We all want to write for a leading publication or blog. But here’s the thing – the more prominent the media outlet, the greater are the queries they receive. Unfortunately, a lot of the queries aren’t pitched well enough to even get editorial attention.
Once you have done the basics of researching guidelines and preparing and customizing your content or here’s what to do next, if you don’t want to be needle that gets lost in the haystack.
Want to know the basics of pitching first? Read the 3 Simple Rules to Pitching
The 2 key elements to remember when you Craft a winning pitch for your blog or article – pitching your idea and showcasing (or pitching) yourself!
Pitching your idea
Where all can you pitch
Email queries are a great place to share but they are not the only ones anymore.
You can send in a cold query, or respond to requests for guest posting on Facebook or LinkedIn (more on this below). Other options include a PR pitch or an ask for including a link to an already published article of yours. Your pitch also matters if you contribute to ‘roundup’ posts (an aggregate of expert opinions from your niche). Here’s an example of a roundup post – Lead your Workday with 12 Efficiency Mantras.
Attract with subject line
This is undoubtedly the single biggest contributor to the email open rate. Most blog owners and editors skim the subject lines before opening – you probably do the same with your emails too. There are a lot of preferences on what works, but the bottomline is that you want to be savvy and succinct.
Keep your subject line short (less than 50 characters) keeping phone readers in view.
For email queries, use words like Pitch or Query with a catchy topic in 3-5 words. Keep the details for the body of the email e.g. ‘Query: Why being bold is good’ or ‘Pitch: 5 myths about Instagram.’
Share a compelling Intro
You can start with a question or problem and share how your article addresses it.
How can entrepreneurs use Twitter to build brand authority and gain followers.
Or you can share a variation to a common issue. A style magazine will probably have lots of articles on clothes already, so if you’re a personal shopper, think about how can you add a twist to the topic of picking a wardrobe like the Five best accessories to match busy, floral outfits.
Craft a summary that shows your content intention and can hook even a skimming eye. Also remember to use a bold or larger font so it stands out.
Add a description
Think of it like a movie trailer, where you want to know what to expect. Include details on what you’re going to talk about in the article. If you’re sending options, a good practice is to send a couple of variations related to your expertise and include a short description with each.
Choose the right email id and alias
Ideally, use your company’s email ID and if you don’t have one, use a professional version with a top email provider – something like firstname.lastname@example.org. A high school moniker or cute names like teddybear92@… sound very unprofessional!
Most providers allow you an alias – in addition to your name, you can add a company name too. Open your email settings and change your name to Jane Smith, XYZ Company instead of only Jane Smith – instant brand boost!
Don’t forget to add your job title – preferably one that’s easy to grasp, like founder or even freelance writer. Editors like to know what makes you qualified to write about a particular topic.
“I have been running my direct sales business for over seven years. Or my articles have been featured in top parenting blogs like [names…]”
Include writing credits
Ideally, your body of work should be accessible via a single link, like an author page on your own blog. Don’t have a blog? Consider a Medium or a PDF portfolio. But if you can’t do any of that, then include multiple links to your most recent or most noteworthy articles. Either way, make sure that the articles are relevant to the pitch and not too dated.
Along with the links, add a line describing them e.g. here are my recent articles on marketing and brand building.
Make your titles readable
Write article titles with links (called anchor text) instead of only including links. Most email platforms make it easy now to hyperlink any selected text, so craft your text like a normal sentence and then hyperlink it with the correct url. E.g the correct way would be writing – 7 Effective ways to Build your Brand with Content, instead of just a link which may or may not be easy to read, like https://www.maroonoak.com/7-effective-ways-build-your-brand-with-content/
Share info on your web and social media presence
Both offer up credibility – editors want to know if you are who you say. Again, include a common link (like Linkedin) if you want to talk several websites. Similarly, social proof is always invaluable, especially if yours is a strong, well-connected profile. Most publications anyway ask for Twitter and Linkedin handles, so it’s a good idea to include those. Again, use a combo of text and links. I write mine as Twitter – @PoojaKrishna This way the reader can see the handle at a glance and click if they want to to.
Shares, Comments and Retweets
What you talk about on social matters! Along with the quality of your work, this is an indicator of the breadth of your brand. While this in an indirect benefit, the content you share or respond to, showcases your subject matter understanding in new ways. Your posts on saving stray pets might matter to someone who shares that interest even if your article is on a different topic. Similarly, a lot of inflammatory content can hurt your prospects.
Pitching on social media
Facebook groups are great to connect and land writing gigs (and ditto for Linkedin) so prepare to interact there too. Many blog owners post queries on groups, where you can share a condensed version of your personal pitch to stand out in the flurry of responses.
Ideally, a 1-2 line bio and a single link on contact details works great e.g. I’m a wedding photographer and my blog was featured on Wedding Weekly. See my work on….
You can share the details of your pitch offline if you prefer. Also, make sure that your Facebook presence speaks well for you because most people will check that before they click on the link you posted.
It’s not authorship, but you do get quoted and usually earn a valuable backlink too. Most roundup authors need very little info but it’s amazing how many people forget to include their work titles (Founder, Director etc.) or company names/ websites, despite being asked specifically.
Getting published isn’t always easy but the results are well worth the toil. Even if your first (or fifth) pitch doesn’t get picked up, your work will still make a favorable impression.
Now that online content stays alive for years, you can build a sizable writer’s equity if you do this right. So make your query the single most important piece of unpublished work you write!
Pooja Krishna is an Entrepreneur, Business Mentor and Mom. She has worked both in large corporates and managed startups over the last 20+ years.
She’s a co-founder at Maroon Oak, and is founded Win Thinks, where she writes, speaks and teaches about Digital Media, Brand Building and Future Ready Businesses. A day trader for over a decade, Pooja launched Trading Paces to educate amateur and pro stock traders. As a classroom mentor, Pooja loves teaching students across the U.S. about job skills and entrepreneurship. Read about her on Huffington Post and Forbes.
A trivia buff and yoga & hula hoop enthusiast, she’s discovering the pleasure of drawing Zentangle patterns for ‘creative mindfulness.’
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