You know, when you get pitches because you have a blog, you start developing a sense about who pitches you.
You don't have to have "media" or "public relations" in the title to be good at it, either. You just need to have a desire to learn and a healthy curiosity for people, especially those you're about to interrupt.
If your blogger outreach person doesn't understand that content is the connective tissue of digital media, chances are he/she has been drinking too much of your kool-aid to do a good job when pitching.
Here's how you can tell if you are:
(1.) your opening is vague or looks like a poor mail merge job. You're probably very important. However, not too important to put some effort into making it look like you took the time to figure out who is the blogger on your list. Typos in names look especially sloppy. I lost count of the people who start and continue with "Valerie" when addressing me. Such a small thing to verify, and to correct.
(2.) you're pitching an
author/company/product as the best thing or most accomplished ever without
taking into consideration that the person you're pitching may be as
accomplished, actually more -- after all, they do have a platform and your
author is looking to be featured on it, for example.
(3.) you're like a bad date, once you get what you want, you're gone... until the next time you want something. You could use some schooling in Europe. Relationships are a staple of your social (media) diet, take several servings a day. Relationships develop over time, they're not a one-stop joke.
(4.) your follow ups add no additional value. In that case, you're easy to overlook and you know why your pitch didn't get a response in the first place. Notes like "hey, any interest in xyz?", or "following up on my previous email", even better, "since you have not yet written about abc". How many messages does it take to make a first impression?
(5.) your email is an eye sore -- in addition to typos, you have ten fonts, five colors, all caps, a post scriptum and a post-post scriptum; or it's too large a file with three attachments. Why not do a post with all your assets, then point people to it? That way you can take the time to be thoughtful in the brief intro email.
(6.) you're not willing to engage in conversation. All you want is the other person to follow your next step. Why can't every good blogger just do as they're told and follow the script? If only...
(7.) you use a clever subject line and fall apart in the opening and body of the email. There are entrepreneurs who arrange for very successful product launches. You know what they do? They attend to every little detail, every email, every post, every comma, and every single word answers a higher purpose. Follow their lead.
(8.) you forget to say thank you. Attention and coverage, in this order, are a gift. How about feeling the appropriate level of gratitude?
(9.) you don't understand that the pitch cannot suit the blogger's needs. Case in point: A car manufacturer that pitches a green living editor on a 30-day road test. It was a nice crossover SUV, and the editor said so when he declined. But he's the CarFree Guy, as even a cursory look at any of his sites or social profiles will show. To make things even worse, the PR person reprinted his private email comments as a public endorsement. Wonder why Public Relations gets a bad rep?
(10.) your pitch is dishonest. For example, imagine being pitched one of those laundry balls as the kind that supposedly eliminate the need for laundry detergent. The item is presented as a green alternative to petroleum-based soaps. And the accompanying literature is loaded with totally unsubstantiated scientific-sounding babble. In this case, you're asking for the blogger to take a much closer look.
The most telling tale of a great product, service, author, etc. is that they can stand on their own. Yes, they can also use publicity and good marketing. However, the word about why they're remarkable spreads pretty quickly through trusted networks -- and the passion of those who pitch them, including yours.
It's Friday, let's have some fun. What horror pitch stories would you like to share with us? We can learn while protecting the innocent. We would not want to drink our own kool-aid, after all.