Pitching potential clients, businesses, and other bloggers and websites (guest posting) is probably the hardest part of a freelance writer’s work. Being ignored or rejected is the last thing we want happening, especially in the beginning.
When you’re first starting out, you’re usually in an especially desperate state because let’s admit it: you’re trying to get paid! You’re not one of those people that want to write all these awesome posts and articles for free or for “exposure”. Simple exposure is not going to help you put food on the table right now. You’re not a hobbyist.
You don’t put in countless hours of work to help get someone else’s monetized blog more revenue for free. You want money. You need money, and we aren’t talking about pennies. Pennies are what you get at those terrible content mills. (Who else cringes just at the phrase “content mill”? Makes you sound like some factory worker, writing your ass off for pennies. Gross.)
One of the biggest questions besides what is the right way to pitch is what is that one way to pitch an editor or business that is 100% guaranteed to get them to say yes? Sadly while there are never any guarantees, there is a way to pitch that will certainly increase your chances of getting your prospect to strongly consider signing you on and paying you what you’re worth for your time and hard work.
Guest posting is a great way for writers to get their name out there, and getting paid at the same time. Who wouldn’t want to get paid while building an impressive portfolio? When a website calls for guest posts or you’re cold pitching, some are confused as to what exactly an awesome guest post pitch looks like. Whether you’re experienced or just started, these tips and the template I have here are sure fire to get you exactly the response you want.
Side note: If your reply is no reply, there’s nothing wrong with following up. Sometimes your email may have just gotten lost in the spam folder or the editor just missed it. If they don’t have a specific response timeframe given, just wait a week before contacting them again. If there’s still no response after the second follow up, just consider this a dud and move on.
There are some very important details and things you should never leave out of your LOI and guest post pitch. Trust me, leave any of these things out, and your prospect will be left wondering if you’re simply some desperate amateur rather than a professional worth their time and attention. Here are the important points to always make sure you include in your pitch:
Match your tone with the website’s tone of writing
You want to match your tone of voice with the blog’s tone of voice in its writing. Editors want whoever contributes to their blog or publication to match their style or writing. You’ve got to fit in. If they’re laid back and enjoy humor, a stuffy pitch full of boring collegiate jargon won’t be very impressive to them, trust me.
Also, don’t try too hard to fit in either. If their writing style doesn’t match yours, or you feel you can’t taper it to their needs, don’t even bother. Every blog in the same niche doesn’t have the same tone of voice, which obviously makes every blog and website unique. If they’re too bubbly or blunt for you, or you’re too serious and technical for them, whatever the case may be, stick to websites that share your writing style and personality. Don’t pitch to any and every one in your niche, because sometimes you’ll find that you two aren’t a good match anyway.
Know Exactly Who You’re Addressing
Don’t even dare using the “to whom it may concern” line. To the trash your pitch will go. It’s madly annoying when editors see someone in their company’s inbox that clearly has no idea who they are talking to. If you can’t find an exact person or team of people to address immediately in their “contact us” information, you can do some simple digging around on Google or LinkedIn to find an exact person to direct your inquiry to.
If they already have a submissions form available, that’s great and always makes life easier. But if they don’t, try as hard as you can not to contact “support” as your pitch may likely get lost in the sea of other general inquiries and such.
If you can’t for the life of you find out exactly who to send your pitch to, then once again, move on. That’s simply unprofessionalism on their part.
Explain Why You Are Qualified
It’s extremely important to include why you’re the absolute best person to write whatever topic you’re pitching. What expert or even intermediate knowledge do you have involving your niche? Have you helped people solve their problems in the past? Are you the go-to for answers in your community or circle of associates? How do you stand out from other writers that want to do the job? Can you prove that you have extensive knowledge involving the editor’s niche in your pitch?
If not, I suggest you do some more research. While you certainly don’t need a bachelor’s degree or any really fancy credentials, it’s never a good idea to come off as totally clueless. Otherwise, that writing niche is clearly not for you, and the editor will see that. Again, we don’t want to be seen as that desperate amateur.
Also remember that your qualifications almost always lie in your skills, not so much your degree (or lack of), or how many high profile sites you may or may not have written for. If you can show in your writing that you know your stuff and that you can write well, 9/10 you will be picked for the job.
Provide Fresh and Exciting New Ideas
Make sure you’re always including some ideas of your own. Editors love not always having to do the work, especially if they see you know your stuff. Fresh and new ideas and different perspectives are what keep readers attention, old and new.
Provide some topics that they may not have covered before, or have not yet discussed in depth that you feel their readers should know about. You could even offer spinning a recently successful article of theirs that you and they know will get extensive viewership. Great exposure for them equals a win (and money) for you!
No matter how new you are to this, don’t EVER express that. If you have confidence in your skills, show it! Let them know that you have what it takes without sounding like you’re begging, or like you’re a pretentious snob.
There’s a fine line between confidence and conceit, so you can talk about your skills and previous accomplishments without sounding like you should be nominated for an award. You also don’t want to look like a person that’s unsure of themselves’ either. Just express whatever reasons you’d be a good fit without being arrogant or mousy.
ALWAYS thank them for their time
Editors are super busy, believe it or not, so they like to know that you appreciate them taking time out of their day to read your email or submission. They get a lot, and after reading many that probably didn’t even adhere to their guidelines, your perfect pitch and small “thanks” will make you look like a ray of sunshine.
The Good Part: The Template
Now that you know what to include and how to format, you’re now ready to write up your pitch and hit the “send” button with confidence! This template is mostly a “fill in the blanks” kind of theme, as only you know what exact information you’ll be putting in your LOI and what ideas and skills you’ve got. It’s more of a general tone of voice, and you can tailor it to the tone that matches your prospect.
Here it is:
My name is _____. I discovered your website from ___ and thought it the perfect opportunity for me to reach out to you. I have become a fan of your work and enjoy reading your content. I specialize in (your niche) and I believe my writing style and yours matches perfectly. I would love to be a contributing writer for your site/ pitch my guest post idea. I’d like to write an article entitled ( __ ) as I believe it will resonate deeply with your audience and give very valuable information and a fresh point of view on the subject matter. The article will explain ____ and provide details on how to ______
I’ll be a great contributor for your blog/website because (list your best strengths and qualifications, such as
- I complete and submit all work in a timely fashion
- I’m very skilled in extensive research and analysis
- I’m dependable, enthusiastic, and enjoy working with others
Thank you for your time and consideration and I look forward to working with you!
All the Best,
This style of an LOI and pitch has gained me clients even in my earliest of days as a freelance writer. Whether you’re brand new to this or are a seasoned writer getting back into pitching, this basic template is a perfect guideline. Try it out and leave your feedback in the comments section! I’m excited to see how many people will have gained success from this simple template!
Here’s to your freelance blogging success!