10 Proven Steps to Snag a
Guest Post on an A-List Blog

image of #10 pool ball

Guest posting is the “in” thing. It’s the newest craze. All the kids are doing it!

You’ve heard it time and time again — guest posting is the best way of promoting your work. So why haven’t you become part of the hip crowd yet?

I know why. You’re scared of rejection. You’re not sure if you have the chops.

I can understand these feelings, but don’t get yourself down just yet.
I’m going to show you a surefire, bulletproof, unshakable, watertight, virtually guaranteed (insert as many hyperboles as you see fit) method of putting together a guest post . . . and it getting accepted.

But wait, there’s more! (Here comes the added bonus sales pitch.)

Not only will it get approved on just any two-bit blog in your niche, but on the most highly subscribed top A-list blogs themselves!

OK, let’s begin.

1. Visit your favorite A-list blog and read their guest posting guidelines

They’re at the top of your RSS reader and you read their posts every day, but did you even know there were guidelines for submissions? It might be a good idea to check them out before you do anything else. You never know what type of obscure archaic rules have been handed down by the high and mighty overlords.

Like proper grammar. Spelling. Having a clue. You know . . . really weird stuff.

Whoa! Let’s back up a small step. Do they even accept guest posts? Oh, good. They do. Let’s move on.

2. Study the focus of their content and the target audience of the blog

Your favorite blog covers the movie industry. You write about ice fishing. It’s a perfect fit, right?

Of course not.

Before you put pen to paper (virtually, of course), figure out the type of reader your favorite blog attracts. Generally, successful blogs try to serve content that’s consistent.

How does that blog fulfill their reader’s needs? Focus your guest post idea on what matters to those readers.

Your favorite blog may or may not be in the same niche you are. If not, what specific expertise do you have that fits in and would be useful? Find a way to bridge this gap between the two worlds.

Has there ever been a movie released about ice fishing? Wait . . . actually, it looks like there has been.

3. Skim through the past 2-3 months of posts

No one likes reading about the same exact thing every day (unless you’re a tech blogger). Writing about a subject that has been handled ad nauseum won’t add much value to the readers at the current time.

See what specific topics the blog has been hitting recently. See which areas in which they’ve been lacking the past few weeks. Read some comments and find out what their readers want to know more about.

Mold your idea by focusing on the blog’s immediate needs. You’ll have a much greater chance of hitting a nerve and having your guest post accepted.

4. Write the guest post. Don’t ask. Just do it

I’m serious here. This is the most important step. Take your idea, sit down and write the post. Yes, in full.

Don’t pitch the idea. Don’t ask for permission. Don’t solicit. Just write the best post you can.

It’s a very fast-paced world of short attention spans. A-list bloggers are extremely busy.

The whole process of submitting your idea, exchanging pleasantries, getting correspondence back, creating the post, submitting that, sucking up a bit, receiving feedback, editing a final draft, submitting again, sucking up some more, having it approved, formatting sub headers, adding links, inserting an image, entering a bio, final suck-up, and scheduling the post . . .

It’s really time-consuming.

Eliminate more than half the chain of events by simply writing the post as if it’s getting published as is. The A-list blogger will highly appreciate the fact that you’ve made it easy on him or her. If your content is indeed useful, pertinent and written well, you’ll dramatically increase your chances of it getting green-lit.

You’ve given the blogger all he or she needs to do besides e-mail you back with a resounding “yes!”

What’s the worst case scenario? It’s declined. Pfffft! Your work still has value. Submit the guest post elsewhere or put it on your own blog.

5. Come up with a creative post title that looks appealing and clickable

We all remember some of your last few gems: Stuff I Like, Where I Had Lunch, and Things to Do.

Let’s not repeat those failed post title attempts.

Numbered titles work. Hyperboles work. Questions work. Action words work. Utilize a highly recognized and search-heavy keyword or two if you can.

If you need some inspiration, the best method is to look at the blog’s past post titles, especially those listed as the most popular. Get a sense on how the A-list blogger prefers to title his or her posts and take their lead. Imitation is the best form of flattery, right?

6. Search your favorite blog’s past content and link it to your post

Old blog posts are so . . . yesterday! The world changes quickly, so why would any of your favorite blog’s past 728 posts even be considered relevant today?

You might be right, but all I know is that Google loves ancient history.

I just realized this today . . . all the search results that come up are from the past!

According to many SEOs (yet not others — apparently, the acronym SEO stands for “Seriously, Everyone has an Opinion”), it’s beneficial to link to old posts in new content for search optimization purposes.

More important, it provides proper context to the ideas included and gives readers a sense of back story on a topic. Help them understand the subject in greater depth.

Throwing in some links to the blog’s cornerstone content helps the A-list blogger as well. It saves them time (as discussed in step 4) so they don’t have to miss a second away from the secret ninja meetings conspiring with all of the other A-listers.

7. Add your own short byline to the bottom of the post with a link to your blog

Why bother? A prominent back link from a PR6 site with 100,000+ subscribers probably doesn’t mean much to you, right?

Oh, I forgot. That’s one of the primary reasons you’ve written the guest post in the first place. Silly me!

You can always just have the A-list blogger write the byline. They have tons of time to check out your site and figure out the best way to describe what you do. Maybe they’ll even get your name right.

Or you could play it safe. Write a short sentence or two that simply describes your blog and who you are. Nothing outrageous or over hyped. Unless you’re Johnny B. Truant.

Shamelessly self-promoting yourself is fine, but making it out that your blog “ToTaLLy roXorZ 4 LiFe!” is overdoing it just a bit. Remember, it’s going to be perceived by the reader as the A-list blogger’s voice — so if you can’t imagine him or her saying it, then you’ve gone too far.

8. Submit your guest post via the preferred method of contact

Using the A-list blogger’s geotagged location and delivering the post via bike messenger as they’re walking back from lunch — that’s just a bit too forceful downright creepy.

There’s no need to try and surprise the blogger in your creativity in getting the post to them.

This is where the guest posting guidelines come in handy. It’s very likely they’ll tell you exactly where to submit the post. When in doubt, the contact form on the blog itself is always the best bet.

Include nothing extraneous to the actual guest post content, other than a very short introduction showing your intentions.

Remember step 4? Of course you do. Don’t take the A-lister’s time for granted by droning on for 17 paragraphs about yourself, your blog, your thought process, your broken childhood, your aversion to baked beans, or your last trip to the Andes when you survived 72 days in the frigid cold by feeding off the dead bodies of your fellow Uruguayan rugby teammates.

Sucking up, on the other hand, is okay. Trust me.

9. Find a friend with a connection

If you’ve been a good little blogger, you’ve been using social media platforms to connect with peers in your niche. Although you desperately try to get attention by retweeting every single post of the bigger fish, it’s better to aim for someone lower down in the food chain.

B and C-listers love helping out the “small fries” because it makes them feel like an A-lister!

Skim through the target blog’s last few months of guest posts and see if there are any familiar names as authors — ones who you have developed a relationship with online. Well, now it’s time to call in a marker.

Don’t be shy, but don’t be pushy either. Tell them you’ve submitted a guest post to the blog. Simply ask them if they wouldn’t mind giving the blogger a quick “heads up” about it. There’s no need whatsoever for a glowing endorsement.

Popular bloggers are pitched post ideas all the time — a majority from people who are complete strangers (many they’d like to keep that way). Your goal is to just have your name recognized and stand out a little from the pack. That’s all.

10a. Bask in your glory

If you were able to pull off the first 9 steps, congratulations! You’re one of the few people who actually implement what they read. Of course, the A-list blog will probably publish your guest post on a “filler” low-traffic day. C’mon, you’re a blogger — you always need something to complain about!

10b. Live to fight another day

The A-list blogger still passed on your guest post? Don’t worry, you can always pitch it somewhere else or put it on your own blog.

First though, you must write an inflammatory post that knocks the A-lister off his or her fancy pedestal. They obviously don’t appreciate their community if they’re unwilling to accept your undisputed brilliance.

[Editor’s note: You guys do know he’s kidding, right?]

While you’re at it, send me a really nasty e-mail bemoaning my advice. As a concession, I’ll put up your work on my blog. I’m sure my visitors would love to read your guest post titled: “7 Things I Like To Do When Ice Fishing For Dead Bodies In The Andes”

About the Author: Jordan Cooper is a 13-year professional stand-up comedian who showcases his sarcastic humor with videos and written rants about blogging, social media & marketing at Not A Pro Blog.

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Reader Comments (128)

  1. says


    I really appreciate your techniques for gueat posting. It definitely cuts through the clutter of avoiding all the pleasantries that people normally go through. I am going to start using this new mthod right away for all of my guest posting.

    -Joshua Black
    the Underdog Millionaire

  2. says

    I love it. This is one area that I tend to lack in. I like the idea of completely doing the article, and then submitting it. The other way is just too damn time consuming.

  3. says

    I’ve got a guest post idea I’ve been wanting to pitch tot he A-listers, and you’ve shared some interesting ideas, like writing it up in advance to save time. As a blogger who gets solicited and unsolicited story ideas all the time, I can appreciate the little things people can do to make my job easier.

  4. says

    Should I send a check to the A-Blogger or they are still not charging for guest posting?

    What?! Charging for what was free is the new black! Haven’t you heard yet?

  5. says

    This feels to me like a kick in the rear to start guest posting.

    Good timing. And good post.

    *retreats into writing cave and starts writing away*

  6. says

    Good stuff as always Jordan :). I think we all get so caught up in submitting guest posts to big blogs and whether or not our post is good enough that we leave out all these little details that make it much easier than we think.

  7. says

    Thank you, this post came up at the perfect moment for me. I already have an idea for a guest post accepted, but wasn’t sure how to go about writing that. Your tips about what to look for on the host blog are just what I needed. I’ll apply them during this weekend and if all goes well, next week my first guest post will see the light of the day :)

  8. says

    As someone who’s relatively new to blogging/guest posting, this really gives me the confidence to go out there and shove my eloquence and intelligence down someone else’s readers’ throats. 😉 In all seriousness, it’s very helpful. Thanks!

  9. Sonia Simone says

    @Jim, it could use some refinement but on the other hand, it hugely beats not asking at all!

    I’ll tell you the truth, that’s how I first approached Copyblogger. :)

  10. says

    Jordan, what a fantastic post! It’s been great connecting with you on Twitter and Skype. Just bookmarked this post and saved it as I would like to do guest posts not just on lesser known blogs like I have been, but A-list or even B and C list blogs.

    Thanks for the advice

  11. says

    Great tips, Jordan. I’m working on a couple of guest posts right now, so your timing is perfect.

    If I ever get up the nerve to submit a guest post here, I’ll be sure to include an LOLcats photo in a brazen attempt to pander to Sonia. Or, maybe I’ll go with your ice fishing idea. 😉

  12. says

    Love the writing style in this post. Lots of humor and sarcasm never hurt anyone. Kept this great info interesting.

  13. says

    Thanks for the advice, Jordan. Anyone out there who would like to guest blog for The Story Woman blog? Take a look, if you have content that works, I’ll sure consider your posts.
    Thank you!

  14. says

    I try to write as few words as possible when I submit a post, best way to respect blogger’s time.

    Currently, I’m submitting at least one post a week for guest posting. And now that I’ve just launched a new website that will actually benefit from SEO, I’m in the guest post mode.

    So if anyone has a big audience and wants a guest post, you know where to find me 😉

  15. says

    Thanks everyone for the kind feedback on the post – I’m really glad you enjoyed reading it!

    @Dave – Yeah, I hear ya. You don’t realize how many times I’m pitched “jokes” after shows from audience members. It’s excruciating when they’re 3 minutes long and I know it won’t be funny one bit. At least with guest posts, you can just delete it – hard to do that in real life without looking like a prick!

    @Johnny – I agree, it kinda doesn’t make logical sense that I write humor-based posts and then go the most generic route you can possibly take in my byline. I’ll just call it “meta-comedy” and let everyone think the joke went over their collective heads. :-)

    I’m also glad to see this post kick started some people to take action. Please do. I’m a schmuck who essentially does “fart jokes” – if I can do it, you can too. (and probably better than me)

    I always remember a quote that my father, who was a salesman for 35+ years, used to say all the time: “95% of the job is just showing up.”

    Do it. Write that guest post. Submit it to your favorite A-list blog. Don’t doubt yourself. Just show up.

  16. says

    wow, that may just be the best pro-guest-blogging strategy i’ve heard yet…! so i have a guest post idea for your blog, do you think you’d have time to schedule a quick chat about it some time next week…?

  17. says

    the best advice is always delivered with a twist…..

    now if only I could learn grammar, write well, overcome my reluctance to contact, come up with a killer title and by-line and convince those A-listers that I’m the best thing since sliced bread…..

    Ohh well, back to learning the craft.

  18. says

    Great tips! I am actually working on my first guest post! I hope to be allowed to do many more! I will take your tips to heart! Thanks!

  19. says

    Great tips Jordan. These translate well to any type of article pitching, not just blog posts. I use this system whenever I’m pitching an article or post to anyone.

  20. says

    Jordan, Sarcasm is rightly described as the lowest form of wit. Do yourself a favor and amuse your audience instead with irony, parody or satire. Or anything else but sarcasm. They’ll be more likely to love you, less likely to leave you.

    Unless of course, you want them to send you a “really nasty email” on their way out the door.

  21. says

    An idea can only get you so far. The best way to showcase your writing (and your brilliant idea for that matter!) is to just write. Have confidence in your abilities and get that post written! Don’t get discouraged if the post is not accepted for the first blog that you have in mind. As Jordan wrote, you’ll be able to use it in some way later. Free yourself from any pressure and think of writing the post as a writing exercise. If it gets published, that’s just a bonus!

  22. says

    Gordon…you know what’s worse than sarcasm? Being an old curmudgeon…I’d venture to guess that a pro comedian knows what he’s doing when it comes to humor…

    I think sarcasm is the best…especially when done right.

  23. says

    I would love to post something, even a comment, on your blog… or on any blog… but I seem to be a little busy writing my own blog posts. Oh well.

  24. says

    “Write the guest post. Don’t ask. Just do it.”

    That is the best one. Why wait on permission? Instead wait on your guest post being accepted cutting your process time in half.

  25. says

    @Nicole – Go ask Sonia. I believe I did these 10 steps exactly.

    It also makes sense to have this guest post on an “A-List” blog like CopyBlogger. Wouldn’t it be quite illogical to have it anywhere else? :-)

  26. says

    I have really been worried about guest posting, but after reading this post I think I will give it a try. You know I never thought of having the guest post written before submission that is a really good tip.

  27. says

    Truly thanks Jordan for the inspiration. I will use your advice. I heard about Copyblogger over at Third Tribe. Where have I been? I guess I have been busy writing and going to my job. I have over 1000 posts at http://www.explorelifeblog.com and I decided it is time to get more traffic and make some money doing this. I write with passion about consciousness, about finding peace and purpose and about progressive ideas in a world stuck on narrow views and old ways.


  28. Nicky says

    Great to read a post knowing without a shadow of a doubt that what it advocates does 100% work.

    I am presuming you followed these 10 steps to get your guest post on CopyBlogger?

    The proof is in the pudding!

    p.s. I love sarcasm so keep it up, but the bucketload!

  29. says

    This is comment 43 so I am not sure anyone will ever read the first 42 comments let alone No. 43. Anyway your advice obviously comes from your 13 years of doing this, is really useful and is to be followed. I’ll remember all the do’s and don’t’s the next time I am ice fishing in the Andes.

  30. says

    Great advice, Jordan. In fact, I did all of these things other than #9 (I don’t have connections…yet), and I have a guest post up on Problogger today!

    Keep in mind that I’m a marriage blogger who’s been doing this (at all) for a whopping 6 months. Kudos to Darren for keeping an open mind and giving me a great opportunity. Kudos to me for making it as easy as possible for him, providing one of my best posts, and making relationship blogging relevant to his audience.

    If you’d like to see the final result, please check out “7 Tips to Keep Your Family On-Board On Your Blogging Journey” at Problogger. It was posted today (March 6th).

  31. says

    I’m a fan of connecting at values and passion.

    I think the other key is unique contribution in a relevant way that adds exponential value.

    I’m just basing that on the guest posts I like to read.

  32. says

    Recently I have begun interviewing A list bloggers on my blog. The results have been rewarding. I welcome your advice for guest blogging and hope to do it this week. Thanks for the advice and the fun of your approach.

  33. says

    Will it not be very much important for a blogger to concentrate his/her mind to write a good post for his/her own blog rather doing it as a guest post on another blog?

    anyway….informative suggestions about Guest Post.

  34. says

    @ want to know more come, may I finish the sentence?

    ” . . . overcome my tendency to stop the sentence before the end.” :)

    As you say: “the best advice is always delivered with a twist…..” :) :)

  35. Sonia Simone says

    ok, that was funny.

    @Nicole, yep, I’d say Jordan practiced what he preached. He also did an eerily good job saying what I would have said, so I didn’t have to do the work of writing it. Which takes a good observer. (Probably a trait shared with stand-up comedians.)

    @Dustin, you also really worked #2, you figured out the intersection between what you knew and what the Problogger readers would find relevant. Very smart.

  36. says

    Great post. One question, though. After I follow all these steps, of course, and am ready to send my favorite blogger the guest post of his dreams, what format would you recommend sending it in? A word doc formatted with bold/italics/hyperlinks? The whole post in html, so all he has to do is cut and paste it into his code view? Both?


    SixEstate Communications

  37. says

    I haven’t tried the guest blogger thing yet, but will certainly be bookmarking this post for reference when I do decide to strike out. Thanks for some really great advice.

  38. Sonia Simone says

    @David, probably smart to ask as everyone’s process is a little different. I like something I can cut and paste into WordPress, with links in particular coded up rather than embedded into a Word doc.

  39. says

    Thanks for these great tips, I will try latter.
    Unique contribution in a relevant way that adds exponential value.

  40. says

    I never put much thought into doing a guest post. I actually think I may give it a shot now! Thanks for the great advice.

  41. says

    We talk about guest posting all the time on Twitter’s blogchat. So many people ask questions about this (including me). These tips for guest posting are fantastic–thanks!

  42. says

    Great post Jordan! I didn’t know about Not A Pro Blog, I’m glad there’s plenty of good stuff to read there waiting for me :)

  43. Sonia Simone says

    Ha, we’ve gotten some very nice guest posts in recently, and all using Jordan’s tips! Nice side benefit for us. 😀

  44. says

    Glad to have helped, Sonia!

    Although, I’ve just made it even harder on myself – now that everyone knows my secrets, how in the world can I up my game to make my guest posts stand out?

    I’ll probably just steal old jokes from Johnny B. Truant. It seems to work here. :-)

  45. says

    Yes and amen! If someone comes to me with a post for Herbivoracious with that level of preparation, I’d accept it in a heartbeat. What I usually get are half-assed proposals from people who are just trying to drum up links to their crappy top-ten-list site.

  46. Merryl Rosenthal says

    What an article: informative and amusing at
    the same time!

    Thanks for all the wonderful advice.

    Cheers. :)

  47. says

    Excellent post! Thanks for the insights on this. I love the concept of “just write it” and see if it gets posted… if not, you’ve got a solid article anyways.

    Cheers to you for the solid content!

    Patrick Hitches

  48. says

    I have read quite a few post on how to become a guest post author but never one with such a sense of humor. Thanks for keeping it real yet upbeat. Oh yeah, I enjoyed reading all the great information as well.

  49. says

    Nice post, and interesting advice. This is defnitely a way of getting noticed in your particular niche. I’ve now added to the 101 other things on IM marketing to do list!

  50. says

    These are some really great tips. I’m glad I came across this because I’m planning on trying out something new in the Blogging world. (Actually it may not be too new. I don’t know how many other people are trying something like this.)

    My idea is to be a blogger without a blog. I’ve had a blog at jonathanfrei.com for a while but let it lag and languish. What I want to do be a blogger on other people’s blogs. Basically the idea is to be a perpetual guest blogger.

    Rather than having a blog at my homepage, I’d like to just have a simple landing page about me and what I’m out to do. This way people will be able to get in touch with me if they’re looking for a guest blogger.

    The problem I had with posting on my own blog is that I felt everything was self-promotion. There was no editor to say, this is a good post lets promote it. That’s what I like about guest blogging. There is someone to censure me…

    Does anyone know of any bloggers out there that take this approach? I’d love to get in touch with them to see how they do it.

  51. says

    when I decided to learn more about blogs. and there are times when I feel confused looking for material to be used as my guide in learning about blogs. I finally got here.
    and in fact there are many good tips and advice here. which will help me in studying about this blog.
    I am a beginner who started all from scratch. did not much know how to make a good blog, how to make my blog is a blog that interests many people.
    all tips and advice given is really very useful. thankful I get to here.

  52. says

    Whats the best WordPress plugin for guess submissions? I just installed uCan Post, but it doesnt seem to have an “About Author” section, which I need.

  53. says

    This is some solid advice. I didn’t even know about guest posting before reading the article, but now I think I might try to utilize it. I chuckled a few times too. Funny and informative! Keep up the good work.

  54. says

    Nice tip. It’s more like being unique. Since guest posting trend is increasing, It’s always a good advice to Do something out of box and enjoy traffic via Guest posting.

    Is it hard to get accepted as a guest poster or are most blogs open to it?

  55. says

    I see guest blogging in another dimension in the years to come. It’s surely going to override conventional article submission via directories. I have tried it and honestly, it’s the best thing that can happen to an online entrepreneur, if done creatively.

  56. says

    I had some success… or rather I’m waiting for it to come up on the A-list blog. But nice perspective on guest blogging. I think it really puts your writing skills to the test. I don’t know if I’m ready for it, but there’s only one way to find out :)

  57. says

    Though your steps are quite handy but what if a blog publishes guest posts secretly I mean they haven’t mentioned publicly that they accept guest posts but they do publish guest posts submitted to them via some back channels ?

  58. says

    This is definite Great article!!! I am searching guest posting steps from a long time because I listened to various time about gust blogging and I have searched on Google a lot of times but I did not get sufficient answer now I am very glad to find your blog and I am going to new implement in my SEO techniques and I hope it would be helpful to all sides. Please keep it up.

    Thanks for sharing!

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