Guest blogging helps you connect to a wider audience. Still, it can be demoralizing to pitch bloggers with your article ideas and not get a response. Plus, if you don’t succeed at this activity, it can feel like a massive waste of your time.
The principle behind guest blogging is simple. You connect with successful bloggers who publish on the same or a similar subject and then pitch them blog post ideas—ones you would like to write for them. If they agree to publish your posts, you and your content gain exposure to the other blogger’s audience. Their readers may click through the links in your bio that lead to your website and decide to follow you as well. The links to your site or your blog posts help your site become more discoverable. At the same time, the appearance of your work on another blogger’s website—especially if that blogger has a big audience—gives you more authority.
Most successful bloggers published guest blog posts on other blogger’s sites when they started their blogging journey. And guest blogging remains a sound strategy.
Focus on Quality, Not Quantity
The problem with many guest blogging pitches is that bloggers focus on quantity, not quality. They take a scatter-gun approach to send out as many emails as possible with a canned pitch. Is it any wonder their success rate is low?
To increase the chances of having your guest post accepted on influential blogs, it’s time to start improving the quality of your guest pitches.
On two of my websites, I feature a running list of travel blogs accepting guest articles. My blogs are included in these lists, and I get about 15 to 20 guest blogging requests each week—I delete 95% of them without responding.
I’d love to feature more guest posts but don’t have the time to get into a lengthy email exchange with everyone who contacts me. Bloggers running successful blogs don’t have the luxury of time either.
The following considerations will help get your pitch read and accepted, thus increasing your guest blogging success rate.
Show, Don’t Tell
In creative writing, there’s a big focus on showing rather than telling. I wish I saw that same focus in the pitches I receive.
Here’s an example:
I’ve been an avid reader of travel blogs for some time now – and I enjoy reading your blog on a regular basis. I see that you publish some really great contents about the topics like travel and adventurous trips. I am a blogger and I can write on travel blogs which might be a great addition to your blog. (sic)
This generic pitch is indicative of most of the emails I receive. They’ve told me they’ve read my blog, but there’s nothing that actually shows me they have. This canned pitch of heaping praise on me and my writing doesn’t do either of us any good (not to mention the typos and grammar and punctuation mistakes).
So how can you switch from telling to showing? You can pitch an article about a topic in the blog’s niche.
Reedsy did this recently when they pitched an article about how to write a nonfiction book proposal. They mentioned that I hadn’t covered the topic on my blog and wondered if it would be of interest. This showed me that they’d searched my blog and identified a content opportunity. They also showed me they could provide value.
As witnessed in the blog pitch example above, not all pitches are well written.
Put your best foot forward with a pitch. If the email is full of grammar or spelling mistakes, it doesn’t bode well for the quality of your article. Most bloggers will hit “delete” quickly if they receive a poorly written pitch.
Busy bloggers are looking for high-quality contributions that need minimal editing. If they think you’re going to cause them more work rather than lightening their load, chances are your pitch will be ignored.
Honestly is the Best Policy
In the current landscape, it’s not uncommon for brands to employ freelance writers who pitch articles without disclosing they contain affiliate links.
I had a recent email from a writer offering an informative article for my Bodrum travel website. It wasn’t until I received the final article that I discovered it was peppered with affiliate links for a well-known travel booking site.
This writer was persistent about getting his post featured. Although he offered to compensate me for highlighting it, I wasn’t allowed to identify it as a sponsored post. He offered options to tag it as a partner post, guest post, or collaborative post, but I blog with integrity. Therefore, I declined to feature the article because I couldn’t tag it correctly as a sponsored post. What a waste of time for both of us.
When pitching an article that includes affiliate links, disclose this fact during your initial email. Some bloggers are selective about the type of paid posts they accept, so it’s more efficient to provide full disclosure up-front.
Focus on the Blog Audience
It’s essential to include a link to your website or writing samples in your initial query. This allows the blog host to check out a few of your articles and review your writing style and quality. You’re pitching a post, so your first thought will automatically be about selling yourself and your writing skills. But don’t forget to turn the spotlight on the most important people in the guest post equation—the blog audience.
Your pitch needs to be written with this audience in mind. It must be immediately evident that you’ve put the blogger’s audience first and have taken SEO impact into consideration as well.
Ideal Guest Post Pitch
So what does my ideal guest blog pitch look like:
Subject: Guest Post for [blog name]
I’m currently writing an article called “[XXX]” It’s going to cover [audience benefit]. I noticed you don’t have many articles about [niche topic] on your [XX] blog, so I thought this would be a good fit.
Let me know if you’re interested in this guest post, and I can send you a draft within a week. Here’s the link to my [blog/website/portfolio] so you can check out my writing style.
This pitch is simple and to the point. And, in less than a minute, a blog host can determine whether you’ve done your homework and exhibited the entry-level professionalism necessary to decide to feature your content.
What guest blogging tactics have worked for you? Let me know in a comment below, and if you’ve found this article useful, please share with your friends and followers.
About the Author
Jay Artale abandoned her corporate career to become a digital nomad and full-time writer. She’s an avid blogger and a nonfiction author helping travel writers and travel bloggers achieve their self-publishing goals. Join her at Birds of a Feather Press where she shares tips, advice, and inspiration to writers with an independent spirit.
Photo courtesy of aurielaki.