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I have spent the past five years studying the many different ways bloggers monetize their platforms. In the past couple of years, there have been huge shifts in the blogging industry. No longer can you place ads in your sidebar, and cross your fingers the money rolls in.

Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

Instead, bloggers can build a successful business by implementing many different revenue streams into your site.

After much research, (and a weekend of all nighters), I am excited to officially announce my newest program: “30 Days of Blogging Business.”

I created this program to help you explore the many ways you can monetize your audience, and choose the right path for you.

The program is totally free, and will give you access to 30 new blogging business ideas.

Each day you will receive a new blogging business model, examples of real bloggers that leverage this technique, a breakdown of the revenue you can earn, and an outline of how you can implement that model into your blog.

At the end of this 30-day program you will have:

  • A deep understanding of many different ways you can monetize your blog
  • Actionable steps for implementing these ideas into your existing business
  • All of the templates, resources and tools you need to take your blog to the next level

How can you get involved? 

To get started, here is what you need to do:

  1. Sign up: To take part in this program, simply click here and enter your name, website and email address. (its totally free) Each day you will receive an email outlining that days lesson, tasks for you to complete and exclusive tips for monetizing your blog.
  2. Connect: Introduce yourself to the other bloggers taking the challenge using the #BusinessBlogging hashtag.

Ready to get started?

Sign up now!

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There is this long-standing belief that media coverage is free. Once upon a time cute PR girls could sway editors and producers into featuring their products in front of millions of consumers. 

Times have changed, budgets have been cut, and the reality is? If you want to reach millions of consumers you are going to pay for it.

Here is my favorite recent example: ABC requires everyone who appears on shark tank to give up 5% of their company. Shark Tank recognizes how powerful their viewer base is, and they aren’t even letting the talent to get that exposure for free.

 

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I started selling Avon when I was fifteen. Within a year, I became the youngest Presidents Club member in the district. Adrienne just reminded me to mention that was more than a decade ago. (Whatevs.)

Selling Avon was my favorite job. It gave me a  deep understanding of sales and taught me lessons I have referred to over and over again in my career.

Here are five of the best lessons I learned selling Avon:

(There is a special offer at the end of this post, so stick with me here) 

1. Go where the people are.

Selling Avon in highschool was the smarted thing I could do. I spent everyday surrounded by hundreds of students and teachers who loved makeup. Also, students and teachers alike would rather shop than sit in school. I sold a ton.

My slowest time was during the summer, that was until I got roped into playing on the softball team. I spent every game passing out avon brochures to the crowd. They would place the order before the game ended, and it would be delivered at the next game.

Selling to an existing community gives you access to a huge group all at once, it builds an instant relationship with your consumer and it cuts down your costs because you don’t have to hunt everyone down to deliver products.

2. Love your product or forget it

I was obsessed with Avon. I still get excited when I get my hands on a new brochure. Each book was filled with new sales and new products and pretty sparkly things. I would spend hours memorizing the catalogs before going out to sell. I could tell you anything you needed to know about the products we carried, and point you to the page number of the most recent catalog. Avon allowed reps to back-order products at sale price, and I always knew what sale I could get my customers. Knowing my stuff and working to save them money encouraged higher sales from each customer.

3. Make recommendations

The more you know about your customers, the more you can sell. I knew the women who went crazy when Avon came out with new holiday stuff. I knew the customers that only ordered stocking sutffers at Christmas time. Learn as much as you can about your buyers prefence, and make recommendations that matter to them.

4. Have a differentiator

People didn’t buy avon from me because I had the best catalogs or the newest products. I had the same thing every avon lady in the world had to offer. The difference? I was sixteen and had more energy than any Avon lady in the market. I was a passionate and willing to hustle for what I wanted. People remembered me, and they wanted to support they drive they saw. 

5. Encourage word of mouth

Word of mouth makreitng is one of the most powerful tools in the world. If a friend tells me to buy something there is a VERY good chance I will do so. Here is the thing—I don’t sit around thinking about all of the businesses I interact with and who in my network might be interested.  However, if you ask me if I know someone who might be interested, there is a good chance I will come up with a name. Encourage word of mouth. It always pays off.

Today, direct sales reps have more opportunity than ever before. There are tons of free tools (like email!) that allow you to build relationships, close sales and land referrals.That is why I have decided to launch an online course that will show you  how to use online tools to increase your sales.

And since you made it all of the way through this post, I want to give you a little present. I think that everyone can learn something from this course, and want to offer you a $100 discount code. 

You can access the entire course by entering “AVONVIP” at checkout. 

Get all of the details and register here.

http://www.quistic.com/seminar/increase-your-sales-with-online-marketing 

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Every week there is a new post debating whether or not startups should focus on PR. While all of the arguments are different, they are mostly focused on the insane costs of hiring a PR agency, and whether or not it’s worth it.

The reality of it is that most startup founders have zero experience in PR, and most PR agencies have zero experience running a startup. You are living in two different worlds, and your idea of what you are trying to accomplish. Most PR professionals have zero experience in web traffic and analytics. This means that they have no idea what kind of media coverage will drive you traffic, and what to do with that traffic. Most startups don’t have the funds to pay an agency enough to truly integrate with your marketing team, which means you will never get the full value from your PR agency. 

I have spent the past five years working on online media, and learned the ins and outs of using media coverage to drive traffic. Here is a little guide to get you started:

National Broadcast:

  • National broadcast is a great credential and can help drive brand awareness, but national broadcast is a terrible traffic driver.
  • The caveat is if you are offering a special discount just for viewers. E! News the Today Show often do these types of features.
  • Unless you are besties with a producer, you will probably not get included in a segment. National television shows have gotten really strict about earned media placements, which has made it nearly impossible for brands to get organic mentions. (aka they prefer ad dollars)
  • The best way to get your foot in the door is to find the experts these shows feature, and make them fall in love with your project.

National Print:

  • National print is also a great credential and can drive awareness.
  • You will have to work really hard to get a placement, and the mention will probably be so small you will see very little traffic conversions.
  • The best ways to land national print coverage are to build relationships with the key editors, hire a freelance writer who regularly contributes to national outlets or pitch your CEO as an expert who could contribute.

Regional Media:

  • Regional media is the most overlooked type of media placement.
  • It is a known fact in the startup world that regional newspapers are the only media outlet that has not had a significant decline in their readership. Everyone reads their local papers, so there is a huge opportunity to connect with consumers on a personal level.
  • There is less competition to land regional media coverage, so you will get more coverage from the work you put into it.
  • The downside is that very few people get excited when you land a placement in a small town newspaper.

Traditional Online:

  • Traditional outlets with an online presence have almost no ability to drive traffic.
  • For example, the New York Times receives more than 4M page views a month, but they publish 1,500 articles a day. That averages out to around 95 page views per article. This doesn’t include the assumption that the top 20 most popular posts receive the majority of those views. with those numbers, you have almost no changes of converting that traffic into a sale.

Blogs:

  • I am being very general in my definition of blogs, and classifying  a blog as a smaller site that is updated a few times a week to a few times per day.
  • Blogs have an amazing ability to drive traffic. I have received more traffic from MightyGirl.com than I did from the New York Times and NPR: All Things Considered combined.
  • Building on my previous example, MightyGirl.com receives 300K readers per month, and publishes 2-3 posts per week. This averages out to around 25K page views per post.
  • Getting blog coverage can be very time consuming and often requires a minimal budget, but the ROI can be exponential.

What experience has your startup had with media coverage? What kind of coverage gave you the most results? What didn’t work for you? What did you learn?  Leave your experience in the comments below. 

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Last month, I left the comfort of a regular paycheck to become a full-time freelancer. I had no money in savings, and a regular stream of bills flowing in, so I had no choice but to hit the ground running. Within six-weeks, I was able to replace my full-time income. It wasn’t easy. It involved twelve-hour days, minimum sleep and a series of nervous breakdowns. But now? I couldn’t imagine my life any other way. 

Last week, I came across this article on how impossible it is to survive in the gig economy, and thought I would share how I was able to make the gig economy work for me.

1. Be Realistic About Your Needs

Freelancing isn’t for everyone. The reality is that anyone can freelance, but not everyone will like freelancing. I am an ENTP, which means my best work happens when I am managing lots of different kinds of projects. I thrive on fast-paced, big idea projects, and can shift my thinking very quickly. It also means I am completely incompetent at managing details.

Secondly, freelancing means giving up stable income, and many of the “extras” we all have come to enjoy. While every freelancer dreams of replacing their full-time income, it is something that takes time. You need to be realistic, you cannot survive trying to hunt down $5 gigs. It is not sustainable. 

How I did it: .

  1. Figure out exactly how much you need to earn to survive. A smaller goal can give you the confidence to get started, but this means forgoing most of the luxuries in your life. Don’t forget, 30% or more of your income will go to paying self-employment taxes, and make sure to include expenses your employer previously covered. (health insurance, cell-phone, etc) 
  2. Determine how many hours you will dedicate to client work. It may sound crazy, but 60% of your time will be spent finding new clients, marketing your business and managing administration details. Be realistic about how much time you can dedicate to client work.
  3. Set your rate. Once you have a clear picture of how much you want to earn, and the number of hours you can dedicate to client work you can calculate what you need to earn per hour. Start out with a range for your hourly rate, and be flexible until you figure out exactly what the market will offer.

2. Pick a Specialty

Consider how much money you need to make, what skills you have to offer, and narrow down the skills that you can make a living with.

Why would I hire you to do a job when I could hire a specialist at the same rate? If you try to sell everything, you will sell nothing. It is the equivalent of blindly submitting your resume to thirty different positions.

How I did it:

I have a huge range of experience from pitching traditional media to building complex influencer/content marketing programs. There are dozens of services I could offer my clients, so I narrowed it down to five skills that were in high-demand and pitched brands to see which services would attract the most work.

3. Use Your Network

The most important part of finding gigs is having a strong network. This is no different than the process of finding a full-time job. The chances of applying to a job posting, and getting the job is low. The way to get a great full-time job is to use your existing network. It is no different for finding gigs.

How I did it: 

I spent the past five years helping agencies and Fortune 500 brands create digital marketing programs. Through my work, I developed relationships with some amazing marketers. Theses people understood how I approached digital marketing. They knew the kind of traction I could build, and when I went freelance they were the very first people to hire me.

4. Get Comfortable with Cold Pitching

If you need consistent income (which I assume you do), you will need a huge pipeline of potential clients. Regardless of how large your network is, you will have to get comfortable with cold pitching.

The first step is deciding what kind of clients you want to work with, and then identifying what you can offer them to close the deal. While I love working with large brands, there are a number of downsides. It can take months to close a deal and most of your time will be spent navigating office politics rather than creating interesting work. You can make more money working with big brands, but getting work off the ground can be very slow moving.

This is why I love working with startups. They spark to out-of-the-box ideas, and can implement new programs really fast. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to take my big brand experience, and help startups build traction with their target customers.

How I did it:

  1. Identified my ideal clients—Most of my work fell in the consumer marketing space, specifically helping brands reach women online. So I started by looking for clients who were trying to reach women online. Because startups are typically strapped for cash, I looked for clients that had already secured funding. This way, I knew they had the budgets needed to fund a great program.
  2. Find potential clients—Once I knew who I was targeting, I started searching for potential clients. I looked on sites like Angel List, Beta List and Crunch Base. I started searching those databases for potential clients, and made a list of companies to pitch.
  3. Create the perfect pitch—The perfect pitch takes time. Start by sending out three different pitches, and measure which formats give you the highest success rate. Refine and test until you get the perfect mix.
  4. Get ready for disappointment—Creating the perfect pitch doesn’t mean you will get the gig. A while back, I discovered an amazing startup, and convinced myself that I was the perfect person for the gig. I pitched them, and they were interested. So I spent an entire weekend creating a deck that would show them exactly why they should hire me. I didn’t get the gig. I can’t tell you the disappointment gets easier, but it does give you some amazing learning experiences.

5. Get Ready to Hustle. 

The only way to survive in the gig economy is to hustle. Once you land a few gigs, you will find yourself in a place where you are activating multiple projects while negotiating new gigs. You have to move very fast and have the ability to quickly shift your mind to do different kinds of work.

How I did it: 

My first two weeks of freelancing, I pitched 200 potential clients, closed three deals and spent my afternoons crying because I was sure I would never make it. Surviving the gig economy is hard, but it is possible.

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Every spring college recruiters across the country head into high schools to “help” students pick the perfect college and choose a major. All of them doing so with the ultimate goal of getting students to choose THEIR college and a major in something THEY offer. Students receive a billion pieces of conflicting advice and none of it is really relevant because colleges are failing their students. On top of that the reasons for getting a college education are changing, the cost is getting higher and choosing the right major is becoming a bigger deal because parents want to invest in a degree that will get their child a career. (Check out James Altucher’s posts:don’t send your kids to college, 10 more reasons not to send your college and 8 alternatives to college)

So, how should you choose a major?

Major in the thing that you are passionate about. (aka the easiest most fun major you can think of) 

Every time I give this advice to a college student I  hear a million reasons why they cannot major in Women’s Studies/Philosophy/English/Art History/{insert other fun random major that won’t get you a job here}. Despite the fact that I was a Philosophy major and I am not doing live readings on the side of the street for money; people still assume that I am an “exception” and that they won’t be able to find a job with a degree in whatever it is they are passionate about.

I am here to tell you that you are wrong. Here is why you can major in anything you want:

1.  A college degree is not a golden ticket
Getting a college degree does not guarantee you a job or a career or success. It doesn’t guarantee you ANYTHING. Your college degree is simply a  credential. When leveraged in the right way it can get you a successful career. When not leveraged in the right way it is just an overpriced credential.

2. You learn the basics in every major
Somehow colleges  have convinced students that their degree program will give them the skills that they need to build a great career in that a specific field. In all honesty, college teaches you the skills that MIGHT give you the ability to land a job but not such great skills that you will be any good at it until about five years in when you finally get a handle on how everythingactually works. Any degree program can give you the basic skills you need to land a job. In the beginning of your career, all employers really need to know is that you can stick to something for four years,  are responsible enough to get good grades, can network well enough to get a few recommendations and that you have interests outside of work through clubs and associations. Any degree program can give you those skills.

3. You will stand out from the crowd
If you want to work in marketing, public relations or business, you must know the importance of standing out from your competition. There are a billion and one applicants that have majored in business, interned at a local newspaper and applied to this random position. How many resumes have they seen from someone that majored in music composition and launched their own online music project over the summer that was featured in regional and national media? In order to stand out and land a great job there needs to be something different and interesting about you. I was “that Philosophy student that hangs out at all of the blogging conferences.” People remembered me.

4.     If you major in something you love doing you will be really good at it and have free time to build a career
You know all of those hours you spent preparing yourself to pass your finance exam? When you finally get into business the most “financial” thing you will probably have to do is expense reports and/or hiring an accountant. When you have to learn  skills that don’t come naturally, it is really hard and time consuming and not always valuable. When you major in something that you are naturally talented at you will find that you are much better at the work you are doing and that it comes easier. What can you do with the time you aren’t spending studying for exams that you shouldn’t be taking? You could be building your career, looking for new opportunities, launching new projects and networking. You should be building a foundation so that when you finally graduate college you will have a career in front of you.

5. Your degree does not define you (aka noone knows what they want to be at 18)
Just because you get a degree in a major that isn’t related to the career you want doesn’t mean that you can’t work in that field later.  Very few people with successful careers majored in something practical, got a job in that field and worked their way up the ladder. The CEO of my agency majored in Art History as did the SVP of Creative and Strategic servicesCatherine Connors, has her PhD in Philosophy and is the Director of Blogs and Social Media at Babble AND runs one of the most popular parenting blogs on the web. David Teicher majored in Philosophy and manages social media and events at Ad AgeJessica Gottlieb  got her undergrad degree in Kinesiology and a masters in education. Now she runs a popular mom blog and plays a lot of tennis. Kate studied education and now she is in Law School.  J. Maureen Henderson has a degree in international development and is a journalist at Forbes. Get the picture? Shall I go on?

The biggest challenge to majoring in something you are passionate about vs. something realistic is convincing your parents its a good idea. Send them this link.  They can email me with questions.

 

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Last week a reader submitted a question about how to deal with small talk at network events.

“I was wondering if you had any tips regarding small talk, particularly at conferences and even in the workplace. I’m finding that I’m not very good at, especially in networking situations. I find it painful, and I don’t like the whole idea of it, which is why I’m probably not that good at executing it though I understand its value and need. I’d really appreciate any advice you could offer or resources that you might be able to point me, too.” -Ashley

So what exactly IS small talk? According to the Urban Dictionary, small talk is:

“Useless and unnecessary conversation attempted to fill the silence in an awkward situation. Commonly backfires into feelings of loneliness and social discomfort. Usually is initiated by comments regarding the current weather, weather pattern of the past/future few days or major weather disturbances in the recent past.”

While small talk is something that every professional has to deal with, it is something that is essential in the world of PR. Whether you are meeting with a client or mingling with editors at an event, small talk is something that PR professionals must learn to love.  And if you want to stand out from the pack, it is something you will learn to master.

What is the key to being the Queen of small talk?

No, it is not hiding in the corner cuddling with your Blackberry. (Put that thing down.)

It’s preparation.

We make small talk everyday yet few people take time to learn how to effectively navigate those awkward moments. Whether we run into a new colleague in the hallway or see an old friend at the store, there is an opportunity to build a new connection and extend our network. You never know if the person you’re making small talk with will be your next boss, the investor in your first company or a new best friend. Small talk could be the skill that takes your career to the next level.

How do you get started?

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Last week my mentor finally convinced me that being passionate about what you do is essential to a successful career. Every time I hear someone say “you have to find your passion” I  wait for them to start selling me an ebook about how they made a seven-figure income by being passionate about teaching people to be passionate about their work.

Jenny explained that in order to be successful in your career you have to be excited enough about your work that you are willing to build your entire life around it.

This made sense to me because each success I have had did not come from showing up at 9 AM and clocking out at 5:30 (although that was essential).

Instead, my successes came from spending my evenings reading blogs and weekends traveling to conferences. It came from being so passionate about what bloggers were doing that I found myself plotting out ways to help them do it better. It came from investing time and energy into my career not because I wanted to be successful but because I couldn’t imagine not doing it.

“The thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That’s it. And what’s more, the people at the very top don’t work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.” – Malcolm Gladwell

You have to be passionate enough about your work that you WANT to build a life around it and college teaches you to do the very opposite.

College rushes you to choose a major, gives you a timeline to complete it, and makes changing your major difficult. My junior year of college I decided to change my major from Marketing to Philosophy because I couldn’t stand the students in my business classes. (A story for another time) It took me an extra year to complete college which roughly translates into an extra $25,000 in tuition.

(Pardon me while I go pass out for a moment)

Students often find themselves studying a subject they aren’t passionate about because they can’t figure out what they are passionate about or they think it is too late to change their major. Students only spend 7% of their time studying so college makes it really easy to study a subject you don’t love.  Suffering through a bad major is similar to suffering through a bad part-time job. (Something college students are used to)

Malcolm Gladwell says, “to become an expert in a field of study, it merely takes 10,000 hour of focus and practice on the topic at hand.” That is roughly 40 hours a week for 5 years. (Nearly the time it takes to complete a college degree)

We should be able to expect that students will leave college nearly an expert in the subject they studied. Instead, students spend 51% of their time socializing and are handed a degree at the end of four years in a subject they have a mediocre understanding of.

This is why many college graduates take a job that they are not passionate about after college and go on to lead a mediocre career. Because a college degree is a six-figure investment and very few young professionals are willing to walk away from the subject they spent four years studying and re-focus on something they are actually passionate about.

What can colleges do to support student’s passion and set them up for a successful career?

 

1. Give students time for self-directed learning

The first two years of college are spent on Gen-Ed requirements. (But really college students aren’t learning anything) Colleges should offer students time for self-directed learning on a topic of their choice. I would have never found “blogging” as an elective at my university but I spent two years in college completely obsessed with the topic and learning everything I could about it. Giving student’s time to explore topics through self-directed learning allows students to discover what they are passionate about and sets them up for success.

2. Teach students about career planning and management 

There is a massive industry built around giving good career advice which is why I am shocked that we still rely on career centers to teach every aspect of managing a successful career. Let’s face it, most college students don’t even know career centers exist until their junior or senior year when they get scared they won’t find a job.

Career planning and management should be required learning. How can we expect a student to go on to have a successful career when they leave college not knowing how to negotiate a salary, deliver tough news to their boss, hire a recruiter or survive a performance review?

3. Support passion projects 

Had I not spent two years in college completely obsessed with blogging and the way that it was changing industries I would not be where I am today. I can tell you that a Philosophy degree alone would not have gotten me here. It is in a college’s best interest to support students working on passion projects and colleges should consider rewarding students who choose to do so because a college’s success will be determined by the jobs they are able to get for their students.

Decades ago, college was a place people went to study something they were so passion about that they were willing to dedicate their lives to academia and the study of that subject. College has evolved into a trade school of sorts and the reason that students go to college is directly tied to their desire for a great job. If colleges want to survive the boom of free knowledge they must evolve into institutions that prepare you for your career in a way that no online institution can.

I really hope you can join me for my course this month. 

I really hope you can join me for my course next week.  You will get access to (3) live-streamed sessions where we will discuss direct steps you can take to land a job right after college.

You can register here. 

Use the discount “BLOGBIZ” to get the course for $10. 

public-Relations

 

Google Analytics- Track who is finding your online presence, where they are coming from and exactly how they are interacting with your site.

Google Insights-See what consumers are searching for, how they are looking for your brand and what the hottest topics within your industry are.

Google Alerts-Get an email once a day with all new search results for your brand, competitors or industry news

Kurrently-Search facebook, twitter and Google + for relevant conversations all at once

Tweetdeck-Manage multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts as well as monitor key search terms all in one place.

Pinvolve-Integrate Pinterest into Your Facebook Page

Klout-See how influential you are

Crowdbooster-Looks at your Tweets and Facebook Posts and creates analytics and tips to help you drive more engagement

Survey Monkey-Host a survey and get stats to use in your pitches

Pic Monkey-Make your images look professional without actually hiring a professional

Pictochart-Create an infographic with stats from a survey

Powtoon-Create an infographic video with information about your company

Mailchimp-Create a newsletter

Prezi-Create an out of the box presentation

Slide Rocket-Make your slides so pretty

HARO-Find journalists and editors who are looking for people to interview for stories delivered to your inbox twice a day

Pitch Rate-Find journalists who are looking for experts

Reporter Connection-Another great resource for finding journalists looking for experts

Muck Rack-Connect with Journalists on Twitter

PR Web-Free press release distribution service

PRBuzz.com – Free press release distribution to search engines, news sites, and blogs.

Burrelles Luce-This is a list of all of the top media channels

All Top-Find top bloggers organized by niche

Alexa-Get insight on reader demographics for potential blog partners

Google Reader-Create a continuously growing list of bloggers who might be interested in your company and keep up with their writing

Anyvite-Create fancy invites for your event

EventBrite-Manage RSVP’s

Red Stamp-Send Thank You Notes directly from your phone

Udemy-Host an ecourse and show your expertise

Quora-Answer questions about your industry

Slideshare-Show off your expertise in a fancy presentation

Scribd-Publish white papers and industry reports

Fast Company Events-Pitch yourself as a speaker

Bit.ly-Track how many people click through your links

Pinerly-Track how much traction your “pins” get on Pinterest

Hashtracking-Track how much engagement your Twitter hashtag gets

Statigram-Get analytics about your Instagram account

Wisestamp-Give yourself a fancy email signature

Square-Accept credit card payments directly from your phone

Shoe Boxed- manage your business expenses and keep track of receipts directly from your phone.

TripIt-Streamline the process of booking travel

Freshbooks-Manage invoices and billing

HelloFax-Send documents, sign contracts and fax information without any bulky equipment

YouSendIt-Send big files

Wiggio-Collaborate with an entire team on a project

Skype-Connect with colleagues and clients

Dropbox-Share folders and files with colleagues and have access to them across multiple platforms

Free Conference Call-Create a conference call number

Doodle-Organize internal events and meetings

DimDim-Host a meeting with up to twenty people

 

What are your favorite free PR and business tools?

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I started blogging in 2009 and over the course of three years I have read a gazillion blog posts and attended dozens of conference panels all dedicated to the topic of why PR pitches suck so bad. I assumed that these conversations would lead PR professionals to learn how to write great pitches. However, three years and ten million more complaints later and I think it is safe to say that 95% of pitches STILL suck. (Says the girl who just got invited to test drive a car from a New Jersey dealership. I live in Illinois.) I have spent a great deal of time learning how to pitch bloggers in a way that would make them smile every time they see my name in their inbox and I have learned a few things along the way.

Why does your pitch suck so bad?

1. They don’t know you.
Bloggers receive hundreds of emails each day not only from friends and family but from readers with questions, editors at their freelance writing gigs and PR pitches. In order to manage their inbox they have to filter through and choose which emails to read. If a blogger has never heard your name before you might get filtered out. If a blogger has never heard your name before and your subject line is something like “GIVEAWAY: NEW MOVIE RELEASE” they are going to delete your email instantly. This means your pitch sucked so bad it wasn’t even opened.

How to fix it: The truth is that you need to start building a relationship with a blogger at least three months before you ever need to leverage it. Meet up with them at a conference, comment on their blog, retweet their blog posts, connect with them in a way that makes your name recognizable when it shows up in their inbox.

2. Your pitch is too long.
If your pitch requires scrolling, has bullet points or includes a press release no one is going to read past the first line. Bloggers get anywhere from five to hundreds of brand pitches a day and they don’t have time to scroll through all of the intimate details of your campaign. While your pitch might have been opened they probably didn’t read far enough to even know what brand you were reaching out about before deleting your pitch never to be seen again.

How to fix it:  The initial pitch only needs a few things: A mention showing that you know their blog and understand how they work with brands, the name of the brand you are reaching out about, what are you asking the blogger to do, what are you offering the blogger and then offer to send over more information if they are interested. Not only do you save yourself a lot of time writing page long emails but your email is actually read and the bloggers that are genuinely interested in what you are doing will respond.

Bonus how to fix it: It can be hard to get a client to approve such a short pitch. Instead of talking about “pitching,” position your first outreach as an “initial email” and then follow up with the pitch. The moment we stopped using snail mail or fax machines to send pitches is the moment we could send short emails and then respond with a detailed pitch.

3. They don’t want to giveaway your product for free on their blog. (Not even a little bit)
Bloggers learn early on that hosting giveaways on their site can drive a lot of traffic. (assuming they are giving away something good) However, they also learn that all of that traffic will disappear once the giveaway ends because the people that clicked through to their site only did so because they love free stuff. Hosting a giveaway on your blog is like a one night stand with fame, your traffic shoots up, you get really excited and the next day everyone is gone and you are left picking red solo cups out of your yard. (metaphorically speaking) Generally,the only bloggers that want to host a giveaway on their site are bloggers that rely solely on advertising revenue because a big jump in traffic translates to more money. If they don’t rely solely on advertising revenue they want you to compensate them for hosting it because giveaways take time and there is no incentive for them to host them if they aren’t being compensated.

How to fix it: Compensate them for hosting a giveaway or find out what value the prize would need to be (or what kind of prize would naturally appeal to their readers)  to incentivize them to host it.

4. They don’t want to drive their readers away from their site to your contest/giveaway/sweepstakes.
Why would they send their readers away from their blog to enter your giveaway? Even if you are giving away a trip around the world with Dennis Rodman, you are asking bloggers to send their dedicated readers away from their site. As I mentioned above the majority of people who are interested in giveaways are people interested in free stuff and very rarely are  a blog’s dedicated readers interested in free stuff. So unless the blogger you are pitching creates content about trips around the world with Dennis Rodman, their readers probably won’t care about your giveaway and will be totally annoyed that their favorite blogger sent them to such a terrible contest.

How to fix it:  Buy an ad in their sidebar, host a sponsored post to drive traffic to your giveaway or find a way to make your giveaway exciting enough that they want to promote it.

5. Your story is only interesting to you.
Getting editorial coverage from bloggers is really hard and rarely happens. It is not because bloggers are evil power moguls; it is because bloggers work REALLY hard on their blog. Running a blog can take A LOT of time. (Says the girl who woke up two hours early to write this post) When you are asking them to write about your brand without any kind of compensation you are asking them to promote a brand for free on their blog (aka their business) that they have invested  a ton of time and energy into. A brand that clearly has enough money to hire a PR team. This is why getting  editorial coverage is tough because your story or opportunity needs to be so exciting to them that they don’t care that you don’t have a budget.

How to fix it: First, look at the content the blogger organically writes and find a story that they would organically tell. (however, that story better be interesting enough that they want to tell it despite the fact that there is no monetary incentive) Second, look at the bloggers interests and what goals they have and find a way to offer them an opportunity that helps them reach a big goal, meet a celebrity they are obsessed with, attend an event they are dying to go to, etc.