Anatomy of a bad pitch

Pitching matters.

How you pitch a blogger could be considered the most crucial part of running a successful blogger outreach offering as a brand or agency.

It matters because bloggers are highly relational, time poor entrepreneurs fielding dozens if not hundreds, of emails every day. Like you, they are overwhelmed (and underpaid!) and racing to get through their emails so they can get on with the real work of the day – creating content.

The great thing for you is that all this presents you with an opportunity. As someone who has received thousands of pitches from brands and agencies I am, here to tell you that it is not hard to stand out.

When you pitch a blogger, your primary objective with your first email is to build trust with the blogger. 

They want to feel that working with you would benefit them and their readers, and they want to work with people who they feel will respect them. You can demonstrate this by being clear about what you want from them, and what you have to offer.

While this might sound like a lot of hard work, it’s worth remembering that the quality of a pitch makes the difference between a blogger becoming your champion or your competitors.

We have a values statement for how we approach pitching (you are welcome to use it as your own!)

how to pitch bloggers

But a values statement is not enough.

I receive regular pitches from brands and individuals both for this blog and for my previous personal blog and I thought I would start sharing some of these with you to highlight some of the good, and not so good ways to pitch a blogger.

NB: this is not going to be a ‘name and shame’ situation, so all identifying features will be removed from the email so we can just look at the pitch itself. (I know that many bloggers receive the same email so if you leave a comment identifying the brand involved this is a heads up to say that I will remove it).

Here’s a pitch I received this week…

to: Louisa <>
date: Tue, Jun 23, 2015 at 4:51 PM
subject:  Guest Writing Opportunity

Hi Louisa,

I’m <REDACTED> from <REDACTED> and I help connect bloggers to brands and advertisers for paid content placements opportunities.

I have an advertiser who would love to offer content placements for your blog regularly. They work with hundreds of bloggers like yourself and they even pay $25 for each placement you publish to cover your time and costs towards running your site.

Is this something you’d be interested in?

They’ll write blogs that are exclusive for YOUR readers, 100% unique to you
All of their blogs include images and useful links for YOUR readers
They will be in a ready to publish format so you just simply copy and paste

They work with bloggers week in week out so you can expect fresh
exclusive content for your blog regularly.

What do you think? If you’re happy I will get them to email you about
this opportunity?

Let me know.

Super Blogger



What they have done well…

1. Used my name, this may be a template email but it’s been personalised with my name and blog which is a win!

2. They offered unique content.  (I take this at face value as it is part of their offer however from a human psychology perspective, the approach in the email meant that this promise was undermined – it would have been stronger if they had sent a personally written email and made the ‘personal approach’ angle part of their own brand).

Where they’ve missed the mark…

1. The subject of the email is “Guest Writing Opportunity” so I thought the email was going to be from someone wanting to write a guest post on my blog.

Lesson: Be clear about your intentions from the outset (and understand that sponsored content must always be disclosed – don’t ask a blogger to skip this. They haven’t said anything about disclosure in the email, so I am left to take inference from the subject line. Don’t leave bloggers having to make such assumptions, you might miss an opportunity to work with them as a result or create extra work for yourself in replying to clarifying emails)

2. The name in the ‘from’ email address differed to the name used in the email – from the outset I have red flags about the company.

Lesson: When pitching a blogger for the first time, use your email as an opportunity to build trust and credibility.

3. My business is to connect brands with bloggers they can trust, to promote their brand and products AND to teach bloggers how to work professionally with brands. It’s clear that the sender of this email hasn’t looked at my blog to understand whether my blog is a suitable fit for them.

Lesson: Rather than sending mass emails, narrow down your options and spend a few moments checking out the blogs of those you are emailing to make sure that it’s relevant.

4. Most bloggers don’t want to accept content from a third party, especially if they haven’t got an existing relationship with that company or brand. Integrating brand-written content into your blog has to be done exceptionally carefully (and with great care given to disclosure) so this pitch isn’t going to resonate with many bloggers, especially experienced bloggers.

Lesson: Listen in forums, read blogs about blogging and blogger outreach and understand what the current trends are so you can pitch appropriately.

5. Payment is offered however the amount of $25 for the post is why this offer falls into the ‘missing the mark’ category.

Lesson: Blogger Outreach in 2015 is not the same as it was in 2010. Bloggers now expect payment or a great value offer for themselves/their readers. If you want to work with great bloggers, learn what the industry standards are for compensating bloggers.

Overall this pitch gets a 2/10 from me. While this offer might suit some bloggers, they have left too many questions unanswered in the pitch and this is an email that is most likely to get deleted not replied to.


If you are a blogger, what do you like to see in a pitch? How would you have responded to this email? Marketers, what do you want bloggers to know about the pitching process from your side? Let me know in the comments….


  1. Oh this series will be awesome! I’m going to have to find some pitches I’ve received and send them over (there’s a great one I keep getting over and over again from some online gambling site and they actually sent me the “specific to my readers” article example….. ) I think, however, what annoys me the most is the letters I get asking me to put together some outfit ideas from Company A’s product line, with links to their site (for free) and they MIGHT promote my article on their social media channels.

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    • Oh please do Caroline, I think it’s so hard to get the pitch right. x

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  2. Love this post! I get pitches like that way too often and now I am at the point I just hit delete. I also get a lot of pitches that want me to work for free.

    Post a Reply
    • I think that’s what is a shame – we just hit delete and what could be a great opportunity is lost. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Post a Reply
  3. Great post and looking forward to the rest of the series. In this offer another issue for me was that their brand had no real online or social profile. We expect that a brand or PR will vet us, our site and verify our provided stats but they should expect that validation is one of the first things Bloggers will do too in splitting the genuine from the spam.

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    • That’s a great point Toni, and absolutely true!

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