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.