As an avid cook and food enthusiast I follow dozens upon dozens of food blogs religiously. I wake up every morning and check out my handful of favorites (more than a handful on lazy Sundays) before even making my cup of coffee. I follow blogs that review restaurants in Portland all the way to blogs that exclusively post ice cream recipes. My Pinterest is a never-ending stream of soufflés and purees. It’s an addiction. So, as a person with a mind inclined towards both PR and food, I have decided to compile my advice for pitching a food blogger using my sets of knowledge for both things.
Do your research!
I can’t say this enough and it is relevant to any PR task you will ever come across. For more information on the importance of research in PR check this out. Research is everything, especially when it comes to bloggers. Find out the the bloggers name and address them as such. Do not refer to him or her as “blogger” or “author of _______ blog.” The only acceptable time to do this is when you are pitching an entirely anonymous blog. Look into past articles and reviews. For example, if you are pitching your new peanut butter brand and don’t look into the previous posts on the blog you are pitching you might not see that the blogger wrote a post a few weeks ago about having a severe peanut allergy. This can also work in the reverse. The blogger might have written a post a month or two back that marries perfectly with the post that you are trying to pitch. Showing that you know about the blogger and the blog sets you apart and makes the blogger more interested in working with you.
Blogs are a labor of love and so is cooking. Combine the two, and you have the ultimate love child. This is why it is absolutely essential to show interest in not only the pitch, but also the blog and the blogger. Food and cooking is a food bloggers passion. Show interest in the food, the concepts and the author. Getting to know the blogger even before the first point of contact is essential. Go beyond just knowing his or her name and what has been posted previously on the blog. At the very least read the “About Me” section and the blog introduction. Bloggers want to know that you care about what they do.
Focus on Building Relationships.
With all pitches make sure to focus on forming lasting connections. Connecting with a blogger shows that you care about getting to know them and building a relationship, rather than just about the pitch. Focus on the big picture. If you build connections with the bloggers you pitch, they are likely to help you out again and work with you in the future. Just as if you do not attempt to connect with them, they are very unlikely to work with you again. Building relationships is the bread and butter of public relations.
The Early Bird Gets the Worm.
This one is quite simple…just start early. Food bloggers get a mailbox full of pitches every day, especially the highly sought after bloggers. Starting early shows that you are prepared, proactive and engaged. Taking the initiative to pitch early demonstrates to the blogger that you took into consideration the timeline and that you were passionate enough about the pitch to start early. On a more basic level, the earlier you pitch the more likely you are to get coverage. If you get to the blogger first, he or she is more likely to engage simply because you got to he or she before anyone else did.
What do you have to offer?
Food bloggers are incredibly influential in today’s marketplace. For more research into how food bloggers have affected the restaurant industry check out this article. Food bloggers have massive, loyal followings and provide their audience with easy access to reviews and tips. Having a post about you on a well-known blog can make or break your brand. But receiving coverage isn’t just about you, it’s about a partnership. Bloggers want to get something out of it just as much as you do. Make it clear how you can benefit the blogger. Some offers you can make include offering special promotions exclusive to the blog’s followers or inviting the blogger to come have a free dinner at your restaurant with a friend. Incentives are important.
When it comes to pitching food bloggers, first and foremost, remember to keep it personal but professional.