So you’ve decided to take your baby steps into the exciting world of guest posting.
Perhaps it’s finally dawned on you that hey, this is a great way for building backlinks, increasing your network and establishing credibility at the same time. Perhaps you read Matt Smith’s post on the benefits of guest blogging and figured it was worth a shot.
Don’t worry. Either way, you’re not too late to the party. Guest posting is one of the best strategies for building your blog, and it’s looking more and more to be a party that’s not ending anytime soon.
You’re pumped up, raring to write your first guest post and you’ve got a list of the bloggers in your niche you’d like to write for.
Now all you have to do is pitch them the idea…
How To Pitch A Guest Post Successfully
1. Understanding The Blogger’s Work
Before you begin to formulate your ideas, make sure you’re extremely familiar with the work of the blogger you’re pitching. Remember, you’re the guest here, and you’ve been invited to share your views with the blogger’s audience.
This could be the start of something mutually beneficial for a long time to come, and you don’t want to mess up by not doing your homework.
If you’re not already a regular reader, go through the blog thoroughly and get a sense of the style and writing. Take particular note of the guest posts on the blog, if any. You’ll also want to have a sense of the type of articles that get accepted.
2. Choice Is A Good Thing
After you’ve done this, take the time to come up with a few potential guest post ideas that could work for the blog. You don’t want to go crazy here and come up with a litany of random suggestions, but offering whoever you’re pitching a few targeted ideas is always a good thing.
The blogger may have a few posts in the pipeline waiting to be published, and if one of those posts is similar to something you’ve pitched, he may ignore your email if you don’t have any follow ups.
I usually try and come up with 3 suggestions that differ in scope, making it a point to cater each suggestion to the blog’s readers.
3. Subject Title
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how easily you can mess up the subject title of your email.
While this may work for smaller blogs and bigger blogs that have extremely hardworking owners, crafting your subject title meticulously significantly increases your chance of being noticed.
Signify your intentions by stating that you wish to guest post but you need to capture the blogger’s attention at the same time! The first thing the person you’re pitching to reads is the subject title, and it makes the entire difference to whether your email even gets read in the first place.
For example, I write a blog on iPhone app development and marketing your apps. Recently, I received two emails inquiring about guest posting slots for my website.
The first one’s subject line stated ‘Guest Post Slot’ while the other read ‘Guest Post Suggestion for Beginning iOS Dev: How To Create an App in 48 hours’.
Which one do you think I read?
(I actually read them both because I’m a hardworking kind of guy but you see where I’m going with this!)
4. Personalize Your Emails
Mass email blasts to random bloggers are about the silliest thing you can ever do when you’re soliciting. You can have a rough template but it’s imperative to tailor every email you send out to the blogger you’re targeting.
For example, let’s say you’ve been a fan of X’s personal finance blog for a few years now. It’s a great idea to slip this into your email, and to bring up a few posts that you felt were particularly insightful.
If you’ve commented on this blog before, make sure you mention this as well. Any sort of connection helps as long as you don’t tell any fibs!
5. Include Social Proof Of Your Work
Think of this as a resume for your guest post. Guest posting isn’t some hush, hush secret that nobody else knows about. Bloggers get pitches for guest posts all the time, and they need to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Include details of your own blog, guest posts you’ve done previously and any other publications you have written for in the past. I like to include a few links to older posts I’ve written that have some relevance to the blog I’m trying to get a guest spot in.
What if you’ve never had anything published on the Internet before? Well this makes things a little tougher but it’s nothing that can’t be overcome with some tenacity. If this is the case, I’d include a short writing sample for every email pitch, perhaps 2-3 paragraphs of the article that you’d like to write for the site.
6. Edit Your Inquiry Ruthlessly
This is absolutely critical. Your inquiry is the first impression that the blog owner will have of you. If there are spelling and grammar mistakes in your email, what do you think that says about your professionalism as well as about the quality of the work you’ll ship out?
Check, double check and triple check before you finally click the send button.
What do you think? What are your thoughts on the best practices for pitching a guest post? We’d love to know what you think. Drop us a comment below and let us know your opinion!
Thank you to my Guest Post Author: Shane Lee
Shane writes Beginning iOS Development, a blog revolving around interviewing iPhone developers and marketing iPhone apps. He also writes for clients selectively, and has a largely unpronounceable Chinese name.