7 tips to help you pitch articles or blog posts – successfully

7 tips to help you pitch articles or blog posts successfully

If you get your pitch right you stand a very good chance of success

Since I shared this article on here I’ve had a number of messages from colleagues who experience the same thing – pitches for articles or blog posts that are so wildly out of the ball park it isn’t even funny.

Most of us who publish blogs whine about these “losers” and even laugh at their pathetic attempts to get us to take them seriously. I know. We can blog publishers can be nasty so-and-sos sometimes.

(For a list of the top 10 most helpful articles on blogging for business as chosen by our readers, click here)

But that’s rather an uncharitable and unhelpful way to look at it. In response to this comment …

Hi Suzan, My (very amateur) blog gets loads of comments posted just like your example and worse. I even find loads of question marks through them. Most of them promoting their own dubious sites. I thought it was just me. Most of them end up in spam, but it’s so time consuming having to go through them to weed them out. Thanks for posting this, I don’t feel so alone now. Mike

…I told Mike that after being so critical of a fairly standard pitch email in this article, I should write some tips about how to pitch blog posts and articles that might  stand a fighting chance of getting published. So here they are:

7 ways to put a successful blog post or article pitch together

1.Do your homework and forget the scattergun approach – it p*sses people off and wastes your time. Instead of sending the same email offering your stuff to 50 or 100 blogs and websites in the hope that one or two might take you up, focus on quality rather than quantity. Pick, say 5 sites you would really like to write for (and promote yourself/your business to) and study them carefully. See what they write about and look for any gaps in their recent offerings that you might be able to fill with one of your articles. If you get a “yes,” you will do your GooglyPoints many more favors this way.

2.Don’t try to bully them into accepting your ideas. I don’t really like it when someone suggests article ideas in the opening email, but at least if someone does and it’s relevant, I might think – OK, that’s a good idea, let’s do it. But don’t send a shopping list of several articles. No matter how much you may say they are unique no-one will believe you, and don’t forget that publishing an article that appears on 10 other sites is not they way to gain brownie points from Google.

3.If you must pitch article ideas from the start, make sure they are relevant. In the example I quoted in this article the person concerned sent me a whole bunch of titles that were about how to climb an Alp or play with penguins in the Antarctic.  This is a site about writing. If this person had done their homework, I’m Shirley Temple’s grandmother.

4.Try asking instead of telling. Sure, you need to establish some credibility if you want the site owner to take you seriously. But if someone gets in touch with me and says something like, “I have some useful experience in (whatever) and I’m wondering if I could make some suggestions on how I could contribute some pertinent articles related to writing for those topics, for HowToWriteBetter?” I’m interested. When they tell me what amongst their articles I should publish, unless they happen to be right on message, my reaction is “nooooo.”

5.If English is not your native tongue, get someone who IS a native speaker to work with you. You might get away with pitching articles in not-quite-perfect English to site owners in markets where not-quite-perfect-English is the norm. But if the sites you’re after are in the UK, Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and the English-speaking parts of South Africa, don’t try to bluff your way through. It doesn’t work, as I pointed out in this article.

6.Be polite, but don’t grovel. This may seem ridiculously obvious but many of these pitchers think that by using language that’s as subtle as a pneumatic drill (jackhammer), you will feel obliged to adore their proposals. Trust me, this doesn’t work either. But at the same time avoid being too “needy” in your approach. One of the commenters on this article, a blog owner, said she had even received a pitch from someone who concluded its sadly undercooked ideas with “please, I am a really really good writer.” Phrases like this have “loser” written all over them.

7.Use a businesslike approach. You are blogging or writing articles in order to promote yourself and/or your business. The vast majority of blogsite and website owners are in existence for business reasons, too. It’s a no-brainer: structure your pitch so that what you offer is not what you want to sell, but what the site owner might want to buy. That’s simple business/marketing sense and if you stick to that approach, you may well find you get a lot of “yesses.”

What experience do you have of pitching blog post and article ideas to websites? Please share!

photo credit: james_in_to via photopin cc

Comments

comments

Thoughts

  1. I posted on your other blog about the negative stuff. It seemed to generate more comments than this. I think maybe something that we all need to put on our websites, is a page called something like “Write For Us” which is linked from the footer, like the contact page.

    It could outline what we are looking for, and some simply instructions, so that if someone actually read our site and wanted to submit an article, they would have a bit of direction, and we’d know from the subject line that they had at least looked at our page enough to find the “Write For Us” page.

    Even for those pages that are not looking for outside articles, it could be useful to have such a page that let readers know, or provide whatever information is relevant, without an author or ourselves spending time sending or reading emails that will fall on deaf ears or enrage the recipient.

    Recently, I had wanted to submit an article or two so some websites. The articles were on topic, and I was willing to office an exclusive, ie: it would be original, unique, interesting content. I had planned to include the beginning and end of the emails. However, I couldn’t find suitable contact information for the pages, though it was clear they published articles from various authors. I didn’t want to do a whois lookup and end up in the heap with Indian spammers, so I moved on to bigger and better things.

    • Some “blogsites” do have such an option as you describe Glen – I edited one of those sites for 2 years and the “write for us” section was always full of junk even though the editorial guidelines were displayed loud and clear. I prefer to let people approach me directly, which is why I show my email address in the welcome message in the sidebar to the right. I still get a lot of frivolous and often very rude pitches, but I also get some good ones – many of which I publish.

Thoughts

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