As a follow-up to Why You Should Guest Post, let’s take a at look how to submit a winning guest post!
How to Submit A Guest Post
Most blogs that accept guest posts have a submission page, complete with guidelines and contact information. For those without a guest post section, why not send an email or a social media message asking if they are open to a guest post?
Tip: For guest post newbies, start with blogs you’ve been following or bloggers who have engaged with your blog.
How to Write a Winning Guest Post
Read Your Host Blog
Just like pitching to traditional media, as mentioned in Before Publishing, read the publisher’s previous articles! In the case of guest blogging, I suggest reading both in-house & guest posts, to better understand the host’s writing style, types of content published and quality of articles accepted.
In general, blogs are written for digital readers who skim through content (often on small screen devices) before deciding if it’s worth a read. Therefore it’s important to create eye-catching headlines, bold subheadings and easy to read sentences.
Good Grammar and Spelling
You’re in communications. Enough said.
Write Epic Content
The days of skinny blog posts where 5 bullet points maketh a blog post are slowly disappearing. The latest buzz is known as epic content (Read Demian Farnworth‘s CopyBlogger articles: How to Create Epic Content and What The New Yorker Magazine Can Teach You About Content Marketing That Works).
For journalism and public relations students, I see this as good news, as you actually need journalism and good writing skills to make a living out of digital writing. If you are looking to build an online communications portfolio, epic content is a great addition to showcase of your writing ability.
Be Aware of Market Trends
Blogs love being the first to jump on the next big thing or expound on current crazes. In the past few months, content marketing and content curation have been covered by the biggest blogs in the market. When a new social media policy or law has been established, many blogs also try to jump on the band wagon. PSY’s YouTube fame has been studied to death by major marketing and public relations sites.
What’s new in your blogging niche this week? Can you find a unique pitch angle that ties in with a popular culture trend?
As with traditional press releases, guest blogs need to be timely! Submit occasion inspired posts (such as, How to Save Money this Holiday Season, Mother’s Day Gift Ideas, 10 Great Summer Trips, How to Start Your School Year with a Bang) 4-6 weeks before the appropriate publishing date and news inspired posts (such as, Celebrating the Life of Newly Decreased Celebrity, What A Company Could Have Done to Prevent the Social Media Crisis, 5 Ways to Help Current Flood Victims) within 1-3 days of the event.
Pick the Right Topic
Write what you know and what intrigues you. There’s nothing more charming than an article that exudes passion and confidence.
Similar to Understand Blogging, most blogs use visual breaks to make their content more readable. Since finding royalty free images takes up time of your host blog, providing relevant images will increase your chances of being published. While you may submit royalty free images found online (make sure they don’t infringe upon copyright laws), I prefer submitting relevant original images or screenshots.
The above picture was taken for guest post When Inspiration Leads to Unexpected Gifts on Chad Miller‘s blog, which took me a grand total of 5 minutes to create. Maximize your guest blogging efforts, make an impression with every guest post by being creatively you.
Insert External Links
Many of FirstCommsJob readers have expressed their desire to write yet lack confidence in their existing communications knowledge. Solution? Quote an external source for additional credibility, just like you would for an academic essay or a journalism article.
Insert Internal Links
Using internal links (reference previous articles from the host blog) has many advantages. For the digital geeks, it helps to increase the site’s SEO/page ranks and monitors content scraping, which basically means, a site will be ranked higher on google search over time and if a bot steals content, a site will be notified through trackbacks.
For the communications professionals, it shows that you have read through your host site prior to submission, are helping to promote previous articles and it’s a great way to build mutually beneficial relationships.
Especially with established blogs, you are likely to receive a rejection email. Don’t give up, instead ask them why your post was rejected. Sometimes it might be a simple case of repeated content, where you can take your blog post to another site and come up with a new idea for the current host. Sometimes they are looking for writers with more experience, in those cases, keep pitching and come back later with a stronger portfolio of published posts.
I have received a few rejections from major blogs in the last month and a half but I emailed them for feedback and kept trying. Most of them have published an article of mine since, and the best part? I learnt so much about writing, guest blogging and pitching.
Are you willing to learn by making mistakes?
Repeated Guest Posting
If you’re keen to guest blog for the same host site, remember to thank them upon publishing, publicize your blog posts via social media sites (remember to credit/tag their sites), reply to your guest blog comments and ask for permission before reblogging your guest post. Be smart, be nice and build a mutually beneficial relationship with your host =)
Thanks for reading this blog post, I hope you found it entertaining and useful.
What are some of your tips and tricks for guest blogging? Have you hosted guest bloggers? What are some good and bad experiences you’ve encountered? Please share your experiences and thoughts in the comments section below.
Until the next post,