If you’re a blogger or digital influencer, you’re probably used to getting pitches from public relations professionals all the time. Unfortunately, too many of these will be wrong for you because people do not do their homework. Oftentimes, they just have a general list that they send every ask to, not understanding that it’s no way to connect authentically.
I get pitches that have nothing to do with my work, and there are some that are so off-base, I wonder if they’ve ever even visited my website. It’s lazy, it’s annoying and sometimes frustrating. Our inboxes are already full of enough spam so adding emails and press releases from PR folks who haven’t researched you just adds to the clutter.
So how do you respond to these emails? Do you just delete them or report them as spam? You could. OR you could make it a teaching moment for the sendee.
1. Thank them for thinking about you but let them know it’s wrong.
How do you work on getting people to fix behavior you do not like? You tell them, so they know to do better. You can be direct and stern, without being rude (that’s where the “thanks” comes in). I like to just start off my replies with “Thanks for sending this my way but this is the wrong pitch for me.” There is nothing to interpret there. It is straightforward.
2. Tell them what your site is about and what you cover.
Since they don’t seem to get you or your work, explain who you are and what to do in 1-2 clear sentences. “My website AwesomelyLuvvie.com is humor-focused and it covers pop culture, TV, movies, travel and race.” I also will tell them they can also pitch me tech and social media stuff for AwesomelyTechie.com.
3. Tell them the types of pitch you’re looking for.
This is where you can talk about the types of pitches you want and why the one they sent is wrong. I always get pitches from A&R people wanting me to publicize their client’s music so I let them know that I am not a music blogger. BUT they can pitch me music that I need to make fun of. This is also where I tell them I don’t do interviews.
4. Find out the other brands they represent.
You can make a pitch work for you if YOU do some research. In every PR person’s email signature is their company name and usually the website link. Go there and find out if they represent brands that are a better fit for you. Tell them what those brands are, and say although the one they pitched you doesn’t work, [BRAND YOU LIKE THAT THEY REPRESENT] does and you’d like to be connected with them. You can find opportunity in others’ mistakes.
5. Send them your media kit
Attach your media kit or about page to this reply so they can learn more about you. You are giving them NO excuses not to do better, at this point.
This can all be simple if you create a standard canned response in your inbox so you won’t have to write a custom email every time. Here’s mine:
“Thanks for sending this along but it’s the wrong pitch for me.
I have two websites: AwesomelyLuvvie.com is a humor blog that covers all things pop culture, TV, movies, travel, race, and culture in general. AwesomelyTechie.com is a resource space about technology, business, social media, gadgets and apps.
Please tailor future pitches accordingly. Thanks.”
That is the short one, for when I don’t feel like researching other brands they represent. I will add something similar to what’s below if I do go all out to find out about their other clients:
“I have locs and don’t talk about hair unless it’s to make fun of it so your pitch for me to endorse lace-fronts won’t work. However, I see that your company represents BRAND I LOVE. Are they currently looking to work with an influencer like myself? I’d love to connect. I’ve attached my media kit for your reference.”
So here’s your template to do the same:
“Thanks for sending this pitch but it doesn’t align with the work I do. My website NAME (URL if it’s different from name) does TAGLINE OR MISSION STATEMENT. I don’t write/blog/speak about WRONG TOPIC THEY JUST PITCHED YOU. In the future, please tailor pitches around TOPICS YOU REALLY TALK ABOUT. Attached is my MEDIA KIT/ONE PAGER/ABOUT ME PAGE.”
If after all of this, they continue to pitch you things that are clearly not for you, then they really are lazy and they don’t want to prosper. You’ve basically done their jobs for them by spelling out what works and they don’t want to listen. Feel free to report their emails as spam.
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