Pitching yourself to brands, blogs and businesses is essential to making money online.
Unfortunately, there’s a ton of people who want to make money online, so your competition level is going to be high.
The good news is, with the right techniques, it’s easy to make you and your blog stand out from the crowd!
So if your emails are falling through the cracks of the PR manager’s inbox, try these 12 helpful tips and tricks to fix your pitches to get the responses you’ve been looking for:
1. Do more research on the blog, brand, or company
Here’s the thing: While many story or collab ideas are “good” in general, they may not be “right” for the company you’re pitching them to.
You can write an award-winning article on dieting and send it to Ladybossblogger, but we’re not going to publish it because we only blog about entrepreneurship + blogging no matter how well-written it is!
BEFORE you pitch, you should do EXTENSIVE RESEARCH on the company you want to work with or publication you want to write for.
Researching a company is more than just finding out what topic of articles they publish — it’s all about getting to know their values, tone, and audience. You will need to target your pitch to all of those areas in you want to work with the business.
- What are their main goals?
- What is important to them?
- What points of view do they care most about?
- Are you right for the publication?
- Do you share these values?
- What writing style do they use?
- Is it all lists? How To’s? Personal narratives?
You should write in the same style that they publish on the blog and pitch according to their editorial standards.
- Who are they trying to reach with the company?
- Millennials? Teenagers? Parents? CEOs?
Your pitch should tell how you can reach that audience and anything you write should be targeted toward that group.
If you were researching LadyBossBlogger, you would find that our values involve empowering women. If you are a man, I would stop there and look somewhere else for pitching, but if you’re a woman, then that would seem promising.
All of our posts are either “How To ______” or “# Ways To _______,” so that should tell you that our tone can be described as informational. Our audience is female entrepreneurs + bloggers, so you should have written your post about a topic that would be relevant to that group of people.
So, if you were to submit a post called “My Personal Experience Interning At A Car Dealership,” you’re not going to make it onto the site. However, if you submitted the post “7 Ways To Increase Your Twitter Engagement,” you would get a response.
Remember, you’re pitching on the big-picture level. You must have a vision of what the blog, brand or business is looking for and how you can provide it to them.
2. Cut down your word count
An email pitch should stay under 3 short paragraphs. Most of the time, you don’t even need to send a completed article or a long explanation of your pitch as an attachment (unless they specifically ask you to do so).
Bloggers and PR Managers get a ridiculous number of pitches every day. They don’t have time to read your entire life story. You make your first impression in the first 2 sentences of your pitch.
Give them the facts and your idea as clearly and concisely as possible.
Here is an example of a good pitch:
3. Stop going for fake humility or exposing insecurity
Don’t start your pitch by explaining that you’re probably not worthy of the brand’s attention or that you haven’t worked with anyone influential.
I mean, that seems like common sense, but people often have good intentions — to be honest or to explain why they don’t have much experience — or just naturally talk themselves down to lower expectations or in an attempt to be humble, that cause them to start this way.
The biggest thing to remember is that you can be honest about what your experience is in the section talking about previous collaborations without convincing the PR agent that you’re not right for the job.
Instead, explain what experience you do have and how you will compensate for any lacking areas. Convince them that YOU ARE the right person for them to work with and that they can trust you to get the results they’re looking for.
4. Make realistic projections of what you can do for them
On the other side of things, people also have a tendency to overshoot on what they will be able to accomplish.
Don’t make estimates of how much you can do if you can’t actually meet those expectations (they’ll be able to tell if you’re biting off more than you can chew).
The people looking at your projections can totally tell if you’re setting unrealistic goals. DO NOT lie or manipulate by putting yourself at a higher level than you currently are!
INSTEAD, do your research on how much other people in your same situation were able to do and then take into account your own ability and resources to make a prediction that pushes you, but that you are able to reach.
The people reading the pitch will respect you all the more for it!
Remember, you’re talking to another human on the other side of the computer.
5. Spend more time editing before hitting “send”
The worst thing you can do for your pitches is to have grammar and spelling errors, especially if that pitch is for something that will involve writing. If there are errors in your pitch, I’m really not going to want to read an entire article you write.
Make sure your email is professional and you have edited to the tiniest detail.
Download this free grammar tool to help you catch pesky mistakes!
6. Follow their submission guidelines to the T
If a company specifically provides guidelines on how and where to send pitches, actually follow their instructions!
Never think you are above their submission guidelines until they say you are.
Even if you think your pitch would be best presented in a different way, it’s best to adapt it to the format they requested. If you don’t, your pitch may be rejected immediately without getting a read-through.
If you want to write a guest post for LadyBossBlogger, please read the instructions carefully.
7. Ensure your idea can’t be written by anybody else
Any pitch you give should make it clear why YOU PERSONALLY are the obvious choice for the job. Make sure that the pitch — whether a story idea or a collab plan — is something that only you have the right tools to make happen.
Your stories should be on a topic on which you are considered an expert or are personally invested in. Your collabs should involve a community that only you can reach in that specific way.
Make sure to include examples of previous collaborations or guest posts that are relevant to their publication. If you have video clips, make sure to include them.
8. NEVER pitch the same story to multiple sources
DO NOT write one article and then send it to a bunch of different places. You can actually get into a lot of trouble that way! Imagine if both places published it without crediting where it was published first — that would be plagiarism!
Every idea should be unique and specific to that business alone. Sure, if one place rejects you, you’re free to pitch it somewhere else, but only after you’ve gotten confirmation from one place.
P.S. We can tell when you sent the same article to different places. It always sounds too general!
Check out this free plagiarism detection tool.
9. STOP using email templates
In the same strain of thought, DO NOT use one pitch template everytime you write a pitch. If you’re pitching well, you should have to change the wording each time to fit that specific audience.
Again, we can tell when you’re not really pitching to us and just want to publish your post anywhere. Editors want to publish posts that are written for their site!
10. Pitch a specific plan of action rather than a general collaboration
Instead of saying something like “I would love to work with you someday,” try pitching a specific plan of action, such as “I loved your latest release of x product and believe my blog would be a beneficial place to raise awareness.”
It shows the brand that you’ve thought out how you would best be able to assist them, even if they reply with “No thanks, we’re not marketing x yet. Have you thought about being an ambassador for y? It’s also a great product.”
It’s the same for blogging. Hearing “I’ll write something for you, I’m a great blogger” is way less appealing than “I would love to write a post about how to __________ considering I have extensive experience in this area through ________ and believe I could benefit your followers by sharing my expertise.”
Do your research and put time into your pitches — it’ll be worth it!
Also, it’s easier than you think once you get the hang out it. Here are a few websites that accept posts on entrepreneurship for you to check out that LadyBossBlogger has been featured on.
11. Already have your main points ready to go
We like to know what you’re going to do with the post or brand collab before you start; it makes everything less of a risk if you already know where you’re going. Plus, it makes you look responsible as you’ve clearly already thought out the “end point.”
Again, PR agents and bloggers want to see that you’ll be able to follow through on what you promise. Already having your main points or end goal in mind from the start promises that you’ll be the person who gets all the way there!
12. Follow-up in the coming weeks
One of the most pressing reasons you’re not getting a response is that whoever you’re trying to contact is so busy that your pitch fell through the cracks. You can remedy this issue by simply following up a few days after your pitch.
Usually, the contact will see that you’re committed and go back to read your original pitch, or at least give you a reason they won’t be accepting your idea (which helps in the long-run as well).
Don’t give up after the first silent period! It’s a chance for you to prove that you are willing to go the extra mile to work with them.
Bethany Peterson is a junior at Wheaton College (IL) studying Interdisciplinary Studies and Journalism with a minor in Spanish. She has worked in blogging for three years first as a staff blogger for 31Women Ministries, and now as an intern with LadyBossBlogger. She serves as Co-Editor in Chief at the Wheaton Record and hopes to go into journalism after graduation.