NewComm Forum: How to "Pitch" to Bloggers

Elisa Camahort posts a good recap Alice Marshall's NewComm forum session entitled How to Pitch a Blogger. Interestingly enough, semantics caused a great deal of discussion, with tension around words like "pitch" and PR "flak" setting the tone for the session.

In the end Marshall recommended three "best practices":

  1. Contact bloggers the way they ask to be contacted.
  2. Tell them why their readers would like the story. (Which would necessitate being familiar enough with a blogger's work that you have a sense of who their readers are...not simply that they reside in the Technorati Top 100, so you're contacting them for that reason alone.)
  3. Be transparent: don't pretend you're an enthusiastic user of a product or service. As Marshall said, "Don't just disclose your relationships, brag abut them."

The recap is a good read, and provides an interesting look at pitching bloggers vs. journalists. Another comprehensive and helpful guide to pitching is Dan Gillmor's Letter to PR People. While every journalist or blogger will have different preferences about being contacted, Gillmor's guidelines are a good starting point.