Guest blogging is quickly becoming one of those things you either love or hate. And your opinion most likely depends upon which side of the fence you sit – the blogger, tired of time-wasters and spammers, or the SEO/link builder/marketer keen to exploit each and every opportunity they can.

At its core, guest blogging is definitely a good thing but it’s gaining a negative reputation mostly fueled by people who look no further than the link. They’re way too busy flitting from site to site (or running software) and firing off emails like there’s no tomorrow to actually give a damn about you and your site.

If you want to legitimately reach out and build relationships with people in your industry, isn’t it better to do so with respect for their work and time?

Surely you stand a better chance of being noticed and taken seriously if you can string two sentences together, and compose emails without any spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or a mix of fonts? (These things matter!)

There are still plenty of guest posting opportunities around, but making a good first impression is essential.

Here are a few tips I hope will help you achieve your goal. Please feel free to leave a comment, I’d love to know what you think of this list and topic.

  • Research. Most sites accepting guest posts have a guidelines page. Make this your first port of call and read it at least twice. Bloggers take their blogs very seriously, and more often than not, you need them more than they need you. If they want you to make contact through Twitter, do it. If they want you to supply links to five guest posts you’ve already had published, include them. If you can’t match the guidelines, don’t bother contacting the site owner until you can.
  • Get to the point. Keep your initial contact (usually an email) short. At this stage you want to open a line of communication; you can fine-tune the details later.
  • Tailor your email. Take some time to read a few posts on the sites you want to guest post on. Make a note of the language used in the posts, and use similar language in your pitch email. Pay special attention to the about page, as this is where you may find some personal information about the person or people running the site, you could try using this in your pitch, but don’t be overly friendly as you may be mistaken for a stalker (!).
  • Sincerity. No BS! Tell the truth, people appreciate it more than stuff like – “you have an amazing blog, I am truly astounded by the quality of your content, your in-depth reports and analysis of the industry.” I prefer a more straight-forward approach – “I found your site on Google…” or “I like your site, I wonder if I could offer a guest post?”.
  • Ideas. Suggest a few topics you could write about and ask if they would be suitable. You could also say you are open to suggestions if the topics you mentioned are not suitable.
  • Language. If you can’t write (or give the impression you can’t write) a simple email, what hope do you have of writing a full article? Make sure your email is readable and makes sense. If you compose emails from templates, make sure the final product is correctly edited before you hit the send button.
  • Transparency. The vast majority of people pitching for a guest post use a Gmail account. Sometimes they mention the site they are from or want to link to, and sometimes they don’t. You can research an email address on Pipl, but all too often the one they emailed from is only used for guest posting enquiries and you don’t find out anything. This isn’t a bad thing. If you want to gain trust right away, mention your own site or use an email address from it rather than one of the generics.
  • Examples of your writing. If you have had guest posts published on other sites, it’s a good idea to add links to them. This will give you more credibility and the person you are pitching can read your content and find out more about your writing style. If you haven’t yet been published, offer to send some examples of your work.

It’s not rocket science is it? Yet all too often people seem to think bulldozing their way into your inbox is the way to get a guest blogging gig.

Any thoughts? Please share them.

Picture – ScottieT812