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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.