As the owner of a website that publishes blog posts and articles, I get emails just about daily from people wanting to publish on my site. It got so bad I set up a separate email address for it.
There’s nothing wrong with pitching an idea or an already-written article to someone for publication on their site. I’ve done it; I’m sure you have, too.
However, there are things that will get your email an automatic “no.” Seriously, I wonder if some of these people ever took a class on correspondence.
Let’s take a look at what not to do in an email pitch:
1. Fail to greet me by name
Rule 101 in writing a letter (or any correspondence): You always greet the person by name; not doing so is disrespectful. My name is not hard to find; it’s all over my website. If you found my email address on my website, you should also have seen my name there.
Here’s a variation: You get my name right, but your email asks whom you should talk to about a given matter. The About page lets you know that I am that person. In short, do a little research.
Advice: Take an extra few minutes to find out the person’s name you want to email.
2. Make it obvious you’ve copied and pasted your email
OK, I’ll admit it: I copy and paste from one email to another. Who hasn’t? However, it’s kind of obvious you’ve done it in your email when you have multiple fonts going on—let alone funky character and word spacing.
Why would I accept a post or pitch from someone who doesn’t bother to proof his or her own email?
Advice: Show some professionalism: Proof and spell-check your email before sending it.
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3. Assume I’ll pay you for your article
I do not believe in paying for guest posts. You don’t pay people to be guests at your house. If I’m paying you for your blog post, you are considered a contributor, not a guest. Don’t assume I pay for content by telling me that yours is free of charge.
I am aware there are bloggers/writers who sell their articles for a living. That’s fine; just please be tactful about it.
Advice: If you’re unsure, ask whether the person you are approaching compensates (use that term; it’s nicer) for guests posts. Never assume.
4. Pitch me something that’s not relevant to my industry
If you pitch me something (as in the example below) that has nothing to do with my industry, I’ll think you’re an idiot and I’ll know you didn’t do your homework. Make sure what you are pitching is relevant to the person/business/industry you are approaching.
Advice: Do your homework to ensure you are contacting people in the right industry.
5. Send me testy emails when I don’t respond fast enough.
I hardly ever respond immediately to pitches, even legitimate ones. If it’s legit, I will research you and/or your company before responding. I’m just as busy as you and the next person, and I cannot respond immediately. The last thing you want to do is get snippy following up (see below).
Side note: Never buy links, unless you want Google to blacklist you.
Advice: Be patient.
I will say I have gotten some great pitches via email—they aren’t all bad. I will respond to legitimate inquiries, so if you are reading this and you are interested in submitting a guest post, please contact me. Just avoid making the mistakes listed above.
A version of this post first appeared on Mandy Edwards’ blog.