Home Blog Uncategorized The big problem with influencer outreach–highlighted in one horrible example

The big problem with influencer outreach–highlighted in one horrible example


A couple years ago, I made a decision: I wasn’t going to deride brands or people online when it came to social media marketing campaigns. I’ve done it a bit in the past, and I always felt bad about it. And, bottom line: it wasn’t–and isn’t–productive.

However, with that said, I’m calling one example out today because, frankly, I’ve had it with these ridiculous blanketed pitches I receive each week.

Now, to be clear, I’m no huge influencer. I’m just a guy with a blog. But, I do receive a handful of pitches in my inbox each week for some reason.

And virtually every single one of them is horrible. H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E.

I all-capped and hyphenated horrible so you understand just how bad it is 🙂

And, very sadly, I believe it’s far too indicative of where we’re at with influencer outreach in 2018.

I’ve seen it first-hand for the last few years.

I’ve seen it from brands and agencies I’ve never heard of.

And, I’ve seen it from brands and agencies right here in Minneapolis–brands and agencies that should know better (and are actually touting their services in this area–unbelievable!).

To show you just how bad these pitches are, I wanted to share with you one specific example from earlier this week. I believe it highlights all the problems our industry is facing–in one horrible pitch. My comments in red, just to have some fun, since this person clearly put no time into this pitch.


Hey! (personalized pitches FTW! Isn’t this the first rule of influencer OR media outreach?)

My name is (Name redacted to protect the guilty) and I’m on the marketing team at (Company redacted to protect the guilty), a teledermatology and custom skincare brand (clearly, skin care is something I write about all the time!). We’re big fans of arikhanson.com (um, this is the first I’ve ever heard from you; and, let’s be honest, no one is really a “big fan” of arikhanson.com) and I wanted to see if you’d be interested in getting your own VIP subscription to receive a custom skincare formula that’s tailor-made for your skin

Given how well your content aligns with our band (typo for 10 points! Also, that is 100% inaccurate!) we’d love to find a way to partner. With our medical team’s expertise in dermatology, skincare, and beauty, we could collaborate on a blog post or article (all topics I write about ALL THE TIME!). Some publications we’ve recently been published in include: Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Bustle, MSN, Insider, Romper, SHAPE, Men’s Health, and Byrdie (all pubs that target beauty, health and wellness, which makes complete sense since my blog talks about social media, comms and PR!).  

Let me know if you’d also be interested in pursuing an affiliate partnership to collect commission on a CPA basis! (so, to be clear, you want me to completely sell out and write about a topic I never write about to help you sell more skincare products? THIS SOUNDS LIKE AN AMAZING OPPORTUNITY FOR ME! WHERE DO I SIGN UP?!?!?!?!?!) 

What is (Company redacted to protect the guilty)

Our unique platform matches you with a personal dermatology provider in minutes—all it takes is a few selfies and a skin quiz to get a prescription formula customized to your individual skincare needs and delivered to your door for about $19.95/month. (we’re not four paragraphs in and this person hasn’t talked about what’s in this for me or people who might read my blog ONCE)

What makes (Company redacted to protect the guilty) unique? 

  • Custom prescription formulas. While we focus on acne-fighting, each formula can be adapted to address anti-aging, blackheads, hyperpigmentation, and more. Our formulas come packed with powerful active ingredients, including Azelaic Acid, Clindamycin, Niacinamide, Tretinoin, Vitamin C, and Zinc Pyrithione which are adjusted to fit your unique skin.
  • Convenience. Everything is done online. All you have to do is complete a skin quiz online and upload photos of your face and you’re immediately paired with 1 of our dermatology providers who prescribes a formula that’s shipped straight to your door.
  • Accessible and affordable expert dermatology care. Between appointments, referrals, and copays, expert dermatology care can be expensive, restrictive and time-consuming. With (company name redacted to protect the guilty), your licensed dermatology provider  is just a message away and can even tweak your formula over time as your skin changes.

I’d love to find a way to collaborate or partner with you and am open to any ideas or suggestions! (Yes–I have an idea! Take me off the list you spend a grand total of 2 minutes researching please!)

I look forward to hearing from you!


(Name redacted to protect the guilty) 


So, what did we learn from this hideous pitch?

  • Personalize. Always personalize your pitches. This one had zero personalization.
  • Research. Clearly, this person had done ZERO research before sending me this pitch. She had no idea what I wrote about. It was obvious to me that this was a classic spray-and-pray pitch. Don’t do that. Ever.
  • Address the WIIFM question (or, WIIFTR). Yes, you want to sell your company, product or idea in your pitch. But, you also want to make sure you’re addressing the “what’s in it for me?” question. In the pitch above, that wasn’t addressed at all. She droned on and on about her product, instead. I tuned out in the first two sentences. This is the absolute key to influencer outreach done well–and I hardly ever see it done well.

Again, I don’t like calling people or companies out, which is why I redacted the names above. But, we need to stop this garbage. We need to get smarter and more effective, as a collective industry, when it comes to influencer and/or media outreach.



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