Ah, the blog post pitch!
The marketing cornerstone for any blogger who wants to have their voice heard in the blogosphere.
You know you’ve got to put yourself out there but just the thought of it makes your palms sweat. You fear creating something that’s junk in the eyes of a popular blogger: what if you’re not good enough?
You’re afraid you’ll be ignored or even laughed at. Controlling your nerves while writing the pitch is killing you, right? Your confidence is crashing even as you press the Send button…
Take a deep breath. Focus.
Being able to put words together in a coherent and catchy way is important. But to become visible and attractive to a large audience, there are so many character traits a blogger must possess to land that coveted gig or guest post.
Much like an actor auditioning for his big breakthrough. Besides talent and charisma to nail it, an actor needs preparation, confidence, resilience and focus.
Preparation is Key
Ideally, an actor will read the script to understand how his character fits into the story rather than figure that out by himself.
Sometimes he won’t have enough time before the audition, and memorizing a dozen pages of lines the night before isn’t uncommon. Some actors, like Lost Girl’s Zoie Palmer, would rather go in with the lines memorized instead of taking the script pages with her in the auditioning room. She’d be tempted to use them and that would make her uncomfortable.
From a blogger’s perspective, the preparation process of pitching is kinda similar.
- Research the blogs in the niche where your audience sits.
- See how your idea could fit in that landscape.
- Follow the contributor guidelines.
- Next, write a concise and clear pitch that has a rock solid headline.
You don’t need to fill it with fluff. Just make sure every word counts and is part of meaningful context. In a nutshell, do your homework.
Confidence is Sexy
Everyone gets nervous in circumstances they’re not familiar with. Actors audition for years and they still deal with nerves and all. But they are taught to handle them and turn them into fuel.
The late Milton Katselas, who coached actors like Barbara Niven, Gene Hackman, Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, used to say: “You need to get yourself to where you can’t wait to say your first word.”
So make that popular blogger you’re pitching sit up and pay attention to your idea. Your pitch should spark emotions, touch a sensitive chord, move to vulnerability. Just like a great actor would bring a casting director to the edge of his chair with his audition performance.
You may feel nervous and exposed when you pitch a popular blog for the first time. But what’s the worst thing that can happen?
Okay, your pitch may get rejected. Your pitch and not you, lovely and smart blogger! Rejection has benefits too. You’ll just work on your idea, refine it and pitch it again. And it will be tenfold awesome! Which leads me to the next point…
Resilience Will Take You Far
Actors deal with rejection all the time. It’s part of their job. It’s a tough business and until they get their big breakthrough it can be hard. Part of the auditioning process is going through many rooms in front of many people who will judge their performance.
Every circumstance will be different. Yes, they are in the auditioning room to get that part, but their ultimate goal is to make a good impression on the casting director. That will help them be considered for other roles, too.
As a blogger, you always have to be ready to adapt to changes in the online world. No need to feel dread while you wait for an answer to your pitch. Make sure you give it your best and just move on to the next one. Don’t lose your energy — keep the momentum.
Even if you didn’t get a positive answer because the idea had already been covered or wasn’t what your target blog needed at the time, make a fan of the blogger you’ve pitched. Read their work, promote it and mingle with their audience. Stay in touch. They may consider you later down the line, and invite you to guest blog some other time.
Focus on the Outcome
Actors can get distracted in the waiting room. Even if they show up on time, they should expect to wait. And wait. And wait.
They use all sorts of tricks to stay in the zone and not get psyched out by the other actors in the room like putting on headphones, with or without music. This keeps them in their quiet zone, even if some other actors are blabbing in the background.
You can get distracted, first and foremost, by the power the world wide web has over you.
Shut down every site that has nothing to do with your pitch. Don’t let the internet suck out all of your energy when you should be paying attention to what you do in the present moment. Turn off your phone, radio, TV. Writing your pitch deserves undivided attention.
Keep in mind that a blog editor is very much like a casting director. To paraphrase famed casting director Marci Liroff, her mission is like hosting a dinner party and wanting to have the right people at the table.
The casting director wants the right people sitting next to each other, while the host blog owner wants pretty much the same thing. A freelance blogger should maintain the publication’s voice and style and make their audience roar.
So get fired up and don’t lose your steam. Your collection of experiences makes you unique, so share your perspectives and blow people’s minds.
Be fearless and you’ll see: this will be your best performance yet.
Image: Direitos Urbanos