Every day, I receive a lot of guest post pitches from my different sites under Content Club but only a few will always be accepted. You might be wondering that I have high standards or they weren’t able to meet the guidelines. Well, sort of but not completely.
To be honest, I’m always excited to feature writers on my site when they submit original, thoughtful and valuable content that my readers would love. Unfortunately, that’s not always what I see in my email. It’s actually cliché pitches or sometimes it’s simply terrible that most of them go straight in the dustbin.
What are the do’s and don’ts when creating a perfect guest post pitch? How will you be able to stand out as a passionate writer and capture the interest of the guest host?
Brace yourself ’cause we’ll absolutely get into the nitty-gritty details of the do’s and don’ts of guest posting.
Let’s start with the dos and don’ts of a perfect guest post pitch.
1. Do: Grab the guest host’ attention with a praising subject line
“Your video blog about the importance of your audience was great but…”
Start with an enthusiastic subject line that will attract him to open your pitch like compliment him on his latest post. I’d suggest you make it descriptive, specific, stir his curiosity yet make it professional.
Don’t: I would appreciate a guest post pitch if it has my name on it and if it makes me feel that it’s sincere. Somebody needs to calm down and avoid using too much exclamation points!!!!!! WRITING IN ALL CAPS LIKE YOU’RE YELLING WON’T HELP EITHER. Or sending an email template wherein you fill only the blog URL and hit send.
2. Do: Give it a personal touch.
Your guest host would likely accept your pitch by doing a little research about him on his social media sites. Like his page and posts, follow him on Instagram and Twitter, and leave a comment. Try to befriend him and start a conversation on his blog posts. This will show that you are a genuine visitor of his site.
Don’t: Use the word “admin“, “blogger” or copy and paste the company’s name.
3. Do: Properly introduce yourself
Your email ID should either show your real name or your business’ name. Provide your identity and links to your social media sites, LinkedIn page or blog so that s/he could check out your work. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You just need to be honest and explain why you should be considered to write for his/her site.
Don’t: Clearly, you should never use fake email IDs or names. Don’t let this be a game of Waldo where the guest host needs to search you on Google just to find out who you really are.
4. Do: Stand out from the crowd
We all know that copywriters can magically write about anything under the sun. So how are you going to stand out in a room full of typical copywriters? Provide your previous guest posts that gained a lot of comments. This will show you as a credible and trustworthy writer in your niche.
Furthermore, familiarizing yourself with the site’s content by reading their posts will not only help you attain knowledge about their topics and target audience, the guest host’ will also be impressed that you know a lot about their site and readers.
Don’t: A broad topic isn’t better. Plus, it won’t be able to reach your target audience.
5. Do: Make it simple and conversational
Write a guest post pitch like you’re simply talking to a friend in the business. Keep it short, sweet and direct to the point. Use average words that your readers can easily understand. Observe your grammar, format, and capitalization.
Don’t: Using big and deep words in your email won’t make you look smart. Your guest host would appreciate it but s/he might just conclude that you don’t really know anything about their topics or niche and might end up rejecting your pitch.
6. Pitch Your Idea and Send Your Article
As an online entrepreneur, I’m busy with my business 24/7. And as I have mentioned, I receive a lot of guest post pitches every day. We recommend that you send in your idea and article straight away to check if it’s fit for our site and to avoid wasting each other’s time. Also, let the quality of your work speak for itself.
Don’t: Avoid sending a broad and vague guest post pitch.
7. Do: Be humble, polite and request
Whenever you ask for a favor, keep in mind that you need to show respect and be humble. The way you ask or talk to your guest host will determine his/her decision to accept you or reject you. Make the guest host feel important and show that you’re happy to follow his/her guidelines.
Don’t: Following your own rules and requirements.
8. Do: Follow -up
I have to be honest, it would usually take me a few days or even weeks to check guest post pitches. Worst case scenario would be a month. Sometimes you need to give your guest host time to respond. They’re always busy like 24/7. Remember, it takes commitment, A LOT of time and patience to score an approval. Furthermore, if you’re following the guest host on his/her social media sites, you could humbly ask for his/her attention on your guest post pitch.
Don’t: Avoid harassing the guest host by sending your guest post pitch again and again and again.
Moreover, Mommy of a Monster wrote an accurate article about forgivable and not-so-forgivable mistakes to avoid when you are guest posting.
Double posting: Okay, sometimes it’s unavoidable: you have something that you have to post on your site on the same day that you are guest posting somewhere else. When this happens, I always, ALWAYS still include in my post for the day that I’m guest posting and help get people over to read it by tweeting about it…with a link directly to the other site, NOT back to my own site.
Not responding to comments: This is sometimes forgivable if, let’s say, you are on vacation when the guest post goes up. Or maybe the guest host is responding to them. Either way, make sure you understand the guest host’s expectations so that you know how to properly handle.
Being yourself: Totally forgivable. While you really should understand the audience and style, realize that the guest host knows yours as well. Don’t change your style completely — the people that read your blog every day will wonder what the heck is going on!
Tacky and pretty much a guarantee you won’t be invited back
Double posting without a shout out: Don’t get me wrong, putting up a post on your blog to let readers know you are guest posting is fine, otherwise how would they know where you are?! But posting a regular post like it’s any other day on your blog without even acknowledging the guest post you’ve got somewhere else? A huge no-no and a total slap in the face to the person who asked you to guest post.
Not helping drive traffic to your guest post: Why guest post if you aren’t going to help get your readers and audience there? If you aren’t going to tweet about it or tell readers about it on your blog, then don’t guest post!
Tweeting about your guest post, but sending people to your site first: I and many other bloggers have been noticing this one a lot lately; a blogger will tweet “I’m guest posting and so-and-so’s place” and include a link. The link goes back to their own personal blog to a post that again tells you they are guest posting somewhere else and then you have to click another link to get to the guest post! This is absolutely ridiculous, and the only reason I see for doing this is so that they get page views on their blog.
Great inputs from the experts
DJ Thistle of SteamFeed.com, Selene Benjamin, editor at Mirasee and Jordan Teicher, associate editor at Contently shared their inputs at Blogging Wizard about writing a guest post pitch.
Let’s see what the experts have to say.
DJ Thistle of SteamFeed.com
“I’ve spent a while looking through some of the emails that people sent me trying to pitch me a guest post. However, none of them that I looked through have everything that I would really love to see in an email from a potential guest blogger so I added below what I wish they all had.
Here is how to get my attention and increase your chance of guest blogging on SteamFeed and other high-quality sites.
- Spend time reading the about page on the site.
You want to get to know the core values of the site. Hopefully, you’ll be able to get an email and the name of a person you’re pitching to on this page.
If the site has a procedure to submit guest posts, you’ll want to read this carefully and follow the rules if you hope to be considered (most high-quality sites have to have something in place to sort through the incredible amount of low-quality spam pitches they get).
- Read a few of the most recent articles to get a feel for the type of quality and writing style that will be expected of you.
You’ll want to mention one or two of these articles in your pitch and few takeaways in them that you enjoyed or found value in.
- Now you’re ready to compose the email pitch.
Do your best to find the name of the person that you’re pitching. Keep this email as short and sweet as possible.
- Give a quick introduction to yourself (include skills and experience that is relevant to the site).
Link to your social profiles and link to other articles that have been published on reputable sites so you can be vetted properly.
- In your email, include 3 potential titles that you think will be a good fit for the site’s readers.
A huge bonus would be 3-4 bullet points under each title on what each post would generally cover.
- Proofread your email. This is a must.
If the language of the site (in our case English) is not your first language then find someone to proofread your email who is native to the language. This shows that you’re the type of person that cares about high-quality content.”
Selene Benjamin, editor at Mirasee
“My favorite pitches are the ones that follow our guest post pitch guidelines right off the bat. Those are exciting for me! It shows the author did the research. They know the type of content we tend to post which also gives a good idea of who our audience is.
This is ideal because then we can get right into working on the post and getting it on the editorial calendar. Even if it’s something we can’t use, we know right away and that author can then work to find another venue for their piece.
However, we get a lot of pitches that not only do not follow our guidelines but also show they haven’t read the blog at all. They will say they want to write a post about something that would not be of value for our audience at all. Or if the idea is feasible for us but it’s not in accordance with our guidelines, I will send a reply with a link to the guidelines and clearly state we cannot move forward with pitches that do not follow them.
Once we’ve danced that dance two or three times (sometimes even up to four times), and I still haven’t received an appropriate pitch, I know that that is not an author I want to work with because they cannot follow simple instructions.”
Jordan Teicher, associate editor at Contently
“What really makes a good pitch stand out is some sort of personal relationship to the material. I had one blogger come to me with an idea about how he spent all day on LinkedIn trying to find work and wanted to write about the experience while offering some big-picture takeaways to our readers.
It’s one thing to lead with an anecdote and then get into thought-leader mode–which I think is how most blog posts are structured–but if you come to me with an experience and can weave it throughout the narrative, you definitely have my attention.
A lot of pitches lack that action and personal relevance. This one checked off both boxes perfectly.”
Keep in mind that nothing is guaranteed but you can increase your guest post pitch’s chances by following the do’s and don’ts when writing a guest post pitch. Just don’t lose hope. Your guest post pitch email will score an approval, sooner or later.