WSJ columnist Jeremy Wagstaff gives some good advice for PR pros on pitching bloggers:
Being a PR person pitching a blogger:
- Pitches should never be made by phone without an email requesting a chat first. Phone calls are no longer as acceptable as they were; they are now as intrusive as a foot in the door.
- PR people should find out if their mark has a blog, and if so, read it. For background, and to make sure the person is not on holiday or in the middle of a gender-change. Itâ€™s good to include some reference in the pitch to the fact that the blog has been read but thereâ€™s really no need to be smarmy. (â€œIâ€™m a huge fan of your blog since before you started writing it and your post about how spammers are really annoying was just so spot on I had it tatooed in its entirety on my childrenâ€™s foreheads.â€)
- A PR/journalist relationship can be as close as lips and teeth, but teeth can bite, and should. (The teeth is the journalist. Please keep up.) A journalist will always, if not today then at some point in the future, write something the PR person doesnâ€™t like about their client, and the PR person needs to be ready for that. So should the journalist. The two can be best buddies, but I find that makes it harder to do oneâ€™s job, and be seen to be doing oneâ€™s job as a journalist al dente. So I keep my personal distance. Thatâ€™s just me. I think it was the BBCâ€™s John Simpson who quoted someone as saying that people should always feel a journalist at the table was a menacing presence. As a journalist youâ€™re not there for the people youâ€™re dining with, youâ€™re there for your readers/viewers.
- If thatâ€™s true of journalists, then I canâ€™t see any reason why it shouldnâ€™t also be true of anyone being pitched. The pitchee â€” whether blogger, opinion shaper, or journalist â€” represents an opportunity for PR to get their word out. So anyone accepting pitches should have teeth. And be prepared to use them.
- If you have teeth, you canâ€™t expect â€” indeed, you wouldnâ€™t want â€” PR to take your personal life into account. They can be nice about it, but it shouldnâ€™t affect their pitch, and whether theyâ€™re nice about it or not, it shouldnâ€™t affect your likelihood to bite. After all, youâ€™re both supposedly on office time, and office rules apply. It doesnâ€™t mean not sharing your personal life, but it means either being ready to have people say â€œsorry to hear about your catâ€™s demise, would you be interested in reviewing our new kitty litter?â€ or leaving out those parts of your life from your blog that may muddy this relationship.
(Found via Forward Blog.)