Guest posting is an important element of any content marketing strategy, especially for bloggers or newsletter writers looking to gain more visibility online. A well placed guest post can increase traffic to your own content, as well as open the door for more opportunities to get noticed and make money. But you have to do the right things to make this strategy work for you. It all starts with sending out the perfect guest post pitch.
How do you write the best pitch to increase your chances of having your work featured on high-traffic websites? Truth be told, there is no one exact formula you can simply plug in to guarantee you get a favorable response every time. After all, every online publication is different and often have differing guest post guidelines. But there are some tried and true tactics that many successful bloggers swear by when pitching their guest post ideas.
Align pitch with blog’s main messaging
Before sending or even writing a guest post pitch, you want to make sure the content you are proposing fits in with the recipient’s messaging. No editor or content manager will take you seriously if their blog is exclusively about fashion, for example, and you are proposing a guest post on interior design. They will think you are lazy, crazy, or sending them spam. Spend time researching the blog, so you know what types of topics they tend to write about and what their audience expects.
A good example from HubSpot’s guest post requirements:
Look for guest post guidelines
Guest post guidelines can help you craft your pitch to suit the recipient’s expectations. This information is not always readily available. Many blog owners want to limit the amount of pitches they get, so they either don’t publish guest post guidelines or place it in an inconspicuous spot on the website. Whatever the case, you can figure out what they are looking for by reading through existing blog posts and paying attention to how they are structured. The research phase might take some time but it will allow you to send guest post topics that are relevant and interesting to the receiving editors.
An example of Guest Post Guidelines on SitePoint’s blog:
Personalize your pitch
One of the worst things you can do is to grab a random guest post pitch template online and send it to your intended target with very little changes. Most blog editors will pick up on the fact that you put very little thought into your pitch and will likely ignore you. At the very least, refer to the recipient using their first name, and try to mention something related to their blog. Don’t just say you enjoyed their last blog post, however, as this can come off as insincere. Try to develop a relationship with the editor by finding out as much as you can about them. If their socials are available, look them up to find out stuff like their hobbies, interests, location, etc. These will allow you to create an email pitch that shows you took the time to find out who you are contacting.
Use an eye-catching subject line
While there are some editors who may click on an email with a simple headline such as “Guest Posting Request,” most will send it straight to trash without opening. This is especially true for blogs that receive tons of guest post pitches per week. After all, using a vague or generic headline does not give the recipient a good reason to open your email over someone else who took the time to craft one that made them think. The subject line helps editors to decide whether to open an email up to 85% of the time, so it makes sense to work on creating one that piques the reader’s curiosity. There are many tips available on how to write catchy email subject lines. One tactic you can try is to use the guest post topic you are suggesting as the headline, or a statement relating to it. If the email subject line somehow speaks to their blog’s messaging, there is a high chance that it will get opened.
Structure your email properly
Having a great headline is one thing, crafting the body of the pitch is another kettle of fish. Structuring your email correctly can provide insight to the recipient as to whether you have suitable writing skills that will make for a valuable guest post on their blog. There is no one single way to lay out your guest post pitch, but here are some tips on how to do it properly:
Start with a suitable salutation: Remember to personalize, so you won’t start with something like Dear Sir/Madam or Dear Editor. Find out who you are writing to and use their name. So your greeting would be something like Hello/Hi [Name].
Introduce yourself: An introduction should say who you are and share information that lets the recipient know what’s special about you. If you own a blog or simply do freelance writing, this is where you mention that.
State your reason for writing: Let it be known that you are pitching a guest post idea. Mention the reasons why you want to write an article for their blog. If there is something in it for them (maybe you have a large social following and plan to share the post on your pages), state it here.
Suggest topics: List out your guest post topic ideas. These can include a completely original topic that you notice hasn’t been shared on their blog (but related to their subject area), an updated version of one of their existing blog posts, or a post relating to something they have already written. For example, you could pick out an item on a listicle they have published on their blog, and suggest expanding on it. In addition to your suggested topics, write a brief description of what each will cover. Finally, let the reader know that you are open to topic suggestions as well (in case they may have a different topic in mind).
Share samples: Showing examples of your work helps the receiving party know right away whether you are able to produce content worth reading. Your samples don’t have to necessarily be on the subject matter covered by the blog you are pitching to (although that would increase your chances), they just need to be well written. Samples are often preferred in the form of links to the articles you wrote. In the event that you don’t have blogging experience, sharing examples of past written works, such as essays you created in college, may suffice. Either way, send what you have; most editors will give you a chance as long as they see the potential in your writing skills.
Close your pitch: Thank the recipient for taking the time to read your pitch and mention that you are looking forward to their response.
Add your links and socials: If a content manager or editor is interested in your proposal, they will likely want to know a bit more about you before giving the go ahead. Including links to your website or blog (if you have one), as well as those for your social pages will make it easy for them to check you out. If you don’t share any contact details, they might assume you have something to hide or just looking to get a link somewhere.
While the above guest post pitch structure is pretty standard across the blogging community, it doesn’t mean that this is the only format that works. It is best to structure your email on a case-by-case basis. Research the guest post pitch guidelines, if available, as well as the receiving editor of the blog, so you can format and personalize the pitch accordingly.
Keep your pitch short and sweet
Don’t be tempted to write a long thesis explaining why you should be given the opportunity to write a guest post. Instead, get straight to the point with what you have to offer and what the recipient can expect. Most editors receive numerous pitches on a daily basis (as many as 10 per day), along with the other stuff that comes to their inboxes. Most really don’t have a lot of time to read through an epistle trying to figure out what you are offering. Keeping your pitch short and to the point shows that you value their time.
Proofread pitch for grammar and spelling errors
A big turn off to any editor or content manager is receiving a pitch riddled with typos and other errors. In addition to any writing samples you send (if they get that far), recipients will also use the content of your email to judge the quality of your writing.
Poor grammar and misspellings will tell them that you are not the type of writer they want to work with, even if your suggested topics are great. With that said, you should proofread your email for grammar correctness and elimination of common errors. If possible, have another writer or proofreader read through it as well to pick up on any mistakes you may have missed.
When in doubt, double check your grammar and spelling using a tool like Grammarly. And try to use clean and consistent formatting.
You don’t want to end up being featured as an example of the top email outreach fails, like these folks:
Writing the perfect guest post pitch is not rocket science. But it does require you to spend time understanding your target, as well as following some best practices.
Until next time,