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How NOT to pitch a blogger

Last week, I talked about how blogger outreach is scary, and I talked about why this fear exists for most people before they start talking to bloggers.  In great measure, these fears exist because of the horror stories that have resulted from wrong-headed approaches. In the five years that we’ve been reaching out to bloggers, we’ve learned just as much about how NOT to pitch as we’ve learned about the right ways. The main thing to keep in mind is how you feel when you are on the receiving end of a misguided PR pitch. If you just stick with that mindset, you’ll avoid the lion’s share of pitching mistakes.

Now, I have been getting pitches for my blog, Because the Medium is the Message, since 2004 or so. Now, Marketing Conversation gets loads of pitches as well.  Some of the insulting things that abuse me to no end include sending your pitch to “Dear Blogger,” or to “Abraham” when my name is Chris Abraham and my partner’s name is Mark Harrison and there is no one named “Gerris digital” in my company. I can generally tell when a compliment is hollow:  they’re either too general or way too recent and specific.  It is very easy for even the least sophisticated of my fellow bloggers to sense sucking up or kissing up, especially if you haven’t done any homework or any research at all.

No sign
Image via Wikipedia

Also, if you don’t have your formatting sorted and it looks like you obviously copied and pasted back and forth and I can make out weird spacing and a strange mixture of fonts and sizes, I can tell you’re probably cutting corners and doing things carelessly and without concern for how I will perceive it–as though half-assed is all I am worth since I am not a Mashable or TechCrunch. People don’t like it when they can obviously tell that you’re going through the motions until something else better comes along.  Bloggers will always call you out if they sense you’re just calling it in.

No, I also don’t blame the agents too much.  They’re often understaffed, juggling too many balls, have insufficient experience, or lack technological skills and are just doing their best.  The agencies are why these agents are oftentimes coming up short. And, at the end of the day, many agencies have given up on earned media because earned media can be risky and it can oftentimes be an all or nothing venture. Outreach failure is easily possible when there is very little cultural awareness and understanding of how best to appeal to these thousands and thousands of very real people who wield very real power and influence over popular consensus and perception.

Perhaps the only thing you’ve come away from this article is that you need to hire me in order to get some of that white-hat link-farming SEO love. So, let me warn you:  it doesn’t work unless you spend a lot of time, money, energy, and creativity to actually put together a plausible and meaningful PR campaign.

Bloggers did not fall off a turnip truck.  If they don’t see the value in the pitch, they won’t post; if they fancy that you’re just asking them to post because you want to vampire bat on their Google juice, then you’re likely to be in a whole lot of #fail and possibly a whole lot of pain.  The white-hat link-farm organic SEO pwn effect is only secondary if you are, the entire way along, a total Mensch and have amazing assets, viral-quality video, a great pitch, an accurate target, and a gentle, kind, and generous follow-through.

It is sort of like dating. You need to remain present during the entire date and not even get angry or resentful–or hostile–if you are not invited upstairs for a night cap.  If you’re caught just calling it in and going through the motions, just being on the date because you’re hoping to get lucky at the end of the night, you’re likely to end up either hurting someone else’s feelings or destroying your reputation.  Enjoy the company, enjoy the date, enjoy the diversion, enjoy the desert, enjoy the wine, enjoy the walk in the park, enjoy the play, enjoy the coffee, and then be surprised and appreciative when and if you’re invited upstairs for a night cap.

If you are truly present in blogger outreach, and what you do is driven by what’s good for the blogger as well as what’s good for you, you might be pleased with the results. Feel free to email me at or call me at +1 202-351-1235

Learn more about Chris Abraham at Gerris digital.

Chris Abraham

Chris Abraham

Chris Abraham, digital strategist and technologist, is a leading expert in digital: search engine optimization (SEO), online relationship management (ORM), Internet privacy, Wikipedia curationsocial media strategy, and online public relations with a focus on blogger outreachinfluencer engagement, and Internet crisis response, with the digital PR and social media marketing agency Gerris digital. [Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call with me] A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and adviser to the industries' leading firms. Chris Abraham specializes in web technologies, including content marketing, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media.  Chris Abraham was named a Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer by Forbes, #1 PR2.0 Influencer by Traackr, and top-10 social media influencers by Marketwire; and, for what it’s worth, Chris has a Klout of 79 the last time he looked. Chris Abraham started doing web development back in 1994, SEO in 1998, blogging in 1999, influencer engagement in 2003, social media strategy in 2005, blogger outreach in 2006, and Wikipedia curation in 2007. Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call. If you want to know the services that Chris offers check out Services If you want to work with Chris use the Contact Form You're welcome to follow me via Social Media You can learn more about Chris over in About Chris writes a lot so check out the Blog Chris offers webinars so check Events

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  9. Avatar Jonny

    Great article Abraham (just joking Chris). I wonder how you go about collating contact details from 1000s of potential bloggers? I appreciate that the personal aspect is important.

    1. Chris Abraham Chris Abraham

      I just got an email pitch from Leonie Bulman at and it said:

      “Hi Abraham,

      I hope this email finds you well. I’m contacting you as I thought you may be interested in our new social media trends report for Q3 2011.” …

      And I responded:

      My name is NOT Abraham. There’s NOBODY here named just ABRAHAM 🙂

      Ok, got that off my chest.

      So, I just thought I would share that — happened just as I saw your comment 🙂

      I will reply to your questions in just a sec

    2. Chris Abraham Chris Abraham

      We don’t collate. While a client might want a report of the “clout” of each and every blogger, we don’t separate the quality into “USDA Beef Quality Grades: A, B, C, D, E” We “cheat” by collecting the name and blog name and email address of every of the thousands that we can easily find on their blog within 5-mins. We have a dedicated team that only does that. Then, we pitch via email and then we do two follow-ups 7-days later each time. One pitch, one follow-up a week later and then a final email outreach a week later, carefully removing anyone who replies during the first two. Then, all that “cheating” comes back into the highly-intense bespoke and velvet/kid gloved response that is required to anyone and everyone who replies, be it with a burr in their saddle or happy or quizzical or cautious or angry or game or shy or whatnot — and since there may well be 1000 responses, we have a dedicated team of 5+ US-based college-educated analysts and operators who engage each person directly, irrespective of their caste, their clout, their celebrity, their position, or where they work or who they know. Because “every blog is sacred, every blog is good, if a blog is wasted, we get quite irate.” All the time we save in the initial outreach by “blasting” them is taken up because the inbox which, when you reach out to 4,000 blogs, looks a lot like a cholera clinic — and that take so much hugs, kisses, engagement, charm, seduction, information, handling, helping, responding, and resourcing, that all the savings gets “spent” on the real relationships that happen, even if the initial “hello” was very much speed-dating. I hope I am clear. Ask me more questions, I am happy to go further.

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