For every guest post that gets accepted around here, another 10-15 get killed immediately after skimming the pitch email.
Usually for very elementary reasons.
Let’s talk about things you should do if you don’t mind your guest post pitch getting ignored…
1) Don’t Personalize Your Pitch Email
Would you walk into a business meeting with a client and address them as “Mr. Client Guy”?
When you’re pitching a guest post, don’t address your email with anything along the lines of: “Dear Site Owner” or “Hello Webmaster”.
You’ll have much more success if you personalize your pitch email using the name of the editor or blog owner.
Considering this info is often easily found on the About page or plainly advertised on the home page (as is the case around here), not personalizing leads to a few quick conclusions:
- Your pitch isn’t genuine.
- Your writing probably isn’t going to be well-researched.
- You’re not interested in forming a long-term relationship with the publisher.
Ultimately, it indicates to the publisher that they’re going to have to spend additional time proofreading and sprucing up your post.
And the last thing you want to do when trying to get your guest post published is make the life of the publisher more difficult.
2) Don’t Read the Guest Post Guidelines
Most blogs that regularly publish guest posts have guidelines and suggestions for getting your post approved.
Read them before you start your pitch email.
Some blogs prefer you send along a few options for posts you could write. Others prefer you choose your topic and send an excerpt of the post.
You’ll also find that these guidelines often shake out the details on what types of links are allowed within your post, whether you need to send along creative or a photo to go with your post, what author information you should provide and more.
The guidelines aren’t there for fun. They’re primarily intended to weed out people who want a quick hit-and-run type of guest posting gig.
If it’s obvious you didn’t take a few minutes to read the guidelines or suggestions, should I really trust that you’re going to put much effort into actually writing the post?
Call me skeptical.
3) Make It Obvious You’re an SEO Agency
Content is king and that’s more true now than ever before in the eyes of search engines.
So I get the efforts for agencies to take on the task of content marketing for their clients.
But if your primary motivation for pitching a guest post is for a backlink, a few things:
- Anyone who agrees to publish your post is probably providing the type of link that won’t help your clients in the long-run.
- For most publishers, these pitches have historically resulted in low-quality submissions. We’re back at the “don’t create more work for the publisher” advice.
- The immediate assumption is that you’re not genuinely interested in delivering value to the publisher or their readers, you’re just looking for quick links.
While these might be premature judgments of people pitching guest posts from SEO agencies, it’s just the reality of the situation.
If you are pitching from an SEO company, go the extra mile of personalizing your pitch and explaining that you’re not posting primarily or solely for a backlink.
Rather, emphasize that you genuinely do believe what you have to say will be of value to the publisher’s audience.
4) Use a Script
When guest posting started becoming a mainstream tactic for generating traffic and improving SEO, membership sites and courses devoted to teaching about the strategy understandably followed.
While these courses are great at teaching the basic approach — I was in one myself — one aspect I always found problematic was the recommendation to use scripted pitches.
It’s nice to see a live example of what a good pitch looks like, but inevitably you have hundreds of people from these courses using extremely similar scripts and it’s obvious.
Efficiency is a good thing, but when you’re pitching a guest post, you should be attempting to form a relationship with the publisher first and foremost.
While my opinion isn’t representative of all publishers, a pitch that appears scripted is a sign that you’re after quantity rather than quality. That you’re more interested in getting a quick approval and post published than you are about forming a relationship with me and helping my readers.
What’s a Good Guest Post Pitch Look Like?
I’m glad you asked 😉
The pitch below is my idea of perfection, and it resulted in a great guest post.
This pitch gets a lot correct…
- Personalized the pitch with my name
- Explained the topic of the post, even sharing specifics of what the post would cover and what angle Ben would be writing from
- Displayed humility regarding the request to link back to his site, rather than demanding it with the typical: “All I ask for is a backlink to my website” spiel.
- Short and to the point, but included enough detail to pique my interest
One Final Tip…
If you really, really want your guest post pitch accepted with few challenges, start engaging the publisher’s content regularly before you pitch.
- Follow them on Twitter and start genuine conversations about what they’re posting
- Re-post their content and give a shoutout on Instagram
- Get engaged on their Facebook page
These are all straightforward ways of getting that publisher’s attention and building rapport before you send them a cold, mostly anonymous pitch.
If you time your engagement and pitch right, you should have no problem getting the publisher’s attention!
So there you have it. This isn’t rocket science of course (I’m not sure why we compare everything to rocket science), but you’d be surprised how many guest post pitches come through my inbox that completely neglect this advice.
Get these few parts down and you’ll be guest posting like crazy soon enough!