I have a somewhat embarrassing confession to make: I have written some really bad pitches to blogs in the past. When I first began offering guest posts I was relatively new to the entire concept. While a blogger myself, I had never accepted guest articles from anyone. So I had no frame of reference for how writers were supposed to offer their ideas.
As a result, I didn’t get a whole lot of positive responses. Eventually I learned how to improve those pitches and so my acceptance rate. But having started to accept pitches myself, I am noticing more and more that many other writers don’t know any better than I did how to properly offer ideas.
Here are some tips for pitching a guest post the right way.
1. Skip the attention grabbing subject line.
This is one I am guilty of having done myself. You want to grab the attention of the blog owner, and so you write something that aims to do that right in the email subject line. Maybe it is “funny”, or full of exclaimation points, or all capital letters. Either way, it immediately puts across a negative image that you won’t recover from. I don’t even bother to read these, because nine times out of ten, the pitched idea is just as bad. Is it unforuntate for that one person that actually has a decent post suggestion and can write? Yes, but when you are accepting pitches you have to weed people out quickly. Try a more professional approach, and be direct. A good example would be: Guest Post Pitch: Why Your Content Marketing Strategy Sucks (And How To Fix It). Straight, to the point and engaging, the skimming blog owner will be more likely to give it a click.
2. Introduce yourself properly.
Impersonal pitches are really annoying, because you know nothing about the person who is wanting to write for you. That includes their credentials and what makes them able to properly write about a topic. You don’t want to go overboard, but a quick explanation of who you are and what you do is crucial. Think of this as a job application; you wouldn’t fax in an application without giving your name or some work history, would you? Samples aren’t necessary for most, but I always like to include one or two links to past published work for reference.
3. Give a quick summary of your post idea.
The title isn’t enough, and you need to break down what you will be writing about. But that doesn’t mean they want to read an entire article about the article. Just give a succinct and descriptive explanation of what you are proposing. Using the “Why Your Content Marketing Strategy Sucks ould be a post aimed at intermediate bloggers and website owners who might not have perfected their content marketing strategy. It would break down five common mistakes, and give practical advice for each on how to fix the errors for a more cohesive strategy.” That tells them exactly what you will be writing, but took a small paragraph to explain it.
4. Offer more than one topic idea.
This isn’t something you have to do, but it can be a nice way of widening your chances of getting a yes. List two or three ideas, each with a small explanation like the example above. That gives them some options, so they can select whatever might be a more fitting article of their site. It also helps avoid the problem of suggesting a topic they are already scheduled to cover. Don’t suggest too many topics, however. Try not to go over three.
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5. Make sure the pitch writing is up to scratch.
If you can’t even write an engaging and high quality pitch, why would the blogger expect you be able to write a good guest post? Your pitch is your first impression, and not just for a single article. It is possible that you will get many opportunities to write for them in the future, as often a blog owner will return to a past contributor to ask for more work. You are aiming to build a relationship that will benefit you both for a long time. Act accordingly, and make sure you are putting your best face (and writing) forward from the very start.
Do you have any tips for writing a guest post pitch? Let us know in the comments.
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