How to Nail a Cold Pitch
"You only have one chance to make a great first impression."
Tired cliche? Yes. But some cliches are cliches for a reason, and that holds true with this one.
That's why it's so important to know what you're doing when you're reaching out to somebody for the first time. A cold pitch, indeed, is going to require a strong first impression.
A strong first impression is what Lindsay Bell, who blogs for communications consultancy Spin Sucks, got from Audrey Walker, a writer who was interested in contributing a guest post.
With Walker's permission, Bell posted her pitch email on the Spin Sucks blog and explained what made it so great. While Bell's notes mostly pertain to communications, they also reflect business and sales truths, too. Below, see Walker's pitch email. The annotations reflect Bell's notes, adjusted to pertain to a broader business context. You can see Bell's blogging-specific points here.
Hi Lindsay! 
I’m a big fan of the Spin Sucks blog, and I’d like to start doing some guest blogging of my own.
I would like to create a piece on ways to stay sane while working remote/in a virtual office. I read a post Gini [another Spin Sucks blogger] did awhile back on the benefits she experienced when moving to a virtual office, so I’m sure you’re all aware of the flipside and some of the pain points of working remote as well. As more and more people are moving to jobs that allow them to work from anywhere, I would bet a lot of your readers are experiencing similar issues that I hope I can help address. 
I’m the director of marketing for a software company that makes web-based communication and scheduling tools primarily for the restaurant/hospitality industry. However we actually use our own software to communicate because we all work remote. I’ve been in digital marketing for 10 years now, and am an active member in the Detroit tech community. I also run a blog/website/community DrinkMichigan.org that promotes Michigan wine, beer, and spirits. 
Twitter - @techsocialite @drinkmichigan @shiftnote
Please let me know what else you need from me. Thanks and have a great rest of your day! 
1. Be personal.
This speaks for itself. But find out who you're writing to and say hi to them, not "sir or madam" or "whom it may conern."
2. Do your homework.
By referencing one of Bell's colleague's work, Walker shows she has a good sense for what Spin Sucks stands for.
3. Introduce yourself (and your company), without sounding like a salesperson.
Try to anticipate what sorts of questions the recipient is going to have, and knock them out pre-emptively. Don't use this as an opportunity to say how great you are.
4. Provide a "see also."
Of course you should be on social media, but that's not really the point here. Walker offers more opportunities for Bell to better get to see what she does and who she is, and how to get touch.
5. Close gently.
Remember, you're not selling yet. You're reaching out. Don't establish any expectations and, of course, be pleasant.