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!”
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.”