Ask for an invitation to be a guest at your friend’s vacation home, and Miss Manners would frown. (Frankly, your friend probably would too.) Ask for an invitation to guest on a blog, podcast, video series, etc., and your content business will smile. (And the prospective host creators probably will too.)

Being a guest blogger (or podcast guest) can be a great marketing tool to attract new readers, listeners, and viewers. Successful creator Neil Patel, who created QuickSprout, says guest blogging is the best inbound marketing strategy.

But how do you make the ask?

It can be nerve-wracking to put yourself and your business out there. So my first step is to practice accepting rejection. You won’t be as nervous when you realize the worst they can say is no (or give no response), and you’ll survive. You’ll also be pleasantly surprised when you get the yes.

Craft a great pitch to get the OK to write a guest article or be a podcast guest, says @AnnGynn. #ContentEntrepreneur #Marketing Share on X

Now, you’re ready to craft the pitch. I’ve read hundreds and hundreds of pitches over the years. Most stand out for the wrong reasons.

Know the recipient’s media and audience. Your pitch should show how you can help or entertain their audience. To do that well, you must research their content. What is their content tilt? Who is likely to consume that content? How can you address that?

You also should look at their formats. All too often, requests for guesting opportunities are sent when no guesting opportunities exist. If they don’t have explicit instructions for guest inquiries, you can look at their podcast lineup to see if they host guests or examine their blog to see if they have multiple bylines. 

Make the first paragraph count. Just as you do with the introduction of a content piece to attract your audience, craft an opening paragraph that grabs the recipient’s attention.

Too often, I see something like this:

Hi Editor,

My name is Inky Bean. I have over 10 years of writing experience. I would like to write an article for your blog that will be beneficial to your audience …

When I’d rather see this:

Hi Ann,

Your audience wants to know how to make money from their creator business. I have an idea for an article on how they could do that.

The second opening line works better because it relates to the recipient. I don’t care about knowing the person’s name or how long they’ve been writing. I care about how well they can deliver content that will resonate with The Tilt audience. (And by using my name rather than a generic title, I know the person did some homework.)

Make the intro of a guest pitch about the recipient and their audience, not about you and your resume, says @AnnGynn. #CreatorEconomy Share on X

Establish your credibility: In a sentence or two, explain why you are the person who should contribute to their content. 

Too often, I see something like this:

I have a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and have written articles for 10 years on a wide range of topics. I also have five years of experience working for an agency that serves creators.

I’d rather see this:

As a professional in the creator industry for over five years, I have seen first-hand the challenges creator face. They’re skilled at creating the content but not in figuring out how to monetize it. I’ve written several articles on the creator economy for well-known outlets, including Fast Company, Insider, and others (links included below), but I have a fresh idea for your audience.

The preferred version shows how the potential guest is credible on my topic. It also includes proof of that credibility by mentioning where their content has been published.

Present options: Suggest a few specific ideas that you could write on or speak about.

Too often, I see this:

I can write on a multitude of topics. Let me know what topics you’d like to see me write about and I can put together some ideas.

I’d rather see this:

I could write an article about how creators can repackage their free content into products that they can charge for. Or if that idea doesn’t fit, here are some other revenue-focused ideas:

  • How to add a consulting practice to your content business
  • How to create social media ads to sell more content products
  • How to make the first dollar as a content entrepreneur

Or, if you have an idea you’d like to see me execute, I’m open to the possibility.

In reading the second version, the recipient can easily see what this person could contribute and identify an angle that would be most beneficial to the audience. The last sentence also indicates flexibility in the topic.

Share some story angles to indicate what you could write about in a guest blog, but be flexible. #GuestBlogging Share on X

Own the process: While accepting the pitch is ultimately the recipient’s decision, you can close by taking control of the interaction.

Too often, I see this:

If you’re interested in having me write for the publication, reply to this email and I’ll get started.

I’d rather see this:

Thanks for your time in reviewing this guest request to provide helpful content to your audience. I will follow up next week to see what questions you have or what topic might work best for you. Of course, if you prefer to connect earlier, please let me know.

The second closing indicates the potential guest blogger will follow up. They aren’t just sitting back and waiting for me. It also helps me see that if I don’t reply now, I can expect another email.

Test and learn

No pitch formula works all the time. Sometimes you throw it across the plate and sometimes it goes wild. Learn what works most frequently – and what doesn’t – and adjust your outreach. But always keep throwing out pitches.

About the author

Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. An IABC Communicator of the Year and founder of G Force Communication, Ann coaches and trains professionals in all things content. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.