Moderator: @stephbeadell from Buzzstream
It’s not just about *what* you pitch but *who* you pitch to. How do you find bloggers and journalists to reach out to?
@dan_patterson I’m sure a lot of people still use HARO. I know there are plenty of other services as well. If you have a good PR team or contracted firm, they should have relationships already as well. Work with them.
@ThinkSEM Look at bloggers & journalists who are relevant to your industry. If possible, cultivate a relationship first. Social is our favorite because we can consistently & authentically interact w/ influencers in blogging & journalism.
@stephbeadell Social is great, too, because you can engage quickly (and not get buried in somebody’s inbox)
@KristiKellogg If you’re trying get them to write content for you, Google & LinkedIn. Do the work to identify high-quality writers by reading. You’re not going to find THE BEST writers on places like Crowdsource, for example. They’re useful for some projects, though.
@ThinkSEM Yes! Also, make each pitch unique to the writer by researching before the pitch.
@stephbeadell I agree, it’s so much easier when you already have relationships. Google & social media are a great place to start.
@mikecassidy I know a lot more about being pitched than pitching, but identify those who write about what ur pitching. Their work is out there.
@dan_patterson So I’m curious.. as someone that get’s pitched, what tactics/approaches stand out to you?
@mikecassidy Hearing from those who understood my work & my audience.
@GoBrandify Research. Separate who is responding to conversation &who is generating it. Engage with both but pitch to generators.
@stephbeadell Finding the source is a great tactic. Where do you begin? On social? Google?
@GoBrandify We use our niche news outlets in addition to Google and social.
@TrinityInsight Blogger networks are great for discovering local influencers, like @PSMMoms & @PhillyBlogLove!
@contentbycara Social Media. Twitter is best.
@lisabuyer It helps when they have a strong presence.
Lots of people talked about leveraging relationships. What are some of your favorite tactics for building them?
@BruceClayInc If your aim is to get media exposure, engage with targeted journalists on social media — that’s one tactic. Following them and providing them with valuable insights. If you see they’re writing a story and you have expertise, reach out.
@stephbeadell What type of engagement works best for you? Replies, RTs, asking questions?
@ThinkSEM Retweeting their content is great, but what’s even better is starting a conversation.
@BruceClayInc Agreed. No “tactics” per se, but more efforts to show our authenticity. Try to be where they are & show our value.
@stephbeadell I use TweetDeck quite a bit for influencer stalking.
@BruceClayInc TweetDeck is great, absolutely. And you can look to Klout scores, as well, to help identify influencers.
@TrinityInsight Our golden rule is to never start a conversation by diving right into business! Always take time to catch up & see what’s new.
@AndreaMLehr Always send a follow up thanking for the post, continue to connect with them on Twitter by RTing stories, etc.
@mikecassidy Occasionally sending stories, ideas that might not necessarily benefit you/your clients is helpful.
@stephbeadell I think that’s a great tactic. It also has the benefit of making you a resource and a subject matter expert for them.
@KristiKellogg Best way to catch a journo’s attention is through a GOOD press release.
@mikecassidy Releases are still important. A bad one will kill you.
@stephbeadell Do you find that sending releases via wire services still works? Or is email better?
@mikecassidy I always preferred email. Editors are more on top of wires. I’d rather it be “my story” than an ed’s.
@KristiKellogg Wire, no questions asked. I AM a journalist, and I have never followed up on PR-y email. EVER. It’s tantamount to spam.
@stephbeadell Curios, lots of people saying social media is key. Do you like it when people pitch you via social?
@KristiKellogg I’ve never actually had someone pitch to me via social — but I have had them ask questions about PR/SEO/SMM- and I happily answer.
@mikecassidy Secret is to not send a PR-y email. Handcraft it. Know your audience etc. Tho I could be in a email-liking miniority.
@KristiKellogg That makes sense. If like, it was a targeted ACTUAL email, not just spammy, I could dig it.
@lisabuyer @tekgroup study says journalist actually favor PR email comm – I know, crazy.
@stephbeadell I can see that. Email is a lot easier to track and follow up on. Thanks!!
@lisabuyer Social is good to connect or you can quick pitch DM.
@dancsummers Treat bloggers with repsect, and leverage your genuine shared interests. Dont look to build only onesided relationships
@JennineMiller Agree w/ everyone about using social. Also send them other info they may be interested in, even if it’s not your own stuff.
@stephbeadell Looks like checking in with journalists and sending them relevant articles/tips (not about your own brand) helps a lot.
@dan_patterson Sounds like the short story is to use wires and direct outreach. Probably varies by industry a little, too?
@stephbeadell And likely by how popular (and overwhelmed with pitches) the blogger/journalist is.
@lisabuyer Social too.
@hallstigerts Building the best + strongest relationships require authenticity, time, and generosity. Be helpful before you ask for a favor.
@contentbycara To build a relationship, you need to make it about them before you ever make it about you.
How do you prioritize bloggers and journalists? What are the metrics and/or signals that matter most to you & your brand(s)?
@lisabuyer Where your audience is matters most.
@stephbeadell Do you look at follower cnts & then combine that with what you know about customers? How do you find where audience is?
@GoBrandify Think about who your audience is paying more attention to and interacting more with.
@BruceClayInc Obvious knowledge & experience in the field they’re covering. If we’re hiring them, an understanding of SEO/keyword research.
@AuthorityLabs Skill levels, relevancy & writing abilities are critical. There is no “priority” w/out these things.
@AdamDince It’s all about having topical authority, being high-quality and building relationships with journalists. Surveys will help you find out what your audience reads. From there, find out who those journos follow and read.
@hallstigerts In your exp., when is the most effective time and what is the best way to serve up an audience survey?
@stephbeadell Great question. We’ve promoted customer feedback surveys in our newsletters before. That worked well.
@AdamDince SurveyMonkey (if you have email addresses). Google Surveys, if you don’t.
@hallstigerts I like that idea: offering useful content before, at the time of the ask instead of a standalone ask.
@Tony_DWM The easier you make it for them to say ‘yes’ the more they’ll say it. Ie saying ‘no’ = dumb.
@AdamDince Agreed! However, if you’ve already built up trust & goodwill, asking is fine. Keep the ask simple.
@KristiKellogg A good journalist should be smart. Succinct but engaging. Objective. Relentless in their pursuit of the truth. Ever curious.
@TrinityInsight In ecommerce, we prioritize those with a strong online presence & following that will result in increased traffic/click-thrus
@lisabuyer If it’s a media outlet that your target audience pays attention to – blogger, journalist, contributor are the same value.
@stephbeadell Agreed, relevance is important. But does anybody look at metrics like domain authority, comments, or follower counts, too?
@AuthorityLabs Those are important, but what matters most to us are people that can provide the information our readers need/want.
@AndreaMLehr DA is huge for us.
@hallstigerts I’ve looked at DA and Twitter chatter before taking writing guest post contributions. But now I’m changing that to a focus on my connection to the requester and who their audience is.
@TrinityInsight Yep, we do! Also look @ the relevancy of topics they cover – typically niche writers > jacks/jills of all trades
@AndreaMLehr We use DA to determine whether or not a publisher deserves an exclusive.
@stephbeadell I use domain authority as a gauge of how big or small a site is, especially when trying to understand new verticals.
@contentbycara I look for 3 things: Are they talking about things that matter? Do they have a following? Do they engage with it?
In your mind, what are the elements of a great pitch?
@lisabuyer Short, succinct, clear and personal are no BS are elements of a great pitch?
@GoBrandify Something succinct, informative and powerful.
@Tony_DWM Past post depth & detail, social engagement (approachable) & influence within subject area & routes to contact.
@AuthorityLabs Will comment on what we reject “We can write on any topic” & “We have been published on…” sites we don’t respect.
@KristiKellogg Concise. To the point. Hype-free. If you’re hiring them, a clear statement of what’s expected, $, etc. Professional. Friendly.
@AndreaMLehr Elements of a great pitch? It won’t sound like a pitch.
@lisabuyer Right! Like you are actually trying to help them.
@contentbycara A great pitch includes why it’s beneficial to both parties.
@stephbeadell Short, straightforward, and professional seem to be what everyone agrees makes a great pitch.
@Tony_DWM Know thy prospect, don’t talk ‘white scarves’ to ‘red hat wearers’, short yet engaging (Time = Money) & WIIFM. WIIFM = What’s in it for me? Must be answered & pitch must show a clear win/win. Prep for questions & answers.
@KevinWaugh A great pitch should highlight the benefits for them, not you. “How To Win Friends & Influence People” covers this.
@dancsummers Help them see the value for their site, audience, etc, without being pushy, and without sounding like your using a template.
@TrinityInsight The best pitches spell out exactly why they should care & make next steps for promotion as easy as possible!
@mikecassidy Oh, and a great pitch doesn’t start, “Dear [name],…” I got one today.
@KevinWaugh Don’t forget “I hope you are doing well”, that always comes off as spam.
@TrinityInsight What greeting do you prefer from those you aren’t personally familiar with?
@KevinWaugh Tell me exactly who you are and have some social proof. 99% of spammers can’t do that. Show me.
@mikecassidy I’m partial to “Mike,” … but yes opening with the reason I’d find the pitch interesting is good. Citing relevant work I’ve published is fine, actually.
What’s your process for managing the pitching process? What tools do you use?
@AndreaMLehr @google streak. We also continually update a spreadsheet that has publishers divided by verticals.
@lisabuyer I JUST started using Streak about 2 months ago!!! Love it.
@stephbeadell I use @BuzzSumo and @Followerwonk for research then @BuzzStream for relationship mgmt & pitching. I use TweetDeck a lot, too.
@Tony_DWM @BuzzSumo @Followerwonk @BuzzStream. Yep, use all these power-houses too, except TweetDeck.
Do follow-ups actually work? When do you send them? What should they say?
@lisabuyer How about a handwritten note!
@Tony_DWM They can, but timing is key. Too short & you’re pushy. Too long & they forget (if they noted you in 1st place). What to say is dependent on initial pitch & what the ‘next steps’ were. Initial email should have advancements.
@stephbeadell Agreed. My industry is small. I’m always afraid of looking pushy, so I err on the side of caution.
@hallstigerts I limit myself to one follow-up, and send 7-10 days after my initial email. Usually comes off well.
@AndreaMLehr I’ll send additional assets in follow ups, or a screenshot that shows the topic is trending via @google.
@stephbeadell I like that, adding value rather than just looking pushy or needy!
@TrinityInsight Follow-ups work like a charm – just shoot over a quick sentence or two to jog the recipient’s memory.
@contentbycara Quick personal follow ups do work. People are busy; reminders never hurt.
@JennineMiller The when depends on the situation but always follow up! Something short like telling them you shared their piece on social.
@RonellSmith Follow-ups CAN work, but are most effective if a relationship is in place first.
What are some of the most important points you stress when training new employees on how to pitch?
@AndreaMLehr Personalize it; add value; make it short.
@TurbanSEO Pitching has changed its course.. we educate with data points which could benefit in short term or long run.
@Tony_DWM Being themselves but paramount: KNOW who it is their pitching to. Ppl relate to ppl, not posts. Ppl = long term. Or a superior knowledge of the land-scape is known or via a FOAF influencer intro (warm).
@stephbeadell I always encourage people to pitch like they’re writing to a busy, friendly, colleague. Keeps voice human and not too salesy.
@JennineMiller Yes! Busy journalists appreciate getting to the point & being real. Don’t treat them like your personal media outlet.
@RonellSmith Like a journo: “Get to know your beat.” Build relationships w/key contacts before they are needed. Greatest examples of this are NFL and political reporters. PR folks miss that. Seen it for years.
@hallstigerts Some of my best relatnshps were developed online; then meeting in-person solidifies. But online relationships do take more work to make an impression. #SoMuchNoise
@RonellSmith Begins w/the desire to build a relationship. You can make it work from there.
@AdamDince Also, don’t be afraid to ask a connection for an introduction via LinkedIn.
@hallstigerts WAY better than a default direct connection request. Too many of those. No context.
@JennineMiller Research! Make sure you’re not wasting your efforts or their time pitching to the wrong people & please spell their name right!
@contentbycara Take the time to listen first. Then personalize.
@TrinityInsight Make every email thoughtful & flawless! Also, it’s important to keep track of positive correspondences for future use.
@stephbeadell I feel like I can’t talk about pitching/training without sharing this great post from @Kevin_Raposo. So good.
@JennineMiller Not just about pitching but @crestodina makes some great points about pitching in this @BruceClayInc vid.