Sending a cold pitch to a business owner is something many content writers, and aspiring bloggers, absolutely dread. With a low response rate and no guarantee of income coming from the outreach, the task of pitching your services can be daunting — but it doesn’t have to be.
Follow these steps to make your content writing pitches more personal, more useful, and ultimately more effective.
Know about their business
The simple truth is that online business owners receive guest post inquiries and pitches from content marketers almost on a daily basis. Most are simple and straightforward.
Maybe the pitch is successful in getting a guest post with a backlink, maybe it’s not — but the one thing that is often lacking from these inquiries is an understanding of the business being contacted.
A general pitch is inherently selfish. It expresses a desire to do something for the website owner, but its motives are crystal clear – benefitting the sender.
After the 1,000th email like this, any website owner can see through them. An article with a backlink to the sender likely does far more good for them than it does for the person hosting the article.
Whether you plan to pitch a single piece of content or an ongoing content writing service, your chances of success will be much higher if you take the time to research the business and understand its target market.
This shows the owner that you grasp what he or she is trying to do, and also gives you better story ideas to bring to the table that can provide actual value.
And about how SEO can benefit it
Part of a successful pitch is conveying that you have a firm grasp on not only their business but on how you can use basic SEO blogging best practices to benefit their business.
Keep it basic in your pitch, but use key terms like Onpage SEO and Offpage SEO in explaining why your content writing is beneficial to them.
On-page SEO is the most critical aspect of a blog post, as it’s what will help Google recognize your article based on what it is about and deliver it to internet users searching for that topic. As such, you want to write in a manner that makes it easy for Google to read.
Here’s an example of a sentence that could be used to convey your knowledge of this, sent to a website owner in the custom-made furniture space:
I did a quick round of keyword research surrounding trending searches for common furniture items, and found that searches for “mid-mod kitchen chairs” and “teak wood tables” have spiked in the past 90 days. As such, a few blog posts such as the following could help put your business in front of those searching for it:
– 5 popular designs for mid-mod kitchen chairs and where to buy them
– How to best clean and preserve your teak wood dining table
– Thinking of buying a new kitchen set? Follow these 5 steps
This shows the website owner that you understand their target audience and the problem that they, as a business owner, are trying to solve for them. And who doesn’t want to be seen as an authority in their space?
For examples of SEO-friendly blog posts, see the blog at Live Lingua.
Include links to previous work
The unasked question that goes through the website owners’ mind when he or she reads your email is this:
Why should I trust you?
In addition to being knowledgable about what they are trying to do, show them that you have helped others in similar situations. Include links to other published blog posts (even if they are only on your own website).
If you have a portfolio or a website with testimonials and examples of your work, include a link to it in your pitch!
Here is an example of how to word this:
I’ve helped more than two dozen small business owners like yourself improve their Google rankings through effective content writing. You can view my work here (hyperlink) and my portfolio here. (hyperlink)
Show that you can connect to the reader
The guest blogging and content marketing space are full of quick, non-personal interactions — emails, Slack messages, comments on articles, and social media. Even many blogs themselves fail to actually connect with their readers, even if they do manage to provide valuable information.
Good digital content comes off as a 1-to-1 conversation between the writer and the reader. Instead of talking about what you have done, talk about what the reader can do — use the word “you” instead of “they” to make the article sound more like a back and forth flow.
This goes back to understanding the owner’s business. Prove to them that you also understand their audience, and your odds of success are sure to go through the roof. You may even find that they come back for more — and even refer your services to other business owners!
Thom Jackson is a freelance writer from Idaho who contributes to the blog at Live Lingua and a number of other sites around the web.