Hands up if you want to know a no-fail method of landing a guest post, magazine article, or perfect job?
The key to success or failure is in the pitch.
It took me a while to realize that I’m really good at writing a pitch. I only got the message when blogger friends kept on responding with, “You landed a guest post THERE?!” or, “You’re in touch with HIM?!” or, “You’ve been invited to write for HER?” I took success for granted – which is one reason I’m good at pitching.
Many people see a pitch as an exercise in manipulation. That is, they focus on how to get the other person to do what they want. That attitude is sure to fail.
The key to a successful pitch is honesty and respect.
With your pitch you are building a bridge to another human being. And that bridge can only carry weight if it is built with integrity.
Here are key points to writing the perfect pitch:
- Remember that you are an equal human being. Acknowledge also that the person you are writing to has more experience, knowledge, or success.
- Research the other person. If you are a blogger wanting to land a guest post, study the ‘About’ page and read many of his or her blog articles. The same goes for wanting a job. What are they interested in? What topic might be of interest to them? What is their passion at the moment?
- Say what drew you to them in the first place. Be specific and name an article that made a difference to you. Again, be honest. Don’t say you like something, just to please. Here is an example. In a recent pitch I wrote:
The reason why I’m so excited about reading your work is because:
1. You write because you want to write.
2. You write what you want to write about.
3. You write with both depth and elegance.
- Introduce yourself, but don’t make a meal of it. For example, I put my personal details in brackets like this in a recent pitch: (I’m a Zen master, psychotherapist, and published author.)
- Briefly list previous gigs. You want to make sure that your recipient knows that he or she is in good company. Which well-known blogs have you been published in? Which relevant jobs have you held down?
- Do some discrete name dropping. Instead of saying, “My guest post was recently published at SevenSands.com” you could say, John MacDonald recently asked me to write a guest post at SevenSands.com and it was well received by his readers.”
- Your tone should be confident, straightforward, and respectful. Avoid toadying. For example, don’t say things like, “I’d be humbled if you would grant me…” or similar phrases. Instead, say things like, “It would give me much pleasure to write for your favorite blog”, or, “I’d be delighted to hear from you.”
- Focus on how you can help the person you are writing to. Are they going on holiday and might need guest posts? Are they expanding their business and might need new staff members? Would their blog benefit from your proposed theme? Have they written a book that you could promote?
- Use humor. See if you can make them smile.
- Offer your article or work. You might want to say, for example, “I’d like to offer you an in-depth and value-rich guest post, called ‘zyz’. It would cover the following points…“Then list the main points of the proposed article in bullet form. I think it’s good to offer an overview first; don’t write the article and then simply throw it at the other person!
- Show examples to your work. Link to your best articles or posts, saying, “You can see examples of my style here.”
- State what’s in it for them. Why might they like to offer you a guest post, article, or job? Sometimes it’s difficult to find something to say. Here are two recent examples: “I’m sure this will be a very useful article. It will provide a roadmap to a happier life for your readers.” In one instance, I didn’t know what to say. So I said: “What’s in it for you? Well, maybe just the sheer thrill of it!” It worked!
- Be audacious. You can’t lose by asking for what you want. I always encourage myself by saying, “If you don’t ask, you’ll get an automatic no.” (Check out Skellies excellent article on being audacious here).
- Expect to be successful. A positive frame of mind will give you a strong voice. If you believe in yourself, the other person will believe in you too. After all, confidence is infectious.
- Move on from failure and focus on your next opportunity. Sometimes you won’t get the desired result. Move on. The more pitches you write, the higher your chances are of landing your dream gig.
As you can see, there are many things to consider in writing a good pitch. Let me remind you of the most important thing: Don’t try to manipulate; aim for a win-win solution.
Let’s have a conversation. What’s your experience of pitching?
I look forward to your comments.
Mary Jaksch is Editor-in-Chief at Write to Done. Grab her FREE report How to Write Like an A-List Blogger. Mary has helped thousands of students successfully create outstanding and profitable blogs at A-List Blogging and is the blogger behind Goodlife ZEN.
Image: Man writing courtesy of BigStockphoto