Before you can start building relationships with editors at your favorite online publications, it’s important to learn how to pitch your content—and yourself.
Here are a few key elements of effective email pitches that will start you off on the right foot:
1. Use a descriptive subject line.
If a publication accepts guest posts, its editor probably receives hundreds of pitches each week, and the first part of the pitch she sees is the subject line. So keep it short, compelling and accurate. An email with a subject line that tells the editor what to expect and gives her an idea of the article’s content is one she’ll want to open.
2. Start with a friendly, personal introduction.
Addressing the editor by name shows that you care enough about the relationship to take the time to research her and get her name right. Feel free to get personable and ask how her week is going or throw in a friendly greeting. After addressing the editor, briefly introduce yourself, your company, and why you’re contacting her
I emphasize "briefly" here because you don't want to dive right into your article without introducing yourself, but you also don't want the bulk of the email to be all about you, either. Keeping your introduction genuine and to the point creates a great opportunity to start building trust with the editor.
3. Include a (brief) article summary.
In the body of your email, provide a concise summary of the article you’re pitching. In it, be sure to include the key takeaways and something that will pique the editor’s interest. By doing this, your email will be easy to read, will save the editor time and will enable her to quickly assess whether your article will truly serve the publication’s readers.
4. Offer exclusive, nonpromotional content.
Editors don’t want content that’s being published by competing publications; they want readers coming to their publication for content that can only be found there. It’s important for you not to pitch multiple editors the same content and to make it crystal clear to the editor you're pitching that the content you're sending is exclusive to her publication.
You also want to ensure that your content isn’t too promotional. According to "The State of Digital Media 2018," 79 percent of editors say that overly promotional content is one of the biggest problems with the guest content pitches they receive. Remember, these editors want content that educates their readers and gives them a new perspective, not sales pitches for your service or product.
5. Show respect for the editor’s schedule and preferences.
Your email should acknowledge the editor’s busy schedule, illustrate your willingness to cooperate with the other items on her agenda and propose a date by which you’ll follow up. This will deepen the trust you began building with your personal introduction and exclusive content, and it signals your accountability for the content you pitch.