger the impression that you want to become a resource for them, not just a media hound. It is very possible that you can provide material for the blogger they might not otherwise come in contact with. Think like a partner.

About the Author: Mike Phillips is Website Magazine's Senior Editor

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9 comments

kristin rielly 12-29-2009 3:11 PM

Great advice! I can't tell you how many emails I receive saying something like "Hey, I think you would really be interested in this" and then attach a link.

The requests that I take the time to read include a to-the-point bio on themselves/company, what they would like from me, and what I stand to gain, with a clear understanding of who my audience is already.

JamesK 12-29-2009 3:11 PM

It is interesting how many companies or PR firms will contact a blog directly ... hoping for some sort of media coverage.

SarahV 12-29-2009 3:22 PM

This is a great post, perfect for a project we're working on. I'll forward the link to my intern. Thanks for the tips.

KenneyY 12-29-2009 3:35 PM

Great info...I don't have a lot of traffic as of yet so I haven't received any requests but now I'll know how to tell if they are really sincere...Thanx...Kenney

BrendaB 12-29-2009 3:45 PM

it is useful for PR folk to review the new FTC blogger-endorser rules:

www.consumeradvertisinglawblog.com/.../the-company-paid-me-to-tell-you.html

JulieG 12-29-2009 6:07 PM

I have a travel recommendation blog that's about to have it's one millionth visitor, but I don't really hear that much from the type of businesses I feature on my blog.  

I know the mommy bloggers are inundated with stuff to review and so are the tech bloggers, but in my area (travel/restaurants/golf/spas) there isn't much activity.

Bob Yeager 12-29-2009 8:57 PM

Love the advice. I'd also add that if you are looking to attract a blogger to promote or endorse you in some way, don't be afraid to create something exclusively for them.

There have been plenty of times I've recorded a 45 minute audio or short video tutorial just for the bloggers' subscribers that they could use as a post on their own blog, which would in turn allow them valuable search engine content and a link back to my site.

Thanks for the post

EverettC 12-30-2009 9:39 AM

What you have written is so very true.

We are just starting to get people who want to be guest writers and cross promote. The big job is to keep there post inline with the theme of the blog as well as the target audience.

Mike Phillips 12-30-2009 2:12 PM

@JulieG - have you thought about reaching out to travel destinations/spas, etc? As BobY points out, exclusive offers can go a long way.

I'd suggest contacting a few places, telling them about your blog and how you could mutually benefit from an exclusive offer. They get bookings and business, and you get to extend an "exclusive" offer to your blog's readers - making you a valued resource. Good for branding and good to show other business that might want to do the same. One million visits is nothing to sneeze at - flex those muscles a bit and secure greater mindshare with businesses you are promoting and your current and future readers!

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