As a small business owner, you know the importance of blogging. You also know how important it is to get coverage from other blogs. But getting blog coverage means knowing how to pitch. It’s about making your email to that blogger stand out and make them want to hit the Reply button instead of just directing you to trash. And that’s not always easy.
As a blogger and a SMB business owner, I’m constantly getting and sending out pitches. And there’s an art to it. Here are 5 Dos and Dont’s of pitching bloggers for coverage.
- Know Who To Contact: Businesses quickly get in trouble when they create a rudimentary press list and then mass email everyone on it. This is something you really want to avoid. You want to create a PR linkerati list  that will help you identify the most important outlets when you need them. Do some research to find the most relevant blogs in your niche, and then segment them by what types of stories they cover, what their audience likes, and the topics they’re interested in. You don’t want to contact EVERYONE when you have something to say, you only want to contact the people most interested.
- Create Relationships Before The Pitch: Don’t wait until you need something to start forming relationships with the people on your linkerati list. Make contact long before that. Start conversations with them on Twitter, comment on their blogs, send them an email when they write a great post, etc. Anything that you can do to build a relationship with this person is going to help your chances of getting coverage. Because a pitch from someone you know isn’t really a pitch. It’s an email letting you know of something cool they’re up. That changes everything.
- Have a unique story: People respond to stories. For example, your business turning two may not get the attention of your local newspaper, but the community block party you’re throwing for your customers to celebrate your birthday probably will. The blog post you wrote on Friday may not be that interesting, but the controversy that happened around it, might be. Keep an eye out for natural opportunities that may arise. They’re often goldmines for press and the types of things bloggers and reporters like talking about.
- Personalize the pitch: When you finally go to pitch the blogger, make sure it’s personalized to what they’ll best respond to. That means knowing their name, where they write for, a few posts they’ve written that you liked or got good attention, what their audience likes, etc. Many bloggers also have a stated pitch policy on their site. Make sure you read it so you’re not burning any bridges before you start. When you do send the email, just be personable. If you sound uncomfortable, you’re going to make the reader sound uncomfortable.
- Lay out the benefit for my readers: Bloggers are not interested in you, your company or how cool you think you are. They are interested in their readers. Your pitch email should be about their audience and how you can bring value to them. That’s what they want to hear about. Don’t talk about you.
- Be insulting: Don’t tell me (or anyone else) how ‘widely read’ or popular my blog is. Don’t ask how much someone charges for coverage or presume that you know better than they what their audience would respond to. It’s like telling me how to parent my child. Bad idea.
- Give me your whole life story: You are not emailing someone to give them every detail about what you’re doing. You just want them to write back. That means you should be engaging, but brief. Anything longer than two paragraphs and it’s probably not going to get read.
- Send 100 bloggers the same email: I know it’s tempting to copy and paste 20 bloggers the same email, but DON’T. They can tell, they talk to one another, and it’s, again, insulting. If your message is important enough to send out, then you can spend a few minutes crafting something original.
- Ask me to review something I haven’t tried: I can’t review a book I haven’t read, nor can I write about a product I haven’t tried. Understand this.
- Don’t send me the same pitch multiple times: There’s no harm following up on a pitch. It is okay to send an email a week or so later just to make sure that the blogger or media outlet received it and it didn’t get stuck in spam. However, do not re-send the original pitch email. If they ignored it the first time, they’ll ignore it the second.
Pitching bloggers and media outlet is an important marketing strategy for getting coverage. Being able to tie the right pitch to the right outlet can ensure your SMB gets the coverage it deserves.