So you finally wrote that pitch email you thought you’d never have time to write — Congratulations! Writing pitches are not exactly fun and it can stir up some self-doubts along the way.
Speaking of self-doubts, are you sure you’re ready to hit Send?
Don’t waste the minutes or hours you spent on a pitch only to commit an embarrassing mistake in the end.
Do these last-minute checks and tweaks to make your pitch email as great as it can be.
1. Proofread, proofread, proofread
Nothing turns an editor off more than typos, grammar boo-boos and plain laziness.
If you just finished writing the email, step away from it for a few minutes. Come back to it later and read it with a fresh pair of eyes.
Having someone else to read and check for you would also be super helpful.
If you don’t have someone, install Grammarly. It’s an app that lives in your browser and detects spelling and grammar errors as you type. It’s an indispensable tool that even pro writers need and use.
It’s not just spelling and grammar that you need to check and correct.
Check for broken links you might have placed in the email. Click each link and make sure it opens the right web page. You don’t want to annoy an editor when they have to email you back and ask you for the right links — if he emails back at all.
2. Personalize your greeting
As a personal rule, I try to start my pitch emails by greeting the person I’m emailing.
I use an app called hunter.io to enter a website and see all email addresses connected to that site. Check out the screenshot below. I wanted to find the editor for a popular business blog and there were a few relevant results.
It also tells an editor that you’ve done your research not just about the publication but about them.
If I can’t find a person’s email address, I just use the simple Hi or Hello to start my message. I don’t ever recommend using Ma’am, Sir or To Whom It May Concern. Just no.
3. Let them know you’re a fan
If you’re pitching a blog or website, it should mean that you like reading their content.
Editors would appreciate the fact that you are an engaged reader and not just another “digital marketer” trying to get link juice. Go the extra mile and participate in the comments to share your thoughts on a topic.
In the pitch email, you can start by mentioning how much you enjoyed reading a recent article. This makes you stand out not just as someone who’s done their research, but someone who reads the publication on a regular basis.
A little goes a long way, and this applies to compliments that are sincere and appropriate.
4. Follow the rules
If the publication you’re pitching has a set of rules for submitting pitches, you need to follow them.
These rules, also known as the Submissions Guideline, can be pretty common for most publications, such as not allowing file attachments to be sent with the email. Other publications ask that you include a specific number of articles you’ve written that’s related to their topic.
Following instructions is vital for making a good first impression with an editor, yet it’s something most writers fail to do.
Don’t mess up your chance before you even get it. Read instructions and follow the darn thing.
If you don’t have what a publication asks for – like published articles in their niche – don’t pitch them for now. Focus on getting published for similar topics that they’re in and try again when you’re ready with your clips.
5. Have the appropriate tone
Are you pitching a prim-and-proper business website or a casual parenting blog?
Whatever the industry, write your pitch email to match the publication’s editorial style. The only way to master this is to read their existing content for a few days. How do they present their content? Is it through story-telling? Research and analysis? Opinionated sarcasm?
You’ll have a fighting chance to catch an editor’s attention when you use the publication’s own style in your pitch.
Never go beyond what’s appropriate, though. You’re not in that stage yet, so dial back the sass and save it for later.
6. Check the time
Finally, before hitting that Send button, check the time. Is the recipient in the same time zone as you?
The most important thing here is not to send an email too late at night when the recipient is probably getting ready for bed or already asleep.
As for the day of the week, the CoSchedule blog has suggested that Tuesdays, Thursdays and Wednesdays are the best days to send an email based on various studies.
Who knew this data existed?! (I didn’t until a few minutes ago).
Timing is key — so use it wisely and to your advantage.
7. Request a read receipt notification
You don’t absolutely have to do this — but I do this for pitch emails because I don’t like to send an email and wonder if it ever got opened.
A Read Receipt is a “request” you put on an email message so that you’re notified when it gets read by the recipient. Most email clients have this function.
If you’re using Outlook, you can get notified when the email is read or opened. In the New Email window, go to Options and check the box for Request a Read Receipt.
If you use Gmail and Chrome, you can install an extension called Boomerang to add this function to your Gmail account.
If you have a different email program, you can research if it has a Read Receipt functionality and follow the steps to enable it.
Sending a pitch email can be a stressful experience, but as long as you give yourself time to do a thorough check, you should be fine. Besides, pitching is my go-to marketing move to get more freelance writing jobs.
Don’t ever shy away from pitching because you’re scared of getting rejected. Rejection sucks, but it also teaches you valuable lessons.
When you’ve done this a few times, you’ll realize it’s not as terrifying as you think. You might even begin to enjoy the process. So take a deep breath and start pitching one step at a time.
Do you have some tips to make a pitch email better? Share them in the comments!