As part of a fresh start to Fall, I’m cleaning out my email box today. In the process, I’ve run across a few blogger relations issues that really can’t support a full post but deserve mention.
Don’t use gmail, yahoo or other free service email addresses to send pitches. People like to know that they are dealing with a reputable person, a reputable organization. Your email address, traceable to a firm or organization through its website, helps convey that information. Related: don’t send the email from someone else’s account, ie the email FROM: field is one name and the signatory on the email is someone else. Nothing says “processed using an email database” better than an email sent by one person on behalf of another.
Media databases like Cision and Vocus that include bloggers are an okay place to start building a list for blogger outreach in certain high-profile blog categories like tech, parents and marketing, but don’t just spam releases without a cover note. Vocus offers an opt-out button, and I find I am using it when it is simply a release with no note. While I am sure there is a work-around if someone affirmatively requests materials, once someone has opted out from an entity, the system isn’t supposed to let it send anything else. In other words, no second chances. Now, this might force agencies to actually begin contacting bloggers before emailing them, but I am not terribly hopeful.
Why did you send me this pitch?
If you get an email like this from me or any other blogger, don’t take offense. When I do it, it means that the item might be of interest, but you didn’t tell me why you thought I’d be interested. Now, if I’m just a name in a database, and you have no clue why you sent me the item, this does have the effect of calling you out, so to speak. The best course is to apologize. But don’t simply offer to take me off the list — ask me what I would be interested in.
Often as recently happened with a junior staffer at an agency I respect, the rep just gets so wrapped up in the pitch that she forgets to identify the WIIFM. That’s why I always advise starting there — tell the blogger, or journalist, why you thought he’d be interested before you get into the pitch for your thing, whatever it may be.
And finally, a pet peeve.
The true meaning of Unsubscribe. It’s the action we take when we have subscribed to something, by choice, and then decide that we don’t want to receive it anymore. It is NOT a synonym for opting-out of a mailing list to which you have been added without your permission. Increasingly, however, I’ve noticed that organizations are using unsubscribe in that context. Even the opt-out mechanism on Vocus has an <Unsubscribe> button instead of <Remove> or some other verb that would be more accurate, and I have seen it used on other PR pitches sent to bloggers.
This really bugs me. Since I did not subscribe to your list in the first place, how can I possibly unsubscribe? I suspect the use of the language is motivated by the CAN-SPAM Act. The thinking probably goes something like this:
Adding these people to our mailing list without their permission is probably in violation of CAN-SPAM, but people get so much email these days, if we imply they subscribed, maybe they’ll forget that they didn’t opt-in to ours and we won’t get in trouble.
- The secret sauce for the perfect pitch
- Where’s the beef: the content of a good blog pitch
- Blogger relations category on Marketing Roadmaps
Tags: blogger relations