Whether you have a book, a website or any other product to promote, writing guest posts is one of the best ways to get your project in front of a broad (or niche) audience. Many popular blogs and known brands have gotten off the ground, improved customer relations and created a community around their product by using guest posts. If you write a successful post, you’ll be building a relationship with the leaders in your field and getting valuable clicks and backlinks to your site.
Writing guest posts works because your content is getting the endorsement of an established and respected source (hopefully, that’s what you’re writing for). But to get that endorsement, you’re going to have to bring your “A” game and work hard on writing the perfect post. If you’re new to the guest post writing game and don’t know all the ins and outs yet, here’s a little guide on how to write an irresistible guest post – and get it accepted.
Start By Scoping The Blog You Want To Write For
Whatever niche the blog you’re potentially writing for is in, it’s always best to start by looking through the last 2-3 months of posts. Note the style – the length of every post, the format (list? long read? something else entirely?), the choices in vocabulary (strictly for professionals or fit for a general audience). Note the content, too – is there any topic that you felt hasn’t been covered yet, but should be? What kinds of ideas are promoted? Take note, because all of this should be the same in your guest post so that it fits well with what readers of the blog in question are accustomed to.
Take a closer look at the guest posts previously written for the blog in question. Take notice of what topics they cover, which posts work best and what receives attention from readers – this is crucial for the success of your own post.
Read The Guest Post Guidelines
Established blogs will usually have guidelines for guest posting. Here, you’ll find notes on format, style, length, rules on what content is and isn’t accepted, among other guidelines. Keep in mind, unless it says otherwise, it’s a rule and not a suggestion – you’d be amazed how often bloggers receive emails from prospective guest writers who want to publish their 2,000+ word monsters and clueless rants on the political weather of the day. Don’t be one of them. Before your post does anything else, it must adhere to the rules.
Write The Blog Post Before You Pitch – Or At Least Outline It
There seems to be some debate whether to write your post before you pitch it. The major advantage in having written the post before you shop it around is that you know exactly what it is – and know exactly what you’re pitching. The downside is that, if your post isn’t accepted, you won’t be able to submit it anywhere else without retooling it to fit another blog’s format and audience.
If you choose not to write the post before you go and pitch it to bloggers, at least create a detailed outline, so that you have an idea of what the end product looks like before you pitch it.
Pitch It – And Do It Right
Popular bloggers usually have no shortage in people wanting to write guest posts for their site, but before you write to anyone, check the guidelines again for any info on the pitching requirements. In your opening email, write a short intro – 3-4 sentences that tells who you are, what you do and what qualifications you have for writing the articles you’re pitching.
Next, the pitch itself.
Ideally, this isn’t a whole song and dance – it’s a clearly formatted, short presentation of what your post is. Write the headline (more on this later), the thesis and 3-4 bullet points presenting fresh takes on the idea. If your idea isn’t new and interesting, by the way, don’t bother sending it in – for one, if it’s obvious, the bloggers have already thought of writing about it themselves, and two, if it can’t interest the blog’s readers, don’t expect a wave of clicks to your site.
For some ideas on a strategy to use when submitting ideas check out this study done by Moz on what kinds of pitches receive positive responses.
Include A Bio
This here is the whole reason you’re writing the guest post in the first place – to promote yourself. The best way to do this is to keep it short and sweet. In the top (or the bottom, depending on the guidelines) of the post, write a brief (4-5 sentence) bio. Say who you are, what you do – this is where the link to your site goes, what relevant experience you have in providing information like what you’re doing in the post. If you’re on twitter, include a link to that, too.
Polish Up Your Guest Post
There is no point in submitting your post if it’s not your best content. If you’re not sure that the post is stellar, hold off on sending it out altogether – otherwise you might not get the clicks you (think you) deserve. If you took note of the stuff that works best on the blog you’re writing for, however, you should be in the clear.
Arguably, the most important thing in the post is the headline.
Make sure it’s catchy, fresh and fits in with the rest of the blog. More than anything, it should be interesting and clickable – that’s what communicates best on social media. The title alone should be enough enticement for someone to click on the post.
Now, when submitting the final draft (don’t bother with anything less), make sure it’s completely done and ready to be pasted into the CMS – less work for the blogger means higher praise for you and more chances to work with that person in the future.