As the Important Media accounts manager, I answer all the inbound emails for our network of sites. I work with companies everyday to help promote their brands, whether it’s a helping out a local solar organization or sharing the cool products from a sustainable kitchenware company.
However, I also filter through a gazillion emails from people trying to pitch their content to us in all the WRONG ways. So I thought I’d share some of my insights, with two hopeful outcomes:
- If you’re a marketer, that you’ll stop using this terrible pitches.
- If you’re a blogger or media person, that you know what these pitches look like and how to avoid it, if you choose to do so.
Important Media’s Guide for How NOT to Pitch Content
1. Don’t send generic pitches
If your email starts with something like, “I just read http://fill-in-the-blank blog post and it was AMAZING,” it’s pretty dang clear that you have NOT actually read our website, and that you’re using a template. Templates are fine – I use them all the time. Just make sure that you’ve tailored your message to the human recipient on the other end, and that you make some effort to make it unique and interesting to the reader. Assume that they receive hundreds of emails each day and that your email needs to capture their attention in a short timeframe.
2. Do NOT use fake journalists
A newer tactic is to hire ‘bloggers’ that look real, but are actually fake. These ‘bloggers’ will have their own blog with an average of three articles, all very recent. They will then link to a bunch of low-ranked, scammy looking sites as locations where their content has been published. And then when they send articles, there is always a hidden link for a company. This is not a successful tactic: we can sniff this out from a mile away and will not publish them. If you are a legitimate blogger and looking for exposure, be sure to really read the site, share how your writing could benefit the site, and share a link to a digital archive to quality websites.
3. Make sure your emails and websites work
It’s surprising how often I will respond to an email or click over to a website to find it’s broken or the email bounces. If your website is not working, chances are we’re not going to promote it.
4. Don’t list your SEO company on your Twitter profile
Sometimes emails from journalists look pretty legit, but after just a few minutes of digging, we find that your Twitter name links to your SEO company. It’s fine if you work for an SEO company, just don’t lie to us and say that you’re a journalist when really you are not.
5. We are not interested in your Award
Whether we’re the ‘coolest green blog’ or ‘the best blog post of the year,’ we are not interested. This is a clever, yet wildly overdone, tactic to encourage cross-linking and free promo, and it’s completely transparent, and we won’t publish anything about our ‘awards.’
But you would never send any email like that, would you?
Now that you’ve read all the things NOT to do, check out our post to help with tips for pitching content to media.