In the world of content marketing, guest blogging remains, at least in my mind, one of the best ways to establish your thought leadership and connect with a wider audience.  It’s no secret though: even I get dozens of pitches a week from people wanting a link back to their sites. The problem is (and this is where you benefit) that most of them haven’t done their homework and will immediately get their guest blogging pitches rejected.

I’ve both had guest blog posts published on reputable sites and worked with guest bloggers on my own blog, so I know a little about what works and what doesn’t. Here are my tips to ensure that your next guest blog pitch gets accepted.

1. Read the Blog!

It’s such a tiny piece of advice, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t read even one article on a blog they want to contribute to. Doing so does a few things for you:

  • Helps you understand if the site even accepts guest bloggers (don’t waste your time otherwise)
  • Gives you a sense of the writing style
  • Lets you know whether the content is geared toward your audience
  • Shows you whether topics you want to write about have already been covered (don’t pitch those)

I’m not saying you have to read all the content on the site. A few blog posts, as well as the About Us page, should suffice.

2. Only Pitch Blogs That Serve Your Audience

My blog is about content marketing, and yet I get pitches about the most unrelated things you can imagine. Sports equipment. Furniture. Medical marijuana. What gives?? Not only will submitting content to a site that doesn’t reach your audience not help you achieve your goals, but Google doesn’t like it either. So any blog worth its salt won’t accept your nonrelated content because they don’t want to be penalized by search engines.

3. Read the Guidelines

Most blogs that accept guest posts have a page on the site that explains exactly what they want in a pitch. They may want you to introduce yourself, send samples of your writing, and give a few topics you’d like to cover. Or they may want you to submit an entire article for consideration.

I can’t express how important it is to read these guidelines. They’re there to filter out people who ignore instructions, so if you do so, it’s at your own peril.

4. Get a Name

When you craft your pitch letter, please, oh please, don’t address it to “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Editor” unless absolutely necessary.  If the About Us page doesn’t tell you who the editor is, do more digging. You can Google “editor + [name of blog]” or search LinkedIn to find a name. This, again, weeds out the lazies from the serious guest bloggers.

5. Keep it Short

Your pitch letter should be a teaser, not a tome. Introduce yourself. Maybe mention an article you enjoyed reading (but say something insightful about it, because this strategy is overused). Then suggest a few topics you’d like to cover. You could include a few links to your writing if you’re not known in your industry.

Above all, follow those guidelines to a T.

6. Follow Up

Blog editors get a flood of guest pitch requests, so don’t be impatient. If, after a week, you haven’t heard back, send a second email following up. Usually this one will be the one to get a response, but if it doesn’t, consider the editor not interested, and mark that blog off the list.

7. Be a Good Guest

For any blog you do get accepted as a guest blogger for, make sure you impress the editor by following instructions, turning your content in on time, and then helping promote the post once it’s live. This is the best way to be invited back to contribute again (or get a “yes” if you ask if that’s possible), which, ultimately, is the best strategy for long-term brand recognition.

Guest blogging can be a fantastic way to get more exposure with your audience, which, in time, can lead to more sales.

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