After you've been blogging a while, you're likely to get pitches.
What is a pitch?
I don't know that there's a good, working definition of pitch for bloggers (?), but this is my crack at it:
A pitch is an attempt by a company or individual to convince you (the blogger) to promote a product, service, website, etc. for them.
In a nutshell, someone wants you to do something for them such as hosting a giveaway, writing about them, writing for them, etc. Generally, the idea is that they will do something for you in return, such as providing you with a sample product, a trip, a book deal, monetary compensation, exposure, etc. (although it's amazing how many will try to get something out of you for nothing).
There are so many companies out there wooing bloggers, and justifiably so, given the amount of influence bloggers have.
How to know if a pitch is good
I get a fair number of emails asking if I've "heard of such-and-such company and are they legit?"
Usually my reader has found an email in their inbox from a company and wonders if the pitch they received is worth pursuing. Some are legit, some are not. But how do you sort the good ones from the bad? It's not an exact science, but here are my tips:
1. I don't recommend link exchanges.
I'll just get this one out there from the get-go. I'm not a fan of link exchanges. Back in the day, link exchanges were common. They work like this, "Hey, I'll put a link to your site on mine, if you'll put a link to my site on yours." Too often these agreements are made casually with vague, arbitrary or non-existent terms (how long do you have keep their link on your site? A month? 10 years?), usually for the sole purpose of building backlinks artificially and often with very little relevance.
I just don't think there's a real need for them. Be organic in your link-building. It's better all the way around. If you like someone, just link to them. If someone likes you, hopefully they'll link to you.
2. Google them.
This may be obvious, but if you haven't heard of a company but you think it might be a good opportunity, do your research. Check out their site. (How does it look? Is it well done? Is it cheesy? You can tell a lot about a company by how professional their site is.) Search things like "[company] reviews" or "work with [company]" or even "is [company] legit."
3. Be skeptical of "cold" emails at first.
If I get a pitch from a company I don't know, I usually treat it with suspicion initially. I often delete it right away if it looks canned, spammy and if the company is completely unrelated to my niche. Let's face it, when we're not dealing in face-to-face interactions, it's important to be cautious.
Not every company is illegitimate, however. In fact, I got a pitch recently from a company that turned out to be a very good opportunity, but I assumed illegitimacy at first and let my research prove me wrong. Then I could move forward with confidence.
4. If it's not a good fit, be short and sweet.
If I get a pitch from a company that seems legit, but isn't a good fit for my blog, I'll shoot off a quick email (email templates are super handy in this instance) which says, "Thanks so much for your email. I appreciate you thinking of me, but I don't feel this is a good fit for my blog. All the best…" That's it. Short, sweet, to the point and they know I got it (and they don't need to send follow up emails) but I'm not interested. Also, there's no need to burn bridges with legit companies you might have reason to work with in the future; you just never know.
5. Want to work with legit companies? Word of mouth is key.
The best companies to work with are companies recommended by other bloggers you know (another reason it's imperative you build relationships with other bloggers). Keep your ears peeled for companies others have had success (or not) with.
Photo by o5com.
Other posts in this series
- What is a pitch and how do I know if it's good? 15 Tips (Part 1)
- What is a pitch and how do I know if it's good? 15 Tips (Part 2)
- What is a pitch and how do I know if it's good? 15 Tips (Part 3)