Last week I wrote 10 tips on How To Make Your Website Blogger-Friendly. It mainly referred to fashion websites, which are known to be heavy on visuals and flash, and not always built with online media/bloggers in mind. I’m seeing somewhat similar trends in my every day email communications with PR companies, and thought that instead of pointing at what’s not working well, I would offer advice on how to make these email pitches work.
As a fashion blogger I get countless pitches in my inbox on a daily basis (confession: I open all of them!), and only 1-2 usually end up on MyItThings.com. Those that do, have at least one or hopefully all of these qualities:
1. Keep Email Subject Relevant. A clever title might make me curious about the email content, but if it doesn’t relate to your pitch I will feel “tricked”. No one likes this feeling.
2. Greet Recipient by Name. Besides the fact that we all love being greeted by our own name and feeling special while receiving a personal email – most bloggers will feel more obligated to respond to emails addressed to them personally. This means you increase your chances to be featured, or at least get a reply. Of course sending a personal email to each person demands time, so my advice would be choosing your recipients more carefully and send only to those who are relevant.
3. Craft Short Intro. You could save time for many people by explaining the press release or attachments in 1-2 sentences. Best pitches include customized intro with ideas on how the story can fit into specific blog/ category.
4. Get Straight to the Point. Realize that your email will be read with many other pitches, most of them will start with “Hope all is well”, “Hope you had a great weekend” or “Hope you enjoy the first day of Spring”. If we don’t have a personal connection and you aren’t sincerely concerned about my well being, these polite words will only reduce the focus of your message.
5. Use Editorial Tone. No one likes to be sold to, so lose over-the-top marketing tone and instead write your message as a blog post you would love to read. You will increase the chances of bloggers actually reading your email by speaking in their own language, and you will provide them a quote they could potentially use in their post.
6. Selectable Text. Make sure your text can be easily copied especially if it contains important info, such as location, date, names, etc. It happens a lot with invitations or events’ announcements, which are being attached as a jpeg or other image format. Including text (even in addition to the image) makes posting easier and prevents misspellings.
7. Include 1-4 Images. Fashion blogs are all about the visuals and no matter how great your pitch is – if there is no visuals attached to the story, your chances for getting a feature are much lower. If you plan on sending more than 4 images, upload them into a specially designated online space and include the link in your email. If these are exclusive images, make sure to protect this area with password. In one word – http://drop.io. Please include any restrictions and credits related to the photos to prevent copyright issues.
8. Use JPEG for Image Attachments. From my experience there is only one image format compatible with all uploading/viewing applications: JPEG. If you send TIFF, PDF, AI, PNG, BMP or any other format you lower the chances for being featured. Even a common format as GIF can cause troubles, especially if needs resizing. If you don’t have a JPEG, get free software that converts any image to a Jpeg. Avoid ZIP files, as they require saving it to a desktop even before being able to preview the files. You want the bloggers to be able to open your photos in one single click, or preferable have their previews in the email body.
9. Use Medium Resolution for Images. 600×600 is usually a max size for images posted on blogs. Most use about 300×300 boundaries. Lower resolution might not include all the details of the item, and be less attractive for posting. Higher resolution (in addition to taking unnecessary space in the inbox) might cause troubles in upload, take much longer to load and might need to be converted to lower resolution first – another step in the posting process, which again lowers your chances.
10. Make Video Assets Easy to Embed. Videos are a great way to engage readers and increase the time they spent on a blog. Having an original video asset will significantly increase your chances for feature, but only if it’s easily embeddable on various platforms. If you have an original video file and plan on sending the link to download – you decrease your chances, since most blogs are simply not capable to upload videos onto their platform. Other proprietary players (like many TV stations tend to have) aren’t always compatible with the blogging platform, don’t always include the embed code, or the code is just hard to find. Your best bet would be using one of the common video platforms such as Blip.tv, Vimeo, Viddler and of course YouTube.
Last note – this may surprise you, but BLOGGERS LOVE GOOD PITCHES. I myself often feel genuinely excited when receiving a pitch from my favorite brand, which includes eloquently delivered news and exclusive assets to share with my readers.
As always – I would love to hear any additions, comments, opinions from my fellow bloggers as well as from PR mavens. Additional suggested reading – Social Media PR: Top 10 Ways Not to Pitch Bloggers by Pierce Mattie PR.