As a freelance writer, the creation of the writing is the most fun part. Editing can be painful at times, and research isn’t everybody’s idea of a day well spent. But when it comes to pitching, most freelancers will have this high on their list of pet hates.
This can be due to how long it takes to get a response (and that’s if they get one at all), a lack of confidence when it comes to the article being accepted or simply because pitching eats into their writing time. Whatever the reasons, writers have to get used to the importance of being able to pitch effectively, or any writing you do will have been for nothing, regardless of the quality.
There are a variety of ways to pitch these days. Some websites have a submissions page where you can send them the post directly, whereas others will give you an email address and a set of guidelines to adhere to when making a pitch. Regardless of what approach is required, knowing what makes a good – and bad – pitch will put you in good stead for the future.
Use The Subject Line Effectively
The subject line of an email is prime real estate. You can make or break your pitch at the first hurdle by making a mistake in the subject line, like making a spelling mistake or writing something ridiculous, such as “A pitch from the greatest writer ever” (If anyone has ever pitched that line and been successful, please let us know in the comments).
In all seriousness, the subject line is an essential part of your pitch. If you have been to the submission page on a website and missed the part that says: “When making a pitch, please write [Writing a Guest Post] in the Subject Line”, the editor of the site is likely to roll their eyes at your incompetence and delete the email without reading it. Opportunity lost.
Always read the submission guidelines and if there is no subject line required, think about how you want to come across and what you are offering and write a subject line and gets your email read. Something like “Request for Guest Post Submission” or “Writing for You” will grab the attention and sets out what you want from the site.
It’s All in The Details
Once you have completed the subject line, the main body of the email awaits. When writing your pitch, the details count, and the main details are:
- Contact details
- URL’s of your site AND theirs
These four points are crucial to your email pitch being read all the way through. For example, when was the last time you read an email that started with “Dear Site Owner” or “Dear Sir/Madam” with any more than a skim or a glance? Now imagine how many emails like this a site owner will get EVERY SINGLE DAY. You can guarantee that their Spam Folder and Deleted Emails folder is boulevard of broken blogger dreams. What is even worse is that in many cases, the editor or site owners name will be in the email address. For me personally, I would delete the email that missed my name and wasn’t personalized on principle alone.
You should refer to where you found their site, and mention why your article is such a great fit for their site, using their URL to show that you have done your homework and are not just throwing generic emails out in the hope that somebody/anybody replies. And of course, your contact details should be displayed in the signature so that the site owner can get in touch either via phone, email or your social networks.
Sell Yourself and Your Website
It is important to remember that site owners have numerous pitches made to them every day. Some are so bad that the biggest selling point of the email is that it was written in English, others are good, and some are great and get accepted. What sets you apart is how you sell yourself and the website you want to be linked to.
If you are just looking for a link for your site, there is a good chance that the site owner is going to sniff you out right away and delete your email. But if you have pitched correctly and detailed why your site is the right fit for their website to link to via your blog post, you are likely to hear back with positive news. Highlight the websites strongpoints and relevance to their site and you are likely to have your pitch accepted. Just make sure that your website lives up to the sell, and that your writing is as great as the pitch behind it.
Daley is a freelance writer and blogger who wants to help his fellow writers to get out there fully confident and armed with great writing. He can be found struggling with his own career at www.daleyjfrancis.com