Jun 11, 2013

How to Create a Winning Blogger Pitch Every Time

Every other week, The Q&A Team answers questions from ProfNet readers with advice from our large network of experts. Has there been a question burning in your mind lately, something you’ve been wondering that none of your colleagues can answer? Please send it to polina.opelbaum@prnewswire.com

Dear Q&A Team,

I am a PR professional interested in learning how to pitch mommy bloggers. How can I find the right mommy blogs to work with? What should – and shouldn’t – I do when pitching?  What are the benefits of getting my product or news covered on a mommy blog?

Signed,

Pitch Perfect

Dear Pitch Perfect,

You’ve come to the right place! Here are five ProfNet experts who share their advice and the lessons they learned about pitching mommy bloggers:

Finding the Right Mommy Blogger

Wendy Hirschhorn, CEO of Wendy’s Bloggers, has reviewed over a thousand mommy blogger websites. The mommy bloggers she adds to her powerful network need to meet her professional standards. That includes the ability to write cohesive reviews; generate sufficient traffic to their sites; and use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr and other social sites to promote their product reviews and giveaways.

Some other things Hirschhorn looks for when deciding to work with a mommy blogger include: 1) looking at the site to make sure it’s well-designed and easy to navigate; 2) checking to see the blogger blogs regularly, which means every day or close to it; 3) reading the bio to get a sense of the mommy blogger.

Last but not least, “I try to elicit feedback from them about preferences on companies they’d like to connect with, what their experience has been blogging about different categories, e.g., frozen food, restaurants, CDs, clothing, etc., to see what works and what doesn’t,” says Hirschhorn.

Karma Martell, president of KarmaCom Inc., had different criteria for the last mommy blogger she pitched on a new brand launch. She explains, “I picked her because although she wrote for a national-regional audience mommy blog, she lived in and was the perfect client demographic for the brand. I found this out from her Twitter profile.”

Martell warns that not all mommy bloggers are created equal. “They have many different foci. You really need to get a feel for the portal or their individual columns. Just because they are a mommy blogger does not mean they are writing or tweeting about raising kids primarily,” she says.

Finding the Right PR Professional

“I appreciate it when PR professionals take the time to read a few of my posts on each blog before pitching an idea,” says Dana Hinders, blogger for Smart Mom Picks and Modern Baby. “I receive a lot of pitches that are interesting, but not well-suited for either blog.”

Hinders adds: “Providing images with a pitch is very helpful, especially if the images are something eye-catching. We share a lot of posts on social media, and images tend to encourage people to click on the links. If I know I have good images to use, I’m much more likely to cover a product.”

If a post is about a specific product, it is important to provide Hinders with price information and a description of where to buy the item.

Jamie Lee, blogger for The Denver Housewife, also has certain things she looks for before responding to a pitch. Lee says, “I look to make sure they have my name right, if it’s a product that will fit my family, and if the opportunity is worth my time.”

Successfully Pitching the Mommy Blogger

Kate Connors, account executive at Media & Communications Strategies, Inc., says she has successfully pitched mommy bloggers on behalf of her client, Touro University Worldwide. She attributes her success to two things: 1) finding out the blogger’s niche and making sure the information being offered actually benefits their readers, and 2) making sure to have an expert who can offer to comment or write a piece.

Connors explains how she applied these recommendations when she pitched bloggers on behalf of Touro: “The university has taken an active role in supporting military families in light of the recent cuts in tuition assistance programs. There is a huge blogosphere of military moms who write daily about their struggles, both financially and emotionally. I reached out to each of them offering a release about the importance of Military Spouses Day and what kind of assistance Touro was offering.”   In addition, Touro has a Marriage & Family Therapy Department, so after the Sandy Hook shooting and the Boston Marathon bombing, Connors contacted mommy bloggers offering assistance from these professors on how to talk to children after a disaster. “Some bloggers wrote back asking for quotes, others for pieces,” said Connors.

What Not to Do When Pitching

Hinders says: “One thing I really dislike is when a PR professional sends several copies of the same email a day or two apart. I try to respond to pitches fairly quickly, but it does take a few days for me to get caught up if I put out a ProfNet request that gets a lot of responses. Sorting through duplicate pitches just creates more work for me.”

Her favorite PR professionals, says Hinders, are the ones who go above and beyond when it comes to communication.

In addition, for Smart Mom Picks, Hinders tries to shy away from covering products that are very expensive or not widely available in the U.S.

Lee doesn’t generally respond to PR professionals offering her one coupon for something, a discount code, or just nothing in return. “Writing the blog posts, reviewing the product, and editing the pictures all take time and I want to make sure that I am getting something in return that is also benefiting me and my family,” she says.

Benefits of Working With a Mommy Blogger

After Martell successfully pitched a mommy blogger, her ROI was twofold. Martell says, “The client got mentions and special promotions on the blog, and the client saw ROI in member signup from the blog’s users. We knew this because the offer was coded per promotion. In turn, we also developed a cordial relationship with the regional editor, who actually contacted us later to include another client in an event they were planning.”

After Connors successfully pitched mommy bloggers on behalf of her client, she said it greatly helped the university increase its online presence.

Connors adds, “We received this email from the university client in response to our blogger outreach: ‘By having several sites back-link to our site in a very natural manner, you helped to increase our search ranking with Google. Building our internal architecture in this way will help us greatly in the long-term.’”

Besides increasing online presence, it also helped increase the number of student applications, says Connors. “Media & Communications Strategies had potential students reach out to us after reading some of the expert commentary in a blog post. “

“The goal of building a successful online presence is creating a two-way relationship between you and the blogger. The more you can provide them, i.e. experts, the more likely they are to come back to you for further stories,” suggests Connors.

Martell reiterates Connors’ last statement. “Remember that when pitching mommy bloggers, you have to think about where you can give back to them. For example: something special for their readers, an invitation to an event, retweets and mentions, etc.”

Written by Polina Opelbaum, editor of ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources.  The Q&A Team is published biweekly on ProfNet Connect, a free social networking site for communicators. To read more from Polina, check out her blog on ProfNet Connect.

 

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