pitching a blog

How to Pitch an Editor or Blog Owner

pitching an editorPitching 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):

“With nitrogen, we use less tires and gas and it saves money,” Dave Kuppler, Group Manager of Health and Environmental Services for the City of St. Peters, Mo.. “The tire pressure is better, which is also better for safety.”
Nitrogen tire inflation is the practice of filling your tires with nitrogen instead of regular air, and I've noticed that XYZ Magazine has covered this issue in the past, most recently in June 2010. However, I've noticed that there has yet to be an evaluative piece on how this practice benefits government fleets, including the voices of those like Kuppler, who's government fleet has been using nitrogen for the past five years. I imagine this piece to be about 800 words, where I will speak to other government fleets and nitrogen tire inflation dealers who specifically cater to managed fleets.
Would you consider this story for an upcoming issue of XYZ Magazine? I am a full time freelance writer with four years writing and editing experience. In that time, I’ve done blog writing for a variety of companies, such as Nitrofleet99, Wonderfully Clean LLC, and iAMscientist. My work has also appeared in over a dozen print and online publications including Smallbiztechnology.com, Industry Leaders, Transport Topics and St. Louis Commerce Magazine.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
What do you think? To help you to be on your way to pitching editors and blog owners successfully, here are some quick tips:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
Pitching an editor or blog owner on your own will create article marketing opportunities on your own, instead of just finding them or waiting for someone to approach you. It also shows a bit of initiative and could be a relief to a blog or online publication that's hard pressed for content.