September 30, 2014

5 Reasons Writers Ignore Your Pitch

As a small business, you’re always trying to win media coverage and build buzz about your brand. To do so you’re creating media and blogger lists to help you reach out to folks and let them know about what you’re up to.

But are your efforts falling flat?

Below are 5 reasons reporters may just be ignoring your pitch:

There’s No Relationship

The first time you reach out to someone shouldn’t be to ask for a favor or a mention on their blog. It should be to help them and address their needs. Pitching someone for media coverage when you don’t have some level of pre-existing relationship is going to be an uphill battle. This is why it’s so important to identify media contacts EARLY and then dedicate time to getting on their radar. Maybe you first reach out via Twitter in a way that solves their problem. Or you start strategically commenting on their blog. Or you give them a shoutout by highlighting their expertise to your readers. Taking the time to build that relationship before you need it is Rule 1 of online networking and will help ensure your pitch gets read.

You Pretend Your BFFs

If you have a close relationship with someone, it’s okay to reference that in your pitch email. In fact, it would be kind of weird if you didn’t. However, if you don’t know someone that well (or at all) don’t try to fake it in the email. Sometimes because we’re nervous or because we want to come off as “friendly” or “conversational” we take too many casual liberties when addressing someone. We call them by nicknames we see others using. Or we reference information we’ve stalked online. Or we simply don’t give them the respect they deserve. For a blogger or reporter, this is a serious turnoff and may actually cause them to believe you’re mocking them. Not a good way to start a new relationship.

Impersonal Emails

While you don’t want to pretend to be buddy-buddy, you also don’t want to send an email that reads like an ad in the Yellow Pages. Do your homework before you pitch someone so you’re able to target it as much as possible to their interests.

Take the time to:

  • Learn the reporter’s name
  • Get an understanding of what they cover on their blog
  • Learn their tone
  • Get to know their audience and who they are
  • Check for information about HOW they like to be pitched/contacted

Once you have all this information you can craft a message that is customized for them and speaks to their audience and interests. An email that is properly targeted will always win out over one that is not.

There’s No WIIFM

We’re all busy. For us to take time out of day we need to know WIIFM – What’s In It For Me? What will trying your product or recommending your service get me? How will it make me look like a hero to my audience? How will it make their jobs or lives easier? Because that’s what I’m after. I only care about your product when I know how it will benefit my audience.

When you’re laying out the WIIFM, don’t just list off the ins and outs of your product or brag about its latest and greatest feature. Focus on pitching the story. We don’t care that your oven cooks food 20 minutes faster than other ovens. We care that we can use those 20 minutes to spend time with our families or to read our kid a book. That’s the WIIFM. It’s not about the product. It’s about the story.

Insulting the Blogger

Be careful when talking to bloggers and other media to make sure you’re giving them the respect they deserve. You want to avoid things like:

  • Assuming you know their audience better than they do
  • Offering money for a post right off the bat
  • Offering an exclusive when you’re pitching other outlets
  • Belittling their professionally (accidentally or intentionally)

Often times these things happen accidentally simply because we’re not careful with our words or the phrases that we use. Take extra time to read through your pitch email to make sure you’re not stepping on any toes or writing something that could possibly offend.

We all need to pitch bloggers and reporters from time to time to help our brand build awareness. Taking the time to craft our pitches properly can greatly increase your odds of getting read.

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Lisa Barone


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

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