I have a bit of a love hate relationship with guest blogging. It’s great when you get sent a really great article that you would happily publish on your site, but for every one great guest post there are countless really bad ones that never see the light of day. I personally get emailed quite a lot of guest post submissions for my other site, but of those I’d say that I turn down 99% of them simply because they were not good enough.
Now I know from speaking to a lot of other bloggers that I am not alone on this matter. That’s why I wanted to put together this post to explain EXACTLY what to do to get your guest post published! Let’s get started.
Find A Site To Write For, Not To Blindly Submit To
Before you write a single word of your post, you need to find a site to write for. That may seem counterintuitive to some, but that is by far the best way to get published.
Like I say, I turn down 99% of guest post submissions, and of them a large majority are simply because people keep sending posts that have no relation to my site. Why would I want to publish an article about credit card interest rates, campervan buying tips or holiday deals (all genuine examples that I’ve been sent) on my “blogging” related site. It makes no sense.
What people are doing is that they are writing out a generic post about something and then pitching it to everyone in hopes of getting it published. What they fail to realise is that this approach will get them nowhere.
Instead, look for a website to write for that is related to the subject that you want to write about. Then set about reaching out and getting in touch with the site owner.
Reaching Out To The Site Owner
You should be able to tell pretty quickly whether a site accepts guest posts or not. Usually they will have a ‘Write For Us’ link somewhere that you can find, or you will notice that they have multiple different authors writing for them. Either way, find the appropriate contact form and draft out your message.
At this stage you are simply enquiring about writing for them. If you have a specific idea about a post, then let them know what it would be about. This shows that you have thought about your idea and gives them insight into how it would fit in with their other content. Be as detailed as you can, as this will greatly improve your chances of being accepted. If you are too generic (i.e. I want to write about social media, business, etc.) then it doesn’t give them much to work with.
Another good thing to do is reference and link to other work that you have had published. This allows publishers to read examples of your writing which will greatly improve your chances. If you haven’t had anything published yet, don’t worry, just try to be more detailed with your initial idea.
Spend Some Time Looking At The Site You Want To Write For
This should be an obvious one, though believe me many people don’t. No matter how good your article might be, if that site already has posts covering that subject, chances are they won’t be that interested in publishing another.
It takes only a couple of minutes to search through a site’s previous articles. Just search for keywords that are related to your idea and see if anything comes up. If anything, site’s will be more interested in topics that they haven’t already covered, so if you have a burning desire to write for a specific site, look for what they are lacking.
Writing Your Guest Post
So you have got in touch with a site, pitched your idea and they are interested in what you have to offer. Great! You have your foot in the door. Now you need to deliver a quality post for them.
Always, always, ALWAYS stick to the guidelines that the site has given you. Those guidelines have been given to you for a reason, so ignoring them is not going to do you any favours. For example, one thing I always stress to potential writers is that posts must be at the very least 700 words long, yet the number of people that come back to me a few days later with a 300 or 400 word post is ridiculous. None of those ever get published!
Try to include images/videos where appropriate in your post. That way, you save the publisher lots of time as they don’t have to add them themselves. Also, if you mention other sites, remember to add links where appropriate (not just the backlinks you want adding).
Sticking with the “links” theme, one thing you can do that just about every publisher will like is to include internal links for them. Read though your post and look for relevant articles on their site that you can link to. Publishers will likely add these anyway to your post, so by doing this it makes their life much easier.
Essentially, the easier you make it for your post to be added to their website (images, links, videos, etc.), the more likely it is that you will be accepted.
The Waiting Game
Once you have emailed off your article, give it a couple of days before you chase it up. Often, sites get sent that many that it takes them a while to get through them all. If you still haven’t heard back from them after a couple of days then send a follow up email.
You must be prepared to make any adjustments that they may want making. Just because you feel it is a brilliant article, an editor may not. It could be as simple as fixing spelling mistakes or changing a section or two.
Another thing that you should be prepared for is that even if your post is accepted, it may not be published straight away. Some sites have busy publishing schedules, so you could be waiting a week or two before your post goes live. I know at one point I had a 4 week waiting period for posts as I had had that many scheduled to be published.
After It’s Published, Follow Up On Your Post
Once you have had your article published on a site, don’t just forget about it and move on, follow up on it. Reply to any comments that people leave on it, answer any questions that they have, make sure to share it yourself across your social media sites, etc.
The whole point of guest posting is to help raise your profile with another audience. If they can see that you are a good writer and helpful with your replies, they are much more likely to search you out for more of the same. You are also much more likely to be asked back again by the same site if you prove to be popular, so it always pays to follow up on your post. And of course, if anything else, you can add a link to your post in your next email when pitching to another site.
Do you write guest posts? What tips do you find help you to get published? Do you own a site that accepts guest posts and if so, what do you look out for in a guest post submission? Please let us know your views in the comment section below.
Matt Smith is a professional blogger and the founder of Online Income Teacher, a site that teaches you all about setting up a website and running it online. When not creating new posts and tutorials for his sites, Matt loves watching the latest sport and cooking up some tasty food.
You can follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
Read more posts by this author