Guest Blogging Outreach: How to Pitch an Article No One Will Turn Down
When we embark on our guest blogging outreach, we’ve all have heard some variation of the words “I have to pass this time.” It’s important to remember that even highly-respected influencers have been through this before. They simply were learning from their failures instead of giving up.
Sure, there is no magic formula for creating a perfect pitch that meets requirements of every single blogger. That said, there are a lot of “pitching rules” that have been tested through the years.
In this post, I’m going to give you some tips on how to do it right and what mistakes to avoid. Let’s learn from each other’s experience!
Tip #1: Every Sentence In Your Message Should Be Thought Through
When you’re working on your pitch, you usually have so many things to say! You want to introduce yourself, to tell about your company, to show how much you like the blog you’re writing to, and so on. Well, all these things are important to mention. At the same time, you should keep it as brief as possible.
Remember: bloggers receive a ton of such emails every day, so you should know the value of his or her time. Never send too long emails because no one has enough time to read it in full. Just imagine that you’re swamped with work, and you open an email that looks like an entire novel. Would you try to find out what this person wants from you or is trying to pitch you?
Here is the information I suggest that you include:
- Your name and position in the company; (if you’re working for the company)
- A few words on your company’s achievements (not necessary, but can be a nice touch);
- The reason you’re reaching out (add something personal here);
- Samples of your previous articles (choose your best posts);
- Benefit for the blogger (interesting data, promotion, posts exchange);
- Suggested topics and a brief outline (not necessary in the first email, depending on the situation).
Sounds like a huge amount of text. But if you avoid using useless phrases like “I read your blog and I like it”, it won’t be too long.
In fact, all they really need to see to decide if they want to work with you is:
- Samples of your published articles — to see if your articles are good enough to be published on his or her blog;
- Your outstanding idea — to make sure it’s relevant to the blogger’s site and it hasn’t been covered to death on this blog;
- The benefit he or she will get from it.
Always think about these 3 things when creating your pitch. Focus on the important elements and avoid speaking in cliches.
Tip #2: Explore and Personalize!
Before embarking on writing your letter, do a little research:
- Read the previous blog posts;
- Follow and explore all social media platforms;
- Find editor’s social media platforms and check it too.
See, a blogger easily can recognize if you know nothing about his or her blog! I always meet some special requirement in every guideline I read (e. g. We don’t accept infographics, never send articles like X tools for SEO, etc). Also, you can meet some tricks like this:
It will be clear to a blogger that you didn’t even bother to read guidelines if your subject line is different. Or it could be something like this:
One small mistake and blogger will figure you out.
So you’re not fooling anybody. If some blogger says on the blog that he never publishes infographics, and you sent an infographic saying that you’re a big fan of his or her blog, then don’t be surprised if there is no answer. Always (do you hear me?) always explore the blog before writing to the editor!
Thus, you won’t make a mistake and can write personalized pitches. Find something that you really like about this blog. Find topics that are similar to the idea you’re going to submit and tell how it will differ from the existing content. Make the blogger feel like you’re writing directly to his or her particular blog!
Tip #3: Existing Content Is Your Best Guideline
As I said a second ago, you must read the guidelines and the previous posts! I should explain it further. If you want to write relevant content, you should understand the preferences and “the thing” of the audience on this particular blog. It’s not for the blogger alone, it’s for you to make sure the audience will love your post.
Thus, it’s a win-win situation: the blogger gets relevant content, and you get a lot of shares and comments as you know for sure what this audience likes.
To figure it out, I use Serpstat’s “Top pages” feature:
This feature is a must for every content marketer. Type your URL or the URL of your competitor into Serpstat’s search line and see its most successful pages. You can sort the list in descending order by FB, Linkedin or Google+ shares for specific organic keywords. My preference is to sort it by FB shares (in the declining order), as I find this to typically be the best measurement for me.
Now read perhaps 10 of them. This little research can answer some of your questions:
- What style of writing to choose?
- Do they appreciate jokes?
- Can I add a gif?
- How many images should be in the post?
- Do they like long lists (like “48 tips to …”) or short (like “3 ways to …”)? What topics do they like the most?
Bloggers don’t point out every detail in the guidelines, but after 20 minutes of reading its best posts, you can find all the answers by yourself.
After that, spend some time searching for the articles that are similar to your idea. There is usually a search box like this somewhere on the site:
Just type your keywords into it and make sure you’re not going to write the same content.
Tip #4: Don’t Rush!
At the very beginning of my content marketing journey, I found this list. I filled out all the guest posting forms from the “business” and “digital marketing” sections. And after all of my diligence, I received only one response! How did this happen?
In fact, all these guest post forms ask you to show your previous publications that you’re proud of.
I had nothing to show. Try to remember your first articles. Were you proud of it? So am I.
That said, I sent all these requests with my worst articles, and I was ignored by almost all of these blogs. So I decided that bloggers don’t read these applications at all.
A year later I tried to fill out some of them again. And I realized how wrong I was. They read these applications, they just saw my “works that I’m most proud of” and ran away from it as far as they could. 🙂
So my tip is in the heading of this tip: don’t rush! Write as good as you can even for the small blogs, and try your luck with established blogs only when you know for sure that you’re ready.
Tip #5: Never Send an Article in Full; Only an Idea or Draft
When you send the article in full, it looks like you’ve written this article for some other blog and somehow they rejected it, so you’re trying to find the second variant.
No one likes when you write without discussing the topic, as it may seem unprofessional. You should send the topic first, decide on the outline, and only after this you can start writing.
Sending a completed article in your first outreach can only work if the blogger points that s/he accepts it in their guidelines, or if you have worked with this blogger for a long time.
Tip #6: Don’t Be Too Formal
Some writers try to be too serious when they write emails or articles. Even if it’s a step-by-step tutorial on the difficult topic, it doesn’t mean you can’t write it in a simple and funny manner. At the same time, some bloggers won’t like it. That’s why you should analyze the blog and check their social media platforms before pitching.
For instance, if the blogger shares some funny posts on the social media profile, then don’t try to write a formal email to him. He’ll probably consider you as a boring person and won’t talk to you at all.
Being a professional writer doesn’t mean you must write formally or with humor. It means that you should feel when you should write formally and when you can take it easy.
Your email can look like this:
See, it’s simple, accurate and formal. Or it can look like this:
It’s cute, amusing and not formal at all. You just should feel when some variation of this manner is appropriate.
Tip #7: Follow-up Twice
If there is no answer for 5 days or so, then follow up. The blogger really could have missed your email accidentally as they receive so many of them every day. A few days later you can follow up again. But then just stop. Harassing bloggers with the tons of emails isn’t a good idea. If you overdo it, you may never have a chance to build a partnership in future.
Also, I suggest using different channels to follow up. If there is no answer via email, try Twitter or LinkedIn.
That’s all. Failures and mistakes are normal, but you should never give up trying. Always learn from your mistakes. I hope that you to get published!
Over To You
So, do you have any experiences on guest blogging outreach that you’d like to share? What mistakes have you learned from? Please share them in the comments section, below.
Related reading: Cautions and Advice for Guest Bloggers & New Content Marketers
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