The Whys, Wherefores, and How-tos of Guest Posts

K1000_Velvia50XPRO_24June2012_3687NEG0032About once a month, you’ll see a guest post here. I enjoy publishing guest posts because it gives my readers and me an opportunity to learn something new or to discover a different perspective.

The guest bloggers benefit by getting a link or two to their own blog or website, as well as exposure to an entirely different audience.

It’s easy to see that a guest post that provides valuable information that readers want to know can benefit both the guest poster and the blog owner. However, guest posts that don’t benefit the blog readers are a waste of time for everyone.

I frequently receive emails from bloggers wanting to submit a guest post and have established guidelines to help bloggers submit a proposal for a guest post that will interest me enough to invite the requester to submit a post.

Although the guidelines are specific for my blog, you may find them useful if you want to guest post on other blogs or if you want to accept guest posts on your own blog.

Here are some of my best tips for submitting a request to guest post:

  • Posts should be on a topic relevant to the particular blog. That seems so obvious, I shouldn’t need to mention it. Unfortunately, I get requests all the time from people who want to post about their subject matter that is nothing I cover on this blog. In my guidelines, I list the kinds of topics that are appropriate here. You should familiarize yourself with the blog you’re requesting to guest post so you know what is appropriate and likely to be of interest.
  • Also understand the readership of the blog so that not only the topic, but also the tone of the guest post fits well with other posts in the blog. If the blog is business-like and professional, don’t submit a casual, chatty post.  If the readership is young and hip, your writing style should be suitable for those readers.
  • When you approach the blogger, make it easy for her by using a subject line that lets her know what your message is about—”Request to Guest Post,” or “Proposal for Guest Post,” for example.
  • Don’t tell a professional writer or blogger that you can provide with good, free content and she won’t have to write anything. If I didn’t enjoy writing blog posts, I wouldn’t do it. And I hope my readers are getting good content from my writing, so “good, free content” isn’t enough to appeal to me. Some people sound like they’re doing me a big favor by offering to write a guest post. Certainly a good guest post will benefit me … but it also benefit the writer.
  • Indicate how your post will be useful to the blog readers and why you are the best person to write it. “I notice that you often post information on caring for houseplants on your blog, but I haven’t seen anything about orchids. My hobby is growing orchids, and I have won several awards. I would like to share the five most important things you need to do to make the blooms last.”
  • Offer to show up on the day the post appears to respond to comments. Some of my guest bloggers miss out on some valuable feedback because they don’t come back to answer questions or reply to comments.
  • If you have more than one topic that you think would be a good match for the blog, let the blogger know so she can decide which is best for her audience.
  • When the blogger approves your guest post, write the best piece you possibly can. After all, you’re guest posting to get exposure for your own blog. You want it to be great exposure of your very best work!
  • Expect that the blogger will edit the post—especially if she’s a professional editor! I will never make significant changes to a submission without returning it to the writer for review, but I will make minor corrections and style changes so the post fits my blog.
  • Follow the submission instructions. If the blogger requests a special email subject line or asks your post to meet certain criteria, do what she asks. You’ll definitely increase your chances of having your guest post accepted.

If you are a blogger who accepts guest posts, what other guidelines do you have for guest posters?

If you want to submit a guest posts to anther blog, what do you think is most important in gaining the blogger’s interest?

Creative Commons License photo credit: aaron_anderer

Share this!