I mean who wants to hear from you? How is the information going to help them be smarter, do their job better, sell more? One of the most frequent pitches I get says something like "we thought your readers would enjoy to hear about 'x'".
Would they? How do you know? We had an interesting conversation in the comments at John Cass blog a couple of weeks ago when he posted about a pitch he received from Gary Vaynerchuk's publicist.
In the comments to that post, I wrote:
Gary was being brief. But there is one indication of whether you care about someone or not - spelling their name right. For those reading (and pitching), I absolutely dislike any name shortening or mishandling, like using the Anglicized version. But that was not going to be my point.
You see that in my comment I make a couple of very specific suggestions to Gary. Do you think anyone followed up since June 15? Not a peep. When you're asking others to
care about you, do you ever consider for a moment who cares about your news?
Stop trying to count number of impressions and start working on making an impression, being memorable. We discussed connections yesterday. What if I have only a few readers here, but a very large network off line? What if I speak to or know the one person who will sneeze your news to the whole world?
When you pitch someone, stay away from the obvious mass emailing - just because you can, it does not mean it will give you the best results. Also, fewer and more targeted sites or relationships may open you more doors. This may not be the case for Gary - who doesn't like Gary Vaynerchuk? It will be your case in similar circumstances.
- If you can pass the straight face test - this matters to their readers
- You have an integrated approach - part of the story fits the new media landscape like a glove and you have something unique to offer for that one media property
- Their traffic is your audience - chances are a blogger's traffic is much more targeted than a magazine's, but more fragmented
- You intend to dedicate time and resources to being authentic - cutting-edge, leader, authority in whatever it is you do tend to sound fake to someone who writes for passion
- You're open to a two-way dialogue and accept that ideas may come back to you as a result of the conversation - do you have a plan to follow up with that specific person?
How do you figure out who to pitch?
- Do your homework. Read their work - not just the first three words of the last post so you can tack them on the beginning of your email, please. We can read, too and if your email doesn't make sense you've lost your chance. I provided an example of a good pitch here.
- Get to know them, develop relationships. Aren't you in public relations? What happened to the "relations" part? Or do you think your job is just to send out lots of emails? What is better, several ignores and relegation to the spam folder, or a few quality (for the blogger) conversations?
- Make it easy for them. Whatever happened to the much hailed social media release? Why are PR agencies not using that? It works [hat tip Shel Holtz]
Also, if you spend time online, you will know the tone, and topics that resonate. People share a lot - on Twitter, FriendFeed, Delicious, etc. Maybe you feel this as you're reading - we've been over this before. Why beat a dead horse? Well, it's not old until it's done and today very few, not so many, ok maybe one and they're my cousin, do it.
How do you measure success?
Please don't tell me you count impressions or media by the number of readers I have. Don Bartholomew has it right, let's not get carried away by the numbers of followers or readers. Relevance is a very much fragmented concept in social media. Ask yourself: what numbers are real?
[image of yesterday news by Zarco Drincic]