March is nearly over. Bet you thought we forgot about throwing Pitchfest this month, didn’t you? 😉
Well, SURPRISE! It’s Pitchfest time again!!
This time we’re looking for your best tips and tricks for getting published. How do YOU make it past the Pitching Editor?!
Let me tell you how I do it:
I follow the Editor’s guidelines.
It’s honestly that simple.
As an editor myself, I know how annoying it is when writers don’t follow the guidelines I’ve set up. Even as a newbie freelancer, I wrote about the importance of following the guidelines here on the BAFB blog. Then, as an editor with years of experience under my belt, I went into full-on RANT MODE on my own blog about this topic.
Following the editor’s guidelines is of upmost importance when it comes to getting your foot in the door. In fact, many editors won’t even read your pitch if you don’t follow the guidelines — forget about actually getting published!
Guidelines are Meant to Be Followed
Editor’s don’t write up pitching guidelines for kicks. They write them up and post them because they want them followed.
The guidelines are written up based on how the editor works. It doesn’t matter if YOU don’t understand them. It’s all about what THEY want.
If they want a pitch first, and then a draft; then send in a pitch. If they want a fully-fleshed draft and an accompanying image; then do that.
By not following the guidelines, you’re telling the editor, right off the bat, that you think you’re more important than they are. That what you’ve written matters more than what they’ve written. And that’s not a good way to make a great first impression.
You know who else you’re disrespecting? Your fellow freelance bloggers.
The Good People Who DO Follow the Guidelines
By not following the editor’s guidelines, you’re basically spitting in the face of everyone who does follow the guidelines.
If everyone else is sending in a pitch (like the editor asked for), and you send in a full draft, then you’re pushing the entire process back for everyone involved.
As much as I wish I had a time-turner ala the Harry Potter novels: I don’t. I have the same 24 hours a day allotted to me that everyone else does. That means I only have so much time, per day, to read and reply to the pitches that hit my editorial inboxes.
Every minute I waste replying to a blogger who didn’t follow the guidelines takes away my time to reply to the ones who did. And that’s not cool, my dudes.
As a freelance blogger myself, I cringe every time a blogger’s non-guideline-following e-mail hits my inbox.
Not Following the Guidelines RUINS Editors
Great editors know that they have to distance themselves…
It doesn’t matter if their very best friend in the entire world is pitching, or some stranger they don’t know from Adam; they have to treat everyone equally.
By accepting pitches from freelance bloggers who didn’t follow the guidelines, the editor is making an exception to their own rules. This causes a crack in their integrity.
An editor who makes exceptions is NOT a good editor.
Either the editor ends up playing favorites and only their friends get published, or, they end up making exceptions for everyone and the publication goes to pot. Only the sloppiest blogs are run by editors who make exceptions.
If this happens to an editor, it’s YOUR fault, and the fault of every freelance blogger who didn’t follow the guidelines.
No one wants to deal with a compromised editor.
That’s why I always follow the editor’s guidelines when pitching.
As an editor myself, I know how much that’s appreciated. And it usually gets my foot in the door.
So, that’s MY best trick for getting published.
We Want to Hear YOUR Ideas
In case you’re not familiar, Pitchfest is a blog post pitching contest we run here on Be a Freelance Blogger every three months. You tell us your blog post idea and we choose our favorites, with prizes of up to $100 for the winners.
The contest starts today.
Your theme for this Pitchfest
This time we’re looking for pitches on the theme of “tips and tricks to get a guest post published.”
Interpret that theme any way you like! You could do your own interpretation of what I’ve written above (if it’s VASTLY different), or you could give us your favorite pitching template, or how you write the perfect letter of introduction to an editor — anything!
We’re looking forward to seeing what YOU come up with.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Your pitch’s theme not only has to involve the “tips and tricks to get a guest post published” theme, but it also MUST revolve around freelance blogging (Be a Freelance Blogger’s niche). Whatever idea you present to us HAS to benefit freelance bloggers in some way.
- Anybody can enter the contest by typing (or pasting) their pitch into the comments box at the bottom of this page.
- Only ONE PITCH per person, please.
- Follow the pitch format I’ll tell you in a moment.
- After you submit your pitch, Sophie and/or I will offer feedback to help you optimize your idea for this blog’s audience and improve your pitching skills. You may also get feedback from other entrants, BAFB team members, and innocent bystanders — pay attention, because they represent your readers here.
- After you get our feedback, you can revise your pitch if you like and re-submit it by pasting it into a follow-up comment. And yes, that means you can offer us a completely different idea if we’ve told you your first idea definitely won’t work for this blog.
- If you win, we’ll ask you to send us a draft of at least 1000 words, so bear that minimum word count in mind when you pitch.
- First prize: $100 for your guest post, paid on publication.
- Second prize: $50 for your guest post, paid on publication.
- Third prize: A 3-question mentoring package with Sophie via instant messaging.
- Submit your pitch before the end of Saturday, April 7th, 2018.
- We’ll announce the winners on April 14th, 2018.
- If we choose your pitch, we expect you to deliver your first draft to me (Lauren) by April 21st. But if you need a little longer, let us know and we’ll work around it.
How to pitch
- Read our general guest blogging guidelines first, then come back here to submit your pitch.
- Suggest at least one headline designed to make freelance bloggers want to read your post.
- Follow the headline with the opening lines you’d use in the post. No less than 30 words, no more than 60. You DON’T need to write a whole post (or even a whole introduction) before you pitch — we’d like to give you feedback on your idea before you write a draft.
- After the opening lines, give us no more than 6 points you’ll make in your post, and provide a one or two sentence summary of each point. (If you plan to make more than 6 points in your post, only tell us the most important 6 in your pitch.)
- Then explain in no more than 3 sentences why this is a great post for Be a Freelance Blogger and why you’re the right person to write it.
- Put your pitch in the comment box at the bottom of this page.
- Check the little box that says “Notify me of follow-up comments” so you’ll know when we’ve given you feedback.
- Submit your comment and if you followed all the steps above, you’re entered into the contest.
- It’s a good idea to explain how your pitch reflects the theme we’ve set for you — unless it’s blindingly obvious, in which case you can probably assume we’ll see the connection without extra signposting.
- Remember to tell us why you think your blog idea will interest the people who read Be a Freelance Blogger.
- To get a better idea of what Sophie and I are looking for in your pitch, study the pitches and responses in previous Pitchfests.
- Save a copy of your pitch somewhere before you post it here — if your comment gets lost in the internet, you don’t wanna have to re-write it from scratch.
- Your comment may get held in a moderation queue, especially if it contains hyperlinks. Don’t worry if that happens; we’ll get to it and reply!
OK, it’s time.
Let the Pitchfest begin!