I’ll admit up front that I’m not a very serious blogger, and I operate in a fairly niche environment. I’ve also never followed through with promoted content on my site, but I have received plenty of bad pitches in my time. Combined with our readings this week about pitching bloggers, I thought I might contribute my perspective with tips that would work for my blog.
I write about coffee, plain and simple. I’ve been a coffee enthusiast for years, I’ve started a few side projects around coffee, and I regularly inundate myself in the world and industry of coffee. As such, my writing is tailored to people who are also interested in specialty coffee, though they may have more or less experience than I do.
Coffee, being as large and varied a topic as it is, comes with its drawbacks. Even though I’d never in a million years review Keurig K-cups for a promoted post, that hasn’t stopped two separate requests from arriving in my inbox. I’ve gotten bulk e-mail pitches that were obviously not targeted to me or my audience, but were vaguely related to coffee so of course I must be interested. The only good one I’ve ever gotten was a product review for a monthly coffee sample subscription – which started as a “try us out then write what you think” pitch, but I negotiated to only write something if I actually thought the product was worthwhile. Well, I never wrote anything about them, but I did appreciate that I was treated like a human being.
Here’s the thing about these pitches: not one of them seemed to be familiar with my blog at all. They may, at best, have seen that I write blog posts, and the keyword “coffee” shows up in them. But I don’t review products, nor do I make great attempts to expand my audience – I mostly write for me, and I write about other people or local events more often than I write about a company or a product. Every pitch I’ve received has automatically triggered my SPAM alarm, because they’re written for some other blogger, surely, but not for me. The one product pitch I chose to entertain was because these people had found me on Twitter first, then found my blog, so they knew more about me when they approached. They seemed to think they could be my first product review, which would be exciting for me and my readers, but I wasn’t so ecstatic about taking orders, so I made sure I was the one who laid the ground rules. In the end, my lack of coverage was better for them and for me than my writing a negative review.
So how do you reach somebody like me? For one, know the platform. You can’t reach out to somebody writing about their most passionate subject and not know what you’re talking about. You can’t come to a coffee enthusiast who roasts their own beans at home and ask them to review your stale pre-ground capsules, you’re in the totally wrong market.
Second, just as InkyBee suggests, take some time to make it personal. If you think this blogger relationship is really worth it, then you’ve got to show them it’s a mutually beneficial situation, and you’re not out to reap your reward and cast them aside. This is an alley-oop, it needs cooperation and understanding to be successful for both parties. You’ve got to make your intentions known right out of the gate, and work with them to make sure you’re both on board and compatible. If you wouldn’t hang out with this blogger over a few beers to talk business, you’re better off moving on.
Are you a blogger? What are the best ways to reach you with a pitch?