There are plenty of posts out there about how bad some email pitches can be. I generally don’t like to accentuate the negative but today I received two pitches that both ably demonstrated one poor aspect of pitching: personalisation.
The first pitch of the day came into my inbox pretty much demanding that I look at something. It was very direct, which I suppose is good for call to action but by the time I’d read it I felt like the greased, naked woman having a glove shoved into her face on the Spinal Tap album cover. I usually do actually respond to these pitches offering advice on how to improve them but on this occasion, because the emailer’s last line was “Go and see it”, I just replied ‘No’. I’m never at my most accommodating early in the morning.
The second just came through. It was nicely set out, reasonably polite but… never mentioned me or my blog, not even my name at the top.
And this is the problem. When I’ve pitched journalists by phone I’ve made sure I know who the journo is, what they’re up to, and why they might be interested in what I have to sell them.
Online outreach should be exactly the same. I’m not implying you need to read the blogger for weeks beforehand – it’s impossible and doesn’t scale – but you could very easily spend five minutes to find ONE thing that they’ve posted, even on their first page, that relates to the subject in hand. Then mention it. Say something like “I really like what you wrote about this” or “Your take on that is very interesting.”
That’s all it takes. Just one thing that tells me you really have looked and that it really would be in my interest to take it up. Otherwise I just feel like I’ve been ‘reached’ and not ‘touched’.
And always, always try and put the blogger’s name at the top. Mine is in big letters at the top of my blog. It’s even in my URL. So use it!
PS Apologies for all those of you who received this post with some weird brackets in them. I’m still getting the hang of Posterous…