February 25, 2013 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
Everyone is talking about how to pitch: use this subject line, use that introduction, try putting your previous articles at the bottom! I decided to use a different approach. Here’s a concept I learned at a different sales job applied to my current position as an outreacher.
The most important part of a pitch is not the content itself, but rather, getting it in front of the right person. This can be a daunting task over the Internet because there are several possible obstacles. If you are careful and avoid these common traps that stump most outreachers, you will be able to get in front of the right person and increase your chance for success.
Imagine you are searching for the perfect blog. You have an awesome article but nowhere to place it. You come across a site that initially fits the bill, do a little perusing and see that it’s the real deal.
You click on the Contact Us page and what do you find? The dreaded phrase “We Do Not Accept Guest Posts”, there is something fascinating about that phrase: it actually works. Most outreachers will see this and not even bother pitching the site. Maybe they aren’t actually accepting, but if you at least try the worst that could happen is you end up in the exact same position you were in if you didn’t pitch them.
Because few outreachers actually pursue these kinds of sites, if you do reach out to them, they may be open to reviewing it for the simple fact that they don’t receive a lot of pitches. A site that has “Not Accepting Guest Posts” will receive a lot fewer pitches than one that openly welcomes guest posting.
It also means that they genuinely are not expecting to receive pitches, which allows you the opportunity to have your pitch actually read, which if it’s compelling enough, could convince them to review a piece.
For the sake of carrying this post to fruition, let’s imagine your site actually did not have the initial deflector on the Contact Us page. Instead, it had the ever-looming contact form.
“Fill out this forum with your information and we will be back in touch with you soon.”
I bet you will.
Many outreachers are quite content with filling out the contact form and patiently waiting for an email in their inbox begging for that awesome guest post. Well, if you haven’t received that response yet, you probably never will. These Contact Forms (Black Holes) are seemingly the perfect way to reach out to a site. However, they are actually a way for these sites to weed out the hundreds of guest post requests they receive every day or week. If you want your pitch and ultimately your article to reach the right person’s eyes, do not fall victim to the luring contact form.
Let’s say you were able to elude that pesky contact form and find an actual email. It may say something along the lines of “Send your tips to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.” Don’t take the bait of these generic email addresses. Much like the contact form, they are designed as ways to wean out pitches.
In most situations that email address is a secretary or assistant to the editor. They are receiving countless guest post pitches and are assigned the exciting job of sifting through the emails for ideas that they deem pertinent to the editor.
This means that in order to get past the gate keeper you have to create a subject line and pitch that will compel them not only to open your email, but to forward it to the right person. Outreachers place more emphasis on developing the content of a pitch and the subject line than they do trying to simply bypass this middleman. If you want to increase your success rate, search for a personalized email address.
Let’s assume you were able to avoid the temptation of a generic email address. You dug a little deeper and found the name and email address of PerfectSite’s owner/editor. Now you’re on the right track! This is definitely the person you want to get your pitch in front of.
You develop and personalize your pitch. Send it to the email address that you found and wouldn’t you know it,you receive an instant response. Unfortunately, it’s not your contact. It is the infamous “mailer-daemon” informing you that your amazing pitch failed to reach its destination. Double check the email address you sent it to with the one on the site and if there is no discrepancy, then you know that you have fallen victim to the boomerang contact.
Don’t sit idly by or revert back to the generic email/contact form. You have the contacts name, do some more digging and you may be able to uncover another email address.
There are several factors that go into generating a successful connection, but none more important than getting your pitch in front of the decision maker’s eyes. Of course the content and headline are important, but even the perfect pitch may never make it to the right person’s inbox if it doesn’t make it through the gauntlet of obstacles. So when you do find the “perfect site,” devote some time to getting your pitch to the right person. It will greatly increase your success rate.
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