Editor-in-Chief of online magazine TheBeautyBean.com Alexis Wolfer shares her tips on not only pitching the online press, but creating a long term relationship with them as well...
1. Don’t ask when we’ll be covering your product. If you want to follow up on a sample that’s been sent, you can email to confirm it was received, to ask for feedback or to see if we need anything else – but don’t assume that this means that we liked your product or that it will be included in any coverage. Push for coverage of something we didn’t like and you may regret the review later…
2. Know who you’re pitching. I can’t even tell you how many pitches I receive each week for weight loss and plastic surgery – two things that if you spent 5 minutes on TheBeautyBean.com you would know that I would never cover. It’s relatively easy to customize your email blasts to different audiences, so take advantage of that feature.
3. Consolidate your emails. If you have 4 different products your launching/pitching, there is no need to send 4 different emails.
4. Don’t BS. We read right past your “Hey (auto-generated name). How are you? Do you have any fun weekend plans?” We know you’re sending this to loads of people and that’s okay. If you’re personalizing, really make it personal – otherwise we all just spent time reading questions that you really don’t care about or expect answers to.
5. If we pass, we pass. We don’t “owe” you anything just because you sent a sample. You may respectfully and kindly ask for feedback on why (most editors/bloggers will be happy to provide constructive criticism), but don’t try to convince us otherwise. We made up our minds and passed. Let’s all move on.
6. Don’t expect a reply to every pitch (and don’t pester until you do). If I read a subject line I know we won’t cover (sometimes for as innocuous of a reason as that we recently covered something similar) I just hit delete. It’s not personal, but if I replied to every email I got I would never get to writing about your fabulous goodies.
7. Follow your “dream team” of editors/bloggers on twitter and friend them on facebook. We often post about things we’re working on, problems we’re dealing with, etc. If you hear that an editor you love just dyed her hair and (unsolicited) send your color-protecting hair care line, you will score major brownie points.
8. Read our emails/instructions. Every month we send out an email to our PR contacts listing 10 or so stories I’m currently working on. In no fewer than 3 places (in this no longer than 300 word email) it says “please do not email asking if we want to see your product, if it fits, we want to see a sample.” Yet, inevitably, we receive 50+ emails asking if we want to see their product. If we ask for tips, send them! If we ask for samples, send them! If you don’t follow the instructions, you may just miss out.
9. Be nice. You would likely find it shocking how many people who ultimately want us to cover them are a bit rude in their emails. If it doesn’t work out this time, you don’t want to burn the bridge for future opportunities.
10. Make it easy. If you have an expert who can talk about a few different topics, tell us what they are – don’t make us email you to ask. If you’re pitching a product, make sure we can see what it is. (Every editor has different preferences so put in a link, attach and/or embed an image, etc…) The more steps you ask of us, the less likely we are to take them.