Guest blogging is a great strategy to grow your audience, earn backlinks and build your reputation as an expert. But becoming a published guest author can be tricky. Learn how to get your guest blogging outreach right – and get more guest posts approved.
Since I get so many guest post applications, I can be even pickier and still have more guest post applications than I could ever publish.
But my view on how to write more successful blogger outreach emails is not one-sided. I also take into account my experience from being a guest blogger.
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I have been a published guest blogger in the past. While I do not guest post so much right now, I have been published on some major marketing and social media blogs. I started guest blogging when I was new to the content marketing, social media marketing, and blogging arena.
That means I have been on both sides of the table. I am a host to guest posts, and I am a guest blogger.
However, I sometimes wonder how some of the applicants get even one guest post published. So I decided to write down some of the tips I have for aspiring guest bloggers who have a hard time getting a guest post published. These tips could also be handy to all those SEO guest blog writers who have to put in far too much effort into blogger outreach without getting many guest blogging opportunities.
If you want to focus on creating guest blog posts instead of writing frustrating emails to bloggers who never respond, here are my 13 tips for your guest blogging outreach to get more guest blog posts approved!
1. Start your guest blogging outreach with people you know
People you know are more likely to accept you as a guest author.
If you have the chance to network with other bloggers from your niche, this is your best bet to get a post accepted.
Publishing guest posts on a personal blog is a matter of trusting someone. Trust that a person is a real person and not some invented shady profile that tries to publish bad (or even stolen) content.
Having a personal relationship with the blogger is your easiest way to get a post approved.
That said, how can you grow your blogging network? How can you get in touch with other bloggers? Here are some ideas – but I am sure that there are many more opportunities:
- Use real-life networking events (this pandemic has to be over someday, and we can all meet up again)
- use blogging groups – there are groups for bloggers in various places. My place to start looking for blogging groups would be Facebook. Keep in mind that these groups are a place to network rather than shout-out links to your latest blog posts.
- Social media – I have connected to some great people on Twitter and Instagram.
- Blog comments – join the conversation on other people’s blog posts. Write more than just “great post.” The more thought you put into your comment, the more likely you are other bloggers to remember you.
2. Tell who you are
As said before, publishing guest posts is a matter of trust. If I don’t know you, how can I trust you?
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Why do so many people not bother to tell me who they are when they reach out to me for the first time?
Telling me, “I need a guest post on your blog” is nice for my ego, but the question is, why do I need a post from you on my site?
Is it not a matter of simple politeness to introduce yourself to someone you don’t know but expect to do something for you?
3. Make sure you know who you write to
Again, I think it is utterly impolite to call me Mary, John, Peter or Sandra – my name is Susanna.
I am aware that you are probably using the same email text over and over again. But not using a personal name is much better than using the wrong one.
If you copy and paste your outreach email text, make sure you use the right name and blog you mention in your email.
4. Stick to the topic
We are running a marketing blog. And we are proud of the information we provide for our readers. I expect guest blog posts to provide in-depth marketing information.
Telling me that you are a great writer and can cover everything from dog sitting and real estate to vegan cooking and gardening will not convince me that the content you produce will contain the kind of marketing expertise that I am looking for.
5. Never lie in your guest blogging outreach
Yes, you should provide samples of your writing or previously published guest posts as references if you have them.
Sending me links to articles that name someone else as the author is not going to help. Even if you have been ghostwriting the content.
I have received references that have been written by fellow marketers that I personally know and that I could simply ask whether this reference is legitimate or not – and usually it is not.
If you do not have guest post references send some links to content on your own blog – that is honest and helps build trust. We have all started out some time, and most of us can still remember the times when we could not brag with published content on Social Media Examiner.
6. Don’t invent yourself
What do you think is my reaction when I get a guest post request by Harry Potter, Arya Stark, or Daenerys Targaryen? Sorry if your name really is Harry Potter, but my first reaction is “looks fishy” – and no, I did not invent this for the sake of this article; it happened.
And if you are a namesake to someone famous, use it to open up the email with a humorous remark.
And stay consistent with the name you use. It does not build trust if there are various names I can choose from used in your email.
7. Don’t expect me to do your job
You are not sure what topic would convince me to accept your request? Don’t expect me to do your work and come up with a topic for you.
- I have no clue what’s your field of expertise.
- Telling me, you can write everything I want you to tells me that you will not provide actual expertise.
- If I have to do the topic research, I can write the article
One reason to publish guest posts is to get expertise on our blog that we may not have. I love to publish guest authors who can bring you as my audience insights into topics that I could not cover with the same depth. But that means YOU have to suggest the topic that you can cover in-depth and with expertise.
8. Don’t offer generic content
We are running a marketing blog. Our blog has been around for some years now, and we have hundreds of articles published.
Do you really think we need the next article about the “importance of digital marketing” or “how to set up a Twitter account?”
I admit that your chances of me taking a second look at your offer tremendously increase if you offer me a topic that we have not published on our blog. You may even be able to cover some topics that I am not an expert in, and that would make a great post for our audience.
9. Don’t convince me that guest blogging is great – convince me that you are a great guest author
I am aware of the benefits of guest posts on our blog. Otherwise, I would not publish them. And you are certainly not the person to convince me to publish guest posts.
Do not bore me with self-evident arguments.
Yes, your content should pass basic quality standards and should be free of plagiarism. If you have to guarantee that, I wonder why.
Use your opening email to build trust, show who you are, and convince me that YOU are exactly the person I want to publish on our blog.
10. Don’t make a secret out of it
Why do I have to ask for information? What kind of secret is there behind a guest posting request? Are you working for the secret blogging department, and your topics are so secret that you are afraid I could steal them?
This is your opening email. Your one “get it done and nail the guest post” thing. Why make it complicated?
If you expect me to ask for more information, honestly, you have to make it more interesting than just asking for a guest post opportunity.
11. Read the guest blogging requirements
If you got me to answer you, I sent you some guest posting guidelines. Stick to them. It is really annoying if I give guidelines and the article turned in does not meet them.
If you send me images to go with your article, make sure you are allowed to publish them. A quick Google image search and sending me the blog title image of someone else’s post on the topic will P&SS me off. (Yes, it happened, no joking)
12. Use a real email address
Yes, many people use Gmail – including me. But…
Everybody can invent new personas by creating a new Gmail address.
And that means a business email address is much better suited to explain who you are and that you are a real person.
Sorry if you are not aware why that is important: Many SEO agencies invent personas that create endless content for link-building reasons. That is not the content a blogger wants as guest posts. If your email looks like a shady SEO is writing to me, that can be the reason why I don’t answer.
It gets worse if your avatar is some comic image, dog, or cat instead of a headshot or your name is written in a funny way like Marry instead of Mary.
You can still use your Gmail address, just keep in mind that you may need a sentence more to explain who you are and that you are a real person.
13. Never use stolen content
And that includes content that you take from another blog and rephrase the sentences. If one short look into Google provides me with the original article, I will not publish your article even if you changed some of the words.
Final Words on Guest Blogging Outreach
Now I ranted about what you should NOT do in your guest blogger outreach email; I think it is time to give you some advice on what should be in your email.
Follow Guest Blogging Guidelines
First, check if a blog has some guest blogging guidelines published on the blog. If so, follow them as closely as possible. They usually tell you what they want from you in a guest blogging application. Some blogs even provide a form for your application.
And having filled out some application forms myself, I know that my requirements for a guest post outreach email are mostly similar to what other blogs are looking for.
The goal is to get to know who you are efficiently.
The Subject line
Mention what you want in the subject line. The subject line needs to include the term guest blog or guest post in one way or other.
Make it personal
If you know who you are writing to, mention the name. It shows that you care enough to do your homework and research who you are writing to.
An absolute no-go is to use the wrong name!
Tell who you are
A simple sentence like “I am Susanna, and I blog about social media marketing and traffic generation at blog.thesocialms.com” usually is enough. If you want to show that you are a legitimate person, you may want to add a link to your LinkedIn profile or Twitter account.
But keep in mind that a Twitter account that you created yesterday or that has been idle for years does not help much.
Nail your request make some topic suggestions
Again, this can be short. If you did your job in the first paragraph of your email, they already know that you blog about the right topic.
“I would love to guest post for your blog. Here are some topic ideas I have in mind:
It is crucial that you do your homework and suggest the best possible topics. These topics should not have been covered on the blog before. If they just published a post about blog post headlines last week, your topic suggestion of “6 steps to create better blog headlines” will not be successful.
The topics need to be of interest to the blog’s audience but cover niche angles that are new to the audience.
Offer some references
If you already have published guest blog posts, here is the place to mention them. BUT, references from a different niche can be counterproductive. You will not convince me that you can write great posts about social media marketing if your references are highlights from your recent bike trip in Australia.
If you do not have published guest posts, rather link to your own blog. Never ever link to content that does not clearly state you as the author. Since people lie in their references, your should be clearly attributed to you.
“I have written for Jeff Bullas Blog and Social Media Examiner in the past:
Send a Reminder
If you don’t hear back from the blog you contacted, it is ok to send a follow-up email a week later.
A reminder can increase your chances of success.
But don’t send multiple reminders in quick succession. You do not want to annoy someone who is just busy with something else right now.
One last guest blogging outreach tip
Start your guest blogging journey on smaller blogs. Earn your way up. Learn. Take the advice – you will sometimes get valuable tips on how to improve your post.
Your chance of getting published on big blogs increases if your name is already out there in your niche and if you can add references of published guest posts.
If you follow my above tips, I am sure that you will start your guest blogging adventure. Just make sure that you always provide high-quality content!
We have used guest blogging to build two businesses.
We published guest posts on major marketing blogs like Social Media Examiner, Jeff Bullas’ Blog and Hubspot.
We have used guest blogging to multiply our social media followers, get more signups, grow our search traffic and build our brand reputation.
And we have created an ebook to pass on our knowledge.
If you want to get the best results from your guest blogging efforts, check out our ebook “Write. Publish. Grow. The Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging!”