Jason: Started blogging to tell a story, not to partner with sponsors, etc., but they came to him. Took his time with bringing in revenue.
Art: Worked in radio and promotions and learned about the quid pro quo of mentions for product in that arena. Then, he could use this with Life of Dad. Reached out to Tony Danza after he wrote a book and talked to him about it; more of these opportunities then followed.
Jeff: Write about going to shows featuring independent music shows, and then the PR reps noticed and started giving him product. Was known after a while as the “kids’ music guy.”
Chris: First pitch was from Disney when started blogging and was ecstatic.
Art: Treat all interviews like it’s your first one. Test and retest your equipment. Told a story where he was interviewing Kurt Warner and had sound issues, so it had to be published as a written interview.
Jeff: Insist on keeping your voice and style; provides his own content, not a sponsor’s bullet points.
Art: If interviewing someone, and you can tell you’re not hitting on their passions, change the direction of the interview. Try not to ask the same questions the interviewee talks about all the time.
Jeff: Don’t be afraid to personalize your interview and go off script.
Chris: Made the mistake of saying “yes” too many times and got completely burned out, so finally figured out that he needed to say “no,” take a couple months off of blogging, and attended Dad 2.0 in Houston to get back on track.
comment: When talking to someone who’s a parent, bring that up! The interviewee will almost certainly soften up.
Chris: Going into a pitch, the most important thing to remember is to be kind to people!
Jeff: His site isn’t all that large, but he he tries to be kind. He responds to all pitches with the starting of “Dear ____, Thanks for writing…” even if it’s ridiculous or not even close to what he wants to do. He wants more relationships in his life. Last fall, he was on a press event, and he asked the PR folks why he was chosen (since he was surprised that he was), and they told him it was because of his seeming to care and for being polite with them. Very gratifying! It was a huge brand and opportunity, so they could have picked anyone.
Art: Has sent Christmas cards and gifts to reps who have done a lot for him. That said, he once had someone respond to an interview request with a blank email and a subject line that said “no.”
Jason: Be grateful and follow up quickly.
Art: A handwritten card will go a long way!
Jason: A PR rep once told him, “I head you were nice.”
Chris: Has only been asked for his site’s stats once among all the partnerships he had last year.
question: How do you get offers if you’re a nobody online?
Chris: Email other bloggers to ask for advice; reach out on twitter to people to start a relationship. Also, don’t write a negative post about the pitch that starts with “Dear Mom” when you’re a dad like he did!
question: How do you evoke humility without being self-defeating, if you’re the “nobody” online?
Jason: When he was an actor, if he was auditioning, he tried out for the role of a moody African American male (he’s white), and he didn’t get the part, but the producer honored his confidence with another offered part. Be confident.
Chris: Heard a commencement speech wherein someone said if you want to do something and don’t think you can, just pretend you’re a person who does that and do it. So, he started his podcast right afterward.
Jeff: Know what you can offer.
comment: Many folks with lots of followers have low engagement. Be confident in your relationships and engagement if your numbers are low (assuming they are).
Chris: How do you make the ask?
Jason: People are busy, so go straight to the point and keep the email to 2-3 sentences. On his travel blog, he has the same pitch to hotels, etc. He also has a verbal one for booths at a travel conference.
Chris: Hotels have media budgets, and even if they won’t give you a room, they may give a reduced rate they use for media persons.
Jeff: 2 years ago, got a paid gig to review world’s fair after he asked for a car from a car company. He pitched it and said he has a “big media partner” in Good Men Project, so even though the post will be on his site, it could be on other partner sites. Got the car and then reached out to a hotel, and then reached out to a couple theater venues. Everyone wants press, and everyone agreed to help him. Just told his story–that he and has family like to take road trips and see interesting things. Museums and institutions want their stories told. Have an angle to personalized the pitch, too, and build a connection.
Jason: Had one event in which he attended a Liberty game, and it snowballed into other opportunities at Madison Square Garden to attend sporting events with his children and let them interview the athletes. Happened because he built a relationship.
Jeff: Liked PBS Kids but wasn’t doing anything with them, so he reached out to them and asked to work with them, and then he did a great job with a few posts for little money (and quickly), and then it became more writing and more money. Find something you can offer someone and then get freelance gigs; can turn into opportunities to work full time, even.
Chris: Faking confidence can be scary but gets easier after a time!
question: What’s our work worth?
Jeff: Kids asked him at career day about his earnings, but they vary! Has priced himself about $50/hr, but he works with folks with whom he wants to work more than for what it pays. Like with PBS. Has never thought, “That’s beneath my fee.” Also, over deliver.
Chris: Once you realize you can get to the “next level,” learn to say “no,” too. Set a rate and stick to it once you’ve gotten some experience. If they accept $150/post too quickly, bump it up to $200 and so on, until there’s hesitance to accept your demanded rate.
Jason: Got into blogging to tell stories, so if can tell a good story, and the price is low, may still take it, but doesn’t want to be taken advantage of. Says “no” a good bit, too, though. Have standards.
Art: When was writing for Yahoo, he was asked what his rate was, so set one based on his not wanting to do the interview, and he got it! Then he was able to have a starting point for figuring out what his rate should be.
Chris: Was told (by a PR rep) that the people who take the $20 jobs are never given an offer for the $1000 project. Value yourself and keep at it.
Art: Have a voice. Keep on trying. Took him 3.5 years of doing interviews to get one with the person he was passionate about doing. Kept getting better at it and was persistent.
Jeff: Work harder than everyone else and be kinder than everyone else, and it’ll compensate for less talent, etc.
Jason: Be kind; be confident; don’t be afraid of rejection. Don’t fear “no.” Be ready if asked for numbers, a media kit, etc. (i.e., be ready for the “yes”).
Chris: Dyson offered him some pictures for a post, so he responded with an offer to get a vacuum and it actually happened!
**live blog summary provided by Michael from dadcation.com**