Here’s The RIGHT Way To Pitch A Blogger or Media Outlet

December 7, 2014 | By | 12 Replies More

I get TONS of pitches every day. OMG, do I get pitches. The truth is, most of them are pretty terrible, and some just downright suck.

They come in varying forms, but the lion-share of them are generic in nature, non-personalized, and pitching product categories I don’t even cover!

I guess I’m on some media list now.

Oh, and ever since I’ve been covering certain Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns, I get emails from folks launching campaigns that have no relation to my coverage genre. It’s like these folks just Google “kickstarter” or “indiegogo”, find my site in the search results and figure they’d just send me a blind pitch, since I covered other crowdsourcing campaigns.

Most of these email pitches just go in the trash. But one pitch recently caught my attention.

Actually, it wasn’t a pitch at all.

The “Pitch” That Got My Attention

We may have corresponded in the past, but just thought I’d make a quick personal intro.

My name’s Greg, I’m a publicist (culture/ lifestyle/ fashion/ travel).

I know your inbox fills up fast, is there anything I should know when contacting you to make both my pitches more succinct and emails more enjoyable?

Lotsalove,

Greg

Greg Cayea, Founder / Black Apple International / @GregCayea

What Greg Did Right

Although Greg did not address me personally in his intro email, he took the time to ASK ME how I liked to get/receive pitches. That’s pretty refreshing.

He didn’t just blindly pitch me some product. He was actually, in a manner, pitching himself. Smart move Greg.

I can tell you in the last 2-3 years receiving thousands of pitch emails, I have NEVER received an email like that, and because of that, I gave Greg the courtesy of a response.

I gave him tips on what pitches to send to me, and also gave him a secret code to use in the subject line of his emails to me, which would allow them to stand out from the others so I can pay attention to it.

I don’t know if Greg will ever be representing a brand that has products that I’d like to cover, but I can tell you one thing — if he sends me an email, I’ll be opening it.

Publicists / PR & Marketing people take a lesson out of Greg’s playbook and see how sending a thoughtful introduction to a blogger or media outlet in advance of sending them pitches works for you.

You can thank Greg later.

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Category: News, Personal

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Tug is the world's undershirt expert. He is also one of the most knowledgeable individuals on sweat management solutions, men's shapewear, grooming, and new fabric technologies. Got a question? Visit Tug's contact page and hit him up.

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  1. The RIGHT Way To Pitch A Blogger or Media Outlet | December 11, 2014
  1. Inspired

    says:

    Tug, let me share another side of the coin with you.

    Some of us PR folk are trying to make our way in this new FREElance (stress on free because that’s what some clients think our services should be) landscape. We have been laid off, downsized or some are WFH moms with a family that needs a second income. In either case, we take the crumbs that the larger and more established agencies wouldn’t touch with a 10 ft pole. We work with clients who are launching a new brand or product (in 10 days or less) and they can afford to pay what it would actually cost to craft a meticulous and well-planned marketing campaign. Some of the clients are great to work with and some can’t even articulate to us why their product is special, what makes it different, why should people care — so we try to make something up that’s newsworthy-ish. It can be the most frustrating experience.

    So, WHY do we take on these clients? Because our kids need to eat, bills have to be paid. AND we do the best we can with what we are given and the time we have. In some cases that means, we cannot devote hours of time to vetting the most promising blogs for a client. WHY? Because we have to take on 10 clients like them just to make a livable wage. So, we’re not being lazy, we’re just throwing out hail mary’s all frickin’ day long and hoping that we can get even one bite. Now that may ruin some reputations along the way and you’ll probably continue to trash those types of messages, but every now and again it works and that’s why people keep doing it.

    Maybe some day I’ll grow into an agency that can afford to pick and choose who I work with. Likely, I’ll have to take a few more business classes for that. Maybe when my kids are a little older. Maybe…

    I do think Greg had a great approach and I’m thankful that you shared it, but I just thought I would present another side of the coin. I have a hard time thinking of my fellow publicists, who are fighting the good fight and in the struggle every day, as being lazy. IMO.

    • Tug says:

      heya inspired (:

      thanks for taking the time to provide your point of view. i really do appreciate it.

      don’t get me wrong, i completely understand there is a market need for pr/publicists/marketers that offer promotional services in a more economical way. and to do that, they have to craft reasonably good pitches, more generic in nature, and send them out in a more shot-gun type approach.

      maybe i was a bit overzealous when i used the term “lazy”, so i’ll take that back and try to find a better and more suitable adjective and update my former comment with it.

      with that said, my position is one taken from someone who has seen thousands of pitches. i probably get on average 10-15 email pitches a day, or 3650 to 5500 a year. the lion share of them are generic in nature, and most of what i receive are categorically irrelevant.

      so my question is then, am i receiving pitches solely from marketers/publicists who aren’t afforded the time to know who they are sending pitches to? or are the majority of today’s marketers knowingly adopting a mass-outreach approach because the economics dictate it?

      i do get the logistics of it all — subscribe to a service like cision.com to get categorized “targeted” email lists, and then send the pitch out to those in that category. could be thousands of emails, so going through them would be tedious at best, and very time consuming. i definitely understand the position many marketers are in, and can empathize with it.

      this article is really about praise and applauding someone who did something unique and to share my appreciation for it, and not about criticism for those who do something different.

      i do hope though that readers of this article will keep the concept of doing something different in the back of their minds, and when time and the opportunity permits, they too stand out from the crowd (:

      thanks again for commenting.

      • Inspired

        says:

        Thanks for listening to my thoughts Tug. :) While I’m visiting, I will actually read some of your other blog posts since Christmas time means new undershirts for dad … at least at our house. Happy Holidays!

  2. Tug says:

    just got word from greg that a publicist [glenda fordham] posted some of her thoughts on linkedin which can be found here.

    i’m not on linkedin, so i really can’t respond to her post directly, but to glenda i say the following:

    1. “time/cost efficient” – i don’t know what sending an appropriate pitch has to do with time/cost efficiency. if glenda thinks that writing one generic pitch and sending it out to everyone is equivalent to being time/cost efficient, then:
    (a) i think she’s lost touch with what is required of today’s publicists, and
    (b) i’m not sure she would be best representing her client’s interests when approaching mass media (which does include highly relevant blogs).

    not suggesting she does that, but not sure what she meant by being time/cost efficient. maybe not pitching outlets that never respond to her? if so, then that might be a practical approach, though sometimes it takes several outreaches to get someone’s attention. (marketing 101)

    2. “make nice e-chit-chat..don’t offer email access” – well, i agree to some extent with glenda here. there is a growing number of online “media outlets” (blogs) that make it increasingly difficult to contact them. i for one am not one of those people, and i am probably one of the most high-ranking and legitimate sites in my topic category.

    my assumption is that many high-ranking sites have gotten so inundated with crappy generic pitches from lazy publicists/pr/marketing people that they’ve had to create some form of walled-garden so they don’t go insane. to be honest, i really don’t blame them for doing that. this will obviously make it much more difficult for new marketers to get in.

    but, as it has been with dealing with the media for long while, if a publicist/marketer creates a proper relationship and trust with a writer, that writer will undoubtedly be open to cover the marketer’s relevant product/service pitches. get in / stay in.

    3. i would suspect the most category-diverse (i.e. men’s style, women’s style, uncrate, cool hunting, tech crunch, mashable, huffington post, etc.) influential blogs are the hardest to get a response from. most likely because of what i mentioned above with them being spammed with crappy generically written pitches (side note: i’ve received 10+ today, all generic in nature and none categorically relevant, btw).

    though, for those sites that are slightly more niche in nature, like my site, we can be and are highly influential in our category, and are much more accessible, as you’ve [greg] personally found me to be. i’m sure finding more vertically focused news sites can be difficult for a marketer, especially those that have several clients in different categories — but it’s their job to find those sites.

    imo opinion the landscape for marketing professionals continues to evolve. those with established relationships with the media will continue to get priority over those that do not. for those looking to open new doors, they’ll have to get creative, get specific, and get past one-size fits all type of messaging. that’s what i liked about greg’s pitch email to me.

    just my own humble opinion (:

  3. Paris Wyome

    says:

    I believe in doing research about reporters, i.e. finding out their beats from companies that put together media lists and/or reading what they have written.

    Conciseness and telling an editor why his/her readers should be interested in pitched subjects are of course also important.

    • Tug says:

      paris, that’s the right way to do it for sure.

      unfortunately, i can tell you from personal experience that at least 95% of the “pitch” emails i received are absolutely generic in nature. just because someone uses the salutation “hi tug” or says something like they love my site, does not constitute it being tailored to me.

      hmmm, sometime it might be interesting for me to spend a bunch of time and consolidate 50+ of the “pitch” emails i’ve received and publish them so other marketers know what not to do. (of course i’d take out their personal information)

      • Greg says:

        Tug- you should ABSOLUTELY do that. Not only cause it’d held a ton of people but for enjoyment! I can follow up with a post part II with some of the REALLY angry responses I’ve gotten from the media. I even made a folder “F%@$ing D*ckheads” to politely store them just cause they’re too good to throw away but I don’t want the dark vibes killin my inbox’s buzz.

  4. Andrew

    says:

    This is really interesting and I will be sharing it with my contemporaries. SO OFTEN media relations professionals and publicists will say things like “compliment their blog” or “reference how you enjoyed one of their previous stories.” That strategy has always come across as a bit strange and inauthentic to me.

    To see how Greg approached making contact is refreshing. It’s up-front and makes perfect sense. He didn’t have to reference other posts or the blog exactly, because I’m sure his pitch fits categorically anyway. Done how it should be.

    Bravo.

    • Greg says:

      Andrew- dude. that means a lot. much love man, I relaly do appreciate this post, and your comment. Thank you again and if I can ever help with anything in life, even if you need a weather update- just gimme a holler. have a great day!

    • Tug says:

      heya andrew, thanks for taking the time to comment.

      i totally agree with you — when media folks write me and say stuff like “love your site”, “love your blog”, “i found this xyz article really interesting where you said…”, it’s total bullshit. i mean *maybe* that approach worked at one time, but it’s lame, un-original, and insincere (mostly, but not all the time).

      let’s just call a spade a spade and say that media folks are spamming (uh, contacting) me because they want me to cover their client’s product. they don’t really care about my site, or about an article i wrote.

      coverage on my site not only helps raise awareness for their client’s product, it helps the seo ranking of those company’s websites. google likes me (my site actually), so if i link to a site, google will think more highly of it. marketers know this, and that’s why they (the reasonably good marketers) usually focus on higher ranking media outlet sites. back-links from shit sites actually hurt a site’s seo.

      for what it’s worth, i welcome categorically relevant pitches with open arms. i assume other writers/bloggers do too as it makes our jobs of reporting news so much easier. when i started this, i had to go seek out information — now most information is fed to me — which is very nice i must say.

      so thanks to those folks that are sending me good information, because i sincerely appreciate it.

      i just which the pr/publicist/marketer community would take a few minutes to vet-out a site before pitching to it. the fact that many don’t just shows you how either uncommitted or lazy they are. it’s like a shot gun or dating approach — hit-up as many folks as possible, and hopefully some will take an interest (:

  5. Greg says:

    Thanks Tug!!!!!!!!!!

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