You've heard that guest posting is something you should consider if you want to grow your blog, right? The question is have you actually started doing it?
If not then this article is aimed at you. We're going to look at the benefits of guest posting, how to go about selecting the sites you want to get published on, and then how to ensure you write a pitch email that gets accepted so your post is published.
If I could go back two years and give myself advice on what to do to build my blog the right why, I’d tell myself to focus on just TWO things:
Nothing else really matters in the beginning, trust me.
You can write the most amazing content and then spread the word on social media, but that’s a bit like tooting your own horn and expecting other people to listen.
You absolutely have to go to where your audience is and lure them back, and that can’t be done alone. That’s where writing guest posts for other publications and blogs is so important. You need to go to where your people are.
Writing guest posts has increased my subscriber base by 200% and increased my blog traffic by 50% and I use it as part of an ongoing strategy to build a community of fellow entrepreneurs wanting to create online businesses they can take anywhere.
The benefits of guest posting
These are really too many to number, guest posting can help you to:
In fact I’d recommend you click to tweet this tip as your key strategy for growth:
Focus on writing more guest posts when you want to grow your blog than writing for your own site.
Of course you can’t just slap up any old guest post, it has to be epic content, the right fit for the audience you’re in front of, and worthy of being published.
How to get your guest post accepted
This topic is an ongoing one in my Social Media Club community.
“Natalie, how do you go about pitching the influential sites to get published? Why would they choose a small time blogger like me?”
If you think about it, it’s not exactly rocket science. The best way to increase your chances of being accepted are to be real and genuine in your approach and back this up with research and knowledge of their blog or website.
I mean consider how you’d feel if a complete stranger emailed you, out of the blue, asking to guest post on your site.
What elements of their message would make you sit up and take notice and say yes?
Let me break them down:
1. Start by using their first name
This is usually easy to find on their website, about page or from their email address. If it’s a bigger site there may be an editor or guest post manager, do the digging and find out their name.
2. Show you’ve done your research
If you’re serious about getting your guest post published you need to have been reading through the content on their site first. In addition to reading it you should be commenting on it and sharing it regularly. This gets you on their radar before you even write your pitch. It helps you craft a great line about why you love their work and allows you to show you know what their community wants and responds to.
3. Tell them what they want
Then it’s time for you to say what guest post(s) you want to write for them and why. Give them the titles of 2-3 posts you’d like to write exclusively for them and why you think they’re needed or would be popular.
4. Make it easy for them to say yes
Be bold in your intent and state that you can have this post to them in 48 hours, fully formatted in HTML, with images (either your own or creative commons) that can be used publicly, so they can simply cut and paste and hit publish.
5. Talk yourself up
Show that you’re credible, if you have guest posted elsewhere or been featured on other major sites then mention that (not to skite) but to show you can write and have established yourself in your area as a key writer. If not give one sentence on your skills and talents and why that matters to them.
6. Don’t give up
If you do get a response that says thanks but no thanks, don’t take that as an outright no. Ask them if you could approach them again in the future, give two more blog post titles they might be interested in, and if possible, direct them to a post you’ve written somewhere else that you’re really proud of to prove your worth. Even ask what would make them say yes, and if there’s any other way you can help them spread the word on their blog – show you care and want to be part of their journey.
Examples Of How Not To Ask For A Guest Post
I get pitched daily on guest posts and recently made the decision to no longer accept them. That’s another post in itself, but the point is, some of these people got my attention and a yes, others made me cringe and want to hit the spam button.
Here’s an example of how not to pitch for a guest post:
I came across your website and found some interesting articles on "Starting Online Business" and other generic topics.
I occasionally write articles for high-quality blogs/websites that address similar topics or a similar audience and so i am willing to contribute an article entitled: "Work from Home Career as an Administrative Assistant". This article covers points like what are the roles and responsibilities of an administrative assistant and how to get into this career to start earning money by working from home.
This content will be published exclusively on your website (I won't even post it on other websites). Having this unique content should help you attract additional traffic and advertising dollars. No catches.*
I have gone through the guidelines mentioned in your website for posting a guest blog and can assure you that my article meets all your requirements and so you can easily publish this article into your website.
I'm sending you this article in a .doc format file through the attachment and i kindly request you to have a look at it and let it go live on your website as soon as possible.
What’s wrong with this?
First off my name is not admin.
Secondly you just called my articles generic and interesting.
Yes you figured out what my site is about but then you didn't speak specifically to it
You provided a boring title for a blog post
The fact that you use a small `i’ throughout indicates that grammar is not of importance to you.
This section with a * especially makes me laugh, you might as well tell me how to suck eggs too.
Top Tip: Creating an HTML formatted blog post
The final part of the email above, is the only part I think recommend you do keep in yours, as that’s very handy to receive an HTML formatted file for easy cut and paste blog publishing.
Here’s an example of a great pitch:
My name is Prerna and I've been a regular reader of Suitcase Entrepreneur and
Twitter follower as well for a long time now.
As a busy entrepreneur trying to absorb everything I can about running a business, I find the articles useful, inspiring and so practical.
I'd love to give back to the site and contribute a guest post on how to use cloud-based resources to manage one's business, increase productivity and facilitate team work easily.
The working title of the post will be "Using the Cloud to Run Your Business"
The 500-600 word post will have practical resources that business owners can use to manage and organize their business from anywhere in the world.
The post will be in keeping with your site's mission of "Creative Ways to Run Your Business from Anywhere"
I am the editor of The Mom Writes, a blog that focuses on positive and practical solutions for the work at home mom. I am passionate about sharing what I learn, do and use and this is my way of connecting with other entrepreneurs and evolving as a woman and entrepreneur, myself. I'm also the owner of Social Media Direct, a web content and social media solutions company for small business owners.
I'm also a columnist with Productivity Your Way, Build a Little Biz, Blissfully Domestic, Untrained Housewife and Life as Mom.
Thank you for reading this. I look forward to your response.
What she did well:
Friendly introduction using my name and actual proof that she’s been reading my site, enjoying my articles.
She them segways into what she can provide based on what my community needs and provides a sample title that is attractive and even tells me how long it will be.
Then she tells me about herself, provides proof of her credibility, and establishes trust by telling me about other well established sites she’s written for.
She finishes with a positive call to action. That’s why I published her article on my site.
Your Guest Posting Strategy
Let’s put this altogether and focus on how you can use this information to get published.
Step 1: Remember to do your research first and establish 5-10 sites you would love to see your article published on. Sites that have a decent readership and an audience that you want to get in front of that makes good business sense.
Step 2: Hang out in their community for some time before you approach them. Share their articles, commenting and getting to know how they write, what guest posts they accept and what resonates most with their readers.
Step 3: Contact them with your request to post and make it impossible for them to refuse by looking at all the elements you need in a great pitch email. Follow Prerna’s lead above.
Step 4: Thank them once the article has gone live, share it far and wide and continue to keep in touch with them and be part of their community. You never know when you may get another opportunity to post for them, or return the favour.
In the comments tell me what you’ve learned from your guest posting endeavours and the strategies shared in this article.