While guest blogging remains a highly effective means of establishing you as a thought leader and introducing new people to your brand, competition these days for that digital real estate is fierce. Blog editors are bombarded daily with guest blogging requests from people who simply want their links on prestigious sites, making it hard for you, a legitimate guest contributor, to get their attention.
So what are the secrets to getting editors to not only read your pitches but then also agree to publish your content?
1. Focus on Quality, Not Quantity
While you might think that pitching as many blogs as possible with your guest blogging ideas would get you better results, instead go narrow. Spend time reading and getting to know a handful of active, heavily-trafficked blogs in your industry, rather than scattering your seed far and wide.
The first thing this does is that it ensures that you only pitch publications that cater to your audience. I can’t tell you how many pitches my own marketing blog gets for completely unrelated topics like baby toys and pharmaceuticals. So know that editors are leery of guest bloggers who don’t bother to align their pitches with the theme of the site.
Also, why would you want to contribute content on a site that doesn’t attract your audience? You don’t. It’s well worth the time you’ll spend to carefully explore a few handpicked sites and then craft your pitch in such a way that the editor would be a fool not to accept your ideas.
2. Step Away from the Canned Pitch
If you’re not sending out dozens of pitches, you have the time to write each one from scratch. Sure, you can use a boilerplate for your own introduction (“I’m Susan and I write about content marketing. My company is blah and does yada yada.”), but the rest of the email should be customized. And short.
If you start out your pitch with a reference to that blog, do so in a genuine manner. So many bad pitches start out “I was looking for some information on X and came across your site. Great stuff,” which tells the editor that you send exactly the same thing to everyone.
Instead, actually read some posts related to what you want to write about (bonus: this will help ensure that you don’t pitch a topic already covered) and make an insightful comment on an article (“I thought your article on artificial intelligence was informative, but it left out its role in marketing, which I’d love to cover for your blog.”).
Two paragraphs plus three topic ideas are sufficient for your pitch. If the editor wants more, he or she will reply and ask for it. Unnecessarily long emails will get deleted.
Your pitch shouldn’t come in one of these.
3. Follow the Rules
In researching a given blog, you may come across contributor guidelines. Ignore these at your peril. Not only do they provide consistency in the guest posts an editor accepts, but they also serve as a test. If you aren’t willing to follow them, you’re instantly disqualified from the pool.
Pay attention to style guidelines, because every blog will have its preferences. You can also determine how the editor wants pitches. He may prefer to get the entire finished article for consideration, rather than just ideas. Read and reread these guidelines to ensure that you at least get considered.
Once your pitch is accepted, ask for a deadline to submit your article and then beat it. There’s nothing that will perk an editor up more than you turning in an article not just on time, but early.
4. Show Your Commitment
Writing one blog post on one blog won’t help you attract new customers and build relationships. But consistently writing content for that blog will. And editors like knowing they can rely on good and responsible guest writers. So after your first article is published, let the editor know that you’re interested in writing on a regular basis.
Whenever an article is published, promote it to your social media audience. You’ll get another kudos from your editor, since you’re essentially helping market her website.
Yes, there is a lot of noise in the guest blogging space right now, but that’s exactly what much of it is: noise. If you can prove yourself as a solid writer who knows how to read guidelines and show that he’s actually read a blog and knows it’s a good fit, editors will move you to the front of the line.
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