A few weeks back, I talked about bad guest-post pitches I’ve received, and outlined some of the elements of a good one.
One writer asked if I would show some examples of pitches that were accepted here — so here are three.
One needed a little back-and-forth and refining before it was accepted, as you’ll see.
I believe none of these have run yet, so you can look forward to seeing them in their entirety in the next month or two on here.
I also notice that each of these pitches had weaknesses to them, too. Blog post pitches don’t have to be perfect — but they do have to convey that you have a strong, unique idea, know how to execute it, and have some experience in freelance writing.
The idea also needs to be something I haven’t written about before, and probably wouldn’t have thought to do otherwise.
I put these aside to include in this post a few weeks back. Looking at them again, I notice something important about them — two of the three of these are from people whose names I already knew in some context. One is someone whose blog I’ve guested on, and the other is from a respected organization I know as well.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: relationships matter.
But a great idea can always get you in cold — this first post got in the door just by being a close reader with something new to say.
This first writer pitched a strong headline (so rare to see!) with a counterintuitive twist that made me want to read more. I liked how Jessica took the time to spell out her points so I could get a great sense of what the post would be like.
Jessica Lunk wrote:
Sometimes to get unstuck, you just have to move, even if it is in the wrong direction. This is the heart of a piece I would like to write for the Make a Living Writing blog, The 5 Writing Rules I Broke to Get Unstuck.
The 5 Writing Rules I Broke to Get Unstuck
1. Never write for the content mills. -The content mill was my internship. -Not lucrative, but does provide experience in meeting deadlines and meeting the needs of a client.
-Also is a good introduction to SEO and why content matters online.
2. Steer clear of Craigslist. -Great clients can be posting anywhere. -In my case, it was a retired business owner coming out of retirement to start a new business whose ad I answered on Craigslist. He is still a client today.
3. Have a specialty or niche. -While having a niche is ideal, you can’t become an expert in a day. -Sharing your journey is valuable. -The more you explore, the more unique your perspective, and the more connections you can make between your subject and the rest of the world.
4. Ask permission. -If there isn’t a clear-cut answer, go for it. -It was unclear whether or not I could market my writing as “handmade” on Etsy. But, I went for it and landed several awesome clients.
5. Don’t copy. -The best formulas always work, and you don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel to write a great piece.
Five years ago, I was an administrative assistant with an English degree. I dreamed of breaking free and getting paid to write. Now, I am a content marketer and copywriter for a software company, with a few freelance gigs on the side. I blog at _____, and have even had a blog post featured on LinkedIn. I would love to share my experience with the Make a Living Writing community.
Carol, would The 5 Writing Rules I Broke Get Unstuck be of interest to you?
Sincerely, Jessica Lunk
p.s. I love the Make a Living Writing blog. Thanks so much for being an amazing resource!
(Note: While sucking up is really not necessary, this p.s. did let me know Jessica was a regular reader of the blog, which is something I do look for.)
This next pitch did a good job of focusing in on a small detail in writing query letters that could help readers get more assignments. I liked the laser focus:
Hi, I’m C. Hope Clark of FundsforWriters.com. I’m also author of the newly released Lowcountry Bribe, from Bell Bridge Books. My writing experience encompasses many guest blog posts, but also magazines like Writer’s Digest, The Writer, TURF, Landscape Management, VOYA, American Careers, and more. Some of my best work, however, goes out to my readers in the FundsforWriters newsletters. The four newsletters go to 43,000 readers each week and Fundsfor Writers has been chosen by Writer’s Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past 11 years.
(Note: I really don’t need this much background, and feel free to put it at the end. In this case, Hope had me at “I’m with Funds For Writers,” a respected organization I know well.
I’ve read you for some time, and know Linda Formichelli well. Both you ladies do marvelous work.
After watching you from afar, I’d love to proffer a guest post for your blog.
Title: Multiple Personality Querying
When pitching magazine editors, the need to nail story premise, hook and match to the publication’s
readership are a given. Many writers, however, use a cookie cutter bio once they’ve pitched the story
when the bio could actually nail the contract. One of my examples involves my landing a gig with
Landscape Management magazine just by virtue I’d personally installed a new lawn. The editor was more
intrigued with my take on landscape companies than my experience, especially since the query letter
was already well written. Another instance involves American Careers Magazine, where the editor’s
interest piqued at the fact I’d been an HR director before I’d delved into freelancing. TURF Magazine’s
editor was drawn to my degree in agronomy. Fact is, I pitched each case with a different bio, a different
pyramid presentation of my history, experiences, and education, matching each need with my talent
that worked best in selling my ability. This 500-word piece would introduce your readers to the critical
need to choreograph a bio as well as the opening pitch for the story itself.
I look forward to hearing from you.
C. Hope Clark
Writer’s Digest 101 Best Web Sites for Writers – 2001-2011
This final one, from YoungPrePro‘s Bamidele Onibalusi, for whom I’ve guested in the past, needed some work — but Oni was willing to put in the time and get the gig.
Hi Carol –
You know we once talked about me contributing a guest post to Make a Living Writing?
I’m trying to write a lot of guest posts this month and have some big ones scheduled, I’d like to contribute to Make a Living Writing too.
I’ve been making some changes to my blog lately in terms of how I’m able to get clients, and I’m noticing some interesting things; I’ve gotten 3 clients in the past two weeks, two of which are paying over $100 per article.
I’m thinking of writing a post on how to use a blog to generate writing clients for MakeaLivingWriting.com. What do you think about the idea?
18 Year Old Blogger and Writer.
Oni — where’s your headline and outline?
Hi Carol –
Sure thing! Here’s my idea below:
Headline: How to Turn Your Blog into a Client Generation Machine
Outline: Having a blog should be the most important marketing strategy every freelance writer should consider, because if done rightly it can be a great source of quality clients. In fact, recent data <http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/31320/Blogging-Trumps-Traditional-Advertising-in-ROI-Head-to-Head-Case-Study.aspx> from Hubspot has proven that blogging is actually more effective than Superbowl ads for lead generation. The reality, however, is that just putting out an “hire me page” won’t make much of a difference, especially if you have a budding blog. The idea of this article is to share a few unique tactics to get clients to hire you.
Here are the points I’ll consider:
Scare People Off with Your Hire Me Page: I recently put up an hire me page for my blog in an attempt to get better clients, and the results have been disappointing; I get like 5 – 7 requests a week from people who want to hire me, but are only willing to pay peanuts. I decided to edit my hire me page, with a PS telling people not to hire me if they’re unwilling to spend, or if they have low budget. The result has been 1 – 2 clients in a week, but that are ready to pay well for their services.
Publish Tutorials and Posts with Your Experience: My ultimate guide to guest blogging <http://www.youngprepro.com/guest-blogging-guide> is very effective at sending guest blogging clients my way, and that’s because it’s like…the ultimate…on the subject. It gets around 10 – 20 links every month, it is being referenced everywhere, and it ranks #3 for the term “guest blogging”. It’s an authority on the subject, and that authority passes on to me; when people enjoy my information on guest blogging, the next thing they think of is hiring me, and my info is there.
Publish Regular Case Studies to Show Your Expertise: I run regular case studies on how I use guest blogging for my business, and it is often very practical and realistic. In return, it has been a good source of clients to me. Case studies show my familiarity with what I do, the fact that I get results from it, while convincing people to use my services.
Focus on SEO Traffic: The majority of my clients find me by searching for keywords in Google, and this is understandable considering the fact that around 50% of my traffic is from the search engines.
Kindly let me know if you love the idea, and I’ll write up the post on it!
Oni gets extra points for these nicely defined bullets – they’re even bolded so I can scan them quickly. I like scannable posts and so do my readers, so this is a great way to pitch me.
Speaking of which, I’m fixing to run more guest posts this summer than usual, so if you’ve got a creative approach to freelance writing that’s made you more productive or gotten you more clients — and we haven’t covered it here before — feel free to check out my writer guidelines.