4 Tips for pitching your great idea to a blog

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Part of being a blogger is constantly advertising your ideas as unique. Even if you maintain your own site, you have to establish credibility. Writing guest blogs on other prominent sites is one of the most effective ways to make yourself known as a thought leader in your niche. Here are a few tips for pitching ideas to other bloggers.

1. Know the blog
You’ve got an amazing topic in mind, and you want a reputable site take a chance on you. You can increase your odds of being picked up by doing some research.

Don’t pitch your ideas blindly. You could annoy potential sources and earn a reputation for being sloppy. Only suggest topics to sites with which you are familiar. Developing a familiarity takes time, but you must remember that the host sites are doing you a significant favour by letting you represent them.

Follow the site on Twitter, and like it on Facebook. These are valuable connections to have regardless. Thumb through the archives, and take note of what has and hasn’t been covered. You should familiarize yourself with the host site’s style and voice, as well. Your pitch should demonstrate this knowledge. Refer to a post you enjoyed, and compliment the site for its approach.

2. Pitch a compelling topic (or two, or three)
When you approach a site administrator, have ideas at the ready. Keep your email brief and provide a short list of topics. You can start with simple single-sentence pitches, or you can offer a slightly meatier synopsis. More on that below.

Pitch creatively. If the blog is topical, consider unique angles. If it’s a video technology blog, for example, pitch a post about advances in broadcast equipment and the potential implications for upcoming deep-sea expeditions.

Present yourself as an authority on the topic. By the time you’ve pitched your ideas, you should have already completed your research so that you can answer any questions. You might feel as if you’re wasting time doing prep work, but you can always take your pitch elsewhere if it falls through.

3. Craft a punchy synopsis
The wording of your synopsis shows the voice you’ll use in your post. Be snappy and to the point. Keep your pitch brief. If possible, limit it to a short paragraph. No telling how many pitches the site administrator is considering. You also want to demonstrate that a few words from you can go a long way.

Use a unique voice. Be humorous. Do what you can to stand out. Remember, you’re not submitting copy for a textbook (probably), so engage the reviewer if you can. Pose your pitch in the form of a question that will get the reader thinking. If your synopsis sticks, you’re likelier to land the guest post.

Here is a sample synopsis for a blog for golf enthusiasts:

“If only oil prices were as predictable as online tee times. How are soaring fuel costs changing how your favorite links do business? This post will reveal how country clubs and golf courses have cut energy consumption to maintain reasonable rates for customers.”

4. Send an online clip portfolio
Pitching a guest blog post is not the same as sending out a resume. Still, much can be said for how you present your portfolio. If you’re writing for an agency, you can link directly to a page dedicated to your strongest clips. However, if you’re on your own, you might not have the luxury of a detailed, easy-to-navigate online portfolio.

Vistaprint and GoDaddy are two web-hosting sites that are simple to use and allow you to present previous blog posts in an easy-to-read format. You can take a screenshot of existing posts to show when they ran, how they were positioned on the site and the reactions they got. A simple layout will get the job done. Include graphics, if you have them.

If your budget prevents you from hosting clips online, send direct links to the blog. The risk is that the links might expire with time, so be prepared to send a PDF. It might seem easier to send a Word document or JPEG, but these documents are too easily manipulated and might not seem legitimate to someone considering you for a guest blog post.

However you pitch ideas, be courteous and professional. Never approach a site as if you are entitled to a guest post. If declined, respond respectfully and give it another shot later. If you have any suggestions for pitching guest posts, please feel free to leave them below.

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  • Anonymous

    you can pick a great idea here regarding blog nd layout.

  • Ronan Steyn

    Hi FactsAreFun,

    Thanks for your comment. This article explains how this works very nicely: http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/27/why-you-cant-dismiss-nokias-41-megapixel-phone/

    In short, it doesn’t take 41 megapixel photos, it collects 41 megapixels of data and compresses it into a smaller photo (roughly 5 megapixels in this case) and digitally reduces noise and sharpens the image. The larger sensor is the real story here, 5 times the size of the iPhone’s so it can collect a lot more data to produce much sharper images.

  • FactsAreFun

    If the lens doesn’t generate 41Mpixels of information, oversampling doesn’t buy you anything. You can’t sharpen an image digitally, if you don’t have the photons to create the necessary SNR, because your lens is so small. All you will do is to increase the noise level to the point where the image looks very grainy. If you then try to reduce the noise, you will lose image information.

    Oversampling makes sense in applications where you have extra signal to noise, like audio. In imaging, especially with small lenses, the necessary SNR to exploit oversampling isn’t there. I didn’t compare to the crappy iPhone camera, of course, but to a high end DSLR, which, despite lenses costing more than twice of this phone, still can’t do imaging much beyond 15MPixels.

  • Ronan Steyn

    From TechCrunch: “Now, when you make your sensor bigger, you can either keep the same resolution but have bigger wells or photosites (which detect light and make up pixels), which usually improves sensitivity. Or you can keep the same photosite size and just put more of them on the sensor, which improves resolution. In this case Nokia has done the second thing.

    But they’ve done it almost to an absurd amount, and they know that their lens, good as it is (and fairly fast — F/2.4 is solid, though there’s lots of distortion right now), can’t really resolve detail well enough that 41 megapixels would be necessary. Even on full-frame cameras that many pixels is questionable.

    So instead of just bumping this one spec and expecting it to sell itself, they built a whole photo system around the idea. The 808 camera doesn’t take 41-megapixel photos; it collects 41 megapixels of data and uses all that data to create a very nice photo of a much smaller size. Imagine a photo around 8000×5000 pixels that isn’t particularly sharp; now shrink it down to something significantly smaller — maybe around 3000×2500 pixels (~8MP), just as an estimate. You do it intelligently, sharpening and de-aliasing and doing noise removal.”

  • FactsAreFun

    Exactly. If a 10 times larger sensor in DSLRs with the best DSLR optics can’t easily produce true 15Mpixels, what are the chances for this combination of sensor and optics?

    In such a scenario more oversampling doesn’t result in sharper/less noisy pixels. It only results in more filtering operations for the same sharpness/noise that one can get with fewer pixels. It doesn’t matter how “intelligent” one tries to be with noise… if the SNR isn’t there, one can’t produce it with arithmetic.

    The one (and in my opinion only) winning argument for this architecture would be, that the optical anti-aliasing filter can be shifted to higher spatial frequencies. The higher sampling resolution then allows for a digital filter to take over the function of the optical filter. If the optics is low enough resolution, already, they may even do without an optical anti-aliasing filter, which my result in slightly lower optical losses and a cheaper sensor production process. Now that would make sense.

    Other than that, I think it’s mostly PR lingo. They bet on people mistaking their pixel count for actual resolution. We have seen the same PR play in audio with 128 bit digital filters in CD players etc… needless to say, the professionals knew that this was completely irrelevant on data that was noisy on the 18 bit level. It did sell well into the technically naive audience, though.

  • Ronan Steyn

    Completely agree with you FactsAreFun. It also reminds me of how “2% milk” is phrased ;)

    I think the number of megapixels these days is becoming increasingly irrelevant even in DSLR (eg. the difference between 15, 18, or 22), because the true picture quality comes from the camera’s processing power and sensor’s capabilities. Thanks for your insights.

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