Dear PR Professional: Write Better Pitch Emails. Love, Bloggers
Look, I get it – as a PR professional you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, you’re charged with promoting your brand, possibly through blogger outreach. On the other hand, you struggle with your ability to scale that outreach. But is resorting to copy/paste email spamming really the way to go?
Back in August of 2011 (republished here in 2015), I wrote a post titled, Bloggers and PR Requests – The Good, Bad & Annoying. At the time, I was frustrated with all of the absolute garbage Email I was receiving from PR firms. These PR “professionals” didn’t seem to be conducting themselves professionally, and if you read the comments in my original post, you’d find that I wasn’t the only one experiencing this.
I have a lot of respect for those in public relations. They’re the go-getters of the industry (of ALL industries, really) and find ways to drum up buzz and support for just about anything and everything out of thin air. The problem I have is that the genuinely interesting products, causes and topics get buried in the heap of junk I receive day in and day out. I get around 100 emails per day, on average, and I only read a small portion of them. I ‘skim’ a few more but I trash the vast majority without even a second glance. Why is that? PR firms need to write better emails.
I really hate for these posts to sound negative, so I’m going to offer up some advice as a blogger and recipient of these Emails to the PR professionals tasked with crafting them and reaching out to bloggers and other media. Presumably, clients are paying these public relations firms for a service and I’d like those clients to get the most for their money. I’d also like their campaigns to be more effective, generate more buzz and make more people with great ideas successful. On that note, a few tips to better PR outreach emails:
Tip #1 – Proofread!
Does this go without saying? Apparently not. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best speller – thank God (or Ralph Gorin) for spell check! I’ve written literally thousands of words of content for this site, tens of thousands (or more I’m sure) for all of my sites combined, and nearly 60,000 words in the dating book I just released. I’ve written a few words and I’ve made a few mistakes along the way. But PR emails are meant to be short – typically 3 – 5 paragraphs and less than 500 words on average I’d say. Can we do a little extra proofing before we blast that Email out to everyone in your database? Your campaigns would automatically be more well-received without errors than with, I can guarantee that.
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Tip #2 – Keep it Short!
Another no-brainer suggestion, I know – but I don’t think it’s sunk in for everyone. The perfect email pitch (to me) is less than 500 words. Heck, it’s less than 300 words. It’s got an intro, a hook and a call to action – and that’s about it! Pitch emails are like commercials for most recipients. We have a very short attention span and if you go longer than our attention span, we change the channel on you (aka: DELETE). Say hi (professionally), introduce your product/service/cause/etc, tell me why it’s awesome, tell me what you want me to do and say goodbye. The end.
Tip #3 – Get the Greeting Right
This one is a huge pet-peeve of mine since I’m often lumped in with ‘Mommy Bloggers’ given that I have a parenting blog that just so happens to be written by a dad. More Emails than I can count begin their pitch with, “Dear Mommy Blogger”.
Technology, mail-merge, email templates and all that time-saving stuff is awesome unless it doesn’t work and then what is it? It’s trash. I’m not saying that every single email you send has to be a hand-crafted original sent just to me (with a nice little bow on it). But why not go for a safer salutation if there’s a chance not all of your recipients will fall under the same category? Please?
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What do you think about blog outreach PR?
For bloggers – what annoying emails have you received? Do you have any advice for those tasked with reaching out to strangers? For PR professionals – what challenges have you encountered in your blogger outreach efforts? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. Please leave a comment below or feel free to contact me with your thoughts.