A Definitive Guide to Guest Posting the Right Way

Guest posting – it’s all the rage with people trying to get their name out there and establish more credibility to their blog/websites and boost their content marketing ROI. However, many people don’t understand exactly how the process works, or how to approach it appropriately.

In this comprehensive guide from our San Diego marketing agency, we want to break down how to go about guest posting successfully. We’ll dive into everything from approaching other site owners to delivering the best content you have to offer.

With this guide in hand, you’ll be able to tackle the guest posting game with just the right amount of politeness, preparedness, and skill – while reaping the numerous benefits.

Determine Where You’d Like to Guest Post

Before you can proceed with the big parts of guest posting, like creating the content and establishing relationships with site owners, you need to narrow down the blogs and websites you’d like to appear on.

Putting your name on just any site isn’t very beneficial. You need to schedule a guest post with a site that will improve your authority and help spread your name right away. The name of the game is relevance. For example, if you run a hotel website, getting a guest post featured on a blog about auto mechanics probably won’t do much good in boosting your authority.

When browsing blogs that you potentially want to partner with, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does this website really focus on my niche or relate to my industry?
  • Would the audience of this website/blog actually care about my topics?
  • Are the readers engaging with the site’s posts the kind of readers you want to reach?
  • Does the blog’s site owner seem engaged and proactive about sharing posts?

If the answer to a few of those questions is “no,” then you probably need to seek out potential guest post destinations that are more in your lane.

For a prime example of a guest post that wound up at an excellent destination, check out this post by South African Natalie, the blogger behind Tails of a Mermaid.

Image Source: The Blonde Abroad

Natalie’s blog is all about travel, food, and wine, so she partnered with The Blonde Abroad, one of the top travel gurus in the travel blogging niche, to write a post about her homeland and how safe it is. This article on a popular website showcases her unique expertise also reaches a mostly female-based, well-traveled audience.

Come Up with Your Ideas BEFORE Pitching  

You might be thinking, “What’s the point of coming up with a blog post idea if I don’t know that I’ll even be accepted as a guest poster?”

Although that line of thought seems to make sense, in reality, you need to view the process in reverse.

Site owners don’t just choose a guest poster based on their credibility and history. They choose them based on the ideas they present and how well they fit in with their own site’s content.

Take a while to peruse the target blog’s content. Understand what kind of language they use, who they’re writing for, and what topics seem to do well. Then, use the information you’ve gathered to come up with a few carefully crafted guest post ideas.

You might also want to look at previously submitted guest posts that got published on the target site.

  • What did they have to offer?
  • How can you mimic their success and yet still bring new ideas to the table?

Ever heard of the “broken-link” guest posting strategy? Essentially, it involves finding a broken link on the site, then reporting the dead link to the site owner while simultaneously providing a solution. For instance, your email to the site owner might look something like this:

“Hello (site owner),

I’ve noticed that the _____ link in your ______ post doesn’t appear to be working. I happen to have some experience in that area and would love to create a post on your website that can substitute for the broken link. Here’s what I had in mind…”

Then, you can provide a bit of background and pitch your exact idea for the replacement post with a brief outline. Not only will you be providing a solution to the site owner, but you’ll be offering them valuable free content.

Pitch Your Guest Post in a Polite, Engaging Manner

Although your guest post idea is certainly an important part of getting accepted on a target site, the manner in which you pitch the post is equally as important (if not more so). This is especially true if you have no previous relationship with the site and you need to make a good first impression.

Did you know that the majority of site editors get up to 10 pitches every day? Additionally, 20 percent of these editors (surveyed by Point Visible) say that 9 out of 10 pitches are so bad that they don’t even bother to thoroughly read them.

The same survey by Point Visible indicated that the editors’ main reasons for rejecting guest contributions included:

  • Low-quality content ideas
  • Brand misalignment
  • The content simply didn’t fit
  • The idea doesn’t follow site guidelines
  • Pitch was too promotional

As you begin to craft a submission to the site editor, keep those red flags in mind. Peruse the site’s guidelines thoroughly and make sure that the email doesn’t clash with the site’s brand, content ideas, or value.

Pro Tip: Avoid the line (or variations of the line) “I stumbled across your website and…”

As someone who works on both sides of pitching and accepting guest posts, I can tell you with 110% confidence that site editors hate to hear this. Essentially, this is telling the site editor that you don’t really read their blog – meaning you don’t understand the audience, topics, etc.

You need to make it clear that you are a reader of the blog before pitching. Provide a link to a previous post that you liked and tell them why you enjoyed it. Or let them know how their blog has impacted you – personally or professionally.

Additionally, pay close attention to your subject line. Over half (54 percent) of the editors in the Point Visible survey stated that they prefer the subject line to contain something straightforward, such as “Guest Post Pitch” or “Guest Post Submission.”

After years of working in the industry of marketing in San Diego, we’ve learned that there are some things that must 100 percent be included in your message, such as:

  • A polite, professional greeting.
  • Who you are and where you work/what site you’re writing on behalf of.
  • Why you want to contribute a guest post to this site specifically.
  • Your topic suggestions with a short outline or description.
  • Some links to your previous work, as well as your social media profiles.
  • A sincere thank you and goodbye statement.

Follow Up – Even If You Don’t Hear Back  

Because so many site editors get dozens upon dozens of guest post suggestions every week, there’s a good chance that they might not respond to your first email and pitch. Don’t despair – that’s pretty typical, and it doesn’t mean that the site has totally rejected your idea.

Don’t be afraid to reach out again after some time has passed, just to remind the site editor of your pitch and ask if there’s anything else you can do. The message can be as simple as:

                “Hello (site editor),”

I was just writing to see if you were able to evaluate my guest post idea. Have you had a chance to read over the pitch and summary? Is there anything else I could put together or contribute to the site?

Let me know how I can be of service or how we can partner together!”

If done properly; a follow-up email can be an excellent reminder to a site editor that you’re willing to work for the chance to contribute.

Deliver Prompt, Impressive Results  

Let’s assume you’ve gotten approved to submit a guest post. Congratulations! But now, the real work to maintain your status and reap the rewards begins.

Because we work in the San Diego marketing field, we talk to a lot of different site editors, and we know that there’s nothing more frustrating than a guest poster who fails to deliver.

When you’re accepted as a guest contributor, you accept responsibility, and that means the site editor is expecting you to fulfill your duties. If you want to impress the site, earn more views, and hopefully get the opportunity to contribute again, you need to meet these expectations.

To build a strong foundation of trust with the site owner, you must:

  • Contribute your post by the expected deadline.
  • Meet all of their set guidelines.
  • Avoid being overly promotional and stick to the agreed-upon subject.
  • Be willing to make any necessary changes the editor might request.

Guest posting isn’t just about getting more views and obtaining more backlinks. It’s about establishing connections with other important bloggers and site owners in your industry.

If you want to form an online reputation that serves your site well, you need to take any guest posting opportunity seriously.

In Conclusion

Whether you’ve already submitted guest posts before or you’re aiming to create your first one, following this process can help you successfully create new relationships and content on other sites.

Remember: you’re not just creating content for other websites for the sake of backlinks or views. You’re forging connections and establishing a place for yourself amongst peers and other creators within your industry, and that can be invaluable when it comes to the success of your site.

Need help reaching out to site owners and expanding your marketing strategies?

Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of experts in digital marketing in San Diego. We can help point you in the right direction to establish connections and opportunities to jumpstart your guest posting strategy!

About Kevin

Kevin Svec is the Chief Content Strategiest at E2M Solutions Inc. In addition to hosting the San Diego AMA's radio show, This Week in Marketing, Kevin runs his town travel blog. Check out his post on SEO Tips for Travel Bloggers!