Iliyana's Blog

How Not to Pitch Influencers

[fa icon="calendar"] 13-Jun-2017 10:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva

How Not to Pitch Influencers.jpg

I've been running this blog for five and a half years. 

As my audience started to grow, I began receiving emails from people either sharing content that I might like and want to use or pitches for guest posts. 

I was so excited back then! They liked my blog and wanted to be part of it! They wanted to contribute for my audience! 

With time and with the growth in traffic and subscribers, the number of pitches increased, especially after my talk at INBOUND16

Which I'm happy about for sure, however, my inbox now gets flooded with bad emails. Really bad emails. 

Pitches that are spammy, mass emails that were clearly not just for me, untargeted or irrelevant suggestions. 

Because I worked in PR and specialised in blogger relations, I'm amazed at the terrible pitches I'm getting so I want to show you some examples of what not to do and give you some tips on what to do instead.

Let's start with some examples, some of which look like spam but came from real people with clearly real jobs.  

How Not to Pitch Influencers:

Let's mass email: 

idiotic pitch.jpg


Names are irrelevant, so is location: 

media relations done bad.jpg


What influencers write about doesn't matter, we're too awesome: 

idiotic pitch 2.jpg


You don't matter, we matter part 2: 

email spamming 4.jpg


Spamming for a response:

email spamming 1.jpg


These are just a few examples I took from my inbox from the last few weeks. Unfortunately, I rarely receive something that I would really want to read and make me collaborate with the person who reached out. 

So how do you do this right? 

It's very similar to how I explain doing media relations the inbound way, however, this time you're dealing with influencers for whom writing may not be their full-time job.

You see, that's the most important part - do your research first


  • Find out who these people really are.
  • Read what they write about and how often as well as how often on certain topics. 
  • Follow them on social, comment on their tweets, make them notice you. 
  • Research if they have a job and not just a blog (or YouTube channel, Instagram etc). If they have a job, what does it involve (mine is super busy so spamming my inbox is the worst thing you can do). 
  • Understand what their day-to-day looks like. (Stalk them on Instagram.)
  • Define clear expectations from you and for them. (If they're so busy they'll prob respond in more than a week; if you want to write them something might take months.)

What all this involves is your time. You need to take the time to do this research to get to know the influencer. This might take weeks but is far better than just shooting a bad email and not getting anything out of it. 

That's why it's called relations - you're building a relationship with someone so that when you pitch once and it works for them, the second time around it's much easier because you've done this already; you know each other; you've worked together. 

Essentially, when you are reaching out to someone for the first time, you want to tell them how you can make their lives easier or better. 

This doesn't happen by constantly spamming their inboxes and forgetting to mention what's in it for them (or their name). 

So for those who want to reach out to me, I really hope you do your research and find this blog post.


What are some other tips for influencer outreach?  


Topics: Public Relations, Inbound PR

Iliyana Stareva

Written by Iliyana Stareva

Iliyana Stareva is the author of Inbound PR - the book that is transforming the PR industry. She's also a keynote speaker and a consultant in inbound and digital for fast-growing companies and agencies. Currently, Iliyana is Chief of Staff to the EMEA President at ServiceNow. Before that, she held global and EMEA-wide positions at Cisco and HubSpot. She is also certified by the PMI as a Project Management Professional (PMP)®. In her free time, you can find Iliyana writing for her blog, dancing salsa or travelling the world.

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