Exhaustive Guide to Guest Posting: Pitch that Sells

Approaching guest blogging with the right mindset is what will get your article published. As many writers focus solely on writing high-quality articles, they tend to forget that they have to pitch that article to someone first. When talking about guest blogging, your strategy should include crafting your email pitch as well. After all, it’s the first information the editor or journalist gets about your article.

There are four parts of a pitch email that you have to bear in mind when reaching out to the editor: subject line, introduction, pitch body and closing. The company Fractl analysed 150 email pitches to find what do successful ones have in common.

The company discovered that subject line matters the most as it is the first and sometimes the only deciding factor when talking about whether someone is going to open your email or not.  So, let’s take a look at what types of subject lines exist and which one will bring you success.

 

img_11. Subject lines

Contributors tend to send emails with subject lines that are either statistic-based, curiosity-awakening, including article title or using personalization. Most times, writers will even combine these types to ensure they captured the attention of the other side.

The length also does matter.

When creating the subject line for your email pitch, don’t make it too long. The longer the subject, the lower the email open rate will be. Try to think of the subject line between 4 and 7 words. If your subject line seems too long, try to think of other ways to say it and make it shorter. For instance, if your subject line is “Find Out Which Challenges Will Marketers Face This Year”, why not rephrase it to “Biggest Marketing Challenges in 2019”? Both subject lines contain the same information but the latter one is shorter and more straightforward.

 

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Source: Marketo

According to Campaign Monitor, the best emails are the ones that have been previously tested for their performance. Also, as many people open their emails now on their smartphones, you will want to check how your subject line looks both on mobile and desktop. Try Send Check It, a tool which allows you to preview your subject lines and alerts you when you’re using potentially spammy words.

Also, adding some specific words can imply the high authority level of your email. Words such as ‘report’, ‘research’, and ‘infographic’ will show mail recipients what information they can find in it.

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Source: Fractl

Here are a few more ideas for spicing up your subject lines:

  • mention an interesting statistic relevant to the content you plan to write about (numbers always work)
  • mention the topic of your article
  • leave a catchy message
  • (ab)use (seasonal) trends
  • mention the editor by name
  • ask a question relevant to the content you plan to write about
  • connect on a personal note by finding something you have in common

2. Introduction

With a preferred length between 100 and 250 words, you will want to include only vital information in your introduction. Make sure it raises your potential publisher’s interest. When introducing yourself, just mention why should YOU write this article and mention your relevant (!) experience. The only thing you should keep in mind is that your introduction has to be informative rather than descriptional.

Example of a bad introduction:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I would like to introduce myself as I would really like to write a guest article for your platform. My name is _____________ and I love writing about marketing related topics. This is why I’m contacting you to see if you would be interested to publish my article.

Example of a good introduction:

Dear John,

I just came across your article about the best tools for small business marketers which is an excellent follow-up article to your previous one. As I’m contributing similar articles for 3 years now, I would love to contribute one for your website as well.

The second example uses personalization. Starting an email with Sir or Madam shows you don’t know to whom you’re writing this email. However, when you really don’t know who you are writing to (which is normal when reaching out to popular websites and media platforms) it would be better to address the team, e.g. Dear WebSite Team. Also, when mentioning the previously published article, you increase your chances to be seen as someone who is truly informed about this field.

body3. Pitch body

 In pitch body, you should demonstrate how well you did your research. Show that you understand what type of content they usually publish, what their audience is and what will your article bring to their platform. These are the questions you should answer in the pitch body:

  • What is the suggested title of that article?
  • What information will the article cover?
  • What will the readers get from reading this article?

When talking about things to include in this part, we can’t forget to mention links. Overstuffing your email with too many links can result with your email ending in the spam folder. It was discovered that out of 150 successful email pitches, 70% of them included just one link, 14% included two and 10 % of them included three links.

You may suppose attaching the whole article to be a better idea. However, sending the piece before it got accepted might lead the editor to the assumption that you’re pitching the text that was previously rejected. Editors and bloggers might feel you are not really interested in their platform, but in publishing your article.

Not special, not desirable, one among the many others. That is the way they feel receiving a templated email or the whole article. This experience doesn’t seem to be fruitful, right? Hence, offer them something creative and fresh for their blog in just a few sentences. This will capture their attention and demonstrate that you are open to their suggestions.

closing4. Pitch closing

There are two types of closing deals, whether it’s via email on any other way: hard closes and soft closes. As their names suggest, the difference is in the approach style. When you choose a hard close for your email pitch, you will ask a direct question whereas soft close uses softer tone and sentences.

For instance, some of the questions for an email with a hard close:

  • Would you like to cover this topic in an article for your website?
  • Is this topic something that would interest your website readers?
  • Would this different approach be something you would like to publish on your website?

On the other hand, if you decide to go with a soft close, your closing sentences will look more like this:

  • Let me know if something like this would interest you.
  • If this topic is something you would like to publish, I would appreciate your feedback.
  • I would really like to hear your thoughts on this idea.

Personalization or Familiarity?

There is one more thing that distincts a soft and hard approach and that is personalization. When composing a pitch you always feel the risk of being too bold, which may be perceived as familiarity. However, you may do some minor fixes in your formal email to make it personal and to cross the line. Here are some of them:

  • mention the editor by name;
  • replace the word ‘website’ with the name of that particular website;
  • be precise – tell them what exactly from the platform inspires/astonishes/helps you personally;
  • mention something personal you’ve found out while doing your research (e.g. the person they look up to, a conference they attended, places where they find inspiration, things they retweeted, etc.)
  • only list your sample articles that are relevant to their niche and/or to the topics you plan to write for their blog

Make them feel you do read their guidelines, know what they publish and what are looking for, visit their website, not just generally state this. It’s always up to the writer to choose the most suitable one for that certain website. However, you should know that adding a little bit of personalization will have a stronger impact on that editor than sending it like a general inquiry.

You adore to be addressed by your name, right? The same with the website editors.

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Before pressing that ‘Send’ button, here are additional things you should take into consideration:

  • Send your email pitch from a business email address.
  • Try to reach out to actual people instead of info and marketing email addresses.
  • Read the guidelines. Really. There is often the information that helps to organize your email and to find out what they are willing to see

Should I Follow-up?

You’ve sent that perfect email pitch a few days ago and still no answer? Well, maybe it’s time for a follow-up email! According to SEMrush, 17% of their 150 sent email pitches were actually follow-ups. That’s why you should not give up on your article if you still haven’t received a response.

Some email marketing experts say it’s best to wait 3-4 days before checking in once again. Make sure your follow-up email is short, straightforward but not too pushy. You don’t want them to think you’re forcing them into something. Of course, in follow-up emails, you can also choose between hard or soft close.

follow_button

Your follow-up email can look something like this:

Dear John Scavo,

Just a quick follow up in case you have missed my email.

Previously, I have sent you a few ideas for guest contribution. Would you quickly look over my topic suggestions and give feedback on them?

Please let me know if you are short on time now so that I do not bother you right now and follow up a bit later. Thank you!

Best wishes,

Nancy Petrey 

What to answer if you get rejected?

Unfortunately, you can’t avoid the risk of getting rejected by the publisher. Many excellent topics may not be accepted for various reasons. However, you can still benefit from it if you ask that person why your article got rejected. Maybe you didn’t explain the topic well enough, they already published a similar article or they simply have too much content and are not accepting guest articles right now.

Knowing why you didn’t get the chance to publish an article on this website will help you improve your email pitches to others. Also, you can ask whether you can send another article suggestion. This way, you’re getting more information on your pitching process instead of just moving to another website. 

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Final thoughts 

If you want your email pitch to be successful, you will have to think about every element of it and find a way to include it in your overall strategy for guest blogging. Focusing only on the quality content is enough if you’re writing for your own platform. Think of the pitch as the bridge that connects you and your potential guest platform. Make sure it takes you to the other side successfully!

P.S. Thanking is always a good idea

Do not forget to thank the editor once your article is published. In such a way, you will not only show your appreciation for the time and interest but will also maintain stronger relationships for further cooperation.

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