Apr 10, 2012

From Blogger to Business. Writing a PR Pitch to Companies.

The most frequent question on bloggers' minds is, "How other bloggers get products to review & giveaway?"

While it might seem exciting to get something for free to review, it's also a lot of hard work to write the review and please the company.  It's not getting something for nothing, like many think.  It's getting a product to review to give the company publicity and writing an efficient review to go along with it.  Basically, the free product is getting paid for the review & real estate on your blog.

Let the company know why you are unique and what you can specifically do for them.  When pitching a company it's imperative to include this information so you can hook the company into reading the rest of your pitch.  Explain to them why you are unique and why they should choose you and your blog for their PR needs.
  • What do you write about?
  • What specifically is your niche?
  • What makes you different than other blogs in your niche?
Let them know who you are, how many children you have (if it's related to the product,) what you are about and why you want to review their product or service.  Have you used their brand before?  Are you a loyal customer of their brand?  Don't just kiss up to the company because you want a free product from them, be honest.

You must be realistic with your pitches and what you want to review.  If you have a brand new blog with 20-1000 readers and under 1,000 page views a month; don't pitch for a product with a high value.  If a brand doesn't feel like you have enough readers or followers to really promote their product, they won't accept your pitch.  You have to consider value of the item versus perceived value of your blog and your reviews.  You are basically selling real estate on your blog and selling your writing ability and opinion to the brand.  Start small and gradually move up the ladder as you grow your readership.  You'll have time to pitch for the higher value items as your blog grows.  

As you may have guessed, numbers are very important to companies 80% of the time.  Yes, I did say 80% of the time!  So, what's the other 20% they look for?  Aside from looking at your numbers, they will also look at your blog in it's entirety.  They may read some other reviews that you have done in the past to see if your style fits, they may look at the quality of comments you get (over the quantity,) they may look at your design or just read about you and your blog to see if you would be a fit for their product.  Keep in mind, companies have an ideal demographic in mind for most of their products and they would want to keep on marketing to that specific demographic.  Though, numbers are very important as well; it's the majority of what they look at. 
  • How many Twitter followers do you have and how often you gain new followers.  
  • How many GFC/Blog Followers do you have?
  • How many FB Fans do you have?
  • Do you promote yourself & posts on any other Social Networking site?
  • Do you use Linked In to network? What about Pinterest?
  • Are you a member of any blogging community?
  • Do you frequently join blog hops or giveaway hops?
  • How many RSS/Newsletter subscribers do you have? 
  • How many monthly hits do you have via Analytics?
You may feel like you're overwhelming them with information and numbers, but they do read and value all of that information so they can make an educated decision on what would be best for their company.  It's always better to give too much information than not enough.  Anticipate all of the questions they would ask in an e-mail response and answer them all in your first pitch.

Only pitch to companies that would appeal to your audience.  i.e. Don't pitch to a mountain biking company if you write a mommy blog about children or parenting.  Chances are, a company won't work with you and most probably won't respond back to you if your blog won't fit their product.  Businesses are very selective, just as many bloggers are selective with the pitches they accept and use for their blog.  

When pitching, don't just e-mail the general customer service contact e-mail unless it states that press and media inquiries are to be sent there.  Remember, you are acting as a press & media outlet when pitching to promote a product or company.   Try to do some research to find the company that handles the specific press inquiries.  30% of the time, the company itself contracts an outside PR firm for this purpose.  If you happen to e-mail the company, part of the time they will contact you back with their press contact or sometimes they would just discard the e-mail altogether.  If you can't find the appropriate information or contact, call the company.  Ask if they handle press inquires or if they hire an outside company.  Try to find out the name or contact information of their outside PR firm, if needed.  You would need to find the ideal contact person for your reasons.

If you do not hear back from a company or if they turn down your pitch, don't be discouraged.  Depending on the company, they may have many other pitches that day and they may need to find the pitch that works best for them.  They have to find what would be the best blog for their brand and their PR plan.  If a company gets back to you and tells you that you don't have the right numbers that they're looking for, there is no harm in trying to grow your blog & readership and pitching again.  This has happened to me many times and I finally did get the brand that I had pitched initially.  Leave 3-6 months in between pitching them, however.  You don't want to get on their nerves by sending a pitch over and over again.  Keep trying & don't give up!

Do you have any great tips for writing a PR pitch to companies? Post them below!