There are countless online publications out there looking to fill their content gap with engaging, interesting content for their audience. If you’re interested in guest posting, it’s your job to reach out to the editors of these sites and try to get your articles published online.
Just because there are a ton of websites to choose from doesn’t mean that pitching your article idea to a company is going to be easy. Many editors are looking for certain features in the people who submit article ideas to them. And every editor has their own quirks and personality traits that you’ll need to learn before you pitch your idea. However, there are a few general rules that can help you improve your chances of getting your guest post pitch approved.
Let’s dive in and take a look at some of the most common mistakes people make when pitching, and how you can avoid making similar errors in your pitch email.
Study the website
This may seem like a basic premise: Study the website where you wish to send your pitch. Sadly, there are a shocking number of people who simply get this wrong. Instead of looking over the website for general ideas and themes, they send a canned pitch that they’ve sent to several other publications in the hopes that someone will bite.
Don’t put yourself in that position.
Before you even sit down and craft your headline, make sure you understand the website you’re pitching to and its audience. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by looking at the blog posts that already exist. Look for similar themes and parallels, and try to figure out a pitch angle that makes sense for that publication.
When looking through the content that already exists, see if there is anything you can expand on. For example, if there is a blog article that discusses the different types of marketing and how to implement them in your business, pick a subsection of that topic, such as email marketing, and see if there is a way you can expand on what is already there. In most cases, you should try to stick to the first four to five pages of a blog when coming up with a topic because this is the content that is relevant to their blog now, not back in 2014 or whenever their first post was published.
Weave your experience into the email
Never substitute explaining your experiences with talking about how great you are (or think you are). Very rarely are people as "cool" as they portray themselves, and it will show in your pitch.
Instead, focus on how you can weave your personal and business experiences into their topic in an objective way. For example, if you’ve been in the email marketing field for 10 years, mention the experience the same way you would in a job interview. Here are a few examples of the right and wrong ways to let your experience speak for you:
• Wrong: “I’m one of the best email marketers around. Many of the top people in my field regard me as a peer because of all the awesome accomplishments I have under my belt.”
• Right: “I have more than 10 years of experience working in email marketing. I’ve also published content for both Inc. and Forbes. Please feel free to have a look (include links). My experiences in this field may be able to shed some light on questions your readers may have regarding marketing.”
Notice how in the first example there are plenty of adjectives designed to boost how great you look. Words like "best" and "awesome" sound like they ooze confidence, but editors don’t care about how cool you think you are; they care about what real-world experience and value you can bring to their readers.
Remember that personalization matters
We all know that personalization is important when trying to reach customers, but it’s also an important factor to take into consideration if you want to reach out to an editor regarding your guest post.
Imagine for a second that you get hundreds of emails a day from random individuals. Of the following two options, which one is going to catch your attention?
• Option 1: “Dear Sir/Madam, I want to submit an article idea.”
• Option 2: “Dear Carl, I was checking out your blog. I love the piece where you guys discuss the top five trends all marketers need to know. I found the tip about sharing your content on social media super valuable! I have a topic idea for your site that I think would really flesh out a point mentioned in the previous article …”
Option 2, right? When you’re pitching to an editor, do everything in your power to find out their name so you can address them personally. If you’ve done your research, you should also be able to tell the editor some of the previous blog posts you’ve enjoyed on the site and how your content can add more value to their audience.
Keep in mind that personalization doesn’t mean writing a long-winded email explaining your life story or every blog post you found interesting. The key is to be short, sweet and personal.
There’s no question that guest posting is going to be around for many years to come. As long as there are blogs that need content, there will likely be a need to find writers who are willing to deliver great articles.
Hopefully, these tips will help you craft the perfect guest post moving forward. Keep in mind that not every editor is going to say yes. You’re going to have people tell you they are not interested. You’re going to have to follow up, and you’re going to have to keep submitting your post ideas to new publications if you want to find success as a guest post blogger.