Pitching is something I do a lot.
And I've dealt with a lot of bloggers.
When it goes well, I get more readers, followers, and visits to my website.
When it doesn't go well, um...let's just say I learn something from the experience.
Pitching done 100% wrong:
I get far too many emails from businesses and creative people that are desperate for backlinks.
And many of them don't take the time to come up with original ideas.
They just want me to do the work of pleasing the oracle of Google for them.
And when that happens I either send them the link to my rates and pricing page or hit the delete button.
How pitching correctly can help:
Guest blogging can be an extremely rewarding and worthwhile experience when done right.
That's exactly why I'm going to walk you through some of the things you can do to increase your chances of acceptance.
1) Do your research first
Before you even start pitching a blogger let's make one thing 100% clear:
If you haven't read their blog you want to pitch, it will shine through in your pitch.
For example, here's an email that I received from a business (name and business they work for have been omitted to respect their privacy):
So, how exactly does the fact that they haven't read my blog shine through?
For starters, I don't do product reviews.
All you have to do is read my about page, read at least a few of my posts, and, once you do a quick Google search, you'll find my website's FAQ page, which explains my affiliate policy in deeper detail.
The moral of the story is the following:
If you want to pitch an idea to a blogger, read the blog's about page first.
But what if they don't have an about page?
That's when you start looking for their start here page.
If you can't find either of those pages, do a quick Google search, to see if they have any other websites.
2) Say "no" to template emails:
The best possible way to get a blogger to feature your content, even if they don't have a guest blogging policy is to customize the shit out of your pitch.
It's important to keep in mind that writing a cover letter for a job and writing a pitch to a blogger isn't the same thing, even if you'll be paid for it, if and when your pitch is accepted.
You can't just create a template, like this one, and hope for the best:
First of all, this is a guest post that I wrote for another website.
In fact, it explicitly says at the beginning of my article:
How can you avoid template emails?
Start by inserting sentences in your pitch that show that you've done your homework, and you know the blogger, and their work extremely well.
For instance, here are the actual words I said in my pitch to win over the managing editor of ProBlogger:
But the real icing on the cake was the fact that I customized a popular question, and made it relevant to ProBlogger's audience:
The best way to make sure that those kinds of sentences make it into your email is to actually do your homework.
Visit the blogger's blog, and read at least a few of their posts. Then, if you have an idea search the blog, to make sure that it hasn't already been covered.
When a bit of time passes you'll know them well enough to decrease your chances of your email ending up in their trash bin.
3) Find the right email address:
Don't email the "info@" email or fill out a contact form.
Instead, track down the email address of the person that makes the decisions.
The reason why that's so important is simple:
You won't have to go through the frustration of having to be forwarded to someone else.
Not to mention it will make you seem a lot less spammy.
How you can do that:
A year ago I discovered a tool called Email Hunter, and it changed my pitching process.
You can either:
- Install it on your Chrome Browser
- Or: search directly on their website
I tend to pair it with LinkedIn's search tool.
Just to give you an idea of how it works, let's pretend that I'm pitching the Adobe blog.
First, I'll type in the Adobe URL.
Then, I'll click on the Email hunter icon (the orange Email Hunter icon is highlighted above):
Now it's time to narrow down the right contact.
Here are the results that came up:
Next, I'll type in email address number one on LinkedIn.
Here are the results that come up:
That's not exactly who I'm looking for.
Rule of thumb to keep in mind:
If it's a company, you want to find the content manager, marketing person, or editor.
So here's the quick solution.
I'll type in "content manager Adobe" on LinkedIn.
Here are the results that come up:
Now that I've found not one, but four content managers, I can click on the orange Email Hunter icon on the far right-side of the screen and get a hold of any of them.
4) Build relationships
Do not pitch without building relationships with the blogger online first.
So here are the ways you can be doing that, and I highly recommend doing more than one:
- Follow them on social media, share their content, like, and comment on their work.
- Participate in the same Facebook and/or LinkedIn Groups, both ones that the blogger runs, and ones they participate in.
- Attend mutual events, such as meetups, networking events, and social groups.
- Subscribe to their newsletter, so you can use it as an icebreaker.
Many of my best guest blogging opportunities happened because I engaged with the blogger's content on a regular basis online.
Think of the guest blog pitching process less like a job application, where your goal is to impress, and more of a process, where you're selling them on how your idea can provide their readers with actionable advice.
And, if you need help with finding the right ideas, perhaps my content strategy sessions might be a good fit for you. For more info about these sessions, click here.
Over to you...
What tactics have you found useful when pitching bloggers?
Feel free to comment in the comment section below.