I like guest posts. I like featuring other people on my blog who have interesting perspectives on topics I write about. Aaron Watson recently contributed a guest post here on how to pitch podcast hosts. Christos Makridis wrote a guest post here on the importance of training for soft skills. Nicholas Kleinhuizen wrote a guest post here on how he learned to send cold emails outside of school.
I've guest posted elsewhere, too. These posts drove ne(w traffic to my site and some of that new traffic became regular readers.
But few bloggers know how to pitch guest posts.
It's not unusual that I receive a pitch like this:
(Yes, I do mind.)
When pitching a guest post to a busy blogger, you want them to know a few things about your pitch:
- Who you are.
- What your pitches are/what your angles are
- Why these angles make sense for them.
- How you'll promote it (or, Zig Ziglar's old, WII FM -- "What's In It For Me?").
It's nice to throw in some additional info, too, like:
- What your audience looks like.
- Where you promote most of your material.
- How their material has helped you.
- How you'll keep their overhead low in submitting the post.
- Previous guest posts or well-tractioned pieces you've written (evidence that you don't suck at guest posting).
You don't need to include this kind of information but including it should increase the chances of your pitch being accepted.
The Big Mistake of the Guest Post
The biggest mistake that I see people make (and that I used to make myself) is that they write their guest post before pitching it to somebody.
Don't do this.
You'll kick yourself if you do.
You spend all this time writing up what you think will be a genius post, you put together a list of outlets and bloggers you can pitch it to, and then...crickets. Nobody wants your post.
Before going ahead and pitching bloggers, read up on what they write about often. Don't tell them you love what they write if you can't cite specific examples (and don't choose the most recent example).
GrowthLab recommends pitching bloggers on 3 different angles and allowing them to choose among those. This means you should do your research on the blogger first, find specific examples of their work that's relevant to yours, craft 3 angles for different guest blog posts, and then reach out with an email that hits the list above.
So, for example, if you wanted to pitch a guest post on my site, you might see that I've written about cold emailing, finding a job, entrepreneurship, and education. You'd want to find at least one example of a post that sincerely helped you (don't BS this...writers can see through people BS'ing about their content).
Here are a few angles you can come up with:
- How I cold-emailed my way to my dream job.
- How I was able to shadow a billionaire for a job that required a college degree, even though I don't have one.
- What I learned about pitching strangers from working in door-to-door sales.
You'd then go find some previous examples of your writing that I could check out and verify whether or not your writing meets my quality standards. If you have previous guest post examples, these are even better.
Finally, you'd craft the pitch email. I have a script in my 12 Done-For-You Email Scripts, but you can also follow a script like this:
My name is [your name], I am [relevant title...are you a writer, blogger, podcaster, professional, etc.?]. I've been reading your content since [time...even if it is relatively recent, you give them an idea of when you've been along in their journey]. I enjoyed/was able to use what you wrote about here [link to specific article], specifically, it helped me, [specific outcome it generated for you].
I'd like to contribute a guest post to your site. I recently contributed one here [link] and [other blogger] really enjoyed it.
Here are a few angles that I think are relevant for you:
- [Angle 1]
- [Angle 2]
- [Angle 3]
I'd also promote the post to my email list of [number] subscribers and share it on social.
Do any of these interest you? I'm open to tweaking them as you may recommend.
The important thing here is that you show them that you are writing something relevant to the and that you will help promote it when it goes live.
If you do this well, you help the other blogger. It means they can take a day off of writing and queue up your post instead of writing out a new one themselves.