In an article last week, I gave you 6 tips on how to kickstart your guest blogging career. But getting your name out there and getting friendly with other bloggers isn’t the only thing you need to do — you also need to a great pitch. These four tips will help you develop one that’s really effective.
What’s A Pitch?
A guest-post pitch is just like a client, product, or story pitch — it’s a short presentation (or, in this case, an e-mail) that will show the blog owner that you have a great idea and that it’s worth pursuing. If you’ve never given a pitch before, you can think of it as selling your idea.
If you have a really great idea that will interest readers, generate some social engagement, and drive traffic, your chances for getting a guest blog post are much higher than if you have a mundane article idea that’s been written to death. You need to convince the blog that your guest post will add quality content to it.
Keep It Short
Bloggers get a lot of e-mail, especially if they have a lot of readers. If they have a full-time job as well as their blogging career, they’re probably going to be constantly overwhelmed with e-mail from both sides of their life. Don’t make it worse! You might think that providing a huge list of your accomplishments and a full draft of your potential post is the best way to go, but a five-page e-mail is going to get trashed really quickly.
Here’s my preferred template for pitching a post:
- Greeting (mention that you’re a regular reader of the blog and compliment the blogger on their great content).
- Let them know you’re pitching a guest blog (state the topic and give a couple reasons why you think readers of the blog would be interested in it).
- Outline your post (a short, concise outline; don’t include a whole draft of the post).
- Provide some links to two or three pieces of previously written material, if possible (to show that you can produce high-quality content).
- Sign off (thank the blogger again for publishing a great blog and let them know that you look forward to hearing from them).
That’s it. You can probably do it in 200 words if you have a concise outline. Efficient e-mailing is a great skill, and bloggers will appreciate it.
Mention Your Unique Value Proposition
You have to give a blogger a reason to let you write a post, especially if guest posts are usually paid on this blog.
The most common unique-value proposition is your expertise. No one else knows exactly the same things you do, and no one else has had the experiences you’ve had. This allows you to create a unique post that will interest people. If you’re pitching a post about how to find the best local restaurants, you should be really talented when it comes to finding great places to eat, or at least have some interesting experiences to share.
Your unique-value proposition could be something different, though. If you’d like to write a post on something that’s highly topical at the moment — such as an important event in the news — the fact that you can send a draft to the blogger in less than 24 hours could be hugely valuable. They’ll be able to get their content out to their readers before others are ready, driving more traffic.
You could also be providing value by having a certain skill, like the ability to write extremely well or to work some SEO magic without making the post sound unnatural. Before you send in your pitch, make sure to think about what you’re offering the blogger and whether or not it sounds appealing. If it doesn’t, rethink your approach!
Offer, Don’t Ask
Bloggers get asked for things all the time. People ask for their products to be reviewed, their websites to be linked to, and their social accounts to be followed. It gets very tiring. But someone offering something is entirely different, and will get attention.
By framing your request as an offer to help, by providing a high-quality article that they don’t have to take the time to write, you’ll create a much more appealing proposition. And if you can show that one of your goals is to help improve the community of the blog, you’ll be on your way to having your pitch accepted.
Know The Blog
This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people send the exact same e-mail to dozens of different bloggers hoping for a positive response. The best guest-blog pitches are tailored to a specific blogger’s audience and needs.
If you can demonstrate that you know the blog, both by how you write and by the topic of the post you’re pitching, the blogger will know that you understand what they’re looking for and that you’re not taking a scatter-shot approach in an effort to get lots of backlinks. One great way to show that you know the blog well is to reference a previous comment discussion.
Reading comments is a great way to get an idea for a post, and it’s also perfect for pitching. Opening your pitch with something like “I’d like to follow up on the discussion in the comments of your post” is going to get you a lot further than just asking to be featured on the blog.
Getting a guest blog post can take a lot of time, especially if you’re a beginning blogger. But if you pitch your ideas well, you’ll be much more likely to have a positive experience. What it comes down to is putting yourself in the blogger’s shoes. Think about why they should read your e-mail, look at your draft, and eventually publish your post. Then target those specific reasons.
Do you pitch guest posts to blogs? Or do you receive guest post pitches? Share your experiences in the comments below!