Pitching for Guest Posting: 6 Steps to Getting It Right
Popular blogs are inundated with guest post submission requests.
They may be eager to receive and publish high-quality third-party content, but they're also skeptical of marketers, given the popularity of guest blogging as a link-building strategy. The sheer amount of poorly composed and generalized requests they receive has caused some blogs to shy away from guest post requests.
On the flip side, this improves the odds of those who approach them with honest intentions and take the time to compose a personalized email.
The suggestions presented here seem to be simply common sense, but you'd be surprised at how often marketers ignore these best practices. Here's a step-by-step guide to making a winning pitch when approaching an editor/blogger for guest posting.
1. Find blogs that are open to contributions
As you research the influencers and popular blogs within your niche, make a note of those which are happy to receive submissions.
Not all blogs accept guest posts, some stop accepting them from time to time. Look for an About page or a note on the home page regarding guest submissions. Most blogs will have info about this somewhere on their site.
2. Find blogs that are relevant to your work
When you do your homework, you increase the odds of your guest post request being approved.
Every blog has character and a unique flavor. When you start your outreach, you want to make sure you contact those influencers with whom your content will resonate.
Here are some ways of determining this when you review a blog:
- What is this blog all about? Which topics do they cover?
- Are they independent, or do they have product/brand affiliations?
- Check out their most popular posts. What are they about? Do you have similar topic ideas in mind?
- Who is the webmaster or the owner of the blog? Do they contribute towards content creation?
- Are you happy with the writing style and tone of the blog? Is it formal or informal? This is important. It is not unusual for guest post submissions to be rejected because they were not written in the style that suits the community.
- Do they attract the kind of audience that would find your content relevant?
- Are your potential customers reading this blog?
- Can you make a value proposition to this blog?
3. Find the right contact person
Usually, the contact page contains information about who to write to in order to make a guest post request.
Pay attention to it.
If there's a name given, use it in your email. Starting with "Dear editor," when the Contact or the About Me pages makes the blog owner's identity clear, is a non-starter.
4. Read the post submission guidelines
You need to pay attention to these before, as well as after, you have pitched your idea.
Guidelines state the length of the posts accepted, the topics on which the blog is currently seeking submissions and whether or not it will entertain backlinks in the guest content.
If the guidelines seem too stringent for your purposes, or not entirely relevant, you might want to rethink making a pitch.
In any case, it's better to know of the guidelines before you've submitted your idea, or you'll have wasted your time as well as the blogger's and also created a wrong impression on them.
5. Be ready with ideas and outlines
Don't start contacting bloggers unless you're clear about the kind of content you want to create for them.
Be prepared with ideas and outlines as you start emailing prospects. These should be concise and convey the purpose of the article.
Avoid waiting for a blogger to respond and then thinking of topic ideas. When an editor shows interest in your approach, you want to make the most of the opportunity. You also want to respond as quickly as possible.
Having a list of ideas and outlines on hand before you start outreaching will help. This will prevent you having to scratch your head for ideas and ending up offering something half-baked or something so ambitious (in a bid to stand out) that you're not able to do justice to it.
Rushed ideas can create problems at the writing stage if they get accepted. The article could appear contrived, unconvincing and might get rejected.
It's very important to think topic ideas through and flesh them out before your pitch.
6. Create a tailored pitch
No one likes being treated as just another blog. Bloggers are proud of their creations and feel responsible for their communities - they don't want to publish anything that doesn't fit in with the general vibe of their audience, and they certainly wouldn't want to publish accommodate someone who hasn't even bothered to go through their blog and understand the kind of content they post.
Here's your chance to impress the blogger. With a tailored pitch you can convey that you have been following the blog for some time, have studied their most popular content and discussions, and understand the community preferences. Then proceed to make your value proposition.
An editor will be a lot more amenable to your pitch if you demonstrate that you've taken out the time to research them.
Blogger outreach is about reciprocity
It's human nature to think, "What's in it for me?"
Blog editors are no different.
Guest post requests imply that the bloggers/editors have to entertain complete strangers and offer them a chance to talk to their community.
What will they get in return?
The best promise is that of a high-quality post that the community may find of use. It's also common to provide a giveaway of sorts, but not required.
I want you to rethink outreach. It's not just a marketing tool, bereft of human touch, but an approach based on respect and matching values. For a winning pitch, you have to convince the editor that the idea is not just in line with the sensibilities and aspirations of their website, but is also capable of enhancing the quality of their blog.
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