So you’re looking to gain more visibility for your content, and you’ve got a great blog post idea for a blog with a good following. Or your favorite publication is looking for contributions and you can’t wait to share your writing with their audience.
How do you get your content accepted?
By writing a brilliant pitch email.
As a public relations professional, I’ve spent hours perfecting my pitch email game for editors and reporters. They want relevant, newsworthy story ideas delivered as concisely as possible, and I consider it my job to be helpful by providing just that in their inboxes.
So when I started pitching my blogging ideas to other bloggers and editors, I took what I learned from my PR experience and used it to compose many successful blogging pitch emails. In a rough estimate, I’d say four out of every five pitches I’ve sent have become published blog posts or articles.
A few tips borrowed from the PR world that helped me:
Start with an original idea.
In PR, I think critically about every story I’m prompted to pitch: Does this idea have a unique angle? Is it newsworthy? Does it carry relevance? If it doesn’t, it’s probably not going to be of interest to the media, so it’s not worth pitching.
Likewise in blogging, there’s a lot of content out there, and most ideas have been done before. That’s fine—you can recycle ideas, but you need to present them with a new hook that makes your content unique and valuable. Make sure you know how your idea is different, and show that in your pitch email.
Write a short, explanatory subject line that will grab the recipient’s attention.
A good subject line is the difference between an email that gets opened and an email that disappears into inbox oblivion.
To grab the reader’s attention with the subject line, you don’t have to be clever or witty (though sometimes that can help). And you definitely don’t (and should never) use All Caps!
Write a straightforward subject line that provides just enough information to be interesting. Think again about what makes your idea original and relevant, and use that angle to write a subject line that entices.
As a PR professional, I’m accustomed to a busy audience of editors and reporters. I know that every email I send must compete with deadlines and the numerous other pitches that appear in a journalist’s inbox, so my email needs to get to the point and provide value right away.
It’s helpful to briefly introduce yourself when reaching out to a new contact. Don’t write a full bio, but one or two sentences explaining who you are, why you’re reaching out and how you’re qualified is usually appreciated.
Then get to the meat of it. Show them a fully developed idea with a suggested headline, introductory paragraph and a thoughtful summary of the blog post you’d like to write.
Email pitching a good idea is about more than money and exposure—it’s also about being helpful to someone who is always dealing with the question, “What am I going to do next for content?”
Try to anticipate their needs. When I’m pitching journalists, I make sure I’m sending a relevant, original idea, and I try not to stop there. Photos and the availability of subject-matter experts often make a journalist’s job easier, so I send those resources along with my pitch whenever possible.
If you’re pitching a blog post, what helpful extras can you include? Why not a link to your website or portfolio so they can get a feel for your work? Or maybe an infographic would enhance your idea. Why not create a mock-up to include with your pitch?
Personalize your message.
I always make an effort to check out the work of reporters I want to pitch in order to familiarize myself with their beats and the stories that interest them. By crafting a carefully-tailored pitch that shows I really have that specific reporter’s needs in mind, I build trust and have a better shot at establishing a mutually beneficial relationship.
If you could copy and paste your pitch to a dozen others, you’re not tailoring your message well enough. Try to familiarize yourself with the type of content the person you want to reach out to typically deals with, and see if you can identify any preferences, biases or needs. Better yet if you can identify a content-related problem that person is facing. For example, their blog is about X, and they are having trouble coming up with enough fresh ideas for content about Subtopic Y. (Frame it in a way that is helpful rather than critical. Think, “I know you’re always looking for [insert topic] content ideas…” instead of “I noticed your blog doesn’t have enough content about [insert relevant topic].”)
Here’s a template to get you started:
I am a [What do you do?] specializing in [What’s your area of expertise?] who [How do you help? What unique perspective do you bring to the table?]
I know you’re always looking for [What do they need? (New writers, great personal finance story ideas, etc.)], and I wanted to offer my help. I have an idea that would be perfect for your readers:
[Explain your content idea here, including a suggested headline, a brief introduction and a summary of the rest of the blog post you’d like to write.]
If you’d like, you can check out a few of my writing samples at the link below. Please let me know if I can provide any additional information for you, or if I can be of service!
A great pitch email is itself a piece of content, so there’s an art to crafting it well. Keep it concise, show how your idea is original and relevant, and make an effort to be helpful to open up new opportunities for your content.
Do you have any email pitching tips to share? Leave a comment below: