A Bad Pitch And Some Simple Tips For Getting It Right

A little while back I received my first pitch as a blogger, which was very exciting for a newbie like me.

As a communications professional, I’m perhaps more open to pitches than some other people. I’m open to being pitched. At the same time, I have some idea of what a pitch should look like. You’d better make sure it’s done well. This wasn’t.

To put this in context: I write two blogs. This one and torontorunner.com (about… you guessed it… running in Toronto). This pitch came in via the latter.

Here’s the pitch (I’m sparing the person some embarrasment by not naming her):

Hi Dave,

My name is [xxx] and I am an associate account executive at [xxx]. I have been reading davefleet.com and know of you and your readers’ dedication and passion for running and I wanted to inform you of an event currently taking place in the U.S.

This is a nice enough introduction. Simple and safe, right? Wrong. This paragraph ruined any chance of a good reaction.

My first thought — they hadn’t read my blog. Why think that? Because no-one had read it. At that point I had three posts. How did they know about my “readers’ dedication”? Are they psychic? I had no comments at that time! However, the rep used my feedback form to get in touch with me, so they may have read the blog. That means they didn’t take the time to customize their pitch to the situation. That’s no better. To cap off this wonderful start, their link to my blog (which I’ve removed) didn’t work.

The Blue Planet Run, an around-the-world relay working to solve the global water crisis, is currently offering the opportunity for runners to be pace runners and join the Run along each 10 mile segment. If you and your readers are interested please go to http://blueplanetrun.org/pacerunner for more information.

I’m actually fine with this. It’s relevant to my running blog, it’s an interesting event and they’re open about wanting me to write about it.

This international athletic event, made possible by The Dow Chemical Company, is raising funds to deliver safe drinking water to 1.1 billion people who are currently without access. Dow’s commitment to this event is part of its 2015 sustainability goals, an ambitious program to improve people’s lives.

Transparency – nice. Here’s an idea though – save your spiel about the Dow Chemical Company until you’ve got me. Let the website talk about that. I’m a runner, not an industry journalist – I don’t care about that. Don’t mix your audiences. Mentioning it here just made me cynical about the whole event.

Since the run started at the United Nations in New York City on June 1st, the Blue Planet team has traveled relay-style 24 hours a day from the US to Europe and Asia, reaching as far as China.

If your readers can’t become pace runners, they can still join the Blue Planet Run from anywhere in the world by taking the 10 Mile Challenge.


That seems fair enough to me. Sounds like a great way to participate. Turns out it costs $85 for the privilege of helping someone else run:

The Blue Planet Runner will set the pace and you will run alongside, helping the runner stay motivated and focused. (from the website)

but that’s more of an event flaw than the pitcher’s fault.

So, not a horrible pitch, but not great either. The first paragraph and one or two other slip-ups ruined any chance of me writing favourably about the event.

To summarize, they got a few things right:

  • They pitched a relevant product
  • They were transparent about the company behind it
  • They let me know up-front what they wanted me to do

However, they got more things wrong. When pitching bloggers, make sure you:

  • Read their blog
  • Tailor your pitch to the person
  • Focus on your target audience
  • Make sure your links work

Update: I contacted the person who made the pitch and offered them the chance to respond to this. No response. Shame; I would have liked to hear their perspective.

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.