You’ve probably heard that your business and brand stand to gain a lot when you write guest posts. But maybe you’re at the point where it feels like editors have ganged up to reject all your guest-post pitches.
Getting your guest posts published doesn’t have to be so difficult.
Let’s look at those rejections from another angle: Most likely, you’ll discover that these editors are sending you a message. To understand that message, just take a step back and review everything you’ve been doing, strategically.
Let’s start at the beginning. What exactly is a guest post?
A guest post is a piece of content that’s written to be published on another person’s website or blog. Also known as guest blogging, writing guest posts can be an effective inbound marketing strategy with the power to deliver actual results.
Writing guest posts can also help you:
- Get more eyes on your content.
- Create more awareness for your brand or business.
- Drive more traffic to your website or blog.
- Add new subscribers to your email list.
- Show your expertise in your niche.
- Improve the SEO of your blog or website.
- Attract your target clients.
- Increase your publishing credits as a writer, thereby building your portfolio.
With such awesome benefits, no wonder guest posts are so popular: Editors are bombarded regularly with guest-post pitches. But if you’ve been writing your guest posts before looking for a place to pitch, this might be the reason your post isn’t getting picked up.
To finally say goodbye to rejections and craft guest posts that editors love, here are six tips that will help you write successful blog pitches.
1. Study the Website or Blog
If you’re guilty of writing pitches to websites or blogs you’re not familiar with, remember that editors can quickly spot this and get the impression that you’re not serious. This may be one of the reasons your guest posts are rejected.
Read at least some of the most recent articles on the website or blog that you want to guest-post on, and study the blog thoroughly before you start writing.
Then ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the website have a blog, and if yes, do they accept guest posts? Writing a guest post and sending it to a website that has no blog or to a blog that doesn’t accept guest posts can only mean instant rejection. By reading and studying the website for a start, you can easily avoid this embarrassing mistake.
- What topic or topics does the blog focus on? If you send a guest post on frugal living tips to a blog that only publishes content on digital marketing, not only have you wasted your time, you should also expect a rejection. If you’ve read and studied the website, you will learn about the topic or topics that the blog deals with, and you’ll be able to decide if you have the expertise to write on such topics.
- What type of content do they publish? This is another thing you’ll learn by reading and studying the website or blog. Do they publish in-depth guides and tutorials or just lists? Do they publish short-form or long-form content, or both? Read articles recently published on the blog to learn more.
- Who is their target audience? Are they targeting individual consumers or other businesses? If you write a guest post targeted to an audience of male students and submit to a blog that has female entrepreneurs as their target audience, of course your guest post will be rejected.
- Do they provide an author bio with links? While some websites that accept guest posts pay authors, a lot of others don’t. Instead, they allow guest authors a bio at the bottom of their post, with links to the author’s website, social media profiles, etc.
This informs the website audience about who the author is and what the author does. In addition, the links provided can be used by any interested member of the audience to connect with the author.
It’s also not impossible that a website might not pay and at the same time not allow an author bio. Familiarity with the website will allow you to discover which options are available and decide if they work for you.
2. Develop a Relationship With the Editor or Publication
Editors are very busy people. It’s not unusual for them to get numerous pitches daily from total strangers.
Take the time to develop a relationship with the editor or blog owner before pitching. This will give you an edge because you won’t be a stranger. At the end of the day, your guest post will have a better-than-normal chance of being accepted.
Let’s look at some simple steps you can quickly take to develop that relationship:
- Sign up for their newsletter. Most blogs send newsletters to their subscribers on a regular basis, and they’re always looking for more subscribers. Signing up for their newsletter means they’ll be sending you regular updates that can educate you about their style, voice, and preferred content, thereby making you a loyal reader that’s very familiar with the site.
- Reply to their emails. Newsletters are usually sent to subscribers through emails, and replying to such emails where allowed, with insightful comments about the content of the newsletter, will go a long way to position you as someone who has a relationship with the website or blog. At the same time, it can also bring you to the attention of the editor or blog owner.
- Comment on their blog. Where comments are allowed, take time to leave meaningful and insightful comments on their blog. Many blog owners and editors read comments left by readers on their blog.
- Connect on social media. You can connect with them on their social media feeds and, in addition, also use your own feeds to help promote and share their articles.
Going out of your way to develop a relationship with the editor or publication before pitching ensures that you’ll need little or no introduction. This separates you from the crowd and gives your guest post a higher chance of being accepted.
3. Read and Follow the Guidelines
To increase your chances of writing a guest post that the editor will love and accept, you must read and follow the guidelines provided. This is nonnegotiable.
Guidelines vary from one blog to another, so there’s no one-size-fits-all guide. Always look for the submission guidelines for that particular blog and follow them. Read them thoroughly to ensure that you understand everything required.
If a blog states that you should submit only the headline of your proposed guest post, don’t submit complete articles. If they ask you to send a complete article through a form on their website, don’t send the article through email.
Remember that these guidelines were provided by the blog owner or editor for a reason, so anytime you don’t adhere to the guidelines, you risk earning yourself a rejection.
Other areas that guidelines may cover are:
- Topics the blog or website editors are interested in.
- Length of guest posts.
- Type of headline preferred.
- How to format the post.
- How to submit.
- Review period.
- Whether it’s OK to follow up, and when.
Guidelines are there to make the job of the editor easier and also make your job easier as a guest writer, which improves your chances of getting your guest post accepted.
4. Propose an Original and Relevant Post Topic
Before you can propose a guest post topic that’s original and relevant to the blog, you need to have a good understanding of the following:
- The topic or topics that the blog accepts guest posts on.
- The audience that the blog serves.
- Type of titles that the blog prefers.
- Challenges or problems that the target audience struggles with.
- Types of posts that are popular with the target audience.
Having all these at the back of your mind will help you generate high-quality content that informs, educates, or solves a problem for the website’s audience.
An original guest post is one that has not been published before on that blog or anywhere else. This is the type of guest post most blogs and websites prefer.
To ensure that your guest post is original, search the site you’re pitching to confirm that they’ve not published a post on the topic before. You can also do a Google search.
Some other ways search more thoroughly include:
Because editors are always on the lookout for original topics, proposing one will help you grab the editor’s attention quickly and boost your chances of getting your guest post accepted.
5. Have Your Writing Samples Ready
To increase your chances of crafting guest post pitches that editors love and accept, you must be able to show convincing proof that you have what it takes to write that type of guest post. One of the best ways to do this is to have some writing samples ready.
If you can provide published samples of your writing in the niche you want to guest post on, this can convince the editor of both your professionalism and your capability to produce solid original content.
Writing samples published online, by the way, are more easily shared than PDF or Word documents.
Writing samples also improve your credibility and go a long way toward convincing the editor to accept your guest post.
But what if you’re a newbie without samples, published or not? It’s still a good idea to create and provide them, and it’s not as difficult as it sounds.
Instead of using Word or PDF, you can create samples with shareable links by using any of the options below:
- Creating your samples in Google Docs.
- Publishing on Medium.
- Publishing on LinkedIn Pulse.
By providing published samples of your work, you become more credible and therefore more attractive to editors.
6. Compose a Winning Pitch
Now that you’ve done your homework, it’s time to pitch your guest post idea or article to the editor.
Your pitch email should:
- Address the editor by name. This confirms that you’ve done your homework and are familiar with the blog. It also shows that you’re not sending a generic email.
- State your guest post title. It’s always a good idea to propose a guest post title in the pitch. As long as it’s not against the guidelines, you can also include it in your email subject line to catch the interest of the editor quickly.
- Explain how the post will add value to their audience. This is self-explanatory and should be easy to express based on everything you’ve learned earlier about the site’s target audience and the kind of topics on the site.
- State why you are qualified to write this post. Share links to samples of your work, especially on topics similar to the one you’re pitching.
- Check for typos, misspellings, and poor grammar. Always take the time to proofread your pitch email before clicking send. An email full of wrong spellings, bad grammar, and typos gives the impression that your guest post will be of the same low quality and will attract a rejection.
- Be short and to the point. Like we’ve said before, editors are very busy, and they get a lot of pitches. If you can keep your email concise, you’ll make life easier for the editor, and this can give you an edge.
Craft Guest Posts That Editors Love
Writing guest posts that editors love and accept is really about being a good guest writer. And to be a good guest writer, all you have to do is make it a priority to take the following steps before writing your guest post:
- Study the website or blog you want to guest post on.
- Develop a relationship with the editor or publication.
- Read and follow the guidelines.
- Propose an original and relevant post topic.
- Have your writing samples ready.
- Compose and send a winning pitch.
When you take the time to put all these tips into practice, you can confidently expect that editors will not only love and accept your guest posts, but they might request more.