How to Pitch to a Dad Blogger: A short tutorial for PR Pros08/26/2010 By Shawn Burns
Hi there, welcome to Backpacking Dad’s short tutorial “How to Pitch to a Dad Blogger.” In this tutorial you will learn how to avoid some common mistakes even seasoned PR pros make when pitching partnership invitations and content ideas to dad bloggers. By the end of this tutorial you should be able to:
1) Immediately connect with a dad blogger.
2) Draw the dad blogger into your vision.
3) Lay the foundation for a relationship from which you will both benefit.
Lesson #1: Names Matter. Before you even think about contacting a particular dad blogger, figure out what his name is. For instance, although this blog is called “Backpacking Dad”, a quick glance at the “About Me” page will tell you my name. I enjoy talking to people who use my name. I am okay with talking to people who call me “Backpacking Dad”, though this is a clear sign to me that my conversation partner has not put much effort into our relationship (which then bodes ill for our future). Some dad bloggers do not offer their name anywhere, but you had better look first. I am not at all okay with being addressed as “Dad” unless you are one of my two children. And if you call me “Mom” in your e-mail at any point I will delete it without responding.
Lesson #2: Follow the Rules. Some bloggers have done you a favour by offering a small message for PR pros. Mine is cleverly called “Make Me an Offer” because I think I’m funny. I lay out some basic information there, nothing too detailed, but it is there. One item on that page is a test: If you send me an e-mail with “O Captain My Captain” in the subject line I will definitely read it, reply to it, and be immediately inclined to think well of you. This is not because you have flattered me with a phrase from Dead Poets Society, but because I can tell before I even open the e-mail that you have made an effort to find out some things. Good on you. Moreover, since this is a bit cheeky (again, because I think I’m funny), you will have proven that you are willing to engage on my level and not just treat me as another entry in a spreadsheet to be checked off. If a dad blogger has a PR page, read it. And play along.
Lesson #3: Make the dad blogger feel special. If a dad blogger receives a pitch and gets a sense that it is at all cookie-cutter he will be turned off. If it seems like it’s not only cookie-cutter, but cookie-cutter and directed at moms with some small edits it will end up in the trash folder. This happens all the time, with dad bloggers receiving after-thought pitches when someone realizes that there is another avenue of communicating with readers. As I said above, using my name is a great idea. Tailoring a pitch for me in particular will also work wonders for you. It doesn’t take much time: “Hey Shawn, I see from your recent post that you just got back from Canada. I have a great travel product that I think you might appreciate the next time you go….” That was two sentences, and it required a short scroll down the front page of my blog, but it would keep your e-mail from going in the trash folder. And it will almost certainly get a reply from me. I don’t know that I would actually be interested in your idea, but I’d be willing to let you tell me some more about it.
Lesson #4: Know the audience. When you pitch to mom bloggers you have this built-in benefit: most readers of mom blogs are women, and many of them are moms. Guess what? Most readers of dad blogs are women, and many of them are moms. This leaves you with a problem. While pitching an idea to a mom blogger it can usually be assumed that if the blogger herself likes it, her audience, by and large, will like it as well. There is dissonance with dad bloggers: many things we like we’re unsure if our readers will find worthwhile, and many of the things our readers like we won’t find interesting. There is a large overlapping area, but as the PR pro you need to pitch within that area or the odds are the partnership will not work out. Sometimes, with a good relationship in place, a dad blogger will even be willing to venture outside his areas of interest for the sake of entertaining or informing his audience rather than just amusing himself, but you can’t open with that move. Pitch within the overlap. Movies, parenting resources that are not mom-centric, toys, travel….topics like these are more likely to gain and keep a dad blogger’s interest than either a riding lawn mower or fun new fashion ideas.
Lesson #5: Know the Writing. Unless the dad blogger is writing for a site designed specifically for product reviews and information he is going to need to be able to turn your idea into content. For you to be effective, that means knowing whether or not your idea fits the tone of the blogger’s writing. In order to connect and maintain a connection with a growing audience and to keep themselves interested in blogging many dad bloggers aim for humour. Not all of them, and not all the time. But you are more likely to connect with a dad blogger if your idea is fun, and funny, than if it is merely useful or informative. Make sure you are offering a good experience and you will enjoy the results.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief tutorial and that it will help you form many wonderful relationships with dad bloggers in the future.
You owe me a dollar.