Six Essential Tips for Getting Your Guest Posts Accepted

    Want to get your guest posts accepted?

    If I could only choose one way to market my blog and my products, I’d choose guest posting.

    Guest posts have three huge benefits:

    • They get your writing in front of an interested audience
    • They help you build relationships with much bigger bloggers
    • They boost your SEO, by providing a keyword-rich link from a large website

    None of this is a secret, of course. Lots of savvy bloggers are busy churning out guest posts, targeting top blogs in their niche, and reaping the rewards.

    In fact, guest posting has become so popular that many top blogs get inundated with requests. They’re only going to take the best … which means you need to give yourself every possible chance of success.

    I don’t want to put you off, though. If you’re reading Write to Done, you’re already a huge step ahead of most guest posters.

    And whether you’re a writer with years of experience behind you, or someone who’s just getting started, you can be confident that your guest post will be accepted if you take the following tips on board.

    6 tips for getting your guest post accepted

    #1: Choose a Target Blog Before Writing Your Post

    One of the mistakes that new guest posters make is to write a post, then look for a suitable host blog.

    While that can work, it’s a much more effective strategy to choose a blog to target before you write the first word of your post.

    Your host blog will influence everything: your choice of topic, the vocabulary you use, even the way you structure and format your post.

    Look at a few different blogs in your niche. You’ll find that:

    • Their standard post lengths vary. Some blogs might have posts of 1,000 words or more – others will have short, snappy posts that come in at under 500 words.
    • They have different styles and tones. Some will use punchy, dramatic language; others will take a gentler approach.
    • They cover different topics. Not all writing blogs cover both fiction and non-fiction, for instance.

    Take it further: Create a shortlist of major blogs in your niche that might be a great fit for your posts. Note distinctive features of each – e.g. the topic they cover or the audience they aim at.

    #2: Read the Guidelines

    This tip doesn’t just apply to guest posts, but to each and every occasion when you send your writing out into the world.

    Most big blogs will have guest posting guidelines, covering everything from what topics they want, to word length and formatting requirements. Read these carefully, and follow them.

    Often, the guidelines will include vital information on where and how to send in your post:

    Please send an email to writetodone[at]gmail[dot]com, addressed to Mary Jaksch, Chief Editor. Start the Subject line with GUEST POST (in ALL CAPS).

    (From the Write to Done Guest Post Guidelines)

    If you send your post to the wrong person, or don’t include necessary information, it might not get seen in a crowded inbox.

    Not all blogs will have published guidelines for guest posters. If you can’t find any guidelines on your target blog, then you might want to email the editor and ask whether they have any. Otherwise, take an especially good look at other guest posts on the blog – see tip #3 – and do your best to match them in terms of length and style.

    Take it further: Use the guidelines as a checklist. Go through each point or line, and make sure you’ve taken it on board in your planning. (You can do this again when you’re getting ready to submit your finished post.)

    #3: Read at Least Five Posts on Your Host Blog

    Ideally, you’ll be writing posts for blogs that you’ve been reading for weeks, months, perhaps even years. If you’re on a major guest-posting spree, though, you’ll probably find yourself reaching out to blogs that you’ve not come across before.

    Before you plan a guest post, always read at least five posts on your target blog. By doing so, you’ll get a good feel for the style, topic range, and audience.

    You’ll probably want to look at recent posts – but you may also want to choose posts from the blog’s “Most Popular” list, if they have one.

    Take it further: Print out several recent posts from the target blog. Try to get a mix of guest posts and posts written by the blog’s owner (if applicable). Go through and look for common stylistic features: e.g. do they all use very short paragraphs, or include first-person anecdotes?

    #4: Link to Other Posts on Your Host Blog

    One very simple – yet effective – way to boost your guest post’s chances is to put in at least one link to another post on your host blog.

    This has several advantages. As well as being useful for the blog owner, it helps show that you’ve crafted this post just for them. It demonstrates that you’re familiar with the blog (or that you’ve at least taken some time to research it).

    You might be tempted to link to your own blog when you want to give an example, or offer further reading. This can definitely result in click-throughs … but may also result in your post being turned down. If you do choose to link back to your blog in the body of your post, limit yourself to one link.

    Take it further: Instead of just linking to popular posts, listed in the host blog’s sidebar, look for older posts that might not be getting much attention.

    #5: Spend Extra Time Editing

    Of course, careful editing is always a good idea … but it’s especially vital when you’re writing a guest post. Make sure you give yourself enough time for this, and remember that:

    • On your own blog, it’s easy to edit a published post to fix a typo or a broken link. When you guest post, you often won’t have access to your published post – and you don’t want to end up harassing a busy blog owner to get them to fix your mistakes.
    • Busy bloggers may simply turn down a post that doesn’t quite come up to their required standard, instead of asking for a rewriting or making editorial changes. If you’re not sure whether your post is quite ready, ask a blogging friend to take a look.
    • First impressions matter: if your post has several typos or basic grammatical errors, there’s a good chance it’ll get turned down – even if it contains lots of great information.

    Take it further: Read your post out loud as you edit. You’ll be amazed how much easier it is to spot typos, clumsy sentences, poor grammar…

    If you know that editing isn’t (yet!) a strength of yours, read Eight Simple Tips for Editing Your Own Work and Get Your Eagle Eye On: 10 Tips for Proofreading Your Own Work.

    #6: Write a Polite, Friendly Query Email

    When you submit your blog post, you’ll need to write an accompanying email. This might seem like a mere formality – but remember that it’s the first piece of your writing that the host blogger will see. Depending on their guidelines, they may even want you to pitch your post by email before sending it.

    Keep your email professional yet friendly. Address the host blogger by name (and make sure you spell it right)! You don’t need to give lots of background detail – a line or two about any other guest posting experience you’ve had can help, though.

    Triple-check your email for mistakes. While a single typo probably won’t kill your chances of getting your guest post read, a sloppy email isn’t going to inspire much confidence.

    For more tips on writing a great pitch (with examples of pitches that got it wrong!) read Mary Jaksch’s post How to Land a Guest Post Every Time.

    Take it further: If you use a standard “template” email for guest posts, make sure you modify it for each blogger. That goes beyond just adding in their name and the title of your post: you could try referring to a recent post of theirs that you enjoyed, or any recent news they’ve shared. This heightens your chances of getting your guest posts accepted.

    If you’re going to the effort of writing a guest post, you may as well put in that extra little bit of work to make it stand out from a crowd of submissions. Guest posting is one of the most effective ways to build your blog and your reputation – so use these tips to make sure you get the success you deserve.

    Ali Luke is a UK-based writer, specializing in content creation for blogs. Find out four reasons why your business needs a great blog … whether you’re a major brand or a one-person start-up. 

     

    About the author

      Ali Luke

      Ali Luke’s free mini-ebooks Time to Write and The Two-Year Novel are for any writer who wants to fit in some extra writing (and enjoy it more)! You can download them here when you sign up to her weekly email newsletter – which includes writing tips, discounts, and more.

    • Paige says:

      I would really love to start guest posting, but I must admit I’m a little scared. I guess sending out the first query would be the hardest.

      • Vinita says:

        Paige, I echo your comment of yesterday: ‘Do one thing every day that scares you’. Maybe someday you’ll pick sending out your first query as that scary thing. All the very best!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hello everybody.

      Am STEPHANIE from FLORIDA i want to share my life experience to every body on this site. i was in a serious relationship with mike i love him so much we have dated for almost 6 years now. until he meant another girl called charity he told me that he is know longer interested in dating me any more. i was so confuse i don’t know what to do so i told my friend about what my love just told me and he told me that she can solve my problem i was doubting her how can that be possible so she directed me to a spell caster called DR okogbo .so i contacted him and i explain every thing to him and he told me that my problem will be solved within 2days if i believe i said OK .So he caste_ a spell for me and after 2days my love came back to me begging me on his knees on the ground asking me to forgive him. And I was surprise just like a dream and today Am so happy now. so that why i decided to share my experience with every body incase there is anyone out there that have such problem should contact him via [email protected]

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    • Hay nice post . its another matter, We still waiting for some guest post on our blog…

    • Anderson says:

      Well I believe that the points that you have shared are really very effective. In order to get your post accepted, all you have to do is to research for your work. Writing lost posts as well as unique one is also the best way to get your post accepted. Thanks for the share!!

    • Sebastian says:

      Some excellent points made here Ali, I run a number of sites that frequently receive guest posts requests. I’m more likely to accept a post from someone who firstly enquires to see whether their post would be a suitable fit to my site than someone who writes an e-mail saying here’s a guest post, put it up now, because it’s free and Google likes it. =_=”

    • Hi Ali,

      What a wonderful post! I especially like what you said about reading at least 5 posts from the host blog, and creating links to one of its popular (or neglected!) posts.

      Am looking forward to go and do my stuff.

      @Coach Comeback, so true what you said about everyone wanting to avoid the work and get rich overnight (while they’re asleep, to boot! ;-)). I agree with you, Write to Done is like a breath of fresh air, because it tells you how things work – really work – in the real world.

      Thanks!

      • Ali Luke says:

        Thanks Vinita! Best of luck with your guest posting. 🙂

    • Hey Luke, very well written and expressed 🙂 I strongly agree with your last point. An expressive introduction about who you are and what is your guest post idea makes all the difference. Personally, i feel that adding a custom signature at the end of your messages can also conspicuously grab the attention of the host blogger 🙂

      • Ali Luke says:

        Thanks, Abhishek! And interesting point about a custom signature … I have to confess that’s not something I’ve ever thought of, I just use my standard signature. It certainly couldn’t hurt to highlight relevant writing/guest-blogging experience at that point, though.

    • kelvin says:

      Dear friends, my name is kelvin from Canada, i am into business,but it was not bringing out profit as it was supposed to, life was not what living cos things was bad for me financially, i have a beautiful wife with four kids to take care off. i sold my car and most of my property just to keep earns mate and still things was not going easily for me. so i complained to a friend of mine who said he knew a powerful spell caster from Africa called Dr.EGOGO who can perform magical money spell or good luck or automatic promotion in office, making someone love you back, spells to bring close one in jail or lost back home,healing spell etc.that help straightened his brother life from taking hard drugs. At first i was confused and doubtful, then i decided to give a try and did what Dr.EGOGO told me to do, to my surprise 3 days later things started going well for me, i got what i ever bargained for, my business was flourishing like never before, i now have
      enough money to take good care of my family and we are living happily,I thank His greatness Dr.EGOGO for bringing my source to hope and joy with his powerful spell,well if you want to be a living testimony like me or interested in any spell casting you can contact Dr.EGOGO via this email [email protected]

    • This is rather timely, considering I’m writing several guest posts for several blogs (I’m still seeing if I can add one or two others, especially an authority in the writing niche). This is all basic stuff I just read in an e-book, but it’s good to have a reminder of sorts.

      • Ali Luke says:

        I find that the basics are often enough — if only we remember to actually do them! Glad that the reminder helped, Chihuahua, and best of luck with your guest posting. 🙂

    • Okay, this is getting creepy. Every time I’m about to do something, you guys write a post about how to do it better.

      I mean, I appreciate it and all, but if you guys are psychically spying on me or something, please knock it off.

      Anyway, great tips. Thanks!

      • Ali Luke says:

        Uh-oh, you’re onto us…

        😉

        Best of luck with your guest posting, Jack!

    • Carmelo says:

      Hi Ali,

      First off, I’ve seen you EVERYwhere and I love your writing. Okay, so now I’m absolutely going to initiate guest posting as my #1 marketing strategy for marketing my new blog. And I DO have questions, since you asked 🙂

      I’ve been doing tons of research to find the right blogs for me and reading a lot of posts! I know the 3 main advantages you stated for guest posting and feel that the relationships to be built are huge. okay, the questions:

      1. I’m spending a whole bunch of time making comments on posts – is that a requirement before I can even get my query email opened by a big time blogger?

      2. I’m writing a couple of quite long “List Posts” that exceed the normally desired word limit. I’ve been told that if the post is awesome, not to worry about it. What is your experience with this?

      3. Being rather new and non-techie, I’m not sure how to submit the post (the format – word doc?) once it’s accepted. Will I get any help with this or is this something i need to learn first?

      Thank you in advance, Ali. Good stuff! 🙂

      • Ali Luke says:

        Thanks Camelo! Yeah, I get around the internet a bit. 🙂

        Your questions are great ones! Here are some answers:

        1. Nope. I’m sure busy bloggers may turn to emails from names they recognise first … but I’ve certainly had guest posts accepted without ever leaving comments on a blog. What matters is the quality of your writing (and of your email pitch).

        Commenting certainly won’t hurt, but I wouldn’t invest too much time in it, especially if that leaves you without time for writing guest posts.

        2. Generally, I’d say that’s very true. Once or twice, I’ve had a blog ask me to split a long guest post submission into two parts, but most blogs are fine with an occasionally longer post.

        As a very rough rule of thumb, you probably would want to shoot for an maximum of twice as long as their average posts — so if their posts tend to be around 700 words, don’t go over 1400.

        3. Most blogs will have guest posting guidelines that deal with this. Almost all the ones I write for will accept posts in Word docs (at least initially — they might ask for you to upload it to the blog for them after that).

        If you’re asked for a post in HTML format, the easy way to do this is create it as a draft post on your own blog (I see you’re using WordPress), and then click on the “HTML” tab, instead of “Visual”. Copy and paste everything in that tab into a notepad document, and then save that document as a .txt file. Then send it to the blogger. No coding skill required! 🙂

        Very best of luck with your guest posting!

    • Marla says:

      Thanks for the updates. good to know. One day!

    • Sundi Jo says:

      #6 is a good one. I need to work on that. Thanks for sharing.

    • Brett says:

      Wow, this post is good, my sister is analyzing these kinds of things, so I am going to tell her.

    • Beth Havey says:

      If we really think about the word GUEST it helps. Follow your excellent suggestions for researching who to contact and of course present a clean well written post. Your tips on links are very helpful. Thanks

      • Ali Luke says:

        Great point, Beth — if all would-be guest posters thought about how they’d behave as a guest (or aspiring guest!) in someone’s home, these tips probably wouldn’t even be necessary!

    • jevon says:

      Great tips. As a new author/blogger, I’ll have to remember these when I’m ready to try guest posting.

      • Ali Luke says:

        Thanks Jevon — and best of luck when you do move on to guest posting. 🙂

    • Oh my goodness! I just realized that is a real website…. And I just gave them a backlink! hahahaha Classic!

      • Ali Luke says:

        It’s a no-follow link (the links in comments usually are) — so I don’t think it’ll be of any benefit to them!

    • The reason why this post WONT change the habits of most of the bloggers out there is because simply… IT SOUNDS LIKE WORK!

      Everyone is looking for the “quick fix” these days. They do not care about building solid relationships. They are not looking at the long term. And they definitely are not thinking about, as Corbett Barr Says.. Starting a blog that actually matters!

      Most of the tactics taught by the Guru’s teach Exact Match Domains and targeting a specific keyword that gets the most searches. No one wants to do the work of picking an audience to match their vision. Most do not even have a vision beyond the promise of making a ton of money while they sleep.

      If they are trying to rank for a single keyword and only writing guest posts for backlinks, you will see them getting 100’s of article written for them and massively sending them out to as many blogs that will take them. So when that happy day comes and they rank their insignificant site for that ONE keyword, they will scream victory and be off to create the next crappy website.

      That is why if I do a google search for say “how to get rid of headaches” and I see http://www.HowToGetRidOfHeadaches.com come up as the first result I ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to click that page. It’s just terrible what is out there and what people are teaching.

      That is why sites like this with posts such as these are a breath of fresh air. It is what it truly takes to be successful online. The core principles and values that MUST be behind every word you put down if you want to really make a difference.

      The internet is about relationships. Plain and Simple. GREAT POST!

      • Ali Luke says:

        Thanks!

        It’s definitely a shame when people focus on “quick fixes” — I’m sure they end up spending more time, energy and even money chasing a “magic bullet” solution than they would if they just focused on sensible, hard work.

        I get a lot of guest post pitches from people who are clearly just doing it for SEO benefits — and the pitches are often shockingly bad. I never take the posts! Of course, SEO is important — but good SEO means writing content that readers want to share, blog about, retweet, etc … and writing guest posts with readers, not backlinks, foremost in your mind.

    • great and very useful post!

      i’ve been guest posting and connecting with several local (Philippines) blogs in my niche and made friends with them. they’ve also submitted their for my blog.

      for a small, less famous, and third-world blog like mine, i’m wondering how do i ever get a chance to guest post in a big-time blog like this one?

      thanks!

      • Ali Luke says:

        Thanks Raymund!

        And all you need to do to guest post on a blog like this one is to write a really good post and submit it…! Even in the days when I didn’t have an active blog of my own at all, I still had guest posts accepted — most editors don’t mind if you don’t have a big audience, they just care about the quality of your writing.

        Best of luck with your guest posting!

    • Great timing! I just wrote a guest post for Writer Beware (http://accrispin.blogspot.ca/2012/09/guest-blog-post-7-freelance-writing.html), and nearly all of these tips applied to how I got accepted.

      They sent out a call for guest bloggers, so rule #1 didn’t apply, but I was already a regular follower of the blog, sent a polite query email, and took extra care with my work before sending. I also made sure that I pitched an article topic relevant to their audience, yet different enough to be interesting.

      • Ali Luke says:

        Thanks Patrick — and congratulations on getting your guest post accepted by Writer Beware. Sounds like you did everything right!

    • Hi, Ali!

      This is definitely a post worth printing out and using for a guideline and checklist.
      Thanks for sharing!

      Steve Maurer
      Maurer Copywriting.

      • Ali Luke says:

        Thanks Steve, glad it was helpful! Not that you need any guest posting help, mind… 🙂

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks for the tips! I’ve had guest blogging on my list of things to try, but it always drops to the bottom in favor of other things. This was just the push I needed.

      • Ali Luke says:

        Thanks Kelly! Glad I could give you a nudge … and good luck with the guest posting. 🙂


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