I published the post The Number One Tip for Querying and Pitching: Being Personal & Specific in 2013, and the advice remains as relevant as ever. However, a recent guest post pitch I received compelled me to write a sequel.
Now, there were several things wrong with the pitch. While the person used my name while pitching – points for finding the right name as opposed to calling me by my twitter handle – and didn’t make any glaring language mistakes, she did commit two annoying no-nos.
It goes without saying that you should find out the editor’s name if you can. With some publications it is easier said than done, but when you are pitching a one-person blog, you absolutely have to find the correct name.
And by now, pretty much everyone who’s sane and has written about writing wrote about the importance of using language properly.
But the pitch isn’t done just by using English well and finding the correct name.
Because guess what? I have four blogs. If you say “I want to write for your site,” I’m not going to lose time by asking you which one. It should have been in your subject line or at least in the body of your email.
And another thing you shouldn’t do is to follow up after a week saying you are waiting for my reply. It’s okay to follow up after two weeks if you have faith in your pitch, but before pestering the editor for a response, you might want to check if you did a good job the first time around.
Bonus tip: Don’t offer irrelevant information.
The writer said where she was from, and I couldn’t care less. I only care about your idea, your attitude, and how you laid out your idea in your post. Things like where you are from, your age and gender are irrelevant unless they have a direct relationship to what you’re writing.
If you’re pitching a post called “Dating Problems 30-Something Men Have in Manhattan”, and you are a 30-something male in the Manhattan dating scene, please do tell me that. Otherwise, I couldn’t care less.
So to pitch well, the least you can do is:
- Be specific with what you’re pitching and where you are pitching.
- Call the editor by the right name.
- Wait for about two weeks before following unless the guidelines state you shouldn’t follow up, or you should follow up after a certain period that’s not two weeks.
- Use language well.
- Don’t offer any irrelevant information, and don’t leave anything relevant out.
There you go. Happy pitching!
If you have any other tips to add, share away in the comments. I love hearing from you. 🙂