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FIR Live Blogger Relations Show About Gary Varynerchuk Pitch Email

Today I was on a panel discussion at the For Immediate Release BlogTalkRadio Live program with Shel Holtz, Neville Hobson, Gary Varynerchuk, Connie Reech, Connie Bensen and Kaitlyn Wilkins discussing Gary Varynerchuk's email about his new upcoming book. I'd written a post describing the email as a bad pitch, and Gary had responded.

At the beginning of the discussion, I gave an overview of how I saw the pitch email, here's the overview.

1) Did not know Gary before I received the pitch email, though had seen him in social media. No comments or other connections between us.

2) If you are going to pitch someone it pays to read blogger’s or journalist's stuff before contacting them. You can personalize the email.

3) The email pitch did not even talk about the contents of the book, the email seemed to be pitching traffic rather than the book. I may have been interested in getting a review copy if I'm been asked, but I wasn't.

Crisis Communications - Gary's Good Engagement Strategy

1) Engaged all of the people who commented on the post. That's good.

2) Apologized for the email, I very much appreciated that effort.


1) I heard reports of other bloggers getting the same or very similar emails. So while engagement was good, no change in behavior. I will continue to provide constructive criticism of Gary.

Lastly, I Recommended The Following

a) Use media relations tactics that are much more likely to work.

b) Don't ruin your reputation in the world of blogging and social media.

c) Don't ruin your credibility in providing social media branding advice.

Gary followed up with his thoughts about the pitch. I thought he did a great job of explaining why he thought his pitch could have been better, and he would not have recommended this strategy to companies. He also explained that he wanted to get the word out about his book, and connect with as many people as possible. But that he did not have a lot of time because he is very busy. While I can sympathize with Gary about being busy, any parent will understand the trials of juggling so much in their life I still think companies should attempt to personalize their posts by reading each blogger or journalist's material. Gary suggested that most public relations people only spend a short time doing this. While that's a good point, I think taking that extra step can help to alleviate bad pitches. I brought up the issue of large companies having to do pitches and hiring the staff to conduct outreach.

My impression after talking with Gary directly over the telephone is someone who is very passionate about what they do, so much so that they sometimes take a tumble in the world of social media through a misstep but someone who will be right back at connecting with people again tomorrow.

Connie Bensen gave her perspective on her comment and thoughts about the follow up from Gary. Connie had a few concerns about some aspects of the pitch, but on the whole she thought it was good because the pitch offered to help her.

Kaitlyn Wilkins was appearing for John Bell (John was stuck on an airplane) she discussed the blogger relations approach of Ogilvy with their blogger relations strategy from two years ago. Kaitlyn would not have recommended the approach Gary's colleague used. She recommended that Gary use a video in the future.

Connie Reech also could not recommend Gary's approach, and suggested Gary use some alternative tactics.

While Neville Hobson strongly recommended Gary and people not use this approach.

Several people called in, including Krishna De from Ireland and Paull Young from New York.

Krishna provided some perspective about the pitch. She looked at the intent of the pitch rather than the execution. Krishna also wrote a great follow up post, one that you should review as she provided some good advice about blogger outreach strategies.

Paull Young can in with another perspective, he recommends to clients to reduce their traditional outreach strategies, and rather use dialogue and good content as a blogger relations strategy. Shel Holtz and I discussed the issue of blogger relations three years ago in relations to a Click.TV pitch on my old blogsurvey blog at Backbone Media, where Shel and I discussed the definition of blogger relations, I’d suggested blogger relations was not media relations. However, that discussion got me off my curmudgeon horse to accept the reality that there are two definitions for blogger relations.

This discussion reminded me of my attempts at blogger relations with the Corporate Blogging Survey 2005, where the outreach program to ask people to participate in the survey resulted in a snafu on our part, here’s a post “Connecting With Bloggers To Review Your Product,” about the incident with links to more posts on blogger relations.

The show was a great conversation, my thanks to all the participants and especially Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz for continuing to host a great discussion about public relations.