I do not know about you, but I receive hundreds of emails every day. Between newsletters, new articles by my favorite blogs and publications, press releases, pitches from marketers and bloggers, and inquiries from potential clients, I spend more than half of my work day in my Inbox. So, I have become very proficient in the art of skimming.
A year or two ago, an email that would usually get deleted within half a second fell between the cracks. It came from a self-proclaimed professional writer whose goal was to have his guest post published on Creative Ramblings. Not only was the topic he offered to cover completely irrelevant, but his pitch was also full of typos. And to make matters worse, he addressed me at Team Creativeramblings.com.
I have a nickname for people like him: “serial submitters”. They are paid to reach out to hundreds of bloggers daily using the same formatted message. And they are so pressed for time that they do not even check names or topics. I know because I once tricked one into telling me how things worked.
I may receive irrelevant pitches all the time, this one hit a nerve for some reason. However, as I did not want to lose my cool, I decided to turn off my computer and take a break.
It is scientifically proven that the best ideas are triggered by monotonous activities. I always have mine when I am showering. So, that is exactly what I did.
Within a couple of minutes, a question popped up in my mind: What if the problem actually came from my blog? Maybe the guest posting guidelines are not specific enough.
I was back on the computer shortly afterwards to review my guest posting page. Something hit me right away: I only had an example of great pitch there. Important information was missing, including a call to action. So, I started with this: “Kindly read this page before sending me your pitch”.
Then, I wrote down a list of things I found particularly annoying in similar pitches. Here it is below:
- Misspellings (including butchering my name)
- Repeat emails in case of non-response on my end
- Self-proclaimed guru-ism or greatness
- Condescending or pleading tone
- Exaggerated praises of my work
- The “I won’t charge you a penny for my article” technique
When I edited the page, I included this entire list and additional information. You can see what I mean by clicking here.
What happened then? The number of lazy pitches started decreasing overnight. It has now been cut by at least 60%! Now, I even receive emails in which people actually share some fascinating details about themselves and why they started blogging!
As an entrepreneur, you should pay close attention to the lazy pitches you receive. Why? Because they actually contain invaluable feedback on what is wrong with your website or blog. This is feedback that lands in your inbox without you having to request it. And best of all, it is free!
So, the next time you get annoyed by a “serial submitter”, try to focus on the benefits of that email instead. They may not be obvious as first, but if you learn to read between the lines, you could end up being able to serve your audience better than ever and get the attention you deserve!