Freelancing By Mary Jaksch Raise your hand if you want to know a perfect method of landing a guest post, article, or even the perfect job. If you know how to write the perfect pitch, you’re on the path to success. It took me a while to realize that I’m really good at writing pitches. I don’t think I’ve ever had a guest proposal refused. And of course, I’ve received hundreds of guest proposals here at WritetoDone. Some great and many abysmal. So I know a thing or two about writing pitches. 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’s built with integrity. Here are 20 key points on how to write the perfect pitch. 1. Research the blog or company you’re targeting. If you’re planning to write a guest post for a particular blog, you need to research the target blog very carefully. The same applies if you’re pitching for a job; you need to find out as much as possible about the company. 2. Leave thoughtful comments on the target blog. Before you send out an email, make sure the blogger gets to know you. Leave some thoughtful comments on the target blog or on one of their social media accounts. 3. Study the guidelines. If you want to pitch an article for a blog or a magazine, make sure you study the guidelines. 4. Remember that you are an equal human being. The person you are writing to may have more experience, knowledge, or success. But remember that you are a person worthy of respect as well. 5. Research the person you’re addressing. If you’re a blogger wanting to land a guest post or a freelancer wanting to snag a gig, study the ‘About’ page and read the articles this person has written. Mine their social media presence. What are they interested in? What topic might be of interest to them? What is their passion at the moment? 6. Address the person by name. We get many pitches daily here at WritetoDone. You’d be amazed how many pitches start with ‘Dear blogger,’ instead of using my name or the name of my Associate Editor (both of which are on the About page). 7. Say what drew you to the person you’re addressing. Be specific and name an article that made a difference to you. Again, be honest. Don’t say you like something just to please the blogger. In a recent pitch, I wrote: The reason why I’m so excited about your work is because you write with depth and elegance. For example, I was inspired by your article SXG.com. It changed the way I approach writing. 8. Introduce yourself, but don’t make a meal of it. Make sure you mention your blog, as well as personal details. I tend to put my personal details in brackets like this: (I’m a Zen master, blogger, and published author.) 9. Briefly list recent 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 on? Which relevant jobs have you held down? 10. Do some discrete name-dropping. It’s important for the person you’re targeting to get a sense of your value. Dropping well-known names is a great way to do this. Instead of saying, ‘My guest post was recently published at FakeMike.com‘, you could say, ‘Fake Mike recently invited me to write this guest post at FakeMike.com and it was well received by his readers.” 11. 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, “I’d love to write for your blog,” or “I’d be delighted to hear from you.” 12. 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? 13. Use humor. See if you can make them smile. 14. Offer your article. You might want to say, for example, “I’d like to offer you an in-depth guest post, called ‘zyz.’ It would cover the following points…” Then list the main points of the proposed article in bullet form. It’s good to offer an overview first; don’t write the article and then simply throw it at the other person! 15. Show examples of your work. Link to your best articles or posts, saying, “You can see examples of my style here.” 16. 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: “This guest post 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! 17. 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.” 18. 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. 19. Finish with a call to action. Make sure you lay out the next step at the end of your pitch. Here are two examples: ‘Please let me know if you would like to have a look at my proposed guest post,’ or ‘What do you think? Should I send it over?’ 20. 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 are your chances of landing your dream gig. As you can see, there are many things to consider if you want to write the perfect pitch. In particular, being a nice human being, respecting both yourself and the person you are writing to, and considering the needs of others will make for successful pitches. Remember that your pitch is a bridge to another human being. If you create that bridge with integrity, it can lead to an enjoyable and beneficial relationship. And let me remind you of the most important thing: always aim for a win-win solution.