Blogging 101: The Pitch

filed under: Blogging on August 22, 2012

Alternatively titled: The Ugly Truth about Pitches

Lately I have been getting numerous emails from random public relations firms.  I am talking 3-4 a day.  I am convinced I ended up on someone’s “list” and am now considered fair game to the ‘pitch artists’.

What I am experiencing is nothing new.  I have read about this onslaught before.  Basically since social media began making waves in public influence, public relations agencies have been pitching to bloggers.  Admittedly, their tactics have improved.  They now typically include a sentence about your most recent blog post and use your correct name.

But the goal has not changed.

In my opinion, they are seeking you out to use you.  They want your twitter followers, your facebook fans, and your blog readers.

And they want it for free.

Check out this site, which actively helps PR companies pitch.  Even if you haven’t received a pitch yet, mostly likely you will.  Its just a matter of time.*



An example of what I am getting:

Hi Manda,

We’re currently working with xxxxxx promoting their video for a new line of producs; you can watch the video here: videolink . The products on show are ideal for people with a passion for food but no time for cleaning, and we feel i am baker would be the perfect place to reach our audience.

If you would be interested in featuring the video on your site please get back to us and we can sort something out.


So I responded to this company:

Hi xxx

Thank you so much for the kind words!

I like your product (already use it!) and would be happy to feature your video on my site.  My normal fee for that is $x.  Please let me know if I can provide you any further details!



I received this back:

Hi Amanda,

Unfortunately we do not have any remaining budget for this campaign. 

We’ll keep you in mind for future endeavors.


Even my 3 year old knows that she doesnt want to do somethin for nothin, as evidenced by the fact I recently had to bribe her to pick up her princess shoes.

Here is one way I describe it: (usually to people who are not bloggers)

Its like going into a car dealership and saying, “I have a radio I think would be great in your car.  Can you install my radio in your car, advertise about my radio for me, make sure the radio is on all the time, and get all your existing customers more interested in my radio?  Oh, and this would be for free, since I am letting you use my radio.”

Just because a company contacts you and says, “We think your site is a great fit for our brand.  Please tweet, facebook, google +, blog, and pin our newest product and we will then consider you for future endeavors,” doesn’t mean you need to do what they ask!

You have worth.  Negotiate with them!  Dont accept the first offer as the final offer.

I dont know about you, but I was completely flattered the first time I got a pitch.  I was willing to do whatever they asked and then some.


I think they are banking on that.  Like, literally.

And in my experience, they actually do have a budget.  They just dont want to spend it where they dont have too.  Why pay when some bloggers are willing to do it for free, just to build a “relationship”?



Doing a blog post takes work.

Tweeting about a company that we do not know affects our twitter relationships.

Sharing a company on facebook affects our reputation.

Pinterest is still fairly new, but if a blogger has followers, their pins have value.

If a blogger chooses to work hard to promote your client and put their reputation on the line then they deserve compensation.





Your social media package (your blog, facebook, twitter, pinterest, google +, etc) has value.

Monetary value.

No matter what size your blog is, I encourage you to place a value on certain functions.

It is my opinion that you are the best judge of what that value is.  For instance, say JimBob has 1,000 fans on facebook.  JimBob shares daily on facebook and typically has at least 50% (if not more) of his fans interacting with him.  Susie Q has 10,000 fans on FB.  She doesnt have as much interaction and on average only 10% of her fans comment, like, and share.

(twitter, blog readers, pinterst followers, etc. are all interchangeable with facebook in that paragraph)

Please observe my very technical and high end graph.

Even though SusieQ has more fans, JimBob would probably run a more successful campaign.  Sadly, most PR agencies are not taking the time to determine this.  You need to be the one to tell them!

You know your fanbase, you know the interaction, you know your klout.  Base your fees on that, not on what someone else is charging.

In my best Norma Rae voice I want to say,

“Do not sell yourself short!  Have a fee and prepared statement in mind!  Take a stand against abuse of social media power!”

Or, ahhhh, something like that.

Did you know companies exist with the sole purpose of telling PR reps how to pitch to bloggers?  It is my hope that we, as bloggers, can challenge them.  Force them to pay bloggers an appropriate sum for our time, our influence, and our hard work!

ALL bloggers.  Even if you feel you have a small audience, you have a voice.  I just hope they can respect that.



*There is nothing wrong with getting a pitch!  My next post will be on how to discern if a company is right for you and how to make sure they keep coming back for more. 🙂

Disclaimer: I have been contacted by companies I love and admittedly, I will work for them for free.  If I already use their product, have previously promoted their product, and think others can benefit from using their products, I am excited to share that through all social media avenues.  Sometimes, for me, its not about what I can gain from it, but how can I help others by sharing.

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  • Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles says:

    Great post, Amanda. I shall pin it to my forehead. Right now. xoxo

  • Meagan says:

    I really, really appreciated this post, Amanda! It gives me the courage to represent myself the way that I should. Thank you for the advice!

  • Alysha @Shesontherun says:

    I just read this post and it opened up my eyes. I said yes to a woman promoting a cooking class and I didn’t want to tell her no (even though I was doing it for free). I then asked her if I could take a class and blog about it and she said no! I have to say, after blogging for almost 2 years, I am still learning so much.

    Thank you for posting this!

  • Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen says:

    Just wanted to offer a belated thank you for this post! I saved it back when you first posted it, and just referred back in an effort to draft a tactful response to a company that wanted me to promote their product for nothing. Thanks so much for writing this 🙂

  • Becky - Clean Mama says:

    Awesome post – thank you!
    xo, Becky

  • ElizaBeth says:

    “Pitches” the #2 reason I don’t blog! #1 Reason, I overthink everthing I write and as a result NOTHING would ever get posted! 🙂 May God continue to fill your heart with such astounding disernment!

  • carma says:

    this post came to my attention at just the right time. Over the weekend I was working with a pr firm who represented a company that wanted to take out a text ad. I mentioned my ridiculously rate of $10/month figuring they would pick up at least 3 months (last time I made that a requirement) – so they got back to me that they would like to do one month – for a whopping $10 (minus the paypal fee) – I got to thinking and it is not worth doing ANYTHING for less than $10 so I told them so in a nice way and they came up to 3 months/$25 but now I have to jump through all sorts of hoops since the link can only appear on the homepage not subsequent pages. Not even worth it for $25 I’m afraid. Hope you are doing well my friend 🙂 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Girl… you are wise and priceless. I think that company was beyond foolish to not offer you MORE! You are fabulous. 🙂

  • Helene says:

    I really like your post but don’t forget that big companys will offer good money only to big ‘blogs’. When you start you will not get that $100+ in the mail to write a blog post, buy the ingredients, take a picture and talk about the products on your blog, Facebook, twitter etc. etc.

    Many companys will send you a free box of goodies to try and might offer you a giveaway. That’s about it. I am talking about companys in Canada for your information, cannot speak about US.

    Also it would be nice to actually know how much to charge instead of saying that we should not work for free. That would be a bit more useful for everyone. When you are starting a blog and want exposure you may want to work for almost free. It’s a business and it takes time and effort to build a business and good relationship with PRs. You need to invest time and it might be profitable some day. Just a few can quit their full time paying job to get a living out of it.

    Thanks for letting me commenting on your post.

  • Lauren @ Every Last Detail says:

    YES YES YES!!!!! Everyone who has ever even thought about working with a blog needs to read this!!! As a wedding blogger, I’m having to deal with the exact same thing- and I’m getting SO fed up about it. Straight up telling me that I don’t deserve to make a living via my business- how dare they?! Sometimes I just want to reply with “Do YOU work for free?”

    Thanks for this!

  • Angelica Merritt says:

    I was trying not to laugh out loud during this entire post! As of yesterday I went from full-time PR girl to full-time blogging [and bar tending to support my habit]! With every pitch I was forced to send to bloggers I thought this exact thing, which is why I decided to discontinue my line of work and go with a route that I am INFINITELY happier with. Thanks for this great information.

  • Bree {Skinny Mommy} says:

    This is a GREAT reminder and I am beginning to get this more and more. What would you recommend charging for something like promoting a product? I appreciate your feedback!

    • Amanda says:

      There are so many variables Bree… it just depends on you! 🙂

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks says:

    How did I miss this post? Thank you for linking it up! I loved every word and so, so true. Our blogs have value and even those who are just starting out, and to those who have been doing it for years, all of us deserve and should expect to be paid for services rendered.

    I would never go to the dentist and expect the work to be free or name any transaction in life – nothing is free – unless we are doing volunteer work. Why do PR companies think bloggers will work for free and volunteer our time, websites, energy, etc. to them. Boggles my mind, many times over, daily. Saving this post!

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks so much Averie!

  • Howard says:

    Really interesting post. I have a small bakery brand myself in the UK and have been looking for bloggers, not necessarily to try my products, which I would give as well, but to ask bloggers to give away freebies that I would supply to them to get people to follow us on Facebook, or Twitter. The bloggers could use the gifts on their blog site which in turn attracts them more followers. . In return I would pay for this as I also realise that the effort and time by a blogger should be rewarded, and I wondered what the bloggers would see as the “going rate” I have just started blogging myself at mrbakestone and would like feedback on this please.

  • Caroline Hurley says:

    I’m a bit late to this conversation, but so glad I found it! I’ve been blogging purely for the joy of it for quite a while now. I feel ready to jump into working with brands and feel so much better about saying no to promoting a large company for free after reading this. The hours and the effort that goes into each and every blog post deserve much more merit than that. Loved this!

  • Chichi says:

    Thanks for the advise Amanda. Really insightfulght

  • MrsAubreyB says:

    Thank you for this post! I just got my first one (and I work in PR normally, so it was…weird to be on the other side). And yet I was still giddy excited that someone FOUND ME. Meanwhile, the pitch was to write about wedding advice, something I’ve avoided doing so far on the sheer fact that I still have a little bit of PTSD from wedding planning. 😉 But you know, I had to research first…and I’m glad I found this post. It is a wonderful reminder that as a person, you should run your blog and your business the way you want to. Thank you so much!

  • Carla says:

    This is a very helpful post. thank you. It give voice to bloggers to be heard and rules for bloggers to follow

  • Vicky B. says:

    Just found this post on Pinterest. I couldn’t agree more with this article. I find it irritating when companies contact me and ask if I would be interested in working with them to promote their product however they are not willing to compensate. I don’t think these companies value bloggers’ time and don’t take into consideration how much work goes into a blog post. It sometimes takes me 2-3 hours to write a blog post and that doesn’t include taking and editing photos. Most companies have the money but just like you said in the article, they rather take advantage of bloggers knowing some of them will do it for free.

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