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4 Pitches That Any Respectable Blogger Will Always Ignore

4 Pitches That Any Respectable Blogger Will Always Ignore

Are you setting off triggers that get your pitches sent to the trash? If you can’t figure out why your pitch response rate is so low, you might be guilty of an off-putting pitching style… 

Our blogger outreach team sends hundreds of personalized emails a month.  While we have a great response rate, not every pitch is a success. Knowing the elements of an  effective pitch is important, but it’s just as important to pinpoint why a pitch was ineffective.

When a pitch is ignored or rejected, we spend time examining why it didn’t work. Many times we even ask the recipient for feedback (bloggers are often happy to give their advice).

Needless to say, we’re familiar with the telltale signs of an under-par pitch. Below are a few imaginary pitches “sent to BlueGlass” (none of which have actually been received), that fall victim to common pitching errors.  

1. The Presumptuous Pitch

One of the most common errors when it comes to pitching is assuming the contact will want to share your content without even explaining the value it will provide to their audience.  These pitches consist of the person talking mostly about themselves (or their company), what the value is for them if their content is shared, and asking the recipient to respond if he/she would like to collaborate.

When reaching out to someone, pretend they have no idea that you’re an expert on the content you’re pitching and explain why it would be valuable for them to share it (even if the benefits seem obvious to you). Below is an example of the “presumptuous pitch” in action, and why it’s ineffective…

[1] Hello! Hope all is well over at [2] Blue Glass. [3] I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your site and also, I wanted to offer you up a guest post. [4]  I am a freelance content writer and enjoy writing articles as a hobby on topics related to social media, [5] tecnology, internet, phone, electronics, seo.

[6] Ideally, I would love an author’s account and think our combined interests would make for great reading material. (If you’re interested in guest posting, as well, I actually administer a few high-rated blogs that could always use more well-written content!)

I have included links below to a few of my published articles that you can check out.  Please let me know if this sound good to you, so that we can start working on your article.

Sincerely,

The Presumptuous Pitcher

Takeaways:

  1. Avoid the generic “hello” and always address the person you are reaching out to by name. Beginning the email with a simple “hello” is equivalent to addressing the person with “to whom it may concern” and reflects your unwillingness to make the extra effort to contact the correct person.
  2. Always make sure you spell the name of the site correctly, even pay attention to the spacing of the titles.  You’d be surprised by how many sites are actually one word versus two (ReadWriteWeb, Lifehacker, Computerworld and even BlueGlass are a few examples).
  3. Don’t just say you “enjoy” their site, discuss why you enjoy their content (specifically the content written by the person you’re contacting).
  4. Instead of discussing your writing interests, describe the guest post or content you would like to provide the blogger with and mention why it would be valuable for their audience. Remember the principle of reciprocity when it comes to blogger outreach: if you provide the blogger with valuable content,  the higher your chances are of receiving a positive response.
  5. A glaring typo is present – do I have to say more?
  6. This part is a huge “no-no” because The Presumptuous Pitcher is putting words in the blogger’s mouth.  Here, the writer of the email sounds arrogant and assumes that the recipient of the email will not only enjoy their work, but will also want to collaborate more often.

2. The Desperate Pitch

While it may seem wise to offer many different opportunities for collaboration, you have to be careful of sounding too desperate.  Offering all of the potential opportunities for collaboration smells of desperation; instead, focus on a specific piece of content and explain why you think it would be a good fit for their audience.

Hi everyone at BlueGlass,

[1] I’m a part of a local marketing agency and would love the opportunity to be featured as a guest writer on the BlueGlass Blog.  [2] I have a few ideas in mind for topics of discussion, but was hoping that you’d be willing to let me know what type of content I may be able to create as a guest post which you would be excited to post on your site for your readers.  [3] Or, if it is possible, I’d love it if you would mention one of the pieces that we have recently written on our site.

[4] If you do find any of our posts worthy, I’d really appreciate it if you could add a small bio of mine at the end of the article with my related site’s links.

[5] It would be a huge honor to have my work shared with the audience of the BlueGlass Blog.  I really look forward to hearing back from you, hope to hear from you soon!

Truly Yours,

The Desperate Pitcher

Takeaways:

  1. Tailor your email so the recipient has a clear idea of what you’re pitching.  Here, the person should have explained what his/her role and area of expertise is within the marketing agency. Don’t just talk about who are you, but rather why you’re contacting someone.
  2. Don’t expect that the person you are pitching to will respond to you with an answer to any questions that you ask, especially if it is one like this which requires them to provide you with information on what they’d like to see pitched.
  3. If the article has been published recently and hasn’t already received much attention, it would be okay to promote.  If the article is over a month old and caught the attention of a number of other blogs, the person you are reaching out to will most likely not want to cover it.
  4. I typically don’t discuss linking requests upon first point of contact, it normally can be assumed.  Once they confirm they are interested, then discuss the linking requests.
  5. These last two sentences seem overly enthusiastic and make the recipient believe it’s just an act.  One trick that I constantly use to determine whether my pitch sounds genuine is to read it out loud.  If it sounds conversational and is how you would talk to someone if you were face to face, you’re on the right track.

3. The Overly-Excited Pitch

You can easily spot these pitches by taking a quick glance at how many exclamation points are used.  These emails come across as infomercials and feel like a sales pitch.

To avoid sounding too enthusiastic, be aware of the adjectives you use, limit how many exclamation marks are used, and avoid caps at all costs. Here’s an example of the Overly-Excited Pitch in action…

[1] Hi there!  

[2] I hope you’re having an incredible Thursday evening!  [3] I just wrote a killer piece of content that discusses the downfall of Facebook and the rise of Google+ and thought it would be an awesome addition to the BlueGlass Blog.

[4] What would you think if I provided you with a unique article as a Guest Post absolutely FREE!!  I promise this [5] incredible article would be  informative for your readers, related to your website and will be appreciated by your audience.  [6] Would you like to see the article?

[7] I’m a huge fan of the work that BlueGlass produces and am really excited to have the opportunity to potentially hear back from you in regards to my request.  [8] The chance to have my work featured on your blog would be so worthwhile, I can’t wait to hear back from you!

Cheers!

The Overly-Excited Pitcher

Takeaways:

  1. Once again, address the person by their name (I can’t stress this enough).
  2. Telling someone that you’ve never met or had correspondence with in the past that you hope they’re having a nice night is not conversational. You wouldn’t walk up to somebody that  you’ve never met and say “hope you’re having an incredible evening” (unless you were a salesman or something of that nature), so why say it in an email?  If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t mention it in an email.
  3. Do not refer to your content (or whatever you’re pitching) with overused adjectives such as “killer,” “groundbreaking,” “cutting edge,” and “revolutionary.”
  4. This sentences has some major problems.  First, when it comes to asking questions, a general rule that we follow is not to ask dichotomous questions (anything that can only be answered in one of two ways, such as “yes” or “no.”).  Second, no matter what you are referring to, don’t use all caps in emails (it’s the cyber equivalent of shouting).  Finally, this sentence is what makes this email sound like a sales pitch, avoid sounding like an infomercial at all costs.
  5. Did you catch that?  The Overly Excited Pitcher used the same word twice.  In order to avoid sounding repetitive and annoying, don’t use the same word more than once.
  6. Again, avoid dichotomous questions.  Instead, ask open-ended questions that encourages the recipient to respond with a meaningful response.
  7. If you say you’re a fan of the blog you ‘re reaching out to, back up your fandom with reasoning.  For example, this pitcher could have pointed out he’s a fan of our lovely mascot, Charlie, who is featured in most of our infographics and does a fantastic job managing the BlueGlass Twitter account.
  8. The overuse of exclamation points really solidifies the fact that this person is trying too hard to seem enthusiastic, making the email come off as insincere.  You don’t have to “shout” at someone to get their attention, all you have to do is be genuine (and choose your punctuation wisely).

4.  The Obviously Templated Pitch

Bloggers who receive numerous pitches each day can spot a templated email in seconds.  These pitches are vague and look as though you didn’t take the time to read the blog before deciding to contact them.

Craft a targeted, personalized pitch that is tailored to the interest of the blogger, not one that looks as though you sent it to a number of other sites.  Here’s what the complete opposite of personalized looks like…

[1] Hi BlueGlass Team,

[2] We posted an infographic that we thought you and the audience of the www.blueglassarchive.com/blog might be interested in having a look at, “NAME OF INFOGRAPHIC”(URL to where infographic is placed).  [3] After having followed your blog for a while, I feel that this infographic would align well with your blog’s subject matter. I thought perhaps you’d be interested in sharing this infographic with your readers? [4] Thanks, and keep up the great blogging!

Thanks for your time!

The Obviously Templated Pitcher

Takeaways:

  1. Last time I’ll mention this, promise – always use the name of the person you are trying to contact.  Using the site’s name (or any variation of an introduction that does not use the person’s actual name) will most likely get your email filed away in the trash can, or worse, the spam folder.
  2. Besides the fact that the sender of this email didn’t bother to start off with a more personal approach, including the URL of the BlueGlass Blog will automatically make the recipient think this email is templated.
  3. Instead of stating that you’ve been reading the content on their blog for quite some time, describe what you’ve learned from it.
  4. Ending a templated email on this note makes it seem even more disengenuous.

Conclusion

To increase your chances of pitching a successful email that coaxes the recipient to respond, don’t fall victim to the common errors discussed above. Put in the effort to write an email tailored to the interest of the blogger you are reaching out to. Don’t assume they’re familiar with what you are pitching and explain why it is valuable to their audience.

Most importantly, even if your email is not templated, pretend that the recipient will assume it is and put in the extra time to include a few details that will convince them that you deserve their time and the opportunity to collaborate with them.

What are some pitching errors you’ve seen? What are some steps you take to tailor pitches? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Comments

  1. Shoe Insoles says:

    I was starting to doubt that it was possible to find some good content for once,
    I am getting sick of the absolute drivel I come across daily,
    respect.

    • Brittany Klontz says:

      Thanks for the compliment :) glad you liked the post!

  2. Before I send emails, I always take a look at who the prospect follows on Twitter.

    If you can find someone in their network that you know even slightly, your response rate will drastically increase. By opening the email with that, they won’t view you as a salesman, but rather someone in their circle that they’ve never met.

    I also never make the pitch in the first email. Get them to engage in conversation first.

    • “I also never make the pitch in the first email. Get them to engage in conversation first.” Thumbs up. I couldn’t agree more with that statement.

    • Brittany Klontz says:

      Thank you for sharing your opinions, Tommy & Bibiano. Reaching out to someone via Twitter is a great way to connect with someone on a more personal level. On that note, always make sure you are being honest & are not telling a “white lie” just to get on someone’s good side.

  3. I Pitch, You Take? says:

    I’ve seen every one of these pitches in my inbox. They get the good ol’ “mark as spam” instantly.

    few things I do to pitch posts, in case anyone cares:
    1. follow the person on twitter
    2. tweet at them
    3. comment on their blogs, a lot.
    4. try to find 1 thing in common that I can chat about (usually within comments or twitter) for as long as it takes to get on the same ground
    5. Send a comment on a post via email…
    6. ask if they would be interested in a new post I’ve been dying to write
    7. ONLY THEN pitch it to them in a manner which does not fall into any of those categories listed here.

    • Brittany Klontz says:

      Thanks for sharing your list of tips :) I agree, being an engaged audience member is very important. Before reaching out you really need to get as much knowledge as you can about what sort of content they share and how it is received by the rest of their community. Great suggestions!!

  4. Ayaz says:

    Hi, Excellent post and certainly, I love reading it. I have been amazed also how you described the over-lay happy pitch and I learned few tips from here how you can analyse different pitches through emails as how you describing.

    Thanks for sharing great information. :-)

    • Brittany Klontz says:

      Thank you for commenting with this positive feedback, Ayaz! I’m glad you learned a lot from it :)

  5. Totally agree with You Pitch & Tommy with regards to communicating via twitter first.

    I recently got pitched an infographic for my personal blog, and the first thing I noticed was that they had sent the email to my personal email address, not the one I use to manage my blog. This freaked me out a bit, and I instantly knew the message was, on some level, spam.

    A good tool for stalking people to find their email addresses is:
    http://linksy.me/find-email

    • Brittany Klontz says:

      Yes, Twitter is a great way to get to know the person you are reaching out to. I love it!

      Great point! Choosing the appropriate email address is always important, too.

      Thanks for contributing to the conversation, Chelsea :) Also, thanks for the nifty email tool!!

  6. Anthony Pensabene says:

    Great thoughts, Brit. Winfield mentioned being obsessed with the content produced in a recent post. That sentiment is golden and should find it’s way to all business activities… such as outreach..

    As you mentioned above, little things (even spacing) matters. I actually wrote “Blue Glass” like that in an email to Chris and later apologized in a future email. I believe I even mentioned how “the little things..”

    Two things I immediately think about re: outreach.

    1- realize you’re dealing with other marketers. Marketers are people savvy (or should be). So, if you’re asking for something, it’s kind of like a lil kid politicking for a new toy.. My dad always knew what I was ‘up to’ regardless of how innocent and clever I thought I was being.. Takeaway: as mentioned above, present how value will be added. Don’t conduct outreach like a needy kid.

    2- outreach really is more like traditional PR – if you’re a link builder, now addressing ‘outreach’ needs, consider reviewing PR material.. possibly interview a reporter or editor.. just to ‘learn how real PR works.’ I’ve recently asked a major reporter some questions for that very reason.. I’m waiting to hear back still.. maybe I’ll send him a ‘hey girl’ prompt.. jk :)

    • Brittany Klontz says:

      “Don’t conduct outreach like a needy kid” — I love that! Thanks for including your thoughts, Anthony!

  7. I’d always recommend building a relationship first. Comment on their blog, follow them in social media, and share their posts in social media. That way, they are more likely to know who you are and what kind of content that you can share before pitching.

    • Brittany Klontz says:

      Exactly, building a mutually beneficial relationship is key. Thanks for sharing that, Nick!

  8. Sajeet Nair says:

    Great Post but can you give an example of a mail that you actually found interesting and to which you responded positively.

    - Sajeet

  9. sara catch says:

    I am new to this so reading what i should do and not do is very informative to me right now but i had to laugh as i have been putting some information out with my link on facebook, blogger ect and the desperate blogger i think that could me right now lol we all have to start some where lol but aslong as we correct ourselves along the way we will be fine :O)

  10. I receive those emails on a daily basis. The delete button has been my friend for a while, as a result.

    Excellent article, thank you!

  11. Terrific advice!

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people ask me if they can guest post on my blog, yet they’ve never participated in a discussion on my blog and have no idea who my audience is. When I ask them what they would write about that would interest my audience, I rarely get a response. What a waste of my time.

  12. This is one of the very best explanations I’ve read about problems with guest post pitches. I particularly dislike the “What do you want me to write about?” pitch. It assumes I know who they are and their area of expertise.

    I really appreciate it when a pitch includes three specific ideas AND mentions that all three will be original content only. (I use Copyscape to double-check.)

    When I see this, I do something most bloggers probably don’t bother with. I tell them to “Read the blog and take the time to learn for yourself what my readers want!”

  13. hy man…your post it,s good, thank to share