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Why You Have a Better Chance of Landing a Guest Post Than You Think (and How to Do It)

Image via Flickr user Freddie Peña.

Image via Flickr user Freddie Peña.

This is a guest contribution from writer Ali Luke.

Do you ever think about guest posting but worry you’re not ready?

You probably already know that guest posting is one of the most effective ways to build relationships in the blogging world, get writing credits, and grow your audience … 

… yet you might worry that no-one will take your posts, because you’re too new to blogging, your own audience is too small, or you’re not (yet) a great writer.

Maybe you’ve heard bloggers say that they get dozens, even hundreds, of guest post pitches each week, and you feel certain that the numbers will be against you. 

It’s true that a lot of people are pitching guest posts: as Editor of DailyBlogTips (Sept 2013 – July2014), I got a huge number of pitches.

The truth is, though, that many of these pitches are just awful. And you could easily do much, much better.

Here’s an all-too-representative sample:

Hi 

I am [name removed]. I wanted to guest blog on your esteemed site under SEO section. Here by i  am sending doc conatining article named ” Secrets to improve your page rank” .

Kindly do the needful action

Thanks & Regards

Dear Webmaster,

I have come across your website and found it very informative.

I am currently the webmaster of (a specialist Email Marketing Company). We are interested in writing a “guest blog” for your website.

Please kindly let me know if this is of interest to you, with any terms/conditions of posts. I will then send over some fresh and inspiring content for you to review.

On another note, please could you also give details of any link exchange opportunities?

Looking forward to your positive response.

Yes, in that second example, they really did write “(a specialist Email Marketing Company)”.

Drowning in emails, I soon started deleting pitches straight away if the would-be guest poster didn’t even bother using my name.

I sent brief “no thanks” emails to anyone who pitched something clearly off-topic, or whose email suggested they had a poor grasp of spelling and grammar.

(Yes, that might seem a little elitist, but when I’m offered one nearly-perfect guest post and one that’s going to take hours of my time, it’s an easy choice to make.)

Even the slightly better pitches made some annoying mistakes, like:

  • Telling me they wanted to write a guest post, but not suggesting topics.
  • Acting as though their post was sure to be accepted (e.g. “Tell me when it will be live on the blog.”)
  • Getting my name wrong and starting “Dear Luke”. (Ali is my first name, short for Alison; Luke’s my surname. I know it’s weird!)

I agreed with Daniel (who owns DailyBlogTips) that I’d publish one guest post every two weeks – we wanted the blog to be mainly our own content – and I rarely had much difficulty deciding who to accept. It was rare that I got more than one decent pitch in a two week period.

So you probably have a far higher chance of success than you think. You don’t need to be the world’s greatest writer, and you definitely don’t need a big audience. In fact, I gladly published guest posts from people who were just starting out. All that mattered to me was that they could deliver useful content.

Here’s how to maximise the chances of your guest post being accepted:

Read plenty of posts on the blog before you begin: at least five. You need a clear sense of what’s on topic, and what the audience is like. One of my biggest reasons for rejecting reasonably good pitches was because they weren’t on topic enough (e.g. pitches about running an “ecommerce website” when DBT focuses on beginner bloggers).

Offer a topic or perspective that the host blogger can’t easily provide. I’m definitely no expert on SEO or blog security, for instance, and I was always particularly interested in posts on those subjects. I’d also have been interested to hear from bloggers at a very different stage of life from me (e.g. teen bloggers, people in their 70s, or bloggers with six kids…)

Plan out your post before you start writing. Some of the posts I saw had decent information, but they rambled all over the place. I did accept one or two that needed quite extensive editing, but there’s no guarantee an editor will do this. Having a good plan, and thinking through your post structure, makes it much easier to create a strong piece.

Don’t make obvious, generic points. I saw a few posts that weren’t badly written, but that didn’t say anything much. They gave very obvious advice, and didn’t offer examples, quotes, screenshots, or anything similar. There wasn’t anything new or interesting there for readers.

Edit your post carefully before sending it. I strongly suggest you look at the “big picture” first – do you need to cut any paragraphs, or add in anything new? Once you’re happy with the post overall, do a close edit to make sure your sentences all read smoothly, and to fix any typos.

Get to grips with formatting a blog post well. I loved having guest posts with subheadings, bold text for key sentences, lists in bullet point form, images, and so on. Too often, though, I had to add these things myself when editing. No-one wants to wade through a mass of long, dense paragraphs … and that includes blog editors.

Follow the guest post guidelines. I bet you’ve heard that before! I know it sounds obvious, but so many bloggers ignore guidelines – and that’s often enough to get your post rejected (or at least send it to the end of the queue). If you can’t find any guidelines, take a close look at recent posts to at least get a sense of how long yours should be and what sort of style it should be in.

Include links to posts on your target blog. Some guidelines ask for this, but even if they don’t, it’s good practice. It shows you wrote the post specifically for that blog, and it adds extra value for the host. If you include plenty of links like this, you can usually get away with one or two to your own website as well (so long as they’re relevant).

There aren’t any guarantees in blogging – but if you can write an interesting, well put together post that’s on-topic for a large blog in your niche, there’s a pretty good chance it will be accepted.

(But if you never even try – it definitely won’t!)

I know that pitching a guest post can be daunting, but the worst that can happen is the host blog says “no thanks” – and you can always rewrite the post a little and approach someone else instead.

Is it time for you to write your first guest post? Choose a blog today to target, dig into some of their posts, and brainstorm some topics you could write about. If you get stuck or have a question, just pop a comment below. Good luck!

Ali Luke’s ecourse On Track is a free seven-week program for bloggers and writers, designed to help you get motivated and moving again on your blog (or ebook, or any other big writing project). It’s packed with practical tips to help you move forward week by week, and comes with a free ebook, Seven Pillars of Great Writing. Find out more and join here.

About Guest Blogger

This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above. If you'd like to guest post for ProBlogger check out our Write for ProBlogger page for details about how YOU can share your tips with our community.

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Comments

  1. Namearoo says:

    Very informative article. It’s brief, and gets straight to the point. Thanks for the suggestions and sample letter.

  2. Michael says:

    Wow to be completely honest I didn’t think so many people may possibly comment on my post as a guess. In fact, I also use Genesis framework for building websites and do agree its incredible.

  3. faisal says:

    Experience people always said that guest posting is really good for your site but as for me, I think it is hard to do guest posting because I am not a good writer. People might neglected my guest post if the post are not interesting

    • Ali Luke says:

      Yes, you definitely need to be able to write a good blog post. But even if you don’t think you’re a very good writer right now, you can improve! Best of luck. :-)

  4. Hi Ali,

    Nice seeing you here on problogger|!

    Upon reading this line “as Editor of DailyBlogTips (Sept 2013 – July2014), I got a huge number of pitches.”

    I went over to DailyBlogTips and notice the last published post in your name was on the last day of July.

    Oh! Sad to hear you have left the blog; I hope is for the good reason(s). Wising you the best in your new adventures.

    Back to main discussion, this post has something to do with me in different ways – first – I have had one guest post turned down here on problogger, though I was happy when I sent in my message and stacy requested I submit my post.

    That alone gave me the confidence I needed to approach other top blogs. Though the guest post was later accepted by ComLuv – one point you mentioned in your post – if is not accepted by one blog, try another.

    Now, after reading on DailyBlogTips that Daniel is now accepting Guest Post, I did some of what you mentioned in this post – like taking a look at most popular post in the blog side bar, article’s length, article ‘s headline and etc.

    I conclude that most popular post on DailyBlogTips were a “list post”. So I went over and wrote one with the title “16 Effective Blog Commenting Best Practices”. Though, haven’t got any reply yet, but I hope this time it went through.

    Thanks Ali for those inspiring post on DailyBlogTips, though I don’t leave comment as such and when I did, for some strange reason unknown to me, my comment doesn’t get published.

    Maybe is me though!

  5. Max says:

    Just a bit of cross-cultural observation but being referred to in your surname is not necessarily a bad thing. Many Asians will refer to you in your surname by preference, it’s not because they haven’t bothered to understand what is your first name or surname.

    • Ali Luke says:

      Max, thanks for this great point. Probably the best thing to do, whatever your culture, is to see how bloggers refer to themselves in bios, on About pages, etc, and follow their lead.

  6. Remember you can also post it on your own blog if it gets rejected! If you write a good post it will always find a home somewhere.

  7. Hi Ali,

    Great to see you guest posting here. How ironic too; my guest post just went live on Daily Blog Tips, the first one in a long time, as Daniel just opened up guest posting again.

    I feel honored to guest post there and love that you’re guesting here. What’s the secret? We both shared angles from our personal experiences. You covered accepting guest post pitches and I shared how to build your blogging brand through commenting.

    I talked about how Blogging from Paradise the eBook was endorsed by Chris Brogan, and how my blog commenting payed a chief part in that testimonial. I also discussed how easily you can make an impact if you practice being present during commenting.

    Right now, my mind can either be racing ahead to all types of benefits I’ll cash in on, by sharing a long, helpful comment here, or I can be present-minded. Going with the latter helps me make the greatest impact because I’ll be focusing on serving, or sharing the greatest value with Darren and his audience, through my commenting.

    Heck yeah, it’s a challenge at times, because I feel busy like anybody else, and feel the urge to rush, but I’m largely conquering that urge by detaching from any outcomes and simply making outreach a huge part of my current content marketing campaign.

    Making friends with pros helps expand your blogging presence quickly. If I over deliver through commenting on authority blogs I’ll make friends with pros more quickly than through any other channel.

    Same deal with guest posting; if you read a blog’s posts and get a feel for what their audience digs you can submit a helpful, targeted pitch, and if you comment on the blog religiously you’ll also stand out in th eyes of the blog owner.

    Thanks for sharing the super helpful post Ali.

    I’ll tweet in a bit.

    Ryan

    • Ali Luke says:

      Thanks Ryan! I’ve been really impressed by your detailed, thoughtful comments on Daily Blog Tips … and it was great to see it had led to your guest post there. I agree that this is a great strategy for building relationships, and it’s one I’ve seen some very successful bloggers use. (James Chartrand, from Men with Pens, was leaving comments all over the place when I got started in 2008.)

  8. Sunday says:

    Hi Ali,
    One of the things that disqualifies intending guest bloggers is failure to adhere to the guidelines of the host blog. This must not be so. Rather, the guidelines should be obeyed even as the content shared must align completely with the needs of the readers of the blog.

    The points you have made here are well noted and it would be wise putting them into practice to win more guest blogging approvals. Yes, we can do more to earn guest blogging opportunities!

    This post was found in kingged.com where it was shared and upvoted for Internet marketers and bloggers.

    • Ali Luke says:

      Sticking to the guidelines is definitely important — host blogs have guidelines for a good reason (they know what sort of content works best, and they know what they need from you in order to get your post pubilshed smoothly and quickly).

  9. Aaron Diaz says:

    I am very glad to come here and read you awesome post. I love your article and here very useful information for blogger. Thanks

  10. Gary Judge says:

    Hi Ali, like many others I’ve suffered from feeling inferior but now I have an idea of what the competition are doing I will be sending out proposals to see where that takes me. Thanks for the insight.

  11. Ian Spencer says:

    Really good blog / article.

    The thing that stands out for me and is mentioned a lot is research. You can not just send 100 emails using a template and hope that you will get one reply. This is a waste of time and just puts potential blog sources on the back foot.

    It is better to research each blog (especially important for you to make sure its the right area and right kind of site you want your stuff published on) and then have a semi personal email, try to get the name of owner or editor and tailor the email to them.

    Suggesting some subjects is also a good idea as well.

    Sadly, as guest blogging has gained in popularity, it can be seen as an easy route, and it shouldn’t be because if done correctly, it can be very powerful.

  12. Fear of failing is what stops us from doing that thing in the first place.
    After getting my first ever guest post published on PB, that fear has now subsided.

    Nice post “Luke” lol. Ali, cheers for sharing some insights on the world of editors for popular blogs.

    Hopefully guest contributors start appreciating the editor’s work and time a little bit more. I really liked the idea you shared regards getting familiar with the blog first, read a few posts and send across a couple of topics.

    Ali, have a look out for an email. I will follow what you have shared and send out something for your review. Cheers, Jenish

  13. harry says:

    i think so that Experience people always said that guest posting is really good for your site but as for me, I think it is hard to do guest posting

  14. Extremely helpful post, thanks so much for sharing!! Cheers!

  15. Penlr says:

    I myself recent wrote my first guest post so this what a very interesting and imformative article. Thank you.

  16. julie says:

    Thanks for the good tips and the inspiring article. Everyone has knowledge about something unique that they could share. Just a matter of following the rules and making sure the post is as perfect as it can be before sending it.

  17. Arlen Miller says:

    Thanks, Ms. Ali for your message of hope. And thanks for the clear direction.

  18. Servis says:

    I also use gensis framework for building w.sites and do agree its incredible
    thanks

  19. Samar Pratap says:

    Thanks for sharing some useful stuff. i am a freelancer writer and writing guest post. this post is very helpful for me.

  20. Erika Madden says:

    The point about offering a unique perspective that the blog host can’t easily provide is an excellent one. Smart tips!

  21. Lots of great tips here in this article. I would think some of the things you mentioned would be obvious (like checking spelling, grammar and being on-topic), but we all still need reminders once in a while! And yes, no matter what you can use your post on your own blog if you can’t pitch it somewhere else, so there’s no reason not to give it a shot.

  22. Georgia says:

    Great tips Ali! Thanks! I’d never considered including links to the target blog (dur- it seems like a no-brainer now that you said it though!). I will definitely pin this and try to implement the ideas. Thanks for the dose of courage! ;)

  23. Victoria says:

    Wonderful information Ali, thank you for sharing! Another tip I’ve found helpful is to reach out to bloggers in my niche and ask if they would be interested in guest posting. These people, generally, have blogs with the same readership size as mine. I’ve found that sharing content with peers has been a wonderful way to increase my network, and to do a bit of good in the blogosphere. Your intentions should be totally agriculturist, but all of my requests for guest posting have returned with an offer :) Simple and small, but effective! Your post does inspire me to reach out to bigger bloggers, especially if I can add value.

  24. Andrea says:

    Is guest posting safe for business? As Google and search engines have penalized most of the guest blogging websites.

    Is it worth linking our websites with the other guest post websites?

  25. Sneha says:

    that is really handy sir. but what if the owner of the blog make our links nofollow?

  26. Hey Ali,

    I appreciate your post!

    It gives us hope that guest blogging is still a viable option.

    I’ve been doing a lot of reading on guest blogging lately. Here are a couple of resources that have really helped me in this area (I’m not pitching affiliates, I’m just trying to be useful:)

    KISSmetrics has a great post called “The Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging” https://blog.kissmetrics.com/guide-to-guest-blogging/

    and Jon Marrow talks about it in his “Six Figure Road-Map” http://seriousbloggersonly.com/six-figure-roadmap/

    I paid for Jon Marrow’s course and it’s excellent.

    Thanks again for the helpful advice!

  27. Hey Ali,

    Another awesome guest post from you. I think guest posting is an art and as a starter I should endeavor writing more guest articles. And I should do so, not only to improve my ranking, but also for a good trust building in the blogosphere around me. Thanks for such great tips. :)

  28. Kathy Mathis says:

    Guest posting is definitely very healthy for a blog. Reading this ,i’m convinced that the pre-guest blogging fears are very much common. But once you get the knack of it, the arena is all for you. Thanks Ali for your insightful post!

  29. Jon Snow says:

    I always thought guest posting is really hard to achive. Thanks for posting.

  30. Frank says:

    Great post.
    Thanks for sharing this post.