After some emails back and forth with a potential guest blogger on my site, he suggested I write a little guide on how to submit a guest post in a way that will increase the likelihood of getting it published. I thought, not a bad idea. So here are a few simple steps that anyone can follow in order to ensure that their guest post has a higher chance of getting published on their target blog.
1. Research your target blog.
I’m a huge fan of research, and when it comes to guest blogging, one of the keys to getting your guest post accepted and published is researching your target blog first. You will want to know what topics the blog owner posts, and what topics are popular.
One of the easiest ways to do that is using Google Reader in the Chrome browser with the PostRank Chrome extension. Simply subscribe to your desired guest post destination in Google Reader, and let PostRank do the rest.
This little snapshot is from Mashable’s RSS for their social media category. You can easily see titles of recent blog posts (on some blogs all the way back for three years or more) and see which of those titles brought the most social engagement via their PostRank score.
Alternatively, if you don’t have Chrome or want to setup Google Reader, you can visit PostRank Topics (for now), ignore the login request, and use the search box at the top right to see if your target blog is listed on their site to see the social metrics for their latest blog posts.
I’d still suggest the Google Reader / Chrome / PostRank extension option as it will give you a faster view of their latest posts and PostRank scores.
2. Get to know the blog owner.
You don’t have to be best friends with a blog’s owner before putting a guest post on their radar, but it helps if they are at least somewhat familiar with you. Some great ways to get to know blog owners include:
- Commenting on their blog.
- Engaging with them through Twitter or their Facebook profile and/or page.
- Interacting with them in a forum.
- Chatting with them at an event such as Blog World (aff link).
3. Have great timing.
The next great strategy is knowing when to pounce. I’ve had some guest bloggers utilize their posts on other sites to get more opportunities. For example, I commented on a guest post on Search Engine People, and the writer contacted me the next day with a post proposition for my blog. It was a good assumption as my comment signified that I already liked his writing and was now familiar with him.
There are lots of other timing-based opportunities that you can jump on. If a blogger writes on their blog, tweets, or otherwise announces that they are looking for guest posts, then they are more likely to be open to anyone answering the call. If a blogger mentions you in a post as having a great article in their weekly roundup or lists you as a top authority in your niche, then they will probably be interested in featuring you more on their site. The possibilities are endless!
4. Read the guest posting guidelines.
If a blog you want to submit to doesn’t have an obvious link to their guest post guidelines, but you know they are accepting posts because you have seen other guest bloggers on their site or simply are hoping they accept guest posts, then do a Google search for site:theirblog.com guest post guidelines, site:theirblog.com submit news, site:theirblog.com submit story, site:theirblog.com write for us, or other similar phrases. This will likely get you to their guidelines or submission process.
Be sure to read the guidelines in detail and adhere to all of the rules. While you might think that many blogs have the same rules when it comes to guest posting, you may be surprised when you submit a post and learn that they want longer than normal posts, require the guest blogger answer comments, and other requirements that other blogs may not ask for.
5. Format your posts for success.
After reading several editorial guidelines for major sites, there is a common theme of elements that are usually requested in guest post submissions that you will want to spice into yours. These include:
- Headers – this will make it easier to scan and read.
- Paragraph Spacing – when researching a blog you want to submit a post for, be sure to note if their posts have short or long posts, and gear yours to match.
- Images – at minimum one will do, but if your article is “how to” based, then more are welcome. If the image is not something you created, photographed, or personally took as a screen shot, then you will want to be sure that the image is under the Creative Commons license and that you give the image credit link with your post.
- Internal Links – most bloggers will appreciate if you link to their posts or category pages within your guest post. It shows that you have taken the time to look through their site and find relevant content and are writing the post to benefit them, not you.
- Comment Driving Conclusion – blog owners generally love comments. Be sure to end your post with something that will invite readers to add their own thoughts to the post in the comments. See the end of this post for an example.
Of course, if a blog has editorial guidelines, follow those. But if they don’t, these are some common elements that will wow a blog owner.
Also, don’t forget, after writing your awesome content and formatting it to run it through a spell checker. Be the writer and editor for your guest posts to ensure the blog owner has as little to modify as possible.
Your Tips on Guest Posting Success
So these are the things that I do when looking to submit a guest post. Now it’s your turn. As a blog owner, what would you like to see more guest posters do that would make you more likely to accept their posts? And as guest posters, what additional strategies do you implement to get your guest posts published? Share your thoughts in the comments, and happy guest blogging!