Influencer Marketing 101: Getting Bloggers (and Reporters) to Pay Attention

How to pitch to your target influencers

Getting mentioned by key bloggers or feature articles from top reporters in your space is a common goal for startup and expansion stage companies alike.  Often times smaller startups may pursue an internal grassroots type of PR strategy simply because they don’t have the budget to keep a PR firm on retainer.  These companies will practice influencer marketing with the goal of building and maintaining relationships with the key influencers in their respective industries.

The problem is that you are not the only company vying for their attention.  Some bloggers and reporters receive hundreds of emails every day from people just like you trying to get some air time.  So how do you get bloggers and reporters to pay any attention to you?

Every so often a reporter will write an article on how to get their attention and break through the clutter.  I find this to be the best advice because it is coming straight from the horse’s mouth!

Here are 22 tips from bloggers and reporters that focus on technology as their primary beat:

From Alyson Shontell, BusinessInsider:

  1. Accept that most of your emails get deleted instantly, due to being from an unknown sender or having

    the recipient’s name incorrect.

  2. Even if your email gets opened, there’s a 50/50 chance it will be deleted without being read because your email is too long, uninteresting or tired.
  3. Know who you are emailing by following them on Twitter and connecting with them on LinkedIn to learn more about them.
  4. Know what the reporter covers by reviewing bios and reading recent articles.
  5. Decide what is MOST compelling about you and pitch your best story.  Some that stand out to Alyson include strong ideas, strong brands that support your startup (Think YCombinator or TechStars), an exclusive, a controversial point of view, and funding and new product announcements.
  6. Keep it short and simple by avoiding buzz words and being succinct.
  7. Write intriguing subject lines.  For Alyson, this means well-known brands and exclusivity.
  8. Stay away from boring subject lines. For Alyson, boring equals broad, generic, and unknown brands.
  9. Do not ambush or give a false sense of urgency. Balance how many times you follow up so that you are not perceived as being too pushy or annoying.
  10. Finally Alyson shares an example of a pitch she responded to and wrote an article for. See the pitch here.

From Scott Kirsner, Boston Globe/Innovation Economy:

  1. Pitch stories that fit into the reporter’s interests.  For Scott this means changes within the local innovation scene, trends, lessons learned, or just an incredible story.
  2. If you don’t know the reporter or blogger, stick to email (or Twitter first). Scott notes that he tends to not take cold calls, but responds well to personal emails from real people who have read his column before.
  3. Be sure to give enough time or notice. Some reporters like to have a week or more notice in advance before covering news.
  4. Avoid peddling the same news to multiple outlets via mass emails.
  5. Avoid peddling news that another outlet already published.

From Ciara Byrne, VentureBeat:

  1. Stay away from boring pitches. For Ciara, boring equals un-newsworthy items such as announcing a new CFO or partnership with an unknown company.
  2. Avoid technical jargon and acronyms because even tech reporters can get confused.
  3. Abolish the never ending pitch. VentureBeat reporters note that pitches that are too long and detailed and are often over looked.
  4. Tell us what we want to know quickly by writing clear subject lines and covering the urgency, significance, and data to explain your pitch in the first paragraph.
  5. Be honest about embargoes and if another outlet has already covered (or has plans to cover) your news story.
  6. Make it easy for reporters. Write press releases in a way that lend themselves to be copied and pasted, include quotes, and send along infographics or images.
  7. Make your pitch more than just an ad by telling a story.  Read Ciara’s article in full for samples of good pitches from her perspective here.


Amanda Maksymiw
Amanda Maksymiw
Content Marketing Director

Amanda Maksymiw worked at OpenView from 2008 until 2012, where she focused on developing marketing and PR strategies for both OpenView and its portfolio companies. Today she is the Content Marketing Director at Fuze.
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