Sep 24, 2012

‘Dear Blogger’ & Other Pitch Mistakes PR Pros Make

“My time is worth something,” said fashion and celebrity blogger Cynthia Smoot, aka @OhSoCynthia, at last week’s Social Media Club of Dallas monthly meeting.

A PR person in the audience had asked the panel if bloggers always expect to get something for free. Every head in the room turned in unison to see who was at the microphone. I think I also heard a gasp from somewhere.

Cynthia took it in stride, lifting her chin with her Oh-So-Cynthia grace and crossing her legs to show the fabulous pair of boots she was recently given for covering a fashion event.

Dallas bloggers: @OhSoCynthia @TexasHolly @FoodBitch @LivingLocurto @Pelpina

Holly Homer, @TexasHolly contributed that they are bloggers, not journalists with a salary and expenses being paid for by a media company. They blog because they are passionate about what they write about and sometimes have a day-job. To cover an event or try a product they have to give of their personal time.

Food critic @FoodBitch works at an advertising agency by day and writes about food by night. She said some PR people have even expected her to pay for entry into their event, even though they invited her to come and cover it for her popular Dallas food blog.

I cringed. We in PR still don’t quite fully comprehend those writers who call themselves bloggers. And yet, our industry is constantly seeking to ‘work with bloggers,’ i.e. get them to promote our stuff to their audiences.

So let’s cover a few basics about working with bloggers that we’ve all heard before, but apparently we need to hear again.

First, a pet peeve, “Dear blogger,” is tops on FoodBitch’s list, as is “Dear _____.” Or how about “Dear Mommy Blogger,” suggested Amy, @LivingLocurto. All the bloggers nodded in agreement. This certainly aligns with the daddy blogger sentiment I wrote about two years ago in a post appropriately titled Don’t Call Us Daddy Bloggers.

Pelpina Tripp, @Pelpina asked that PR pros do their research. Don’t send her pitches if you’ve never seen her work and don’t know what interests her audience. She gets a lot of email. She doesn’t have time for pitches that are not appropriately targeted. Holly added, “If you don’t bother to check out my blog why should I care about your pitch?”

And while we’re on the research subject, Amy begs that if you mention someone in your pitch that you link to somewhere online that explains who they are. “Don’t make me do the research. I don’t want to Google the person you’re talking about.”

Cynthia then mentioned that a huge pet peeve for her are press releases without images to use in her blog or to see the product you’re talking about.

A PR practioner in the audience said, “But a lot of publications don’t accept attachments.”

“Bloggers accept attachments!” responded Cynthia. All the other bloggers agreed emphatically. They need images and only get them in less than 5% of pitches.

A few more suggestions included:

  • Make your pitch interesting for the blogger’s audience you are pitching
  • Write subject lines that capture the attention of who you are targeting
  • Make your email subject line clear about why you are contacting them

If you are a blogger or a PR and would like to add to this, please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you!

Victoria Harres is Director of Audience Development at PR Newswire, the main voice behind @PRNewswire, social media lead for @Business4Better and a frequent speaker and writer on social media for business. 

Fill in your details below: