Once you’ve found the perfect publications, it’s time to get pitching. Thankfully, pitching for content marketing outreach doesn’t include preparing a PowerPoint presentation or holding a briefcase. Instead, knowing how to pitch articles to publication is just a matter of knowing how to use email, Twitter, or the phone (occasionally).
Writing articles and getting them published on websites with high Domain Authority is a great way to build backlinks to your website. On this page, we reveal some of our top-secret pitching tips.
How to pitch articles to any publication: a five-step guide
1. Proper preparation prevents poor pitching
Before you even think about pitching, make sure you know the publication inside out. Misunderstanding the theme, style, or tone is the quickest way to an editor’s trash can. Bigger publications will be even more brutal when it comes to keeping the content “on-brand”. Your content marketing strategy should never be hazy or careless — it’s an art form.
2. Constructing an editor-friendly pitch
The gatekeeper between you and a backlink from an online newspaper is the editor. Hold this person in high esteem, because your content marketing campaign could skyrocket if you get them on side.
Editors receive tons of emails every day, so you need to make yours stand out. It could take hours, possibly days to construct the perfect pitch, but it’ll be worth the effort. We promise.
Before you start writing, you need to get into the mind of an editor. They’re probably short on time and they’re always under pressure to procure awesome content.
With these two things in mind, you should aim to craft an email that can be read, understood and digested in under two minutes. It also needs to blow the editor away in that short window of time as well.
3. Making a good start
Start off with the subject line. Use this to get across the main gist of your email and also to create intrigue. Feel free to write “story idea”, “guest post pitch” or “editorial submission” after or before your title to make your intentions super clear.
Next up is the first line. Think of this as a secondary headline to build interest even further. Expand upon your subject title in one sentence.
It’s a good idea to include a link to your website early on in your pitch. The editor is probably more interested in your brand than your email, and your website is the best representation of this.
If you want your website to look as spick and span as possible, grab yourself a free website and marketing review from Exposure Ninja. We’ll tell you what needs work in plain English, and there’s no obligation to become one of our clients.
4. Crafting the main bit
The main body of your email should be concise, but it should also be detailed enough to pique the interest of an editor. Don’t be vague — time-strapped editors don’t have time for reading fluffy emails. Aim for that delightful middle ground between providing detail and creating intrigue.
Lay out your intentions for the post and communicate the key benefits for the editor. State your terms explicitly, including payment (if you intend on paying), exclusivity and how you will help promote the story.
The last question you need to answer is: “why you?” Editors have hoards of writers at their disposal, so what’s to stop them from nabbing your idea and getting one of their staff to write the article? One way is to make your business an integral part of the story. Perhaps there’s a new, wacky fashion trend in the USA and you’re the first UK business to get on board.
Another way is to pitch yourself as an expert. This could be a story about cupcakes in London, and you have to be the person to write it because you own a cupcake shop in London. Perhaps it’s a story about fine art, and you have to be the person to write about it because you’re a fine art expert. Make both yourself and your story indispensable to the editor.
5. Stop! Has your pitch been proofread?
Before you hit send, get your email proofread. One way of shooting your content marketing campaign in the foot is by writing error-strewn pitches. If you’re not a grammar whizz — or you don’t know one — there are some killer online tools for this. Our favourites are Grammarly and Hemingway.
How to pitch articles to big publications
Knowing how to pitch articles to big publications is just a matter of following all the usual steps and then considering two more points. Is this something that this publication would really care about? Is this news?
With regards to the first question, smaller publications might be willing to publish similar content to other smaller publications in the same industry or niche. Big publications, however, tend to have an audience all to themselves who are only interested in a certain kind of article. You pitch needs to reflect that.
With regards to the second question, your pitch needs a news peg. For smaller publications, if an idea is good enough, it’s likely to be featured. However, for larger publications that publish tens of articles a day on a specific topic, you need to be able to show them that your pitch is newsworthy. Ideally, you will have the scoop on a story that’s broken not just that month, not just that week, but — if possible — that very day.
Why does this article need to be published here on this day? To repeat the question, is this news? If the answer to those questions is no, go back to the drawing board because you need a better pitch.
How to pitch articles to local publications
Pitching to local publications depends mostly on one thing from which everything else should follow: is the name of this local area in the headline?
In other words, is this a story about Bristol? If it’s not, the Bristol Post won’t care.
Is this a story about Newcastle? If not, the Chronicle won’t care.
Is this a story about Cambridge? If not, Cambridge News won’t care.
You might think that none of these publications have the highest of journalistic standards, but you’d be wrong. These publications care deeply about local issues and they will only publish articles which focus on those local issues.
If your story is local, great! Pitch away and good luck to you! If not, either try a new pitch or pitch elsewhere.
How to pitch articles to trade publications
Figuring out how to pitch articles to trade publications is mostly just a matter of figuring out what trade publication best represents your business. If you sell sports clothing, you might be better suited to pitch to a sports publication than a fashion publication — or maybe the opposite is true — or maybe you can find a sport and fashion publication. It entirely depends on your business.
Some final content marketing outreach tips
You might think an editor is more likely to respond positively if you phone them, but that’s often not the case. Increasingly, we’re seeing editors operating an “email only” policy. If you think a telephone pitch would be far more effective, though, don’t be afraid to try your luck.
Lastly, don’t be disheartened if your pitch is ignored. An editor’s inbox is like a game of whack-a-mole, so yours might have been lost in the chaos. Send a friendly reminder after a week or so, just in case. If your follow-ups are ignored, stay positive! Keep at it and use every unsuccessful pitch as practice for honing your technique. You’ll get there eventually; we promise. It’s all about playing the long game. Your content marketing campaign will benefit from sustained, focused effort.
Our Ninjas deliver high-quality pitches to high-quality publications every day on a wide variety of topics in order to generate backlinks for our clients. Contact Exposure Ninja today for a FREE marketing review if you want to be one of them.