Don't ditch my pitch: 5 ways to get a yes from an editor
Pitching your ideas to journalists, editors and bloggers is important if you want to have your content published online.
Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to convince blog owners and editors to host your content. This often has nothing to do with the quality of the content itself—rather it’s how you pitch your stories to the blogger or editor.
There are a number of ways to increase your chance of getting a positive response. Here are five tips to help get bloggers and journalists to say yes to your pitch.
1. Follow the Rule of Reciprocity. By posting your article, the blogger is doing you a favor — he or she is helping you gain exposure and share your ideas with their online community. To increase your likelihood of being published, it helps to follow the rule of reciprocity — that is, doing something for the blogger first. This doesn’t mean you should offer a bribe, but it does help if you can offer something of value to the blogger or journalist.
You can reach out to journalist in advance and ask what kind of content they need, or find out what their editorial calendar looks like. This will help you tailor your content to the journalist’s needs. If you are pitching a blogger, offer to share their content on your social media channels to broaden their reach or if you have a blog of your own offer to allow them to post on your site (guest post swap). Don’t limit yourself to just these, think outside the box of what you think that journalist or blogger would like.
2. Use Time Indicators. Bloggers are busy people, but journalists can have especially hectic schedules. If you aren’t getting many responses to your requests, it may be that the journalists you’re reaching out to just don’t have the time to respond to your email. To make a response more likely, you should make a point to use time indicators in the subject line or first line of the e-mail body. Phrases like “one quick question about…” or “I’ll get straight to the point” can help attract attention and let the recipient know your message won’t take much time.
Also, make sure your message is short and sweet — if it takes too long to read chances are they’ll move on. Keep your email to 5-7 sentences if you can. Below is a great pitch example that I received from Mosquito Magnet pitching an article for my blog Homey Improvements. Before I received the pitch, Carl found me on Twitter and tweeted several of my outdoor articles and tagged me in the tweet.
Photos are also useful even if you are pitching a regular blog post. When pitching content to bloggers, I often include a small picture of myself in the signature line. This gives a nice personal touch and shows I’m a real person they can trust. When I include the photo, my “yes” response always increases. Choose a color photo of you smiling and face straight on to the camera (just like the photo in my example above).
4. Show Extra Understanding of Their Niche. If you’re writing an article on a specific topic, you need to show the blogger or journalist you know what you’re talking about. It’s important for your pitch to show you understand the topic and the site’s readers. For example, you could open with a comment on an article the blogger recently wrote or tell them why your infographic would help their readers.
5. Use Multiple Points of Contact. Ideally, your pitch won’t be the first time you come in contact with the blogger. Using two — or better yet, three — points of contact will increase the likelihood of a “yes.” That doesn’t mean you should just send your pitch multiple times, though. Rather, you can reach out to the blogger in other ways, such as replying to a tweet, complimenting a recent article or commenting on a blog. Ideally, your initial contact should be related to the story you’re pitching — this helps set you up as someone who knows the industry.
While pitching stories can be frustrating, the tips above will make the process easier and make it much more likely that you’ll receive a positive response.
What other pitching tips do you have to guarantee a "yes"? Share them in the comments below!
Alicia Lawrence is a content coordinator for WebpageFX and blogs in her free time at MarCom Land. Her work has been published by the Association for Business Communication, Business Insider, and Spin Sucks.
Photo: Yes sign via Shutterstock