My thoughts on PR and marketing pitches

Based on a slightly ranty post on my Sheila’s Guide to the Good Stuff blog (social media and travel/tourism) called “How to reach out to bloggers, and what makes us crazy,” here are my thoughts:

I get a ton of pitch emails, the vast majority of which are deleted.   Most are not well targeted to me or to the readers of this blog.  Those that are done well are usually not interesting to me because I usually write about my personal experiences, not general travel news, and I do very few product or hotel reviews.

The few pitches and emails that resonate indicate that:

  1. The person actually reads my blog, and not just to get my name to “personalize” their email blast. I particularly like the copy/paste of my name such that the greeting is one font and the press release pasted below is another. Awesome!
  2. The topic ties into a place that I’ve been to and/or written about. I’ll admit that the current template on this blog is not always search-friendly (it’s much better since a recent upgrade) but my topic categories can be found through Archives at the bottom of the front page.  You can’t read my mind to see where I’m going that I haven’t visited before, obviously, so PR might get lucky and hit me with something about someplace I happen to be planning to go (but I doubt it, so why waste your time?)
  3. The email topic ties to my focus of budget, independent, family-friendly travel. I’ve lived in the Middle East as a preteen and with my own kids in Asia and Europe, and have traveled all over the US.  I am so NOT the kind of person to stay in some all-inclusive package place in Cancun or Jamaica, so don’t inundate me with off-topic pitches.
  4. I would much rather support state/county/city tourism organizations than more commercial travel businesses.
  5. (Here is the biggest insight of all, and the most ignored) I’d rather deal with someone who has already “hung out” on my blog, by leaving a comment or two on some of my posts. Problem is, hardly any PR rep who’s blasted an email at me has ever stopped by and left a helpful comment and participated in the blog’s conversation BEFORE filling my IN box.

I don’t mean to sound unfriendly, but I am rarely at a loss for blog post ideas; with two other blogs besides this one, a social media training site, speaking engagements and other irons in the fire, my problem is TIME.

If after all that, you still want to pitch, I’m sheila “at” sheilascarborough “dot” com.

I usually don’t respond if I’m not interested, and I’m OK with one follow-up “any interest?” email (which I may or may not respond to depending on how badly that day’s email volume is sucking all the life out of my head.)  If you don’t have an “Unsubscribe” option in all of your emails in accordance with CAN-SPAM, I get really crabby.

Thanks very much for listening.