As an online publisher, my inbox is flooded daily with all sorts of requests – everything from pitches for guest blog posts, proposals for partnerships, product reviews, requests for advice, and promotional inquiries.
While I always appreciate peoples' interest in the site and respond to them with respect and dignity, sometimes I want to yell … “Are you kidding me!?”
No matter what you're pitching — there are some general tips that will help you get your proposal or request accepted.
Use These Tips for Getting Your Pitch Accepted
1. Personalize Your Pitch
I've received numerous emails addressed: Dear Webmaster, Sir, Madam, and my personal favorite, Hey You! Nothing is worse than receiving an email with a vague and general salutation – especially when my email address contains my first name! Take the time to get to know the person who you are emailing and personalize your email with the individual’s first name. Can’t find their name anywhere on their website? Check out their social media profiles and dig around, more than likely you’ll be able to find their name listed somewhere.
2. Short, SWEET, and Concise
Notice how the sweet is in all caps?! Everyone likes hearing compliments, and in business, it’s no different. Take the time to let the person know why you like their site/product and why it’s a good fit for your proposal. Along with this make sure to craft your email, so that it is short, sweet, and to the point – nobody wants to read a novel.
3. Stay on Target
Just because you’re targeting women and I’m targeting women – doesn’t necessarily mean we're targeting the same audience. Do your due diligence and learn about the person you’re pitching. Most websites have all the information you need on a few key pages. Take the time to seek out these pages. These pages are generally labeled: About, Advertising, Contact, FAQ, Write For Us, etc.
Take it one step further by familiarizing yourself with their content and products. Follow them on their social channels and share their posts. By doing this, you can ensure that there is a good fit between your audiences and it will help to build and nurture the relationship.
To stay on track, keep a spreadsheet containing the recipient's names, email addresses, websites, social media profiles, the date of the first contact, date of follow-up, and responses. Having clear documentation will keep you organized so that you don't contact recipients with the same request over and over again.
4. No Canned Emails or Press Releases
Don’t copy and paste your press release or canned introduction into the body of an email – this shows that you're not willing to take the time to draft a query that explains why you're emailing and how it will benefit both parties involved. Personalize your email and be clear in what you’re asking. Saying you want to partner with someone could mean a million different things. Craft a pitch that is clear, concise, and to the point – and always remember to include the benefits to the individual.
5. Where Are Your Manners
Just because you’re working online and people remain somewhat anonymous, it is never okay to be rude, demanding, or disrespectful. Your pitch should always be friendly, polite, and professional. Make sure that you correctly spell the individual’s name, and that your query has been checked for errors and typos. Your initial pitch or query email sets the tone for all future encounters, so make it count. Sloppy and unprofessional pitches most often end up in the trash, or worse, you burn a bridge before you've even had a chance to establish a relationship.
6. Take Without the Give
Often people will ask me to share their blog post, add a link to their website, or promote something for FREE. In the face-to-face world, would you go up to someone you've never met and ask them for a favor? No, of course not! So why would it be acceptable online? If you want someone to do something for you-you need to figure out what's in it for them first. If your request for a partnership is one-sided, you need to go back and figure out how you can assist that person in their business. Do not email them and offer a partnership without any ideas — be thoughtful in your request. The more time you take brainstorming ideas and benefits, the more likely your request will be granted, and a partnership formed.
By taking your time upfront, you’ll yourself save time and money on the backend, by scoring some strong partnerships and PR opportunities for your business.
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Holly Reisem Hanna is the publisher and founder of The Work at Home Woman, which has been helping individuals find remote careers and businesses that feed their souls since 2009. Through her unconventional career path of holding over 30 jobs and obtaining two college degrees, she’s been able to figure out how to find a career path that you’re truly passionate about. Holly’s had the pleasure of sharing her expertise on sites like CNN, MSN Money, Huffington Post, Woman’s Day Magazine, as well as being recognized by Forbes as one of the “Top 100 Websites for Your Career.” Holly resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and daughter and enjoys reading, traveling, and yoga.