I’m no baseball aficionado, in fact my experience of baseball amounts to watching four live games, three in Toronto and one in Houston but I am starting to get the nuances of the game.
The focal point of the game is pitching (not unlike PR – you know where I’m going with this) but there is a subtle difference between chucking and pitching.
Pitching and Chucking
Chucking is about power, about getting the ball into the catcher’s mitt as quickly and as often as possible.
Pitching on the other hand is more cerebral. It’s about knowing the batter, their strengths and weaknesses. It’s about subtlety and a deeper understanding of the game.
A pitch and a chuck can be the same delivery at the same speed but what differentiates the pitch from the chuck is what came before it, not the delivery itself.
Chucking when you should be Pitching
It seems as if one of my colleagues in the Fleishman-Hillard family has gotten into a little bit of hot water for chucking when she should’ve been pitching.
The FH youth marketing and trend spotting group “Next Great Thing” (NGT) had launched their new blog and were reaching out to people they read in the same “ecosystem” to announce themselves.
[Dave has the pitch they sent out over on PR Works along with a good conversation.]
My thoughts? Juuuuust a little outside.
Is it the worst pitch I’ve ever seen? No.
Is it the best pitch they could’ve sent out? No.
Is it the sort of pitch that could rile up a blogger who had just received six or seven unpersonalised and untargeted emails? Yes.
Does the email deserve to be called out? It depends. Personally, I don’t call out bad pitches publicly.
If the same email came from a “social media marketing consultant” promoting their own blog, and not from A Big PR Agency, would it have gotten the same response? Who knows.
Don’t try to be clever. While the pitch itself is topical it is a little cute. Too cute. So, while it may work with traditional media where breaking through the clutter is the hard part, there’s the chance that a blogger will be less than amused.
Be clear as to what you want (and what you can offer). I had to read the pitch a couple of times to work out what was going on and it feels as if that was half the problem. Want someone to check out your new blog/post? Tell them. Asking for a link? Tell them. Trying to provoke a comment? Tell them.
Personalization is key. As others have said, and as I’ve alluded to, the pitch was generic and sent pretty much unchanged to a number of high profile bloggers. Personalization is key.
Final Sporting Metaphor
Speaking as a blogger who gets his fair share of bad pitches, bloggers have much larger egos to go with much tinier readership compared with the mainstream media. So tread carefully when you finally decide to engage with one. The game of blogger relations may look like media relations, but in truth the two are as different as rugby league and rugby union.