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How to pitch a blog

Before I start this post, i just want to give a heads up that it’s geared towards PR folks and advertisers.

If you’re more a “normal reader” of the blog, and don’t fall within these two industries, feel free to skip this post completely and come back on the next regularly scheduled updates. :)

So, with that heads up out the way, let’s get cracking.

How to Pitch Your Story or Partner On Your Product

I get a lot of pitches form either PR agencies or consultants on behalf of their clients, or from business people themselves wondering if I’d be interested in taking a look at their new product or service.

This is cool – after all, this blog looks to help you, the reader, in being more successful in whatever it is you want to succeed in, from your business and where social media fits to understanding blogging and everything in-between.

The problem is, the pitch needs to fit the audience here – and very often they come nowhere near that. In the last week alone, I’ve received pitches on vodka and fashion news.

Now, while I might like the odd vodka shot now and again, I’m anything but fashionable and single malt scotch is my tipple of choice (though Whyte & Mackay may change that!).

So, here are some ways for you to increase your chance of being shared here:

1. Know my readers

They’re a huge reason this blog exists so understand who they are. A really simple way to do this is use the Demographic feature on Alexa. You can also use tools like Quantcast to grab more information about this blog’s audience. If you’re looking for me to introduce you to them, at least give them the courtesy and respect they deserve by understanding whether or not they’re right for you.

2. Know my topics

I don’t think I’ve ever written about fashion. I know I haven’t written about healthcare. So why pitch these topics? I make it really easy to see what this blog is all about – you just need to check the black category navigation menu at the top of every page. Or, simpler still, check the About This Blog page. If you don’t take the time to see if there’s a fit, why should I take the time to make the fit?

3. Check the archives

A lot of the time when I’m pitched, it’s clear the person behind the outreach hasn’t carried out even the barest of research on this blog. If they had have done, they would have known I’d already talked about their topic before, often more than just the once. Save your time – use the Search This Blog option in my sidebar (or homepage), and use the keywords for your pitch/product/service. If the story angle has been covered, it’s not likely I’m going to do it again.

4. Know my style

I recently received a pitch where the PR agency wanted to control the editorial; only allow for positive praise; and moderate the comments for negative replies. I told them to go shit a porcupine (maybe not in these words, but you get the drift). The voice of a blogger is his or her currency when it comes to readers and their trust – don’t compromise that. Ever. If you don’t understand the tone here – upfront, no bullshit, honest and questioning – then don’t pitch me.

Save Time By Being Diligent

These are just some tips to help you have a better chance of sharing your news here. While the tips are mostly geared towards PR outreaches, they can also be applied to advertorial content and partners.

It’s pointless asking me if I’m interested in advertising skincare products or painting materials, when this blog is primarily about marketing, social media, business, digital/mobile trends and occasionally the odd blogging tip. So try and make the advertorial partnerships a relevant fit for that kind of audience.

If you want to interact with some of the smartest folks on the web, then I’m very fortunate to have them share their expertise in the comments regularly.

They’re probably also interested in hearing from you – as long as you do it right. Sound fair?

Note: While these tips are for this blog, you can pretty much transpose the basics to any blogger you’re looking to connect with.

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36 Comments on "How to Pitch This Blog"


theresamaxine
2 years 7 months ago

Hi Danny! As a brand new explorer of your site, I wanted to extend my input. I appreciate posts like these that truly want to help PR rep’s as well as those they are pitching to. You are highly successful and your’e still reaching out to those who may not know some of the basics yet. 

Mike
2 years 7 months ago

Danny, great to meet you (virtually).  I appreciate the post and the candid tone. I received a pitch once where the person had done all of what you said… and it made it easy for me to want to share what they had to say.

Danny Brown
2 years 7 months ago

Cheers, Mike – funny how the simplest of approaches can make all the difference, eh? ;-)

Ally
2 years 7 months ago

This is a fantastic post. Thanks for sharing these tips. We’ve received some ridiculous pitches. It’s good for a chuckle at least.@fpqt
 
 

krisp131
2 years 7 months ago

@fpqt Double YES! I get more pitches for things that could not be LESS relevant to my blog.

FPQT
2 years 7 months ago

@krisp131 It’s sometimes hilarious.

krisp131
2 years 7 months ago

@fpqt The ones I get are just annoying. Luxury auto rentals, English cottage rentals, hiking in India, you name it.

piccolas
2 years 7 months ago

As a young PR professional, I love these posts. At the same time I can’t imagine ever pitching someone without researching them first or at least knowing you’re pitching something relevant to what their talking about, it boggles my mind.  Posts like this are good reminders, I cringe at the thought of ending up on someone’s blog as an example of a “horrible pitch” Thanks Danny!

Danny Brown
2 years 7 months ago

 @piccolas Hi Sara,
 
You’re from ShortStack? Awesome! Used your platform in my agency days, great resource and really easy to use. :)
 
Like you say, even some basic research will stand you apart from the 80% crud that’s out there – here’s to more thinking like you!

wordwhacker
2 years 7 months ago

Back in my magazine editorial days, a fellow editor had a message on her machine that went something like, “If you are a PR rep, please know that I love to hear from you. But send your materials rather than leave a message on the phone.” What a nice way to tell people to piss off! But back in those days, we editors got the BEST freebies and swag from PR people, too. So even if we didn’t write about beauty, we were nice so we could get baskets of samples.

Danny Brown
2 years 7 months ago

 @wordwhacker I like that approach – maybe bloggers should say, “Leave a picture of your wares in the comments and I’ll see if I’m interested.” :)

AmyVernon
2 years 7 months ago

Just because, I must point out that this ain’t new. In 20 years at newspapers around the U.S., the VAST majority of press releases/pitches I received had nothing to do with what I or my reporters covered. Not even the overwhelming majority – I’d say upwards of 90%-95%, no exaggeration.

Danny Brown
2 years 7 months ago

 @AmyVernon Shit in, shit out.

wmougayar
2 years 7 months ago

But do you really want to be “pitched”? I would rather notice someone that comments regularly and says smart things, or someone that has a product I can use and I’m impressed with. 

Danny Brown
2 years 7 months ago

 @wmougayar There are still many industries that rely on the pitch, where a comment wouldn’t really cover it. However, it *is* a good idea to comment a few times first and get known by the blogger – that will make your pitch far more likely to be looked at.

abdallahalhakim
2 years 7 months ago

Great post. It all boils down to the fact that you need to do your research and engage/converse with the particular social influencer that you want to to connect with. It is really obvious, when a person has not done their research and perhaps for some it is a numbers game where they can spam a lot of influencers but it is at the expense of quality.
 
On a related note – recently I came across blogdash http://www.blogdash.com/ – Any thoughts on this service?

Danny Brown
2 years 7 months ago

 @abdallahalhakim Haven’t looked at BlogDash in a while, since my friend David Spinks was there, so couldn’t really say. The new inkybee platform from forthmetrics  looks interesting, though.

steveh781
2 years 7 months ago

In the past when I’ve run some websites, I’ve gotten offers that had nothing remotely to do with the site, its topic or its demographics. I assumed a lot of just comes from a strategy of spamming website owners and hoping to get some hits just by chance.
 
Sometimes the results can be absurd, when you’re asked to advertise something completely opposite your values just because they searched a keyword and saw a relevant one and ignored that you used that keyword in the context of bashing it, not promoting it.

Danny Brown
2 years 7 months ago

 @steveh781 Ha, that’s a great point, mate – a lot of the times pitches come from SEO companies looking to build backlinks, but they fail to do their homework and, like you say, ignore the fact you’re bashing their keywords.
 
I wonder what they’d do if you did post and then ripped them with contextual links? ;-)

ryancox
2 years 7 months ago

Additionally — I haven’t been a very regular reader @Danny Brown so I’m not sure if this is new or not — but I really like your site design. A. Lot. I should visit more often. Consider that the plan.

Danny Brown
2 years 7 months ago

 @ryancox Hey there Ryan, cheers mate, appreciated – it’s a fairly recent redesign, but I kinda like it too. :)
 
http://dannybrown.me/2012/05/07/blog-design-future-plans/

ryancox
2 years 7 months ago

How about I just skip the pitch, and you cover it anyways @Danny Brown ? #SoundsLikeAPlanToMe

KristyChong
2 years 7 months ago

I can only imagine how frustrating it is for you. But in defense of the PR professionals, when PR starts to acquire the budgets of advertising then maybe the junior PRs who are usually tasked with doing the pitch (crazily) will have  more resources and enough time to do the research first. Unfortunately time and budget is still an issue for so many agencies.

Danny Brown
2 years 7 months ago

 @KristyChong Hi Kristy,
 
Oh, completely understand on that point (come from a PR background and worked with a lot of agencies on consulting). It isn’t fair that the junior is usually the one getting the pitch work, and in large numbers too.
 
Ironically, though, this is where the good agencies shine, as they allow the freedom of time to encourage proper outreach, and it’s remembered more and appreciated.
 
Hopefully we still won’t be talking about this 5 years from now. ;-)

Lisa Gerber
2 years 7 months ago

@Danny Brown @KristyChong I agree Kristy, that the junior PR pro isn’t to blame. Much like the kids aren’t to blame; it’s the parents, agencies need to be more upfront with their clients on the costs involved in media relations. It’s time-consuming and therefore expensive. shortcuts, not automation, and mass emailing don’t work. Whats happening is, the agency is landing the business, handing it to the junior, and saying get this done in x hours. Which fails and leaves everyone feeling like “PR” doesn’t work.

rdopping
2 years 7 months ago

I’ve never been told to piss off in a nicer way ever. ;-)

rdopping
2 years 7 months ago

I’ve never been told to piss off in a nice way.

Steve Birkett
2 years 7 months ago

All very true, Danny. Unfortunately it probably won’t make much of a difference to the shite levels of your inbox, as the very people that really need to read this are the lazy sods that will never actually visit/research your blog. Other than to snag your e-mail address for the next blind mass pitch, of course. Catch 22. That said, I do think pieces like this and the regular advice from the good folks at Spin Sucks can begin to turn the tide, slowly – soooo slowly – but surely. Good on you for the constructive efforts to do so. 

Danny Brown
2 years 7 months ago

 @Steve Birkett Great point about the spinsucks crew mate – Gini Dietrich , Lisa Gerber and the others over there do a great job at educating and highlighting. Here’s to that message getting through.

Lisa Gerber
2 years 7 months ago

@Danny Brown @Steve Birkett Thank you! And here’s to those “lazy sods” hopefully reading both blogs. :) we can all only keep trying.

ginidietrich
2 years 7 months ago

 @Lisa Gerber  @Danny  @Steve That’s the problem, though. The lazy sods aren’t reading blogs. They’re just using software to get them the email addresses to “pitch” bloggers without ever having read a word any of us write. Sometimes I feel like we’re preaching to the choir.

Danny
2 years 7 months ago

 @Steve Birkett Everytime, somebody tags me… I get emailed. 
 
The problem is my profile isn’t even linking to my own account… its a 404. God knows, I’ve jumped from blog to blog not knowing what I said…

Lisa Gerber
2 years 7 months ago

@Steve Birkett @Danny Actually, this idea does not suck!

Steve Birkett
2 years 7 months ago

 @Lisa Gerber  @Danny  Surely there’s an auto-responder that can be set up to detect crappy pitches and reply with only links, to this post and Spin Sucks? If not, why not? ;-)

annelizhannan
2 years 7 months ago

Danny:
 
You have written about pitching your blog but it most certainly applies as a best practice lesson that should be incorporated in any PR or media relations program. No journalist wants to receive curve or spit balls, it is a waste of everyone’s time and you may be benched forever. Do the research so you can deliver your pitch right over the plate. You will have a better chance of a hit or home run or rather than foul play or down the gutter.   Solid advice. 
 
Thanks.
 

Danny Brown
2 years 7 months ago

 @annelizhannan Thanks, miss – yes, it is extra leg work but the pay off can be so worth it. And also open up a channel for your future pitches too, which is never a bad thing. :)