Here's how you EARN someone's attention and respect

216714893_d680007834 I get a lot of PR pitches, will you review my book requests and can you tell people about our conference sort of e-mails.

I appreciate getting them because it helps me make this blog useful to you, the readers.  But, what I appreciate even more is when the person doing the pitch actually makes an effort to personalize the interaction which is in direct opposite to what happens most of the time – I get a generic e-mail (no doubt sent out to 100 of my closest blogging friends) and just filling in my name at the top.

This is NOT a post about how to pitch a blogger.  I think it’s about PR and building relationships, as opposed to the mass production mentality of just doing a mass mailing and wondering why no one picked up the story.

I’d like to tell you a little about two pitches that stood out and the results of those pitches.

John Rosen, author of Stopwatch Marketing

A few months before John’s book was released, he started reading and commenting here at the Marketing Minute.  He also engaged me in a genuine e-mail conversation about the work we both do, his familiarity with Des Moines and eventually his book.

By the time he asked me to review the book – we knew each other.  So when I got his book – I read it right away (my review here) and shared it with my readers within the week.  (Keep in mind, I get 2-5 books a week and am always struggling to keep up.  Normally, he’d have had to wait a month or so.)

Then, John really proved that he was a savvy marketer.  He didn’t need me anymore (in terms of his new book) but he continued to invest in the relationship.  We e-mail, comment on each other’s blogs and stay in touch to this day.  When we were looking for giveaways for Blogger’s Social – John was willing to donate copies of his book.  Having your book in the hands of 100+ smart and vocal marketers is a wise strategy.

John understands the power of relationships and investing your efforts before you ask for the favor.  Smart.

Bob Bloom, author of The Inside Advantage:  The strategy that unlocks the hidden growth in your business

Bob Bloom is the former U.S. CEO of advertising mega-giant Publicis Worldwide.  Suffice it to say, I had heard of Bob’s work.  Pretty sure he had not heard of mine.  I received a pitch to review his book and it came from Bob’s publicist.  As you might expect, the publicist followed none of John Rosen’s techniques, so the book got tossed into the pile and I reviewed it about 2 months after receiving it. (My review here)

I thought it was an excellent and insightful book and said so.  Bob is not just a marketing guy, he gets business. A valuable and rare combination, in my eyes.

Fast forward about a month after I posted the review.  My desk phone rings and I pick it up.  Who is on the line – but Bob Bloom.  He called so that we could get to know each other a little bit and to thank me for the review.   We ended up talking for about 15-20 minutes and much like my contact with John Rosen – it was genuine.  We talked about clients and he told me about his new effort – working one on one with business owners

Bob went out of his way to listen, comment thoughtfully and I completely forgot what a big deal he was…which just goes to prove what a big deal he truly is.

Two different approaches but some common threads:

  • There’s no substitute for you.
  • There’s no substitute for human interaction.
  • There’s no substitute for being genuine.
  • There’s no substitute for making the effort to connect and start a relationship.

As we continue to slog through the economic downturn – these truths don’t cost much but can yield long-term gains. How can you bring these truths to life in your dealings with customers, prospects and the media?

flickr photo courtesy of soooosh

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Comments

  1. says

    The company blog I’m responsible for is still fairly low in traffic and conversation, even so -I still get a couple pitches a month. “Dear [put the blogger name here],” is still one of my favorite pitch emails ever.

    I really like the approach you’ve explained here. A lot of the other blogs I’ve read on this subject often read like a dire laundry list of “How to approach me” and it makes me quake in my boots at the first wrong turn I make contacting them.

    Great post as always, Drew.

  2. says

    Drew:

    Great post, as always. And, as ever, thanks so much for the kind comments. A couple of points:

    1. You’re right that there’s no substitute for human interaction and being genuine. After almost two years of blogging, commenting, emailing, and drinking together at the Social, we certainly have a genuine relationship.

    2. To give credit where it’s due, I should mention that the publicist, Mark Fortier, for our book, Stopwatch Marketing, convinced us to start blogging for exactly the purposes you describe – to start building relationships in the marketing community and get a head start on generating excitement for our book. For the record, I am the second oldest in our company (yes, over fifty) and I am the one who has kept up with blogging, generally, and with online relationships in particular. We have 20- and 30-somethings who still think that blogging is too difficult and that Web 2.0 is still a long way away. Go figure.

    3. For any budding authors reading all this, trust Mark’s and Drew’s and (now) my advice: start blogging early and keep it up. You’ll sell more books AND make some real friends.

    4. As an obsessed author, I check Amazon every time you say something nice about me or we have some dialog about a marketing issue…most recently, thriving in a downturn by maintaining your marketing aggressiveness. And, our book usually pops up a notch or two in the rankings. However, I must admit, I haven’t checked your book, 99.3 Random Acts, lately. Do you get a pop every time I tell people to check out your book or site?

    5. Finally, I’m going to reach out to Bob Bloom. I don’t think I’ve ever met him, but, the whole point of all this blogging is networking and building genuine relationships. Which brings us right back to the beginning of this one, doesn’t it?

    John

  3. says

    ‘Chelle,

    Ah, I laughed when I read your comment. I’ve gotten a couple of those “fill in the blank” pitches as well. Man, people need to proofread better. Or better yet, just stop with the blanket pitches.

    I know what you’re saying about some blogs’ “policy” on accepting pitches. I get a lot of them, but I try to remember that these people are trying to make a living, and may very well have something to offer me/the readers here.

    And, I just don’t see a lot of merit in being rude. Saying thanks but no thanks takes just as much time and feels a whole lot more “social.”

    Drew

  4. says

    John,

    I believe the reason we have a genuine relationship today is because you initiated it from that mindset. Otherwise, my BS meter would have been sounding the alarm.

    Bravo to Mark for offering good advice and bravo to you for seeing the value and making a commitment to it long term. I have come to the conclusion that it’s not age which determines whether a marketing professional will give social media a try — it’s how open minded and willing to experiment they are.

    I think you’ll enjoy your interaction with Bob. He was very generous with his thinking and time when we spoke on the phone.

    Here’s to giving each other’s blogs and books a bump for many years to come. Maybe by then some of your 20-somethings will be smart enough to give it a spin too.

    Drew

  5. says

    Here’s to the oldies for having the experience to treat people as people. I’ve lost count of the times my heart sinks when I hear business owners tell me they don’t understand social and need to recruit ‘digital natives’ to do it for them. In any other context, native would mean “not familiar with the developed world”. Hmmm – maybe that is not so far from the truth – explains the trackdot example…. :-)

  6. says

    Hi Drew-

    Although I am not new to owning and running my own businesses, I am new to blogging and social media. I’m not sure how I found you, but I am extremely grateful for your tips. The blogging/getting reviews/on-line marketing has all been a mystery to me and I am learning each day with the help of your blog and others. I will continue to follow you and continue to learn!

    Thanks so much!
    Rachel

    • says

      Hey Rachel,

      Nice to meet you too. Welcome to blogging and social media! You’ll do just fine. The trick is to just keep at it. Most people give up too soon. It’s definitely a marathon, not a sprint!

      Drew

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