I get a lot of pitches at Mamanista, the parenting lifestyle blog I co-edit. I've also written a few pitches, freelancing for some friends who own PR agencies.
And I've noticed some trends in the use of language that might mystify newbie bloggers. So, to help you read those pitches, here is some key vocabulary translated:
- Exclusive: Only every blogger on my list of 10,000 mom bloggers has received this. Please be flattered and post this offer so I score points with my client / bosses. We're not going to pay you.
- Opportunity: We have some samples for you and we hope you are going to work for free because we are certainly not going to pay you.
- Opportunity to Run a Giveaway: We want inbound links and traffic for the wholesale cost of our product but we're not going to pay you.
- Exposure / Traffic: We'll put a tiny "no-follow" link to your blog at the bottom of an obscure page of one of our microsites in exchange for some quality content and active promotion of our brand...but we are not going to pay you.
- Beta Testing: We want you to be part of a free focus group but we're not going to pay you.
- Feedback: We want you to consult for us but we're not going to pay you.
- Blogger Contest: Our SEO guy or gal told us we need to build inbound links but we don't think your time, effort, and influence are worth the wholesale cost of our product and we are certainly not going to pay you.
- Content: We paid hack writers to throw together a piece of content that will appear on hundreds of spammy websites and we're hoping a few bloggers will pick it up, too, even though that is the one thing most real bloggers actually do well all by themselves. We paid someone else so we don't have to pay you.
- "We don't have the budget": Look, I'm just a low-level PR intern in a giant firm working on one small piece of a huge campaign for a multi-billion dollar-corporation. But I'm really nice and it would be so sweet of you to post for me. You and I both know this corporation has tons of money but they're paying it to someone else. They're not going to pay you. Heck, they are barely paying me to tell you we're not going to pay you.
For the most part, however, PR people need to place their clients on your blog but they cannot pay cash to do so.
The better, more experienced PR people know some pretty fancy footwork--they are charming, talented, seductive dance partners.
But if you want anyone, your readers, the brand representatives, and yourself, to respect you in the morning, you need to keep your wits about you.
Know what you want out of a relationship. Your potential dance partner may have just what you need to set the dance floor on fire.
If that is not what is on offer, either delete or "pitch back". If it does not work out this time, just sit this song out. Another, even more suitable dance partner, will be sure to invite you to tango.
And, even if they do not, in the immortal words of Billy Idol, "Well, there's nothing to lose, and there's nothing to prove, and I'll be dancing with myself..."