If you are a blogger, you pride yourself on your writing skills; be it writing about your own life or writing about things that interest you. Yet, for some reason, when it comes to pitching a sponsor- we sit at our screen and just draw a total blank.
I’ll be honest, I HATE pitching. I do. It is this generation´s version of the cold sell. Here you are having to prove your worth and sell not only your product (your site) but yourself to some stranger that you know nothing about other than their email address. It can be scary.
What you have to understand is that PR reps want to be pitched by you because by you pitching them, you are doing their work for them. You see how that works… ah, the circle of life, blog style. I kinda feel like Simba. Anyway, that doesn’t mean you just send a random, unorganized email. Yes, they want to work with bloggers but you have to make them want YOU.
Tips to write the perfect pitch:
- Make sure you know who you are pitching. Most companies have a “Press” link that either lists press releases or their press contacts. Press releases ALWAYS contain the PR contact, you just have to read them to find it. Most contacts are able to be found via Google. Please do not randomly email bloggers for contact info, this can get you blacklisted from networks you want to be a part of. Bloggers typically work hard to maintain relationships with brands and it is disrespectful to just ask for information it has taken some years to build up to. Do your research and you will be fine.
- Make it short, sweet and to the point. Reps are flooded by Media Inquiries (yes, you are media now) daily. They do not want to read a novel describing why your blog is awesome. Get your point across with the essentials- Who (you and your site), What (inquiring about hosting a review, a giveaway, conference sponsorship, etc…), When (dates for review, giveaway, event, etc…), Why (why your blog and/or readers are a good fit), and How (how your will give the brand exposure, promote them, etc..).
- Show personality. Yes, they want to know the questions above but they don’t want some robot to promote them. If they did, they could hire some bot to generate press releases and throw them all over the internet. They know people read you for a reason and they trust you- so show YOU off. Some say give your numbers right away, I say pitch first and if/when they ask, give them your media kit or have your recent numbers prepared to send right away. When I started out, I got some great product reviews, even though my numbers were small, they liked what I had to say in my pitch and that sold them enough that they didn’t ask for my numbers.
- Check for typos and spelling errors. You are selling your ability to write effectively to promote their brand. A simple spelling error will cause them to hit delete so fast, it will make your cyber head spin. I have to stress, DO NOT RELY ON SPELL CHECK. Spell check will often leave words that are spelled correctly in place even if they aren’t the word you meant to spell out.
- Always thank them for their time and close with a signature that includes all your contact info. A good signature includes your name, blog name with clickable link, email address, Twitter handle, Facebook fan page, and any other social media outlets you are active in. Some reps want to see what kind of following you have or just how you interact with your readers, and they will more than likely check you out via your signature.
- Don’t hound the PR person. While yes, it’s OK to follow up about a week after you have sent your initial pitch, do not email repeatedly asking them when you will get an answer. That is the quickest way to end up in a Spam folder. If your follow up remains unanswered, just chalk it up to experience and move on. Rejection is part of the package and best to act with grace than completely get yourself on the “No” list forever. Who knows, they may pitch you in a few months themselves!