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December 17, 2012 (Updated: February 3, 2023)
Finding and outreaching to targeted sites is sometimes half the battle. Once you’ve sent the initial pitch email to a blogger, it can then be a waiting game where you’re left wondering if he or she read your email. But how long do you wait for a blogger to respond?
The answer is typically 2 days. But this answer can vary depending on the time of year. For instance, since holidays—like Christmas—are right around the corner, many people take vacation from work. Therefore, if you receive an Out-of-Office automated reply when you email a blogger, you should wait to follow up until that blogger is back from holiday leave.
Besides knowing the time obstacle of when you should act, the next question is how you should follow up with that blogger. You don’t want to nag, but at the same time, you want to be noticed and answered.
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A good rule of thumb when following up with your initial pitch email is to make it short and sweet. While you can’t control many reasons why the blogger may not have responded to your pitch, you should focus instead on what you can control: a personal touch, call to action, and scannability.
Personal Touch: Open the email, as you would the initial pitch email, with a personal greeting. Address the blogger by name and then quickly recap that you’re following up with your previous email. In the next paragraph, write a brief 2-3 sentence review of what you’d like to contribute and why. Remember to tie in the blog’s main themes and subject material to your what and why explanations.
Call to Action: After introducing yourself and why you’re writing, it’s then important to briefly explain what action you want the blogger to take, whether that action is answering in favor of a specific guest post title or a more general answer of interest in guest posters. Usually a call to action can be stated in 1 sentence.
Scannability: Don’t forget to make your overall email easy for the blogger to quickly read or scan over by keeping paragraphs short and even using bullet points. You’re not duplicating your initial pitch email; you’re reinstating the major points of that first email.
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While it’s tempting to write a pleading email for the blogger to post your submitted guest post, especially if there’s a lengthy pause after initial delivery, it’s better to remain urgent with a deadline.
It’s all about creating a sense of urgency. As odd as it may seem, adding the word “Final” to the subject line has produced more responses for me then without. For instance, out of the last 5 times I’ve put a variation of “Final Follow Up – Guest Post Submission,” all have been successful in getting the blogger to respond about my sent content. However, when I put a generic “Follow Up” subject line, 2 out of 5 have responded.
But don’t just take my word for it. Putting “Final” in the subject line has also been successful for outreach teammates Allison Vila and Brian LaPolla. Just ask them.
Another tip is to provide a deadline when you’d appreciate the blogger to get back to you. For instance, you can say that you’d really love to post on the blogger’s site with this specifically made content for him or her, but that if you don’t hear back by the end of the week, you’ll have to assume it’s been rejected and will place the content elsewhere.
One of the most cringing scenarios that requires a follow-up email is when the blogger publishes your content, but with errors. Situations like no-follow links, incorrect anchor text, or the removal or change of any hyperlinks are an outreacher’s worst nightmare.
In this case, your follow up email should be immediate, appreciative, and honest.
Immediate: As soon as the content is published and you find errors, email the blogger right away. Any delay will complicate the situation further.
Appreciative: At this point, you’ve already established a working relationship with the blogger, so you don’t want to jeopardize the connection. Therefore, thank the blogger for publishing the content first and foremost.
Honest: Lastly, address the errors in which you want the blogger to fix. Explain the reasons why in as much detail as needed. But the overall tone should be a request and not a demand.
While each follow up email has the risk of not being answered, you can better your chances by following a general rule of being personal and honest with the blogger. If you think a post would fit perfect on a blog, then say so. The same applies to if you have a deadline when you’d like to see the post up or if the published post has errors. However, if after the follow up email the blogger still doesn’t respond, then refrain from further emails. It’s best to take your losses without completely burning a bridge.