How-to ethically & successfully pitch to blogs


{All photos & text by Jena Coray, aka Miss Modish}

I approached lovely OMHG editor, Jessika, about doing a post on pitching to blogs, and she said, “I really want a post on how to pitch to blogs & the common things to ‘please for the love of all that is good’ do not do.”

Ask and you shall receive, Jessika! I can do that ;).

How to pitch to blogs, grab the editor’s attention and increase your likelihood of success (all while staying true to yourself):

When it comes to pitching, I’d like you to think of it not as “selling yourself” or “selling your brand” or “hyping yourself up” or anything that feels icky and slimy and marketing-speaky, because it doesn’t have to be like that. Not at all.

Pitching is communicating.

In a pitch, you want to communicate your brand, message, personality, professionalism, quality of product, friendliness and above all, your understanding of that blog’s style, audience and regular features. And you have to do it all in one fell swoop. 

How on earth on are you supposed to do all that in a single e-mail?

Easy. By having a conversation.

And by taking the time to better understand who you’re conversing with, first.

I think the best way to learn how to effectively communicate with anyone, including blog editors, is to get a sense of their perspective. If we can better understand where they’re coming from, we can better understand how to approach them, and if our shop/product/service is a good fit.

Most of the real hard work of pitching, comes before you send the email

  • You’ll want to research each blog that you want to pitch– get to know what types of items and styles that they feature, what their aesthetic and taste is and whether what you make might fall within it. Check and see what style of jewelry they feature, if you make jewelry. Do the homework first!
  • Check out their about page and learn a little about the editors that you want to converse with! See if they have any “about me” or “personal” categories on the blog that you could explore to get to know a bit more about their life and get a better sense of their perspective, and the commonalities you may share. Learn what food they like, what colors they like, what kind of pet they have.
  • Really read their blog, check out the categories and archives and see what they’ve featured in the past. Make sure your shop/products/offerings are a good fit for that blog’s style, aesthetic and typical features before you even approach them about featuring you! Just because it’s your favorite blog, doesn’t mean your shop is necessarily a good fit for it- be discerning and objective about which blogs are the best matches for your brand!
  • Talk to them! Bloggers LOVE to receive comments. If you have something to add to the conversation, please comment on the blogs you read, and the blogs you’re checking out as you research- and interact! It’s a great way to introduce yourself in an authentic way, if you comment from the heart. Bloggers are also all over social media- find them on twitter, facebook and pinterest and follow them, interact with them and start to build relationships with them!

Then, by the time you’re ready to send the email, you’ll be able to approach the blog editors with confidence and clarity, knowing that your shop/products are within the scope of the types of things they feature and their style.

And you’ll know a bit about the editors themselves and perhaps find some common ground you share, which can be a wonderful lead in to start your pitch conversation!

The pitches that stand out to editors the most sound like a human being talking to another human being. Like a chat between one individual to another.

The more they sound like a “sales pitch” or the same message you sent out to a bunch of people, the least likely you are to draw their attention.

Effective pitches are:

  • Personal
    A good pitch will address the editor by name, and acknowledge that you have familiarity with their blog, or them, in some way. And just like in person, if you’ve never communicated with them before, you’ll want to introduce yourself first, instead of acting like an old friend or their biggest fan (which feels slimy.)If you have had contact with them in some way before (on social media perhaps), acknowledge how you know them or where your conversation last left off. Just approach them as you would in person- friendly, polite and with a smile! (they can hear it, even if they can’t see it 🙂
  • All about the visuals
    If there’s one thing all design/art/handmade product blogs have in common, is that they’re all about the visuals! That means, the most effective pitches include can’t-resist, high-quality, showin’-your-stuff-off photos. An editor has solely your photographs to judge the product’s quality, style, craftsmanship and colors, so each pic has to be AWESOME.Honestly, you’d be better off not saying a word and attaching amazing photos of your great work, then you’d be chatting up how great your work is and attaching poorly lit, poorly styled photos of it. Your work has to speak for itself, so attach photos that can do some talkin’!
  • Short and sweet
    Editor’s are short both on time and patience when it comes to an inbox filled to the brim with impersonal, off-target, ick-filled pitches. So to stand out, keep it short and sweet- a few paragraphs or less will do it, in a tone of professional friendliness and confidence.The pitch is not the place to share lots of background info, the inspiration for your work and why you’re the awesomest (eventho you totally are.) Think of the pitch as an invitation for them to click your link and enter your world, where they can explore and find all that out for themselves. Just say hello, share what you do, share a link, attach some pics and you’re done. Get them intrigued, and get out.

So now that you know what to do, let’s talk a bit about what not to do.


{please forgive this perfectly appropriate, yet mildly disgusting photo of my foot. This is from a trip to Minnesota to visit a friend a couple years ago- I wore the wrong shoes!}

For my Tip-Top Pitch Kit, an e-book I recently created all about how to pitch, I surveyed 28 popular design bloggers anonymously and asked: “What’s your biggest turn off in a pitch?” Here are the main points gathered from their collective responses, along with some *actual quotes from them…

Please, for the love of all that is good, do NOT:

  • Address your email “Hello blogger,” “Hi there!” “Dear editor,” “Hello sir/madam”, “Dear Ms.”, “Attn OMHG Team”. Bloggers have names too- find them, and be sure to use them! 
    * “If they can’t find the time to figure out my name, I don’t have time to read their pitch.”
  • Copy and paste the same email out to every blogger, just changing the name on top, mass-mail to multiple people at once (even if you bcc), send a press release with no personal greeting, or sign a blogger up for your email list!
    * “It’s a turn-off when it’s clearly a “form” email that they have just pasted my name in. That feels yucky. And also just a waste.”
  • Quickly glance at their blog before pitching to reference the latest post, or worse yet, not even look at the blog at all before pitching.
    * It irks me when “someone references the last post up on the blog as fantastic instead of actually doing their research.”
  • Be self-deprecating or unsure about your talents/skills- have confidence in yourself!
    * “I’ve received submissions that start out by saying, “I know you probably won’t feature this but…” If you don’t believe in your own work, why would I? Arrogance is a turn off but confidence is key.”
  • Be overly “familiar” if you don’t have an established relationship with the blogger already, or be overly gushy.
    * “Don’t call me “sweetie”, “honey”, or “sugar pie” unless you’re Flo the waitress from Alice, a good friend, or related to me in some way.”
  • Include too much information in a pitch about your background or work- present links where they can find all that out if they’d like.
    * “The work will speak for itself. Sometimes I find that when they go on and on about the work or product, I never end up liking it.”
  • Forget to attach stand-out, blog-worthy, well-lit, well-styled photos with your pitch! Make sure they’re web-resolution (72 dpi) and at least the width of the blog you’re pitching to.
    * “Another turn off is terrible product photos. If a small biz doesn’t care enough about their product to have good photos, why should I care enough to do a feature?”
  • Attach a big pdf, document, media kit, lookbook or high-res photos- point them to where they can find them/download online, or let them know you have it additionally to send if they’re interested in seeing.
    * It turns me off when “they attach a PDF or something crazy that takes way too long to open. The faster the better.”
  • Tell them that your product/shop would be good for their readership, or blogs- they know their own taste and readers best- make sure you’re on target, but let them be the judge!
    * “I really hate it when people tell me that they thought something “would resonate with or appeal to your readers.” I’ll be the judge of that, thank you. Just tell me that you’re submitting X product for my consideration and respect me to do my job as an editor.”
  • Be overly aggressive in your approach, or condescending, or express frustration or annoyance if you hear back with a no (or don’t hear back at all). That’s the way to close the door on an opportunity!
    * “It also irks me when people are overly aggressive with their pitches and express annoyance/anger that I haven’t featured them yet or act like it’s their right to have their product featured on my site.”
  • Suggest doing a giveaway to blogs that don’t do giveaways, or a diy project for a blog that doesn’t have a diy column, or a guest post for a blog that doesn’t accept guests- aka, do your homework first, always!
    * “It’s really tough to take a pitch seriously when it’s clearly content or products I don’t typically feature. Do enough research to know what kind of posts I regularly feature and send me relevant content pitches and you’ll get my attention much quicker and easier.”

So now you know what to do in a pitch to stand out from the crowd, and what to clearly avoid in order to show the editors respect, courtesy and keep the doors of feature opportunities open!

It all boils down to: doing the research first, approaching the editors like you’re having a conversation with a real person (because you are) and presenting yourself with confidence, respect and a smile, because people can read genuine enthusiasm, care and friendliness- even if it’s between the lines.

What has been your experience pitching your shop/product/service to blogs so far? Do you have any fears, or hold-ups in contacting bloggers? Does this information change how you’ll approach your next pitch?

Editor’s note: Join Jena (@miss_modish) and I to talk about this fantabulous post + your questions live at our #OMHG Twitter chat this Thursday from 1-2EST! Also I know Jena’s marketing style is totally ick-free and non-pushy but I can push (or gently encourage with great love) you to check out her Tip Top Pitch Kit if you are having any trouble at all getting positive responses to your pitches. No affiliate links or sponsored review here I just honestly think this kit is packed with revelations and a-ha! moments to help you get the word out & know as a blogger I value every bit of her pitching wisdom! 

  • http://www.colleenattara.com colleen attara

    Thank you for sharing! Well stated, personally timely and so appreciated.

  • http://trashn2tees.blogspot.com Jenelle @ TrashN2Tees

    Thanks for sharing your insight and tips Jena! I very rarely pitch to blogs, but I do receive & pitch to HARO (Help A Reporter Out) inquiries. http://www.helpareporter.com I’ve gained some exposure in national media outlets this way. It can be tedious but well worth it in the end.

    I also wanted to mention as a maker some of the same ideas you shared here could (and should) be utilized by bloggers approaching a biz for interviews/giveaways/features. I personally have some of the very same issues: Dear Ma’m. – insert copy/pasted request. Then they don’t even bother to leave a link to their site/brand.

  • http://www.twitter.com/desundial Desundial

    Great post! Sensible and helpful. Thanks!

  • http://www.homemadefrontier.com Kristin

    I’m coming at it the other way, we’re looking to team up with handmade sponsors and advertisers. I think the information is valuable for either side. Thank you.

  • http://Oneelevenone.blogspot.com Tori

    Such a great post! This will really help out when it’s time for me to get the word out about my biz! Thanks!

  • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/jenacoray/ Jena Coray

    Thanks for reading everyone! Hope it’s helpful, from either end of the perspective!! 🙂

  • http://www.laurenelisecrafted.com Lauren Elise

    Great post and so informative. I definitely learned a few new things! Thanks Jena!

  • http://www.paragraphcove.com esther // paragraph cove

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and tips, Jena! Very helpful stuff!

  • http://tractorgirl.com.au julie @ tractorgirl

    Fabulous stuff! It all makes so much sense. Thank you.

  • http://aubreyplays@blogspot.com aubrey

    yes. I love love the do nots. All of those are a complete turn off!

  • http://theblocktoronto.tumblr.com Rachel

    I’ve only recently entered the blogging world and I was surprised to find that, just as you’ve explained, communicating in a personal was is far more productive than a more ‘business-like’ manner. I am learning so much and I really appreciate articles like this one!

  • http://www.artanddesignstudio.ca Tara

    This is such a great post and this is a great guide. It provides you with detailed content and actual examples. I have purchased a few media guides but this one is by far the most comprehensive and useful. I can’t recommend this enough!

  • http://www.hollyhinkle.com Holly Hinkle

    Thanks for the great article. I have been taking a class on starting up an arts/crafts business and one thing it did not focus on is online marketing. So thank you for sharing.

  • http://handmadesuccess.com/blog/ Kerry

    Wonderful post and so detailed! Can’t wait to share this and your kit with our readers.

    Love the yellow shoes!

  • http://www.manusmade.com Tania Wojciechowski

    Super informative, thank you. Will definitely keep this by my side as I spread my blogging wings this year

  • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/jenacoray/ Jena Coray

    So glad you all are finding it helpful, yay! Thank you all for reading!

  • http://www.windfall.etsy.com karin bremer

    Thanks for this bit of information. I’ve never pitched to a blog before but it’s always in the back of my mind as something I will get to!

  • http://www.theenglishpea.com alisonA

    Great info! So practical in many ways and the best part is I get to be myself. I would much rather be authentic than pitchy. 🙂 It is hard to put yourself out there, but I would rather do it honestly than in a way that leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth. 🙂

  • http://transientexpression.com Rachel

    Thanks so much for these tips! I’m feeling re-motivated to go write some emails 🙂

    I’ve only pitched to a couple of blogs so far (and been well-received, I think partly because I did lots of research on how to contact bloggers by reading posts like these). But the first time (ok, and still sometimes), I was really nervous. I got a pep talk from my husband before the first one, though, and he said something helpful. He said that probably the worst thing that would happen wouldn’t be a horrible email response saying that they hated my work, but no response at all. Which could really mean so many different things that it’s not worth worrying about. In case they’re just busy, wait another week and send another email, and if you still get no response, move on because they’re just not interested. Of course I knew that no one was going to go out of their way to be mean, but sometimes it’s good to be reassured about the worst-case scenario.

    Good luck pitching, everyone!

  • http://www.hopelovescards.com Kim

    Jena AKA Miss Modish – this post about pitching to blogs was FANTASTIC. Thanks so much for helping everyone with this in such an easy to understand way. I think that there are tons of creatives out there that are a little shy about pitching to blogs – especially one as amazing as OMHG. But, if we just get ourselves out there it will truly help us in our businesses. Thanks so much Jena for showing us what not to do and for helping us navigate this tricky subject!

  • http://www.americanfeltandcraft.wordpress.com Andie

    Perfection! All my questions answered. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

  • http://www.missmodish.com Jena

    YAY!!! You guys rock! So glad you’re getting some motivation and inspiration out of the post! That makes me very happy 🙂

    And you’re totally right Rachel! (above) The worst thing that can happen is not hearing back at all, or you might get a polite no if you do hear a “rejection”. And either way, it’s nothing personal- either they’re too busy to respond, like you said, or what you pitched is just not a fit at this time.

    Gotta just keep on trying and pitching different avenues and put yourself out there! Good luck pitching everyone! And if you ever need extra help, come find me! 🙂

  • http://www.momentoffocus.com Karen

    Great post. If only I had read this yesterday before I sent several pitches that said “I think this will resonate with your audience.” Oops. Thanks!

  • http://www.cattailsstudio.com Brenda

    Coming in late to this..still working up the nerve to do a ‘pitch’, tweaking my site to get it right. I do want to say that about a month ago I found Jena’s site through this blog and purchased her pitch kit..it really is worth it to have a hard copy to read a few times, fantastic information. Highly recommend it to anyone who is trying to get their business ‘out there’.

  • http://www.kid-a.gr haritini

    What an insightful and usefull article! thank you!

  • http://www.gardendebut.com Briana

    Thanks for the advice! I’m in a different industry, but still found the post to be just what I was looking for. I’m in the process of vamping up our current method of getting content to garden writers, and hoping blogging is the medium that will best fit our company. Step one was creating a feed reader of the blogs we’re interested in. Step two was reading your article! Now back to the research! Thanks so much!

  • christina from feltlikesmiling

    Thank you for this great advice. I am a new blogger and am greatful that you have taken the time to share your experience. I really like that you not only say what to do but what not do. Very helpful for new bloggers like myself.

  • Gwen Bortner

    I am just starting to consider doing guest posts on blogs (starting with some friends first) so this really is great timing! And I can never get enough good info on marketing as I feel it is always my point of struggle. Thanks for taking the time to share!

  • Jake

    Great advice Jena! I am currently trying to figure out how to pitch a business I am working with, and this has definitely changed my outlook on things. I have a marketing background so it was important to see that I need to step away from that perspective and be personal. Thanks!