I’ve produced this guide for you in response to a comment I received from Chris of Crackerjackblogging on yesterday’s post, How do you choose a site that won’t take forever to publish your guest post . I hope you’ll find it to be helpful.
Disclaimer: I must first tell you, that I’m a bit unorthodoxed in everything I do, so my methods may not work for everyone. I think being this way works to my advantage, though, so maybe it’ll do the same for you.
I read a wide range of blogs. Really, I’m all over the place, from Evelyn’s NaturalRawLiving (and no, I’m not vegan) to Kathy Gaillard’s Christian Examiner to the blogging niche. Since I’m all over the blogosphere, I find opportunities to guest post all over the place. The hardest part is choosing where for me, as opposed to what I will write about.
The steps that I give you below are a general representation of the order in which I complete my guest posting tasks, so some of these steps may occur in a different order and may vary from post to post – in other words, don’t get stuck on the order (refer to my disclaimer above).
Step 1: Decide on a few places that you’d be interested in writing a post for. They must be places that you already read regularly and have already been participating in the community by commenting, tweeting, or otherwise engaging with the owner and other readers.
So don’t submit any “drive-by” guest posts to blogs that you don’t know much about simply to get some quick referral traffic. Take the time to develop some relationships and get a feel for the type of posts that are appropriate there.
Step 2: Do a little research. Look through the archives of the blog to see if there are already tons of posts on your idea. If so, see if there is some angle that has been ignored and then make that the focus of your post. If you choose to write the post, be sure to demonstrate that you are aware that the topic has been previously discussed, but point out why your post is different. This will help your post stand out.
Research will also help you tailor the guest post to the blog so that it’s apparent that you are a part of the community and are aware of the overarching theme of the blog.
For example: When I wrote a guest post for FuelYourBlogging, I had a great idea to use the blog’s theme in my title and throughout the post – I wrote, 5 Ways to Refuel Your Blogging after taking a moment to look through the archives to make sure no one else had already written a post with a similar title. I was very excited when I found that no one else had – so it made the post that much more stronger because I was able to integrate the blog’s theme in a unique post.
Optional Step: You may opt to contact the blog’s owner prior to writing the post to see if they are indeed interested in reading a post from you. This is not necessary in every case – especially if there have been recent posts calling for guest posts or if there is a prominent link to “Guest Posting Guidelines” somewhere on the blog. You’ll need to feel this one out – sometimes I contact the owner before I write and sometimes I don’t (you might want to read my disclaimer again).
Whenever I submit a post without a prior email, I often include a very quick note. I think it’s a bit cold to just drop off a guest post with no introductory information whatsoever. My note will usually go something like this:
Good morning (afternoon/evening) BlogOwnerName,
I’ve truly been enjoying your blog, I’ve been a subscriber for howeverlong and I really enjoy posts about XYZ. If you’re still accepting guest posts, I wrote a post that I think might be a good fit in the XYZ (or ABC) category and I’ve attached it to this email.
Please review it at your convenience and let me know if you’d like to publish the post. Regardless of what you choose, I’ll still be a loyal subscriber, so there’s absolutely no pressure. Just let me know what you’d like to do one way the other.
Have a great day!
(You may tweak this note to fit your purposes and use it if you’d like.)
Step 3: If you are going to write the post before contacting the owner and have tailored to post specifically for that blog, keep track of those passages so that you can easily go back and tweak it for another blog if they reject it.
Step 4: Write the guest post and make it your best work. Don’t just slap anything together and call it a post. Use humor where possible and add your personality to the post. If you can make an intelligent use of an unexpected analogy, do so. You want readers to be drawn to you. If you do this successfully, they’ll follow you on Twitter and become subscribers of your blog – I think that’s the goal of a guest post – maybe?
Optional step: Wherever possible, if you can collaborate with the blog owner and get a set date that your post will be published, you can maximize its effect by writing a companion post that you will publish on your own blog. For example, if your guest post highlights the benefits of a particular concept, you could write a step-by-step process post for your blog. Add a sentence to the guest post such as, “For step-by-step instructions, visit…” and add a direct link to the post that will appear on your blog at the end of the guest post. This probably won’t work on the A-list blogs, so plan this one carefully.
Step 5: Include an “About the Author” section that has the following elements: Your name, a sentence or two about who you are and what you do, a link to your blog, a link to your blog’s feed, and your Twitter username. Keep in mind, however, that some sites will only allow a certain amount of links or may not allow any at all, but include it anyway with a note that the owner may omit it at their discretion (unless, of course, they’ve specifically stated that they won’t accept links).
Step 6: Don’t take rejection personally, (but don’t get a low-esteem and expect rejection either) that’s why it’s important to have a few blogs you’d like to write guest posts for so that you can simply move on to the next blog (after tweaking of course, see step 3).
*Optional Step: If you will be submitting to an A-list or other high traffic blog, you might want to give a time limit for a response. For example, you could include a note with your submission, letting them know that they have a week (or even two) to let you know one way or another whether or not they’ll be posting it. Let them know that after that time, you withdraw your post. That way, if two weeks pass with no word from them, you can consider it automatically withdrawn and then you are free to submit it elsewhere or use it for you own blog. See yesterday’s post to learn why this is an important step, that I had to learn the hard way. (*This is a new update suggested by Jimi Jones and Paul Cunningham)
As you can see, guest posting is a process that takes more than the time to write and submit an email to the blog owner. It actually requires you to know a little bit about the blog you’re writing for. But don’t shy away from it – guest posting has brought me more positive results than any social networking site or SEO combined. If it wasn’t for a single guest post that I wrote for FuelYourBlogging, you probably wouldn’t be reading this and I wouldn’t be writing for this blog. If you don’t know the story of how a guest post turned into an offer to take over this blog, read about here: Introducing Kiesha.
By the way, I love publishing guest posts, so if you’re interested and you’ve got great insights to offer, submit them by visiting the Contribute link in the left sidebar.
Any questions? If I’ve left anything out, please refer to my disclaimer at the beginning of this post and then feel free to add additional tips below.