How not to pitch articles and blog posts

How not to pitch articles and blog posts

How to avoid your article or blog post pitch being flushed straight down your target site’s toilet

Article marketing – and/or blog post sharing – often is a key part of the way we communicate with our readers and as such, is part of our blogging and social media strategies.

People like me who own and run sites like this one get approached, quite often, with requests to publish the authors’ stuff.

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

And sometimes I agree and go ahead, because their offerings are good and they’re willing to write original material, not off-the-peg articles that they are offering to dozens of other blogsites as well.

But when the offering is bad, how quickly do you think a website owner will flush that offering straight down the toilet?

Would you take this articles pitch seriously?

Here’s one I got just a few days ago…

Good day !

I am (NAME). Have been reading through your blog and, must say, I’m impressed of the things you write. is particularly smart-written. I’m sorry for much praise, but I’m writing myself from time to time, and it got me thinking if you allow others to make contributions to your blog. I’ve been working recently on some articles, which I think may be interesting to your readers and subscribers. Here are the draft titles:

1) ‘People Are Freaking Out Over The Fact To Travel Alone’

2) ’10 Of The Most Unexpected Things by Traveling to Antarctica’

3) ‘Important Things You Need To Know About Expeditions to North Pole’

4) ’25 Reasons To Love Cruises’

5) ‘How I Learned To Travel Alone’

6) ‘6 Reasons You Should Go To The Expedition Cruise’

I’m open to any ideas, so you may suggest what would you like (if you would) to see on your blog, in case you do not really like these. I’ll make it happen.

Thanks! Write to me.

♦ NAME ♦

(name of blog)

Why it’s such a terrible articles or blogging pitch

Let’s look at each point in turn…

Your English is lousy. This tells me two things: one, that the writer is not a native English speaker. Now, this is not necessarily a problem, but if you want to get your message across in the English language markets, get real: your English needs to be perfect, not just almost perfect. When in doubt, use an editor whose first language is English. (I repeat: if you’re an E2L speaker it doesn’t matter how well you  think you speak English, a native English speaker will spot you right away. Not good for business.)

You are presumptuous. OK, I’m thrilled that you think my blog is “particularly smart-written.” But that tells me three things: 1) you don’t do “smart-writing,” 2) another confirmation that English is not your first language and 3) you’re possibly a scammer.

Your topic has nothing whatsoever to do with this website. Congratulations: it is just possible that you saw there was an article on here a while ago about how to write a travel article. But that was about how to write  about travel – not why you should love cruises. Get your head out of your *ss, read the words and do your homework.

You mention that I allow others to make contributions to my “blog.” To start with, this is a bit more than a blog, with more than 900 articles on board, but never mind. Anyway yes, I do allow others to make contributions but only when they take the trouble to understand what we do here, and then come back with ideas that its readers will find helpful. Not articles about expeditions to the North Pole, no matter how much that might appeal to a different audience.

You tell me to write to you. No “please,” or anything. That’s just rude, which isn’t going to endear me to your idea of professionalism no matter how much I like the idea of travelling alone. In the vague possibility that, should I give you a very detailed brief, you could write me an article about some far-flung place which you have only visited online and about which I could have written a similar article in half the time?

My advice to idiot article and blog writers like this

If you’re genuine, do your homework properly and research your targeted sites in depth. Then forget offering ready-made articles – you know as well as I do that Google doesn’t like duplicate content. Instead offer the option of tailor-made, or at least suitably adjusted, articles that the readers of the site concerned actually will appreciate.

If you’re not genuine, crawl back under your slimy rocks and confine your tedious content to sites run by people in countries and cultures where such information may find some sort of an audience – if, indeed, there are any left. But not here, thank you very much.

How do you feel about articles pitched in this way? Please share.

photo credit: Michel Filion via photopin cc

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  1. 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

    • It’s sad to see just how many people are getting it wrong, isn’t it, Mike? This makes me think I should write a blog post about how to pitch articles and blog posts in a way that doesn’t end up being criticised like this! Watch this space….and thanks for commenting. Great to see you here.

  2. I think all bloggers receive such pitches. I used to get dozens in my inbox every week.

    While reading you, I was reminded of a side project I have wanted to start for a long time: A Tumblr blog dedicated to awful pitches and unprofessional behaviors online. (no name calling of course!)

  3. I get a lot of emails that have the theme of, “I really like your website”, and then a request to submit an article or link exchange or something of the like. Usually, they are addressed to my domains that are basically inactive and if someone actually liked one of those sites, they couldn’t possibly have more than a pea sized brain. Also, of course, they are completely off topic.

    The sad part is that if an author actually had something worthy and on topic for one of my sites that might have some merit, their email would probably get lost amongst the nonsense.

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