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Monday, January 21, 2013

Six Tips For How To Pitch To Fashion Bloggers

If you are a fashion blogger like myself with several years of experience, then you may receive dozens of PR pitches and press releases on a daily basis. Given the high volume of emails that I receive in my five email inboxes each day, I want to help PR and marketing reps to make more effective use of their time when pitching to fashion bloggers. Over the past six years that I have been blogging about fashion, I've gained a lot of experience about what types of pitches appeal to me and which ones I'm more likely to open, read, and respond to. I hope that my tips will help bloggers, digital marketers, and PR reps to save time and develop effective relationships. Read on for my six tips on how to pitch to fashion bloggers:

1. Qualify your leads. This is a basic sales strategy. First and foremost, you want to send relevant information to the right bloggers. Sending wedding dress and bridal pitches to a tween personal style blogger will likely be a waste of time for you and the blogger. Read the blogs that you are pitching to so that you can get a feel for their content and what type of information they might be interested in. If a blogger has a pitch policy, make it your priority to read it and adjust your pitches accordingly.  (Bloggers, I highly recommend publishing a pitch policy to help PR reps know what type of information you'd like to receive.) Making sure you’re sending the right information to the right people who can use it will make you a much more effective marketer.  

2.Check the facts. Address the blogger by name in a personal way, and make sure you get their name/title right. When I’m skimming through an email, I notice right away if there’s an error. For example, I have received emails to Fashion Trend Guy instead of Fashion Trend Guide. The title of my blog is clearly visible in my header. If you don’t take the time to get my name or blog name right, I probably won’t take the time to open your email. The same goes for mass emails that begin with "Dear Blogger," as those feel like spam. I've even received emails where the sender forgot to fill in my blog name in the email pitch template, so it would read "Dear insert blogger name here..."

3. Be concise and keep it brief. Given the high volume of messages that I receive daily, the amount of time I’m going to spend reading them is limited. If the subject title catches my attention, then I’m more likely to open the message and then skim the first few sentences. Confession: I rarely read through the entire message, I simply skim rapidly to get the gist. If something piques my interest, the chances of me reading it and responding are much higher if the message is brief, with easy-to-access images and links. I advise keeping pitches to under 500-700 words.

4. Make the call to action clear.  Be direct about what you’re asking for in the email. Do you want the blogger to feature your lookbook, interview a designer, attend your event, or write about your event? Then say so in the message in a polite manner. Keep in mind that experienced and top tier personal style bloggers are highly unlikely to blog about something unless there’s a personal connection to the item/brand/event. So they’re not looking for your high res images or lookbooks. They’re probably looking to pull samples, attend events, guest blog, or host a contest. Furthermore, avoid pressuring bloggers to feature your client or brand, especially if they have not responded to you. The key to positive blogger relationships involves being open to developing a personal connection first. (See #5.)

5. Count on genuine connections. The best blogger/PR collaborations come about as a result of trusted, two-way communication and valued, authentic relationships. Show the blogger that you value their time, and when they respond positively to you, a simple thank you goes a long way. As a blogger, if I write about your brand or event, and then email you the link to my post, a quick thank you acknowledgement always fosters goodwill toward that PR rep.

6. Have strong follow through. Remember that your goal is to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with bloggers. Make sure to earn their trust by responding to their questions as soon as you can, and if your response to their request is a "no", then be sure to let them know instead of not responding. Also, if you can’t respond in a timely way (perhaps because you are waiting on a response from your manager), then let them know that and reassure them that you’ll get back to them at your earliest convenience.  As a blogger, I’d much rather hear that you can’t do something than just not get a response from you at all. To sum up, be diplomatic, professional, and patient in your communications. Having strong follow through will help you to earn respect from bloggers and develop strong relationships with them.

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