Think the headline’s a bit too biased and confetti-tossing? Maybe. But you know that I’m excited about this post and have something to say. So here’s the first takeaway (a freebie!): When you pitch your guest blog post to an editor, be sure that your passion for the topic comes across in the first thing to capture their attention—your subject line or headline.
To help you share your passion in the new year, check out some tips from your friendly neighborhood Daily Fix editor.
1. Know your audience.Take some time to learn about where you want to be published. Just knowing the name isn’t enough. Read several posts to get a feel for the blog. Comment. Interact. You wouldn’t write an article called “Why Cupcakes Are a Food Group” for a weight-loss magazine. Know the target audience of the blog.
2. Get the editor’s name right. At MarketingProfs, we’ve an unusual amount of people with names starting with V. (And by “unusual amount,” I mean more than one: Vahe Habeshian, Valerie Witt, and me, Veronica Maria Jarski.) Sometimes, people mix up the names. Or misspell them. Worst of all are the emails that start with: “Dear Sir or Madam” when the Write for Us clearly shows who does what. I’ve also received emails addressed to “Jarski” as if we were buddies from the military school.
3. Write a short, specific, informative subject line. Just writing Guest Blog Post Submission is functional—but I love subject lines that tell me what the post is about. For example, Guest Blog Post About How Instagram and a Wedding Photographer Found Bliss captures my attention far better than your standard subject line.
4. Include your guest blog post submission. To paraphrase Nike, Just send it. As Mark Twain said: “Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.” An editor would rather read your blog post than to first get a pitch, and then have to respond, and then have to open a second email, and then read your blog post. Follow?
5. Get to the point quickly. The biggest mistake, by far, is burying the main idea. Don’t make editors have to wade through the first two paragraphs to find the buried treasure. To be honest, most will give up the search after the second paragraph.
6. Tell me a story. Don’t just tell me how the Rootin’ Tootin’ Whizzbang Platform has these features or those benefits or will create a global revolution. Instead, share a story about how the Whizzbang Platform let Emily Sue raise a bajillion dollars for her retired Greyhounds adoption facility. And if you’re having problems thinking of a story (say, because you’re writing a checklist), then just play around with words and sprinkle details when you can.
7. Send short, fresh content. A blog post should be like a demitasse cup—quick to enjoy but filled with rich, energizing goodness. It’s not a thermos, which you haul around for ages and get sick of whatever’s inside it. It isn’t a vat, either. Short is good, but one caveat: Make sure your blog post isn’t just a press release, a product description, or transcript of an infomercial.
8. Be friendly and open in your email. The editor receiving your pitch is human. She likes warm, friendly people as much as anyone else does. A sense of playfulness in your email will work wonders for an editor who has to wade through tepid emails. My favorite pitches are short, clear, and funny. Extra bonus points are awarded for folks who remember the accent mark in my name. (You have to check out the Write for Us page to know where.)
9. Don’t do the editor any favors. By far, the worst guest-post submissions are those who start out by rattling off all their street creds, give me the terms for being published (You must let me use all the links I want to specific products) and then threatening the editor of missing a massive opportunity by not publishing the piece. Remember: You are writing an invitation, so you can share what you’ve written. You’re not writing a ransom note.
10. Remember that editors love writers. An editor should not be the writer’s mortal enemy, but they work in hand in hand to produce the best content possible. And excellent writers are open to changes that will make the submissions publishable. Writers are always growing in their craft, and editors exist to help them along. Be kind to your editors.
11. Don’t badger the editor. Give the editor some time to get back to you. She isn’t trying to ignore your blog post, but she just may have a stockpile of emails to get through. Don’t email an hour later asking for a response. I always send out an email telling potential bloggers to give me at least a week to respond. My favorite guest bloggers do so (and I remember their good manners). Sending endless emails to the editor—and worst of all, to the editor’s editor (!)—makes for a sad, grumpy editor who may not be so open to your guest post after all.
12. Have fun. An editor always can tell when a piece is written for the sake of shilling a product, making the bigwigs of a company happy, or padding one’s resume. So, my last tip is to delight in your subject. Enjoy what you’re writing about—it shows in the copy!
So, dear readers, may you have a productive, content-rich 2012! I look forward to serving up delicious, pipin’ hot content with you in the new year … and receiving your blog-post submissions as well.