How to Craft a Guest Post That’s (Almost) Certain to Be Accepted
Guest posting is a fantastic way to grow your blog. It gets your work in front of a large audience, it brings you direct traffic (from your guest post bio), and it gives your SEO a handy boost (as your bio will, in almost all cases, include a link back to your blog).
Many bloggers worry about whether their guest posts will be accepted … and it’s certainly frustrating to write a post that gets turned down.
One mistake that some new guest posters make is to write a post before thinking about where they’d like it to be published.
It’s much better to decide on your target blog first, just as you’d decide what magazine to target before writing an article.
Deciding Which Blog to Write For
When you’re looking for good guest posting opportunities:
- Focus on blogs that are on-topic for you. For instance, if you blog about golf, there’s probably not much point you guest-posting on a blog about cake baking. Sure, some readers might be interested in both topics, but it’ll be a small percentage.
- Start with blogs that you read. You’ve got an advantage here: you know the usual style and tone of the blog, and you may have left comments, retweeted or shared posts, or otherwise built up a relationship with the blog owner/editor.
- Go for large blogs. They don’t have to be massive, but it’s generally a good idea to guest post on blogs that are larger than your own. This can be hard to guess at, but generally, the blog’s social media following will give some indication (many large blogs also tell you roughly how many email subscribers they have).
- Make sure they accept guest posts. Not all blogs use guest posts – even if they have multiple writers. (These people might be freelancers.) Search for phrases like “this is a guest post by”, “guest post guidelines” or “submission guidelines” on the blog.
- Consider their audience. Some blogs have a lovely, supportive readership.Other blogs have comments that are often very negative or snarky. Steer clear of these, at least to begin with.
Crafting a Post with a Great Chance of Acceptance
All the usual tips about writing great blog posts apply doubly to guest posts. You won’t get a second chance to make a first impression – so put in a little extra time than you would if writing for your own blog, especially at the editing stage.
Some great ways to boost your post’s chances are to:
- Carefully read lots of previous posts on the blog. Model your own post on these: for instance, if the last 10 posts have all been around 800 – 1000 words, don’t write a guest post that’s super-short or really long.
- Have a compelling title and introduction. Even if these get tweaked by the blog owner / editor, they’ll grab their attention and encourage them to read on.
- Ask a friend to read your post and give feedback. You want to make sure that the structure is spot-on – although some editors will give you suggestions for revision, many are too busy to go back and forth on a post that isn’t quite there yet.
- Triple-check for typos and spelling mistakes. One tiny slip isn’t the end of the world … but several silly mistakes will make you look careless at best. It’s often hard to spot your own typos and missing words, so get a friend involved here too.
- Include a couple of links to other posts on your target blog. This is a great way to (a) show that you’ve been reading / researching the blog and (b) add value to your post for the blogger.
- Avoid linking excessively to your own material in the body of the post. Even a single link, if it’s not particularly relevant, can come across as self-serving. If you do want to link to your own blog, it’s definitely worth including at least one or two links to posts on the host blog, to balance things out.
This might seem like a lot to think about – but by following these tips, you’ll be much more likely to have your guest post snapped up by that large blog that you’d love to be featured on.