Pitching an editor or blog owner is much trickier than one would think. Some websites have a specific form where you can submit an article, but most won't have any such form. If you want to write a guest post for a blog or online publication, you will have to pitch a specific person with a query letter. A query letter is a short letter that outlines your article idea, why you should write it, and why the article should be accepted. The letter is only about a page long, but it must include the right info in order to make the right impact with the editor or blog owner. A query letter is the best and the most appropriate way to reach an editor or blog owner.
Below is a sample query letter that I've sent to a publication and landed us the assignment. I've changed the name of the editor and the publication for privacy's sake. For another great sample, check out Kelly James-Enger's blog and her great query letter (complete with comments):
- Make sure the blog or site hasn't already covered your idea recently (which was done in the example above). If your idea is too similar to something already done, then it won't be accepted.
- Take the time to look at previous posts and article. This will give you a sense of the style of writing, the topics they cover, and the type of audience the site caters to. In the example above, taking a look at previous articles also provided the idea for how to take a different angle on the subject.
- When pitching, never send a completed article, unless it's specified that it's okay. You waste your time writing the article if it ends up being rejected.
- Proofread your query letter, as it is considered a sample of your writing as well as a pitch. Spelling and grammar errors will put your query in the trash bin.
- Don't simply send your query to a general info or editor email. If at all possible, find a specific person to pitch, especially if it's someone who manages or edits the section you wish to write for. If all else fails, send an email to a managing editor or the editor-in-chief.