This is the fourth in a series of posts that will walk through the mindset, resources and strategy needed to launch and maintain a thriving blog ambassador program for your natural product line or brand. Read parts one, two and three here.
Now that you've done your research and pinpointed a list of bloggers who would be a great fit for your blog ambassador program, it's time to begin outreach to see if those bloggers would be interested. In this post, we will outline best practices for pitching bloggers and highlight opportunities to cultivate relationships that will enhance your blogger outreach program.
Crafting your pitch
Email is typically the best way to start the conversation with bloggers and media in general. It allows time for the person you are pitching to view your pitch, consider it and provide a thoughtful reply. It’s essential to ensure your correspondence is structured in a way that will stand out to the blogger and prompt a positive reply.
Consider for example, as with other forms of media, popular bloggers receive dozens of requests weekly (and often daily) from brands and solicitors. You want to make sure that yours stands out, looks legitimate and is highly targeted to the specific person you are contacting. To achieve this, keep the following in mind when crafting your pitch:
- Demonstrate you are familiar with his or her blog and that this is not a mass pitch to a bunch of bloggers.
- Don't make your pitch too long, because it will be one of many in their inbox—you'll want to get to the point.
- Remember it isn't a sales pitch.
- Be sure to point out what is in it for bloggers as part of your program. Is it an exclusive group? What will they get from you? Will you promote their blog as well?
- Briefly indicate (you can expand on this once you get a reply) what would be expected of him or her as a participant in the program
- Include a call to action. Should he or she reply? Or send you an address?
- Keep your follow-up email in mind.
The right way to pitch a blogger
Now for some practical application, here is an example of a pitch that helped my team secure blog ambassadors for one of our all-natural frozen food brands.
Subject Line: You’re Invited for an Exclusive Taste of XYZ Foods
I hope you’re having a great day. My name is Julia and I’m reaching out on behalf of frozen Asian food leader, XYZ Foods, because your blog appears to be an ideal fit for our new blog ambassador program.
You are really thoughtful in crafting posts that look delicious and the recipes are easy enough to not be intimidating. I especially love how most can be made in under 20 minutes!
Specifically I wanted to see if you’d be interested in sampling some XYZ Foods products for consideration in becoming one of the bloggers we regularly partner with who have distribution in select East Coast regions.
Ideally, we’re looking to partner with one blogger in your region for first taste product reviews, exclusive quarterly giveaways and new product sampling. We’d like that blogger to be you!
Do you have interest in learning more about this possibility? If so, please reply back and I will send you more information about what would be involved.
Be sure to check out our products to see which you’d like to sample. We’re also very active on social media and our own blog.
I look forward to speaking with you soon!
Notice how this email is specifically tailored to the blogger being pitched? Julia mentions something that shows she is familiar with the blog and quickly calls attention to why she’s emailing the blogger, as well as what's in store for her as part of the blog ambassador program.
The wrong way to pitch a blogger (or any media member)
To contrast this pitch, I often receive the following pitches proposing I cover a certain product or service. Notice the overall template feel of the email:
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Subject: Your Blog
Hi There –
I came across your blog and really enjoyed reading through your posts! Many people (like myself) often get into a comfort zone when it comes to the kitchen and what they make frequently for family meals. In order to encourage people to get out of that comfort zone I thought you might be interested in sharing an exclusive recipe from a new title in our digital library …
Here’s a great, easy pizza recipe that is not part of the free chapter available to the general public, and kids tend to love it! Let me know if you’re interested in sharing it on your blog. I’d be really eager to see what your readers think about it!
If you have any questions, or would like an alternative recipe to share please let me know. I look forward to hearing from you.
What makes this pitch so bad? It is not targeted. The blogger isn’t being addressed by name, and the specific blog isn’t mentioned. This specific email was sent to me proposing I blog about pizza and family eating when I do not blog about either.
Summary: Don’t risk “spray and pray” pitching. At best you won’t get replies to your pitches. At worst you may offend the blogger you’re contacting and get labeled as not caring and a spammer.
Craft your pitch and plan to follow up
In my team’s experience having secured more than 3,000 coverage opportunities for brands, most traditional media and influencer media, like bloggers, do not reply on the first pitch. Even if your pitch is highly targeted, you are dealing with a very busy audience, and it may take a while for them to respond to you.
So, when you are crafting your first email, be sure to consider what your follow-up email will be about a week later.
As you begin outreach and follow up with bloggers, you'll want to set up guidelines for how often you will follow up before giving up. Remember, silence does not always indicate disinterest because people are busy and have many priorities. Coming up in the last post of this series, we’ll tackle special topics like when to consult a lawyer when organizing a blog ambassador program, and how to tactfully turn down a blogger who is not the right fit.