How to Pitch Your Content Correctly: Case Study

This has nothing to do with social media and everything to do with it. Promoting content and getting people to engage is not only essential for exposure, but it requires effort. You can’t just put something out there and expect people to find it. In this example, this reader read my response to one of the comments made on a previous blog. She took my advice — literally and reached out to me. It has nothing to do with my blog, but I am going to post it in dissected sections so you can see what she did right vs what she missed:

Here’s her email:

Hi, Tracy,

I found your blog through a Google search to help me create better Facebook posts about my research.  I saw that you responded to one of your commenters telling them to just ask you to blog about them rather than shamelessly posting a spammy link in the comments section.  So, I’m writing to ask for your help recruiting the last few volunteers I need to finish my PhD.  I’m a clinical psychology doctoral student interested in learning more about the experiences of those whose partners (at least sometimes) interfere with their weight loss efforts. [this is where this has nothing to do with my blog]

What she got right here?

  1. Addressing me by name
  2. Telling me how she found me
  3. Referencing a previous blog post showing me she had read my blog* – see my comment below on this one.
  4. Telling me a little bit about who she is

What she got wrong: I appreciated her referencing a particular blog, it showed me she had read my blog. But if she had read a few blogs, then she would have noticed that being shameless and asking me to write about her survey is only part of the equation. I did appreciate her asking me, however, asking me to write about something that would not be valuable to my audience (people who are interested in social media tips, news, events), is almost as bad as putting a comment in with a spammy link.

Now, she goes on to say in her email that she has had previous posts published on her research, such as: Is your partner sabotaging your weight? and she added the appropriate links and wrote out the links in full http://xxxx length.

What she got right here?

  1. She showed that others had posted about her research
  2. She manually typed in the long URL and didn’t hyperlink words, which was smart because this allowed me to type them in manually myself.

Then proceeds with the ‘shameless ask’ – which I thought was ballsy and crazy considering my blog is on social media and has nothing to do with weight loss:

Would you please post about my study on your blog (or help me figure a better way to announce this)?  All the information about the anonymous, online survey is hosted here at my university’s website:

This survey is designed for those who can answer yes to the following questions:

Have you been participating in a weight loss program for the last 5 consecutive weeks?  
Have you been in a committed, cohabitating relationship for the last two years?  
Do you ever feel like your current partner/spouse gets in the way of your weight loss?

Then she tried to sway me with a charity component (this was really a hard sell):

Besides helping to advance scientific inquiry on this topic, each participant who completes the survey may also select to have $1 donated by the researcher to the participant’s choice of 1 of these 5 charities:  PlayworksThe Carter Center ,Teach for AmericaSusan G. Komen for the Cure, or MAP International.  Additionally, participants may opt to enter a drawing for 1 of 10 gift cards (one $100 card and nine $25 cards).

What she got wrong:

I don’t really care about the charity component. What I want to know is the value it would add for my readers by me posting her blog? That’s the part she is missing in her ask.

All in all, it was a pretty good ‘ask’ except for the fact that she didn’t read more than one of my blogs so she didn’t have a sense of what I typically write about and she never gave me the value-added benefit it would have for my readers.  Perhaps she thought the charity piece was the value-add, but that’s not a benefit for my readers, that’s a benefit for people who take the survey. These are two different audiences.

In the end,  yes – I posted her request, but only because I could make it relate to my audience. If I wasn’t able to do this or didn’t feel like taking the time to do this, then I would have hit the “delete” key as soon as I read that this was on weight loss.


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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.