Would you like your work to be read by an audience of thousands, even millions?
That might sound like a distant dream, but it’s something you could achieve far more easily than you might think.
By guest posting: writing for big-name blogs and websites!
If you’ve come across the concept of guest posting before, then you may know that some of the most successful bloggers used it as a technique to build an audience – including me.
And if you think that big blogs won’t want to hear from you until you have a huge audience of your own, then you’re wrong.
What matters is (a) your expertise and (b) your ability to add value to their blog’s audience.
In other words, if you know your stuff, and you can write well, then you’ll be very successful at guest posting.
Why Many Bloggers Don’t Take the Plunge
You’re probably wondering if guest blogging is so easy, then why aren’t many people doing it? Well because they’re afraid of rejection.
And that’s good news for you – because it means there’s not as much guest posting competition as there should be.
Not to mention most of the competition that exists is from spammy SEO companies who mostly submit thin, derivative content.
There aren’t all that many people passionate about their topics who craft excellent posts packed with value and that’s something you can do right now.
Don’t let the fear of rejection hold you back!
How to Get Your Guest Post Accepted, Almost Every Time
While rejection is always a possibility, you can increase your chances of success by following my guest posting process.
Step #1: Choose Your Host Blog Before Writing the Post
Too many bloggers come up with an idea and write a post … then try to figure out where that post would fit.
It’s much better to pick your host blog first. That way you can tailor both your topic and your style to their audience.
This also lets you get strategic about which blogs you want to target. Guest blogging isn’t just about finding the biggest blogs out there – it’s more important to approach sites that have an audience that you’re targeting.
Step #2: Study Your Host Blog
Your host blog might well be the one that you’ve been reading for months or even years. If it’s not, then take some time to study it in detail.
Go through their posts and look for:
- The types of topics that are covered. Keep an eye out for a (highly relevant) gap you could fill.
- The writing style. Is it conversational, professional, encouraging … or something else?
- The audience feedback on individual posts. Read the comments, and look at the numbers of social media shares that different posts have gained. This is a great way to get a sense of which topics go well with the readers.
You may also want to look at the average word count of posts and whether or not images are included – though the guest post guidelines (see Step #5) will give you more on this.
Step #3: Brainstorm Several Ideas
Don’t just come up with one passable idea and run with it. Spend some time exploring several possible post ideas that could work.
Your aim for your guest post is to be one of the best pieces on the blog: something memorable that readers will want to share and link to.
In your pitch, include the key idea with a brief outline. You also want to mention your other ideas with working titles.
It’s quite common that the blogger may ask you to write multiple posts or pick one of your alternative ideas instead of the main one.
Either way, providing multiple options will help your chances.
Step #4: Write and Edit Your Post
Even though some blogs want an outline before they accept your post, it’s often a good idea to at least write a rough draft of your post before approaching them. This way the pressure is off if they get back to you straight away with a “Yes!”
Most blogs will edit guest posts which ranges from a full rewrite to minor tweaks. Don’t use this as an excuse to get sloppy. Your post needs to be carefully edited for:
- Structure: does the post deliver a smooth reading experience, flowing easily from point to point?
- Style: have you adapted your natural voice to the blog’s style – for instance, writing in shorter sentences, or using more formal (or less formal) vocabulary than you normally do?
- Spelling: watch out for errors, and never rely on your spellchecker to catch them.
Try to get a blogger friend – or even better, a paid editor to help you hone your work. Even if you have a great idea and tons of subject-matter expertise, no blog will want your post if it’s badly written.
Step #5: Follow the Guidelines
Most blogs that accept guest posts have guidelines for would-be writers. Look for a page called “guest post guidelines” or “write for us” or “contributions”.
Even if some of the guidelines seem unnecessary or arbitrary, follow them. The blog’s owner or editor have come up with them to make their life as easy as possible.
If the blog has a lot of specific requirements, then you might want to print their guidelines and cross them off as you meet each one.
While missing a tiny detail is unlikely to be a deal-breaker, ignoring a lot of the editor’s preferences will see your post sent to the bottom of the queue – or deleted entirely.
Getting featured on big-name blogs isn’t just a great ego-boost … it’s probably the best way there is to add social proof and build your audience online.
I hope this article help you prepare better guest post pitches and get featured. You may also want to check out my article 10 two-minute tweaks to instantly improve your blog.