Pitching Pet Bloggers

by highpaw

Pitching pet bloggers

This is my rant face.

As a blogger, I receive dozens of pitches every day from PR people pitching one or the other of my pet blogs. Most of these pitches really suck.

I can say this because I’m also a PR gal by trade. So I have no problem judging my colleagues’ blogger outreach tactics because I do know their pain and cut them a little slack because of it. They’re short on time, short on budget and have clients breathing down their necks for some “hits.”

And it’s really, really time consuming to go to every blog, read it and customize a pitch to that particular blogger’s interests. Especially when you’re blasting a message out to 300 of them. Sigh.

PR these days ain’t easy. I know this. As opportunities with traditional media outlets shrink, many PR firms turn to bloggers for product reviews, event mentions and other “hits” their clients demand. But the blogger Spray and Pray approach just doesn’t work and that seems to be ALL I’m receiving these days.

Today alone I received three pitches (already!) that made my blood boil:

One was addressed to:

Dear Caroline Golon.

With a request at the end to “Please read the following press release and let me know if you are interested in receiving a copy of this book for consideration of an interview that your guests/listeners will find inspiring, or to provide a review.”

My guests/listeners? Come on. Please at least customize the pitch to the TYPE of media you’re pitching.

The second was addressed to:

Hi there, Caroline Golon.

This one actually referenced an exchange we had in the past. Which we did. Which I remember. So why did she address me by my first and last name? Sloppy.

The third pitch was addressed to:

Um, NO ONE. Just “Hi there!”

Ugh.

And, it was just a lengthy, hard-to-read pitch that touted a celebrity and a great cause. It should have been a no-brainer that I would at least mention it on my blog as this PR gal hoped I would.

But this chick blew it, with me at least, because she didn’t even bother to personalize the email to me.

Big mistake. Huge!

So here’s some advice for PR teams: CUSTOMIZE YOUR PITCHES. Use the blogger’s name at least. Please. Yes, it takes more time but in the long run is worth it.

And while you’re at it, please proof your pitches and that of your team members. I received an email a couple of weeks ago promoting a great event at a humane society, except throughout the email, this person spelled it HUMAN SOCIETY. Ummm, yah.

And for brands: Give your agencies permission – no, direction – to select 10 bloggers at a time with whom to develop relationships. Long term relationships are better than one off “hits.” Trust me on this. Pet bloggers will reward brands and their agencies that take the time to get to know them. I’ll be writing about some examples of this in the coming weeks.

I realize I’m complaining about an old issue. But it’s still going on. And seems to be getting worse.

So, pet brands and agencies, do you want to set yourself apart when working with bloggers?

Focus on quality relationships, not quantity of “hits.”

{ 14 comments }

Dorian @ Your Daily Cute April 7, 2011 at 10:34 am

Here here! Totally agree.

Lisa Taron (Pet Book Lady) April 7, 2011 at 10:54 am

I totally agree! I had one addressed:

Dear Pet/Misc Blogger,

Geez. Now that’s creative and bonding.

Nancy April 7, 2011 at 11:03 am

Oh, phew!! Glad one of the three bad pitches didn’t come from me! 😉

Dr V April 7, 2011 at 11:09 am

LOLOLOL, I think you know my feelings about this one.

My own pet peeve is when they say “I love reading your blog, especially your entry about (insert topic of post from yesterday)”. Don’t lie. I know you’re not a regular reader. I don’t care that you aren’t, just don’t lie, because that is how we are starting our relationship and I need to trust you.

I don’t think PR people “get” pet bloggers. Trust and ethics are big here. Very few are in it for any sort of reward, so shiny things are not a good carrot to dangle. I have a handful of wonderful relationships and they are all with individual etailers who took the time to make that relationship work.

Edie April 7, 2011 at 11:42 am

One day I got a pitch from someone who used the distribution list — and the signature line — of her PR firm but said she was acting on her own for what she thought was a great pet product in a great cause, which I thought was double smarmy. I was in a crappy mood that day and called her on it, which resulted in an escalated pissing match that ended with her saying that I was a cold-hearted, mean-spirited journalist and that she would have me banned from every media list she could have me banned from.

I said thank you, I appreciate that.

Elizabeth Schuler April 7, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Great blog post Caroline! Sad to realize that this is pretty much par for the course for PR professionals in our line of business – whether it’s pet bloggers or traditional journalists – the pitching is rarely handled well.

Robin April 7, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Oh I am so with you on all your points, Caroline! I love it when I get pitches from companies, who, if they took one minute to read my blog, would realize I do NOT review DOG products! LOL! At least, try to tailor your pitch to the right person, PR-Folks!

highpaw April 7, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Thanks for the great comments, everyone. PR is not an easy job. It’s high pressure and often thankless, so I’m not here to bash my esteemed profession. HOWEVER, there are some things I think can be done differently. Being on both sides makes me understand how easy it is is to stand out among the fray.

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart April 8, 2011 at 1:59 pm

I got one today asking for a “link exchange” (aka free link ad) that was presumptuous enough to send along actual code for a badge/widget.

I’m a little livid today for other reasons, but I replied to the email addressed to Dear Owner/Webmaster with a personalized reply (name and all) that said:

“There is an entire page on our site dedicated to relevant / like-minded link advertising and costs. However, I can tell from the names / descriptions of these sites that they do not align with our brand and philosophy.”

AboutVetMed April 26, 2011 at 1:00 am

I am late to this post, but love it. I regularly experience all three of these scenarios and what Roxanne mentioned, and it is nice to know I am not alone. Sharing this! Great post.

Average Jane April 27, 2011 at 4:09 pm

As a blogger and a PR person, I want you to know how impressed I have been with all the pitches I have received from you. The blogger programs are so creative and I love that they have always included a pet charity donation component.

highpaw May 27, 2011 at 7:29 am

Thanks, AJ. That is a huge compliment! I work really hard to stand out from the pack.

highpaw May 27, 2011 at 7:29 am

Never!

In Pets August 5, 2011 at 4:22 am

well then Ms Caroline, just found your site and looking forward to reading what you have to say. Maybe some fresh dog kisses could brighten your day, going to follow you on twitter, hope you will follow me too @DrDogs247
most interested in learning from you and properly pitching product to pet bloggers like you….sure this dog is going to learn a lot
thanks much& #PoochSmooches to you&yours SMILE awhile mySweet, you have so much here, I adore you for keeping it real while we explore

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