Pitch Trainwrecks: How Not to Pitch Bloggers and Media

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Been a while since I’ve shared any of the awful pitches I seem to get on a daily basis.

But the first few sentences of two of the pitches I got over the last few months were too good not to share with you and turn them into a mini-lesson of what never to do.

Both were unsolicited. Pitch one started.

Hi Jonathan,

It’s small business week and I sure you and everyone else at Awake At The Wheel are sick of getting pointless pitches but I think you might like this one.

Small businesses and entrepreneurs tend to suck at planning and forecasting the success (or not) of their business.

So, let’s see what we can learn from this…

  • “It’s small business week and I sure” – now you guys know I iz a disaster when it comes to typos, but when you’re mass emailing a bazillion pitches to people who don’t want them, be sure to double-check. Bloggers are like resume screeners, dying for a reason to say no as fast as humanly possible so they can get on to the stuff they want to say yes to.
  • “…you and everyone else at Awake At The Wheel” – First, I dropped the Awake @ The Wheel moniker from my blog more than a year ago. But I know that my contact information still has it in certain massive PR databases. Which is yet another sign that I’m only one of a bazillion people being gifted with this admittedly “pointless pitch.” Second, if you read me regularly, would you really say “everyone else?” Who exactly would be on that massive team?
  • “sick of getting pointless pitches but I think you might like this one” – Really? REALLY? If you think I’m sick of getting pointless pitches, why would you own that and in the same sentence introduce me to one? Really?!
  • “tend to suck” – I write in a very casual way with you guys. My tribe. My regulars. And I’m guessing, on occasion, I’ve even written the word “suck.” But I’m still old-school when it comes to being professional in a pitch. Maybe I’m just cranky, a lot of all-growned-up bloggers I know are the same. Once we’re friends, say whatever you want. But until you know me, and know how I prefer to be communicated with, keep it respectful and professional. Or else you end up sounding like a 12-year old gamer in a 22 year old PR intern’s ill-fitting suit.

Okay, email #2 – first few sentences:

I am currently following you on twitter @[redacted/witness protection]

I would like your assistance with something; I would like you to write a blog introducing me to your ‘’Tribe’’ and maybe a couple of tweets endorsing me.

I know that that is a strong paragraph to open this email with but here me out.

First line, okay, this person introduces relevance, it’s a person who follows me on twitter. I do a quick scan and am pretty sure said person has never interacted with me in any way on twitter. But, like I said, I’m old and I forget stuff, so who knows?

Second line – you know that bloggy thing you’ve worked for years to cultivate? That tribe you’ve shared so much value with and to whom your word is really important? Well, you need to feature my “I-don’t-care-about-your-tribe-beyond-my-ability-to-take-money-from-them-and-I-can-prove-it-cuz-I’ve-never-so-much-as-said-boo-in-a-comment-or-read-a-single-post-I-can-reference-in-my-email-to-let-you-know-I-have-any-real-clue-who-you-are” self on your blog, then tweet about me…like pronto, like. Do I really need to say more?

Third line – “here me out.” Typo. Plus, no. Do ya think I did?

Now, let’s contrast these first two with a third one that came in shortly after.

Here are the first few sentences:

Hi Jonathan,

I was reading your blog today and saw your offer from Blogworld East. I was just speaking with a girlfriend today about how we both wished we could go. (We’re both in [city name] and our bosses have been unsympathetic to our pleas!)

I thought it was great that you offer things like that to your readers. The thought crossed my mind, perhaps you and your readers would find value in a membership to [Company Name]? Our business model is based off a $129 per year fee. However, if you think it would benefit your readers,  we could create a custom landing page with your logo and a custom promo code that would let your readers in free to all of the [Company Name] events for one year. (I bolded this just in case you scanned the email and thought I was trying to sell you when you saw $129)

Relevant. Shows knowledge and involvement in my content and my tribe. Expresses gratitude for my interest in sharing special perks with my readers. Offers to create an opportunity where they do all the work to give my readers relevant value for no cost.

Did I do it? No. But, at least I was far more open to the conversation and the offer. And if it was more on-point, I very well may have.

Five rules for pitching bloggers on, well, anything…

1. Know the hell out of the pitchee. Understand what they like, don’t like and what they cover and stay relevant to that and only that.

2. Engage first. Interact with the pitchee in a way that adds value to their ecosystem first, frequently and long before you ever ask something of them. They should already know who you are and believe that you care before an ask is made. And don’t do it just because you want something from them, do it because you both care about the same things and you want more people in your life like that.

3. Make every ask a give. Create an experience that gives more than it takes.

4. Make it easy. Offer to do the work for them, make it as easy as saying yes.

5. Un-pitch. If you do rules 1 – 4 exceptionally well, you won’t have to pitch. You can just ask a colleague or friend who very often will have already made a standing offer to help you out if you ever need it.

Bonus rule – speelhceekx

These rules may be a bit different outside of social media. But, social media has now matured to a point where the potential to do it right has evolved into the expectation that you will do it right.

P.S. – Please understand, my intention is in no way to denigrate or flame the people who sent me these pitches. That’s why I don’t publish names/identities with posts like this. Not my style. My sole purpose is to use occasions like this as teaching moments, to help those trying to build a brand and strong relationships understand how to better approach the people whose help you’d like.

That’s it.

Huggies & butterflies…

 

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71 responses

71 responses to “Pitch Trainwrecks: How Not to Pitch Bloggers and Media”

  1. andreea says:

    Thanks for sharing! And you are so right. I often use HARO to look for sources and I can’t tell you how many email replies
    I get that are completely irrelevant. I wish people would follow the ‘rules’ of pitching.

  2. sean carroll says:

    Thanks for sharing these case studies. I find the same things hold true at networking events when some are there to “pitch” me and some are there to build relationships. Sadly, the latter type seem to be in the minority. Thanks again.

  3. Laurie says:

    Excellent article, thank you for this! As you noted, it’s way too easy to use overly casual language in the blogging world. Which is fine on our own blogs if that’s our style. But I completely agree that someone who is approaching me to try to get something should be professional about it. Well done.

  4. Michael Katz says:

    Enjoyed reading that. I cannot get over the number of typos and the poor grammar in what are supposed to be “professional” sales pitches. Makes me LOL.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. YiShun says:

    You’ve done a good service here by dissecting what went wrong in these pitches. Too often, people aren’t aware that what they’re doing is annoying or wrong unless you point out why and how. It’s kind of like people who talk really loudly on cell phones: Point it out, nicely, and they’ll generally go, “Oh! Sorry!” and lower their voices. Hopefully this post compels people to be more careful about their pitches. And, BTW, these are great rules for any kind of sales pro. Thanks!

  6. Jen says:

    This is great info! I loved reading that “social media has matured”. There’s something quite beautiful in that phrase and what it implies regarding how people are connecting!

    Coming from a more formal background, I’ve found communicating and connecting through social media to be an interesting dance. Can I confess that at times social media has felt to me like a happening dance party with me in the mix, awkwardly snapping my fingers, off-beat, and trying to look like I get it?? With time, I’ve grown more comfortable in my social media skin (embracing the quirks and all), but it’s nice to read that professionalism has a place in that.

    The other piece I love is that this challenges pitch-ers to make connections rather than operate as opportunists. If your tips are really put in place, they do more than help create a great pitch (or un-pitch), they point pitch-ers in the direction of reflection, relationships, and the opportunity to experience fulfillment in the work being put out there. That’s priceless.

  7. Joe Flood says:

    Excellent post. The idea of actually reading the site that you’re pitching to doesn’t seem to occur to bad PR folks. Not all are like that. The smart ones will follow you on Twitter, read your posts and come up with a customized, relevant pitch that offers value, like the last one you cited.

  8. Hi Jonathan,

    Interesting post. Its pretty clear to me that none of these pitches are likely to work (just as the last one you showed as a good example also failed to get a nod).

    Your main point I think is worth reiterating. Build enough interaction, rapor (if ‘rapor’ is a typo its because OSX cannot spell it and neither can I) and friendship, and add value first (a lot of it), and as you say the offer to help will come from the other direction to you.

    One of my dreams is to one day feature a guest post on a top blog like yours. Others I would like to guest post on include Chris Guillebeau (who doesn’t do guest posts) and Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits. If it wasn’t for the prohibitive distance and cost from South Africa I would love to have been at Chris’ WDS to meet you and the other people I love following – I am sure it could have lead to a guest post or two 😉

    In the mean time I will continue to learn, interact, and find where I can add value and build my own presence to the point these things will happen naturally. Its a long and slow process but I think its the only way to build something worthwhile as opposed to just make some money (which of course I want to do like everyone else).

    Regards

    Richard
    (from a game farm in Zululand, South Africa)

    • Kathy says:

      (rapport — it has 2 p’s, which might be why your dictionary couldn’t find it.) 🙂

    • caitlyn says:

      Richard, you make a lot of sense … and I like thinking of you on a game farm. How cool!

      In the spirit of this post I would like to remind all of us – if you can’t find the word in your spell check, ask someone. Which, in a sense, you have done Richard. You couldn’t find rapport, not because your program doesn’t know it but because your spelling of rapport wasn’t close enough for the program to predict. Happens all the time.

      Growing up, many of us heard, “Look in the dictionary!” if we asked how to spell something. Okay, self-reliance is a good thing, but how do you look up a word you don’t know how to spell? THESAURUS! If you know the word and it isn’t showing up in your spell check and there is no one around who knows, get at it from the side door. Look in the thesaurus – you might recognize it there. Just make sure you don’t take the easy way out and “dumb down” the vocabulary because of spelling. I love the word “rapport”, it was thoroughly appropriate in this context.

      Thanks, Richard, for putting it out there! Remember these are comments, not pitches … and, in spite of my proof-reading, I can’t wait for the irony of getting busted on a typo in my comment.

      • Living on a game farm is pretty cool.

        The only snag that occurs happened again this morning – late taking the kids to school and several giraffe standing in the road refusing to budge.

        Still – not many kids can legitimately say “the giraffe made me late” 😉

        • caitlyn says:

          LOVE it! Not something my child was ever able to claim … in spite of his many excuses for tardiness! 😉

          • Last comment – promise!

            Funny related story happened a couple of years ago.

            We used to live in Johannesburg and fought city traffic every day. When we moved to the farm one of the beauties was driving to work or school at ANY time of the day and having zero traffic.

            One day Jill had driven off a few minutes earlier than I. Only a few hundred yards down the farm road I caught up to her, crawling along in her car at walking pace. I moved over a little to investigate the problem and noticed a family of warthog ambling down the road (two adults and several small piglets).

            Jill leaned out her window and shouted back to me:

            “Traffic’s MURDER today!”

            😉

  9. Nancy Harte says:

    Hi, Jonathan.

    As I am considering adding a blog page to my website, I found “Five rules for pitching bloggers on, well, anything…” especially valuable. And timely. Thanks for posting these comments.

  10. Sean Cook says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for sharing the examples the tips. I’m pretty intimidated by the whole idea of pitching, but definitely want to know more about how to do it the right way.

    And I always appreciate your writing style. Whenever I read something here, I feel like it’s written by a good friend, who knows what I am all about.

    Sean

  11. Kathy says:

    Hi:

    I have been coming across this kind of language lately — adds value to their ecosystem first — and I confess I don’t know what an ecosystem is in this context. Can you enlighten me or point me in the right direction to find out more?

  12. Love it and now to get clients to understand this is exactly why it takes SO LONG to create a blogger out reach campaign. If we do not connect with, research and giving meaningful “pitches” guess who will be to blame?

    What amazes me is how much you tell clients this is not an area you can “expect” or deliver without time and conversation…they say “oh of course”, then proceed to say “what is taking so long?”

    Thanks for putting into writing what I have been preaching for a while now.

  13. Deb says:

    Good Day Jonathan,
    Thanks again for the Lessons as WE are all Learning so much each Day.
    Sometimes it is just people are SO Excited with what they are working on they do not always take the correct route?? You were sweet to highlight but not use names. Makes it a lesson for them and for the rest of us.
    AS in ALL venues it is ALL about RELATIONSHIPS, RELATIONSHIPS, RELATIONSHIPS…………..may this Monday be Magical!!…Deb

  14. I think the word you want Richard is ‘rapport’ derived from the French ‘rapporter’

    I’m a pedant for grammar and spelling. If I come across a website with poor grammar and worse, poor spelling, I’m out of there like a shot and there’s no quicker way for a CV to hit my trash!

    I blog (and there’s a diverse selection of posts from heartache, through to cooking on my personal blog) mainly because I feel I need to get something out of me and down on (virtual) paper. It’s quite raw and personal at times, but I do try and get the syntax right!

    • I can relate Jonathan, but its amazing how difficult it is to edit your own copy for errors (at least for me).

      I too am pedantic. Even drives me nuts how I can be having a Skype IM conversation or sending an SMS/TEXT message and have to make sure my grammar and punctuation is accurate. My wife on the other hand uses no punctuation, doesn’t bother with grammar, and doesn’t even bother to search for the right words – any approximation is fine for her. Makes perfect sense of course – pointless wasting the time in an SMS or IM conversation.

      Can anyone say “borderline OCD” 😉

      • Jacques says:

        I can relate to the OCD… When I started Skyping with my ex, she laughed at my edits, as ‘nobody else does so’. Funny thing: over the course of weeks, she started doing it as well! Perhaps you should IM with your wife? 🙂

        • I do IM with my wife – she with no grammar, punctuation or capitalisation and me trying to get it perfect. She finds it amusing that I cannot help but try and get it perfect.

          Because of this issue spell check as you type drives me nuts. I want to just write and go back and fix the issues later, but I just cannot ignore the red underlining. So I have to keep going back and fixing the issues as they occur.

          My solution is to turn off spell check and do it manually. Of course this leaves the potential to forget to do the spell check but what can a borderline OCD guy do? 😉

          • Jacques says:

            I appreciate the spell check on Google Plus (and on this site, actually) – though it uses US-EN and then fires on realize vs realise – which both are acceptable – esp. for this non-native EN speaker 🙂

            You have spell check in Skype? I thought that was not included… I found 2 plugins: http://ursa-spelling.com/ & http://www.interactivegt.com/ – I don’t use them, so caveat emptor …

  15. Michelle says:

    Great post! As a healthcare writer, I have seen it all. Many of the pitches I receive are off-topic even when I put out a query asking for very specific information/sources. On the flip side, off-topic pitching has taught me the importance of improving my own communications. I research as much as I can about a person/company before I approach them. I then take the time to carefully craft my e-mail pitch or talking points. I may not reach as many people this way, but I know I am sending a quality, targeted communication.

  16. Hi Jonathan,
    Since devouring your book, Career Renegade – I’ve become a loyal reader of this blog. This post prompted me to write because:
    1. great examples of what not to do – with lessons to learn from each
    2. the reminder to do your homework about each person you want to pitch, first
    3. adding to the discussion about the essentials of relationship building first – live or online
    Thanks

  17. I’ve definitely gotten some similar emails… What I like about your recommendations is “make every ask a give”. What a great concept and I think it’s so interesting that when emails come in that are “an ask as a give” it’s always much easier to say yes to.

    That, and good grammar. 🙂

  18. Very well written, Jonathan. Great example.

    One of the first things I ever read on your blog was the importance of just being a part of things and connecting in some useful way – way before (if ever) asking for something. That might seem like common sense, but as we see in your post, it’s lost on some people.

    There’s quite a lot written out there about things like sales “strategy” and “hustling,” etc. It’s good you’ve illustrated the other side of it – the perception side, i.e. what it feels like to be on the receiving end of those things, badly carried out.

    Well done! Susan

  19. Thanks for sharing these examples – it really helps those of us new to blogging get a feel for the culture. Sometimes I’ve made some well-meaning mistakes because I wasn’t familiar with the “rules”.

    Anyway, really appreciate your helpful posts – great interview with Todd Henry too, BTW!

  20. Midwesterner says:

    I had to chuckle when you groused about the pitch that mentions Awake At the Wheel, since although I’ve been reading your blog weekly or so for a couple of years, I missed that tagline change.

    At home, we’ve found that poor spelling by others can save us money and provide a source of humor. Searching online sales sites such as e-bay or Craigslist for creative mis-spellings gains us the advantage of being the sole callers/bidders for items. Today’s example: an addict ladder (to access the area under our house roof).

  21. Hi Jonathan (do you get Johnathan as a typo?) –

    Your hugs and butterflies closing put a smile on my face this morning. I had to stop and thing for a minute about Awake @ The Wheel. Are you sure that was only a year ago?

    My reaction before even starting was “I hate pitches”. Just the word “pitch” turns me off. No matter how scripted, crafted, or focused their intent is typically “me” not “we”.

    Too much in life feels like people are out with their “solution” looking for “buyers” to sell them too. To me, it’s the flip side, “how can I help” (which I do love seeing on your Twitter posts). What do I have to offer? Can I be of assistance? If I can’t, can I direct them to other people or places. I lie to focus on the need, the solution, and improving a person or situation.

    Additionally, to me it’s not about building my “electronic rolodex” and knowing the most people. It’s about relationships. Building, nurturing them, maintaining them.

    Yes, I too am guilty of making typos and gramatical mistakes in posting blog responses. Sometimes the brain is working faster than the fingers. Just waiting for the day that spell check is available for the comments section.

    P.S. Since someone else mentioned it, it brought it to mind for me, I have thought (more than once) that it would be cool to be a guest on your site some day. We’ll see where life’s adventure take us.

    Cheers everyone. May you all be healthy and happy.

    • The other technology “update” I want is the ability to edit my post if I catch something in a certain amount of time (maybe 5-10 min) of posting…

      My “I lie to focus on the need” was not intentional nor was it a Freudian slip. Completely changes the meaning of just that sentence! I LIKE to do that, not LIE about it. Yeesh!

      I never know whether it’s better to simply ignore the misstatement and typos or comment again. Anyone know what the current “on-line rules” are by chance?

      • Lynn Sherwood says:

        I don’t know the answer to your question of “better to ignore” vs. “better to comment” in terms of a general accepted standard, but it seems to me that if you think it will appear to readers to be a solitary, genuine typo and doesn’t change meaning, don’t bother. But frequency is a consideration. IMO, a generous sprinkling of homonyms can degrade the reader’s opinion of your writing because it stops looking like a small mechanical slip and more like a toboggan ride of not knowing. Perhaps ESL. So if I notice several have slipped through in something I have written, even tho they don’t change meaning, I might comment on my slips. You also say, “stop and thing…” instead of “stop and think…”. Alone, I wouldn’t comment on this. Your piece validates my learned habit of proofing everything I write several times with pinpoint focus AFTER the Trickster God Spell Check says OK…. but I still make mistakes. I have no answer hear, ether.

        • Hmmm. This one is interesting. As I read the comment I must have substituted the intended word because the context was clear. Perhaps we really only need to worry when a typo shifts the context around it. I think texting has changed the depth of our focus on grammar-that and the sadly hilarious auto substitute features on our phones.

  22. Lisa says:

    Jonathan,

    Thank you so much for this concrete post- It is just incredibly helpful to have real-life examples attached to the dos and don’ts of reaching out and networking in the social media world.

    There are a number of people that I would love to reach out to — not with a pitch, but simply with a genuine connection and offer to support them and their work in any way I could- but I suppose my own insecurity at how it would be received gets in the way.

    Reading your third example– and then hearing that it was well received (regardless if you decided to go ahead on her offer) was so reassuring to hear.

    Thanks for your commitment to being concrete and transparent…it really makes your work stand above the rest in my eyes.

    Warmly,
    Lisa

  23. Roy Jacobsen says:

    Seems to me that the difference between bad pitches and winning pitches is often the difference between push selling and pull selling.

    With push selling, I’m trying to push you into buying something, overcoming your objections. It’s an adversarial thing.

    With pull selling, I’m building a genuine relationship with you, building trust and attraction, and building value for both of us. To use a cliché, it’s a (for real) win-win thing.

  24. First time I’ve posted here and I want to thank you for all I am learning from you Jonathan, if I may be so bold as to use your first name. My blogging “career” has yet to start, but my first book about house sitting is on its way. Since no one else has mentioned it, I did find another typo and, possible, grammatical error in your piece. “…..bazillion people being gifted with this admittely “pointless pitch.” Perhaps that should be, “…..bazillion people being gifted with this, admittedly, “pointless pitch.” Admittedly with the “d” and with commas around it, as a clause. Fair enough? Please know that all your comments and thoughts are so helpful to so many, with or without a few “errors.” Again, many thanks for all your help.

  25. Sean McVey says:

    Hey Jonathan,

    Your article came at a good time for me. When I eventually send you a pitch I’ll make sure to follow your rules, ha.

    My big takeaway from this is that ‘pitching’ is a long-term initiative. It’s not about compiling a large list of influencers and checking them off a list throughout a campaign. Instead, it’s finding ways to add value and develop a relationship over time with a select number of related professionals.

    Thanks for the post man.

    Sean

  26. Giovanna says:

    Just loved the “Huggies & butterflies…” part!! 😉

  27. Pitching can be intimidating, and the examples you gave — wow. There’s a lot of moxie (and a lot of “hot mess”) going on there! Excellent advice — and some stunning cautionary tales.

    For people who really want to learn how to pitch (and guest post) I also strongly recommend Jon Morrow’s Guest Blogging course. It’s tremendous, with plenty of real-world examples, lots of strategy as well as advice. And Jon Morrow gives lots of hands-on advice. Well worth it.

  28. Marguerite says:

    Jonathan, as usual, this is absolutely spot on!!! I abhor when people don’t use spell check – or even double-check their writing. Equally as insulting is familiarity too soon. If that makes me old, too, then I consider myself to be in fine company! I’ve been swamped with far too much work lately and it’s nice to be able to take a few moments and get back into reading your posts. They always make my day!

  29. Jonathan, I completely empathize with you! Today I got a call from a man who had found my small training company on the internet and wanted me to hire him as a trainer. And guess how he started his pitch. I quote ” Hello, my name is (…) and I would like to work for your company, Mind Teachers.” (my company’s name is Mind Learners). I was perplexed. Then, before I got a chance to reply, he continued: “I know that with my exceptional credentials (sic!) I would be an outstanding trainer! What kind of training programs is your company offering?”
    To say I was flabbergasted would be an understatement. It sounded more like a practical joke than like an actual job application. Still, the man was serious. And a bit disappointed when I politely refused to meet him to learn more about his “exceptional credentials”.
    I guess people like this simply suffer from a saddening lack of emotional intelligence – their over-inflated self blinds them to even considering the feelings and perspectives of the people the interact with – even when it might have been in their best interest to show a little empathy.

  30. Jonathan, well done. Every once in a while the world needs the hammer dropped and you do it with style and grace.

  31. Tom Bentley says:

    Jonatthen, I really hoping u will guest blog on my blog, “Really Good Stuff About Things” becuz it will get you lots of traffic and stuff and maybe we could collaborite on your next book, “Career Retrograde: How to Quit While You’re Ahead and Stay in Bed.”

    It will make lots of $$$$$. Peace and Profit to all.

    Oh yeah. Butterflies and stuff too.

  32. Loved this post! I used to be in print journalism and man, did we get some bad pitches for stories. It’s funny/interesting to see that the same goes for blogging.

  33. Erin Giles says:

    Wow. I know you had to laugh reading those. Its funny, I haven’t pitched to many blogs, but you would think they would have common sense when writing you!

    Thanks for this post!

  34. I get a few of these nonsensical and rude pitches a day now. I dread to think how many you get. Sadly they have made me become the type of rude person who deletes emails without replying. I hate that but it’s the only way to survive.

  35. This post was rich for me in so many ways. Mostly because I’ve never thought of pitching (a bit behind the times) or even really commenting on the posts of others. I figure there are so many comments that mine makes little difference (and here I am clogging up cyberspace anyway.)

    My blog has languished since October 2010 after a brief flurry of activity. But I think of it often and I *know* I’ll come back to it soon.

    What I love about your blog (the only one I follow) is that it gives me everything I need and have bandwidth for in terms of my tentative journey into cyberspace.

    Thank you.

  36. anyar says:

    Reading your blog is like reading all my unspoken thoughts. Absolutely my number 1 blog!.

  37. Thanks Jonathan
    and to the rest of the tribe who extrapolated the rules to networking and to sales. As I was reading it I was thinking about career skills and job searching where the same rules apply as demonstrated by Ali’s great story!

    And lets face it while some rules may appear “common sense” to us as insiders and tribe members, the rules often change depending on the culture, tribe or organisation you belong to so it helps to make the rules explicit for those who might be new to that space.

    That goes for spelling too!

  38. Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks so much for posting this lesson on how not to go about it! It is extremely timely. I am in the process of pitching and this has given me a better perspective on how to be more successful going forward. I’m going to use the tips to fine tune and polish.

    Thank you again!

  39. Amazing that all of us bloggers seem to have the same challenge with the PR hosepipe. I wrote about the same a few weeks ago on the same topic – http://www.prudentcloud.com/marketing/letting-loose-monkeys-on-bloggers-is-not-pr-29062011/

  40. Oh this is just cring-worthy! I am never sending another pitching email again – although I hope I wouldn’t make ANY of these mistakes – well maybe apart from the spelling one – I know my typing is terrible and it’s hard to proof your own stuff.

    I guess my basic rule is offer rather than ask – what you do to promote or help the person you’re reaching out to rather than what do you expect them to do for you?

    Cathy

  41. The person who wrote the bad pitch also made the mistake of asking you to “write a blog” instead of “write a blog post.” That’s a BIG pet peeve of mine. 🙂

  42. Franci Claudon says:

    This post takes me back to my years in HR – both fouling off pitches from vendors of the most random and ill fitting services and reading painfully ill-written cover letters (can you say old school?), emails and resumes from candidates at all levels. Those first impressions truly are difficult to overcome – if you can’t even make sure your resume is “clean” what kind of work quality can we expect from you?

    You also made me think of my dad today Jonathan so thank you for that. He was a high school English teacher and to this day I am haunted by the thought of using affect/effect, lay/lie or me/I incorrectly. And I break out in hives over the whole they’re/there/their thing. Oh, and commas, I have a problem with commas. My default is the more commas the merrier – turns out this is not always true – LOL.

  43. Thanks for great post and particularly for adding examples, Jonathan – VERY helpful!

  44. Heather says:

    Thanks for using these as such a great teaching moment – I’ve received some similar emails lately. I especially like Tip #5 – if you follow the first 4 tips it won’t feel like a pitch at all. Brilliant – thanks!

  45. caitlyn says:

    Okay, one more way that poor spelling, checking, and grammar can lose you money:

    When you are trying to scam people through craigslist and you reply to their ad you should spell your name the same way consistently throughout the message. You should not call yourself Mrs. Mary Dobbin and then write, “gonna”. Y’know?

    You should see the comments on my post “Victim of Fraud” – the obvious flaws should make the scams unworkable. Fortunately, for the scammers some people are not “you guys” (see everyone above!) 😉

  46. @cdstern says:

    John, I understand if you don’t answer this, but… re: “…if it was more on-point, I very well may have.” Were you referring to the service being better matched with your goals or the actual pitch being better articulated towards your goals?

  47. Marie Davis says:

    Very relevant Jonathan! Can you please share more of your insights on the sales/pitch topic? Thank you!

  48. Andrew K says:

    Great article for both pitchers and “pitchees”. I recently rejected someone looking to guest post on a blog in return for a link – the post suggestion was lame and the link/author were irrelevant for the blog. Felt a little bit bad to reject her but this post shows that I was 100% right to do so. Thanks. Vindicated … 😉

  49. Jane Crosbie says:

    Thank you so much. I am a natural writer so blogging is made for me. Honest its as if my brain is hard-wired to blog. And I have so many diverse interests I need several blogs to speak whats on my heart. Now I’ve started 3 new blogs I now have to tell people to go read them. Your post has saved me doing everything wrong – thanks I would have screwed up big time had I not read it first. Thanks for the great advice. Wish me luck as a newbie – a virgin blogger – as I do you.

  50. […] Pitching is like a first date – you do not want to scare your partner/media member with overload of information. Always ask in advance  for permission to send some files in attachment. Better yet, forget about attachment. Rarely any journalist/blogger opens them. Instead, upload your files onto some secure, private server and share the link. You can also use software such as Dropbox etc. For more useful advice about how not to pitch a blogger read Jonathan’s post. […]

  51. Benny says:

    Those are some bad pitches for sure! I learned a lot from reading it. Someone who has emailed me a couple times after reading an interview on another blog asked if I wanted to partner w/ them on a business project. I politely said no due to being busy. Then he still tried anyways to ask me to send some emails to my list pitching his coaching. It’s so tempting to tell him bluntly why I wouldn’t (don’t know him, boring looking blog, no photo of him, and no testimonials) but I think I’ll just be nice and say no again.

  52. […] reality is that irrelevant pitches go straight into the spam folder. As ᔥ Jonathan Fields said; “Social media has now matured to a point where the potential to do it right has evolved […]

  53. […] Marketing 101: Getting Bloggers (and Reporters) to Pay Attention Pitch Trainwrecks: How Not to Pitch Bloggers and Media How to Pitch a Story Like a Pro and Get Results Every […]

  54. […] Chris’s social media news post, he begins by detailing how many business owners are afraid of actually approaching bloggers […]