How to Pitch Your Guest Blog Post Idea

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A guest blog is a post written by a guest contributor and published on someone else’s website. Guest blogs are useful for the contributor because they establish the individual as an authority, build the writer’s professional platform, and link back to the writer’s (or the client’s) own site. They’re also useful for the website that publishes the guest post because it’s one less post that the website’s owner has to write. As a freelance writer, you may occasionally encounter a client who wants you to pitch a guest post. Or, you might want to do this for yourself to build up links going to your own website.

Pitching a guest blog idea is notoriously difficult, and nine times out of 10, you might not even get a response. Here’s how to do it successfully.

Find an appropriate site.

Just like writing the blog post itself, writing a successful pitch starts with research. Even the best pitch will fall flat if it’s submitted to an inappropriate website. So start by canvassing the Internet for websites to pitch to. Let’s say that you’re pitching a guest blog for a client who sells products related to recreational vehicles (RVs). Naturally, you’ll need to look for blogs related to RVs. But you could also look for blogs related to travel and retirement, since many older couples purchase RVs and tour the country during their retirement.

Do a Google search for “RV blogs.” You’ll see that there are tons of RV blogs out there. Google should direct you to individual blogs and to websites that have compiled lists of blogs, like Feedspot. Now that you’ve got a long list of potential candidates, it’s time to start narrowing it down. Start visiting the blogs and look for a “Contact Us” or “About Us” page. Some blogs might even have a “Submissions” page. Your first task is to make sure that the blog does indeed accept guest blogs.

If it does, then you can return to the main page to check out the published blog posts. Look for the publication dates. Has the blog been updated recently? Is the blog updated often? These are two signs that bode well for your pitch.

You can also look for social media buttons. Click on those and check out how many followers the blog has on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. It’s ideal to pitch to a website that has at least a few thousand followers.

Become familiar with the guidelines.

Once you’ve identified the right blog to pitch to, you’ll need to double-check the guidelines. Not all websites will have these, but blogs that regularly accept guest posts tend to publish guidelines for those posts. The guidelines might restrict guest posts to a certain length or format, or they might specify that an image is to be included. Even if you haven’t written the guest blog yet, you’ll want to make sure that you don’t say anything in your pitch that would go against the guidelines.

Write the subject header.

A generic subject line is something like “Guest post inquiry” or “Guest post submission.” It’s accurate, but it doesn’t capture attention. Instead, write a subject header that’s engaging and relevant to the topic you’d like to blog about. If you don’t already have your topic in mind, then start by looking through the list of blog posts already published. You’ll want a topic that’s similar to those posts, but that doesn’t duplicate any of them. Now, turn that topic into an eye-catching headline. For example, if you’re pitching to an RV blog, you might write a pitch with one of these headlines:

  • Is recycled denim the best material for Airstream insulation?
  • Things I wish I knew before I started RVing
  • Organizational hacks that can help RVers downsize effortlessly

Craft a compelling lede.

In journalistic jargon, the lede is the intro of the article. It’s meant to grab the reader’s attention and set the stage for the rest of the article. Since readers often decide whether to continue reading during the first couple of seconds, the lede is arguably more important than the rest of the pitch put together. Expect to write multiple drafts of the lede to find the perfect version. Here’s a look at a generic lede for a pitch to an RV blog:

  • Dear Editor, I’d like to propose a guest blog for your website on the top 10 things I wish I knew before I started RVing.

And here’s a look at a better lede:

  • Dear Jessica, 50 miles into the desert in a broken-down RV with no cellphone signal and little water told me that I’d better plan my trip better next time.

Notice that the second lede addresses the blog editor by name. It also hooks the reader’s attention. Wouldn’t you want to know how the writer got out of this predicament?

Write the body of the pitch.

The body of the pitch email is a juggling contest. The three metaphorical balls you need to juggle are: Why you’re the right person to write this post, what the content of the post will be, and how the post can benefit the blog’s audience. You need to write just enough to address these three points in a comprehensive way, but also keep the pitch short enough so that the editor will actually read the whole thing. Your pitch should include the following information about your proposed blog post:

  • Word count or range
  • Format (how-to, list, etc.)
  • Title
  • Major points covered in the post

After you’ve written the first draft, set it aside for at least a few hours, but preferably a day or two. Reread it with fresh eyes and then start editing and proofreading. Only submit the pitch when it’s flawless. Note that you’ll likely need to write multiple pitches to different websites before you find someone who’s interested. Keep track of which blogs you’ve already contacted in order to avoid sending duplicate pitches to them.

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