I had a peculiar and wonderful week and I wanted to share why. As I write this I am about to board a plane with my family to fly to Tremblant. A public relations company reached out beautifully to connect with me and start what I hope will be a lasting relationship. They did everything right from the moment we first connected. But more about that in a minute. This week I also had a pitch that was so far off the mark it left me shaking my head, so I wanted to take this post to share this story: a tale of two pitches to examine what went right and what went wrong.
First pitch. A publishing brand. First point of contact: email.
Second pitch. A travel brand. First point of contact: twitter.
What worked and what didn’t?
Both modes of contact are fine and I will likely connect with you either way. But I am faster on twitter so the second pitch hints to me that they might be more familiar with my habits on line. Email pitches occasionally fall into the email graveyard. I currently have 24,000 emails that are waiting for me to read. I get roughly 5,000 emails a week. My in box is often flooded. A twitter pitch has the potential to be seen by someone else and intercepted, but this one wasn’t and it worked well for me and I hope the PR company was happy as well. Twitter pitch was unique and eye catching.
The second point of contact:
First pitch: ( publishing) is for a publishing company that approached me via impersonal email. They asked would I like to be involved in offering a giveaway, mentioning their new program. They are seeking some publicity for books they want mentioned as a Keep Kids Reading During school breaks campaign. I am a big reader and I promote literacy so I give this a second chance.
Second pitch – (travel) Via Twitter Hello @inkscrblr we are really wanting to connect with you regarding an upcoming weekend opportunity. Are you available? I am always on twitter and I am seldom pitched on twitter ( unless through a DM ) so this one gets my eye. I scope out the Twitter user and realize he is a legitimate PR person and this pitch starts to get exciting. I connect next by email and suggest we talk by phone also. He follows through beautifully and fast.
What worked and what didn’t?
First pitch: the publishing brand – impersonal approaches rarely work but I keep the conversation going sometimes anyways and I can occasionally overlook that. I occasionally do giveaways so I keep on talking…just in case there is anything here.
Second pitch: the travel brand – You caught my eye immediately finding me on twitter because that is where I live. The pitch is unique, personal and it shows they know me. We take the conversation off line to email and then to a phone call. I am interested and excited. They address me by name and they always know my on line handles etc. This public relations company is familiar with the audience (me). They compliment my activity, are knowledgeable about me and my on line influence. YOU did your homework. Nice.
Third point of contact:
First pitch: the publishing brand – We never leave email at any point, it should be noted. Which sometimes works for me BUT also I am never addressed by name. There is no familiar observation or commentary about my topic matter, blog or social assets. This is extremely impersonal. I am not even confident they have ever read my blog. They want me to give away a gift bag. This compensation with strictly product is sometimes a tactic that PR agencies use. Sometimes if it meets a certain amount then that’s okay. Occasionally if it is a great prize for a reader then this might be okay. I ask is it a gift bag full of books for readers? No, it’s a gift bag, as in a $2 cloth bag with a name on it. I am dumbfounded.
Second pitch: the travel brand – We are already planning a weekend getaway. I am told they like my content and they are familiar with it. They ask that my entire family attend the weekend getaway and tweet or write about it or both. It is really important that we have your whole family there. You will be the only blogger there with their family. They talk in detail about the event and all the exciting things planned for our entire family. They also describe and sell their venue..then the kicker… also we will fly you all there so you don’t need to drive. I am met at the airport and made to feel really important to them in the scheme of this outreach.
What worked and what didn’t?
First pitch: the publishing brand – Sorry no budget. You can have a $2 cloth bag for your readers and then after you craft and write and publish a post about the giveaway you can have your own $2 cloth bag too. How many people go to work each day and fulfill a day’s worth of tasks and then accept a gift bag worth $2 the next day as payment. NO. This is completely wrong from start to finish. By the end of the day this is on my list of worst pitches ever and I am asking the contact to lose my email and please don’t contact me again.
Second pitch: travel brand – you know that saying that you might not recall the words a person says or the day you met, but you always remember how they made you feel? This new person and public relations company made me feel great. They made me feel valuable. They treat me as a valuable partner in the business of building stories and experiences. In fact at one point as we are talking they indicate – we don’t want sponsored stories and press releases. We hope to give you the real experience of our travel brand so you can share that with your readers. They also repeatedly mention that I am under no obligation to post but they clearly lay out what they hope to achieve. We are communicating clearly immediately. This is one of the best pitches I have ever had.
Fourth Point of contact:
First pitch: the publishing brand. There is nothing more here. No sharing. No relationship. In fact this is the story we tell in influencer circles when we compare the worst pitches we have each ever received. This outreach person has actually damaged their brand with a really poor outreach.
Second pitch: The travel brand: They meet me at the airport. They recognize me instantly even though we have never met. They politely introduce themselves to my entire family and they engage everyone. We are made to feel special and we are whisked away to the destination. During the flight they ask twice if we are okay. Do we need anything? This continues throughout the entire trip. They are proactive and they solve all issues fast. They react and interact fast if there is anything at all that is not going smoothly. They connect fast on all the social channels with each of the influencers. They comment and retweet and engage and like and share. They support the influencers on line and off. They provide a hashtag quickly and they are available 24/7 on email, or by phone. Perfect.
What went right and what went wrong?
First pitch: the publishing brand: Assumed that they didn’t need to know anything about me to pitch and they didn’t do their homework. They had a poor pitch and no budget.
Second pitch: the travel brand: Flawless and artful. Perfect. As a result of how they made us feel and the experience we had I have a great number of stories and experiences to share and I also feel more likely to share and work hard to continue the relationship and build positive stories and tweets and photos.
In addition to this blog, I also run a consulting business Thrifty Mom Media. If you want a quote on a blogger outreach program or if you need someone to help you build a digital campaign, I can help with that. firstname.lastname@example.org