Sending an Off-The-Wall Pitch

When checking their email, busy bloggers sit with their fingers on the delete button.

 “According to email provider ExactTarget, people take 2.7 seconds to decide if they will read, forward, or delete a message.”

You only get one shot at this, so what are you going to do with your 2.7 seconds? My advice is to be more than personal, polite, interesting or even funny. You have to be off-the-wall.

Before being “off-the-wall”, edgy, and unconventional with your pitch there’s a few things you need to consider and act on:

1. Research, Research, Research

Even though you may think you’ve got a good idea of your angle and what the blogger wants, don’t commit to your approach just yet. Sure they’re a site, but do they really want your article on Facebook Edge Rank or WordPress Plugins? I recommend making sure that you are heading down the right path with your pitch email. Prospect your target site by looking at the categories, recently published content and scouring through their social profiles.

chemistry catDoing this sort of research will help you get a feel for their brand voice and the style of writing they prefer.  It should also help you identify trends and get you in the right mind set for your pitch.

2. What Do They Want?

It’s an obvious question right? Sometimes we don’t even ask what the blogger wants and just pitch blindly, assuming that our content is the answer to all of their problems, big mistake. If you’re unsure and the editor hasn’t laid out what they are looking for on a silver platter then just ask. On occasion, editors and bloggers help us out with a “Write for Us” page and article submission guidelines, here’s what the editor of Conservative-Wanderer.com has laid out for guest authors:

Screen shot 2013-02-01 at 7.28.05 AM

And in comparison here is what Cracked.com is looking for from guest authors:

Screen shot 2013-02-01 at 7.24.55 AMClearly these are two very different sites with two very different audiences and brand voices. Let me state the obvious one more time and say that they are looking for two very different types of content and your pitch must reflect that.

3. Are You Ready To Provoke A Reaction?

I am a firm believer in pushing your luck by trying to be edgy without being offensive and the nature behind “go big or go home.”  An email pitch is just like any other written content, you want it to evoke some sort of emotion in the reader in order to provoke a desirable reaction.

stimuli.2.1As mentioned earlier, you only have 2.7 seconds to make the sale in an email pitch. If you’re going to get rejected why not get rejected hard?  If you are going to get ignored anyway (statistically the chances are that your email won’t even get opened) then what do you have to lose? Take a risk with your pitch and see what happens.

Disclaimer – Don’t Be A Fool

While I implore you to take risks, we all have to draw the line somewhere. Don’t write to Conservative-Wanderer.com and strike up a conversation that has you pushing liberal beliefs and be ‘edgy’ by not taking their beliefs seriously.

GRUMPY CAT MEMEOr even worse, you upset the editor and get an angry response. This is not good karma.

Failing to Prepare Is Preparing To Fail

Now I know those who outreach to bloggers are busy, there are priorities, deadlines, goals, and the occasional content crisis. However, I cannot stress enough how important it is to do your homework and research your target domain, their brand’s voice and what they are really looking for. As soon as you let yourself get into bad habits, send boring template emails, and lose sight of what this pitching game is all about you’re failing yourself and the client. BUT if you can refine this process and are not too proud to ask the editor what they want then your biggest battle (to get a response) will be won.

About the author

Lizzie Seedhouse