Now that we have the secret sauce for a blog pitch, it’s time to think about the main ingredient — the content. There is no single recipe for this; it’s different for every product, service and program.
Like any other marketing activity, you start with your marketing objectives. With an important caveat: you have to get over the idea that anyone actually cares about your product. What they care about is how it makes them feel, how well it satisfies a need or desire.
That’s where the concept of adding value comes in. You can’t just deliver a laundry list of facts and features, and expect a blogger to write about it. They might buy your product, as a customer, but in order to give you valuable space in her story on her blog, the blogger needs something more. She needs your pitch to add value to her blog.
Here are a couple of examples that do a nice job of adding value.
First, a pitch for Quaker Chewy Granola Bars with Protein.
The mom blogger who forwarded this pitch to me said that although the pitch was a bit spammy (can you spot the message points, everyone?) she was impressed with the offer. Since her daughter would be starting soccer soon, she was inclined to do it.
My take: Although I would be thrilled if agencies ditched the message points ( "Moms like you will be able to please the pickiest eaters with kid-friendly flavors") and just used plain language, the value added in this pitch is very good: a decent package of products and review product for the blogger plus the offer of a giveaway package for a friend or reader. Along with a clear understanding of the privacy concerns of the blogger. Grade: A- [PR Agency: Ogilvy PR.]
And a pitch from the National Women’s History Museum.
Why is this pitch so good?
It’s on target. I am on the record, in multiple places, as a feminist with a great deal of interest in gender issues. This is something about which I could reasonably be expected to care.
I’ve met the PR rep who sent the pitch, Erin Skinner, from Weber Shandwick unit Powell Tate. She interviewed me at BlogHer Business as part of Weber Shandwick’s video coverage of the event. What really impressed me: she’s still reading my blogs. And not just this one, but also my personal blog, which is where the referenced post appeared.
She doesn’t ask me to write. But here you go, I have. If the pitch is good, you don’t need to ask. I also sent an email to my congresswoman — dead easy, do it.
Now, for an example of a pitch that doesn’t pass muster. For comparison purposes.
See the difference?
Let’s start with the salutation. Two parent bloggers forwarded this to me for bad pitch. One was addressed as Blogger <Lastname> and the other as Blogger <Firstname> . Seriously, how bad is the database this firm is using? And what is with the salutation BLOGGER? Is it a category in the database and someone screwed up or do they really think this is a legitimate salutation?
It’s a short pitch –that I will give you. But it is nothing more than a series of message points strung together. "A funny and heart warming film." "Makes for a perfect summertime watch for kids of all ages."
And typos. Hate typos.
But most importantly –where’s the value? Why should these bloggers write about this film? Where’s the offer for a review copy? Or perhaps a copy or two as giveaways? I realize that many companies have to limit the offers of review product. Fine. Then limit your outreach to bloggers and journalists who might reasonably be expected to review your product. And offer product straight up. Don’t wait for the blogger to ask.
And heaven forbid, when they ask for product, don’t offer them a .jpg instead. As this vendor did to a mom blogger who actually replied to a blind pitch because the product was relevant to her family’s needs:
Ummm. If you can’t send samples, why did you pitch?
Bottom line, if you want a blogger to write about your product, you have to give her a reason that matters to her. Otherwise, you should simply run an ad on her blog. End of story.