Publishers get pitched a lot. Everybody’s doing it, all the time. Entrepreneurs, marketers, PR agencies, you name it. They all want to get featured on the site in any possible way. The benefits of landing a guest post on a publisher’s site are clear. Improvement in SEO rankings, immediate access to their audience, and credibility as an expert in the field are just part of it. No doubt there’s a great return on the effort.
The common approach is to create a blog post and offer the target blog to post it on your behalf. From our experience, this actually works quite well for small-medium blogs (considering you have developed good personal relationships) but becomes challenging when going after the big fish.
We’d like to present a novel approach that has both been a marketing success for us and for our clients. The pillar of the approach is understanding the persona you’re pitching to. Imagine John, a 37 years old writer, an aspiring novelist, that averages 100 words per minute. He has a repertoire of 863 blog posts with an average of 176 social shares each. Besides being a natural born writer, he has also managed to bring his own style to play. He’s getting 4 pitches an day and you expect him to accept your proposal. So you gotta figure out, what is he really hungry for?
Hunger For Intriguing, Data-Backed Stories
Archimedes asked for a lever and a place to stand and he will lift the world. Give a writer a data-backed story and he will lift your brand.
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There are many ways to find the perfect backed-by-data story, recommended ones are using online tools (*cough* *cough*), conducting interviews, or, our favorite, using your own data.
But before we even begin to think about our own story, we need to look at the prospected site and figure out what interest their editors. The first step in deciphering the site’s trends and previous success is to monitor its social media channels and get insights out of it. By analyzing the social performance of the site’s content – like shares, mentions, conversations, you would better understand what the target audience found intriguing. The next step is to cluster trendy topics within the popular articles. For example, that might be productivity articles or social media hacks. Simple, isn’t it?
Now take these bunch of topics further and generate titles and content ideas. For that you can use SEO tools like Keywordini or Google’s Keyword Planner. More useful tool is Buzzsumo that shows the most popular articles for a specific query. If those were popular, you might want to think of something similar with a little twist to it.
Create a Pitch Book
The goal is to make it the easiest way for the publisher to get your post on site. The way to reach this goal is to prepare a pitch book.
The pitch book is a text file or a short presentation with all your findings. Make it easy for the publishers to quickly decide if that might be of any interest for them to post.
The pitch book should contain:
- Tidbits of insights (executive summary).
- Why is it relevant? Explain the importance of publishing the findings NOW.
- Full research/article/infographics.
- Graphs, Numbers, and explanations on how the research was conducted.
- Info about your brand or company. Remember to include contact details.
Time for Reach Out
Everything is ready for sending your pitch.
Some sites have an official submission form while others can be contacted directly. You can try to contact the relevant people with a direct email, tweet, Linkedin message, or an intro from an acquaintance.
Choose the best approach to pitch your idea. Send a clear message with your intentions, like “Guest Post Idea: [Your idea]”.
As we said before, publishers are pitched a lot. The pitch needs to be short and with a clear value.
Don’t sell yourself as the story. Sell the data as the story. There’s a better chance that your data (or opinion) may interest the audience more than a story about your brand.
Let’s say we want to pitch a business site an idea for a guest blog around “Entrepreneurs Reading Habits”. Take a look at the reaching out email example here:
Subject: Guest post idea: Entrepreneurs Won’t Miss a Single Post from These 10 Blogs
John from Brand here,
I’m a big fan of your writing.
I saw that articles around entrepreneurship and reading were highly shareable on your site lately.
We recently made a research within our own data and found out:
- The 10 most popular sites among entrepreneurs (Pando Daily is ranked higher than Wired).
- Entrepreneurs are 2x more engaging on social media than the avg. population.
- There are only 13% females in the community, but they make up 35% of the social engagement.
Attached the full report.
Is that something you would be interested in?
Doing a preliminary social research is in many times a great option to create your pitch book. Social holds enormous amounts of data, you ‘just’ need to dig it out and identify where things get intersting. You can check out how Forbes used our data to discuss the most popular MLB baseball team.
Getting featured on top sites is hard but totally worth it. When reaching out to publishers you should bare in mind that they aim for great shareable stories.
To get the shareability quality you need to come up with a data-backed idea. Don’t trust your luck for that. A research before approaching any publisher is the key.
With the support of the research, the idea you pitch is already backed with the qualities of being compelling for the readers.