One of the things I’ve learned from spending many years in media relations is that identifying your target publicity outlets is half the battle. The other half has to do with getting the right pitch to the right person at the right time. In other words, you need to customize your pitch.
The same is true when it comes to approaching bloggers for guest posts. Lindsay Bell, the self-described “boss lady” of a popular blog called Spin Sucks, does a nice job of describing a “killer pitch” and what made it that way in a post titled “The keys to nailing a cold pitch.” I highly recommend you take a few minutes to read it.
As I read it several days ago, I was reminded once again about the similarity of principles when presenting a story idea to a reporter and a guest post idea to a blogger.
Generic, one-size-fits-all pitches – whether they are made to news media or bloggers – usually have a low rate of success.
Just this morning I had two e-mails in my inbox about doing guest posts, only in this case they wanted me to post on their sites. Both e-mails were very brief and looked like they were mass produced; there was nothing customized about them at all.
The first e-mail contained an attachment with a list of more than 40 sites, along with each site’s domain authority and page rank. Handy information to have, but not a single site appeared to deal with PR issues. So, why would I be interested in doing a guest post on any of them? Oh, and the e-mail mentioned these were sites for sponsored/paid posting. Definitely not interested in that.
The second e-mail was from a blogger in another country who simply said he was in need of guest articles for his sites, and that I should get back to him if I’m interested. No listing of the URLs for his sites or even what topics they cover. The e-mail focused on his need, rather than explaining how doing a guest post on one of his sites could potentially benefit me.
Compare that with the “killer pitch” example Lindsey describes. Not only are they light years apart in content, but they’re also going to be light years apart in the results they generate.
Taking the time to research a target media outlet or blog, understand its focus and get a handle on its audience are all necessary steps if you don’t want to waste your – and the recipient’s – time.
There simply is no substitute for doing your homework and customizing a pitch if you want to increase your odds for success.
Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to advertising agencies and businesses.