…and why my wife was ecstatic I got one (She was disturbingly happy)
Let’s set the record straight right now – particularly before I go and “critique” this poor excuse for an apparent professional guest blog pitch I got today (June 11th).
I don’t want to be known as a social media expert, guru, ninja, superhero, submarine commander or any other moniker used out there. In my past life as a marketing communications professional, my answer to the “where do you see yourself in 5 years” question was almost always: “I’m not sure – but whatever it is, chances are pretty good that I’ll incorporate the skills and knowledge I’ve gained as a marketing communications professional to further that mystery’s goals.”
Knowing that, my goal is – and always will be – to continue building The Coffice community. The tools and tactics I employ or avoid – whether they’re called social media tools or public relations tactics – are only part of that journey.
So far, I’ve been able to restrict my ire for half-assed or annoying marcom tactics to make angry faces and gestures at my laptop and informal belly aching through conveniently timed Tweets or Facebook updates with other like-minded professionals – one of whom I happen to be married to.
A consummate (and proven) senior PR pro in her own right, my lovely betrothed was ever so excited when I showed her the poor excuse for the guest blog pitch that heated me up so. Not just because The Coffice had managed to land on the radar of a MarCom firm as “hit worthy”, but also because despite my protests, she’s been pretty positive that my efforts (my methods?) so far to grow The Coffice would make for some decent reading in general.
So, if you were sitting across the Coffice table from me on “pitch” day, you would have heard my side of the phone conversation with the missus – and it may have sounded something like this (I’m paraphrasing…my displeasure app overrode my memory function):
“You saw that email exchange I just sent you, right?”
“No, no. The other one…yes with the blog pitch.”
“Why’s it funny? It’s a travesty!”
“Well of course I’m frustrated by it!”
“Oh thanks. I wasn’t aware of a ‘crappy guest blog pitch club’ I was joining.”
“[Sigh.] Yes, I’m going to write about it for The Coffice.”
“Yes dear. You were right.”
“No. I won’t forget to mow the lawn…”
You don’t need to know the rest…you get the idea.
I’m relenting…but only because I’m pretty P.O.’d about it. So to avoid boring myself to death in the process, and to attempt my version of laughing it off, instead of writing the usual “how-to”, I’ve broken down each component of this seemingly simplistic, yet totally gross, guest blog post pitch exchange (including my witty replies to the offender) with visual critiques/commentaries.
If the supposed PR pro (I use that title very reluctantly) is reading this – don’t worry, your identity is safe – I’ve included some quotes/references from some pretty heavy hitters in “the biz”. If you won’t listen to my sagely advice, do your career a favor and heed theirs.
Maybe they can convince you of how much your guest blog pitch to me (and countless others) sucked royally.
1. Here’s the pitch from “LOL PR”.
2. My somewhat gentle, yet witty, swing back to LOL PR.
3. LOL PR’s “professional” (<~ sarcasm) retort.
4. And so I felt it necessary to let LOL PR know I was more than just a target email address.
5. Yep. My work is done here…
This was the first time I’ve ever attempted to set a marcom person straight. It could very well be my last. But I still want to hear about your experiences. What are your “crappy guest blog” pitch stories?
Here’s what some heavy hitters have to say:
Improve Your Pitch’s Chance of Survival
…find the storyline for the place you’re writing and pitch it DIRECTLY to them, instead of sending off these robot pitches where you copy/paste, and replace the name. There’s a time when you have to send mass emails, but I’ll tell you that it might not be in the pitch department, at least not if you really want to see a particular story placed.
If You Want to Pitch A Blogger Successfully, DON’T Do This
Try and really personalize the approach – use the blogger’s first name and a little overview of your understanding of the blog and audience. And, if you must use mass email, make it a BCC…
Idiots Who Pitch Me (Pinterest Pinboard)
I’m a MAN, but because I run the site Digital Dads I get tons of pitches for “mommy bloggers” and women in general because agencies are super lazy. I figured I’d share the silly pitches I get here with real quotes from the pitches.
How to Suck Up to a Blogger
Mediocre marketers try to befriend bloggers when they need them. Good marketers befriend bloggers before they need them. Great marketers have befriended bloggers while they were working at their previous companies.
Social Media Makes Bad Pitches Go Viral–And Can Save PR From Itself
The generic PR pitch is the antithesis of what good communicators practice today–not to mention that most writers are looking for a something exclusive, not the same thing that just landed in thousands of other inboxes all across the land.
There Are Only 2 Rules: Be Interesting and Don’t Be Stupid
In order to build a PR or social media program with any hope of efficacy and longevity, you have to understand not just your audience, but where they live. What’s important to them. How you solve their problem. And you have to become one of them.
The Pitch That Worked
Be precise, and tell me exactly what you’re asking me to commit to so I can put it straight on my to-do list if I’m interested. Open ended means that I have to stash it to think about later, and even with the best intentions, that can sometimes mean it gets forgotten.
10 Steps to Building a Better Blogger-Relations Program
Blogger relations is about people, many of whom might be customers and peers. Do not underestimate that fact.