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.
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:
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.
Huggies & butterflies…
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