Let's face facts ... flattery will get your everywhere. Or will at least get your email read all the way to the end.
I receive a number of TERRIBLE pitches to blog about something. Now, I want to be clear .. I'm not talking about press releases. I'm on a couple of press release lists and frankly, I have pretty low expectations. In fact, I'd rather press releases didn't get too personal. What I would like is if they included a link to the press release on the company's website as well as links to visuals and some other helpful info so I could write a post about it. But that's a topic for another day.
What I am talking today about are blogger relations campaigns where a marketing or PR rep for a company wants to develop some kind of relationship with specific bloggers. They are looking for exposure and ideally for a recommendation to the bloggers' readers. This is where I have an expectation of personalization.
This is NOT personalization:
Dear Kate of My Name is Kate:
Great blog. Your readers might be interested in the ExtraCoolWidgets that MyCluelessCompany just launched. You can check them out here.
Now, I grant you, it's short. But that's really all it has going for it.
Here is an AWESOME example of personalization (posted with permission):
As the guru of all things techno and cool at mynameiskate.ca, I thought you would appreciate the style and Internet Savvyness of Mabel’s Labels at www.mabel.ca .We make labels that are perfect for families of all kinds. They withstand the dishwasher, microwave, laundry and the wear and tear of he busiest toddlers! 100% Canadian Made! This company is owned by four moms’ who used the Internet to harness a label empire.
They make a fabulous gift for anyone that lends their stuff out: toys, tools, craft equipment, Tupperware, shoes, books…you name it, we’ll label it! We also make incredibly durable labels just for shoes and clothes.
I would love to send you some labels for you to review on your blog. If you’re interested then email me the correct spelling of your name along with your shipping address.
Keep up the great work. We’re big fans of mynameiskate.ca!
Melissa (ed. aka SavvySmartMarketingMaven from Mabel's Labels)
Let's break down the awesomeness of this email:
- There is not a blogger anywhere that doesn't want to be called a guru. Ego drives a lot of blogging. Even for people who say it doesn't
- Melissa draws a connection between what my blog is about (techno and cool) to her product (style and internet savvyness). She shows that it would make sense for me to write about it.
- She gives me the elevator pitch: what it is and why it's great. And whether this is serendipitous or not - she mentions that it is Canadian and run by women-entrepreneurs - two sub-themes to my blog.
- She tells me what I need to do and even references that I have a difficult to spell name :) (I am NOT a Trog ...)
- Melissa brings it back to me and closes with another compliment
- Above all, this email is written in a charming and authentic tone. It is a pleasure to read even aside from the ego-gratification. Marketers ... invest in good copywriting! It is a gift to be able to write like this. Find people who can elevate your brand personality with their writing skills.
Now, you can make the argument that this isn't really a personalized email. You could sub in any blog name and it would read just fine. And maybe Melissa did. Part of me (most of me, really) doesn't care because the writing makes me feel like she's speaking just to me.
Sean Howard and Greg Verdino have posts about emails they have recently received "pitching" them where their form-letter nature is much more blatant. CK has a pitch policy post to which she refers erstwhile media relations folks. And over at my Squidoo Laptop Bag Lens, I have a section on my policies for writing up a laptop bag review.
Obviously, folks have different takes on what they will and will not consider pitching and I think the conversation is super healthy. But a common theme is certainly respect, authenticity and appropriateness. And Melissa from Mabel's Labels certainly does that in spades with a side of great writing to boot. So pitchers ... get your heads on straight and your polish up your writing skills -- you'll get a lot further in your blogger relations!
Photo Credit: "Sir Millard Mulch" by Rick