Below is the reply I sent to a woman who emailed this morning asking me to blog about a topic I know nothing about. I get emails like this all the time. Usually I don't open them, but for whatever reason I opened this one.
Instead of asking me to blog about things my readers will surely love, like winterized car mats, she, as you can see below, asked me to share tips about pregnancy.
Of course, though I'm a mother, I was only ever pregnant once, for about four weeks.
During the time leading up to our adoption of Owen, and in the posts introducing him to the world, I shared quite openly about adoption. Which I mention only because it's here on the blog. In public. For anyone wondering about my pregnancy experience to find.
Now, I wasn't hurt by this email from a stranger. I wasn't even angry, or very annoyed. But it was such a perfect failure of a professional to look into a blogger they pitch that I decided to reply. You can see the exchange below, with my reply up top because I copied and pasted it from my email with identifying information redacted (I'm not out to shame; I'm out to implore people to do better).
Oh, and let's not even go to the fact that I don't write about things even remotely related to tips about pregnancy. I mean, you don't have to dig back five years to discover a pitch like this is a waste of time.
So. Dear publicists, marketers and social-media outreach people: You can do so much better. I beg you to try. Please, please try.
Thanks, [REDACTED]. Only thing is, I don’t blog about parenting so much. But more importantly, we adopted our son, and I’ve never experienced a viable pregnancy.
I don’t usually reply to emails like yours, because they’re almost never in my interest nor in the interest of my audience, and they rarely indicate that the sender has actually read my blog, which is insulting and counterproductive.
I urge you to pass this email around to your colleagues, as a reminder that reaching out *well* is a far better use of your time, and your kindness, than going it half-assed.
Date: July 23, 2015 at 6:42:34 AM
To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>>
Subject: Would love your advice
Happy Thursday! My name is [REDACTED] and I'm with [REDACTED]. I wanted to invite you to participate in our [REDACTED] project.
I remember my pregnancies well: anticipation, sore feet, exhaustion, and loads of unwanted advice. I believe your blog is in the unique position to change the tune on noisy advice. In a post on your blog, I would love to read nine tips for a healthy pregnancy based on your experience. How did you deal with multiple doctor visits, swollen ankles, and morning sickness? Sharing your insights could help future moms and their children's health, too.
At the end of the month, our social team will be sharing some of our favorite [REDACTED] on social media using the hashtag [REDACTED].
Please let me know if I can count you in!
All the best,