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The Ultimate Guide To Pitching, Landing And Writing High Quality Guest Posts

Guide to write guest post

What if I told you (at the risk of sounding like the intro to an ESPN 30 For 30) that there was a way that you could get more out of the time you spend writing, reach new people every day and increase your exposure as an author or expert in your field?

Well, there is. It’s called guest posting.

(Created with imgflip.com)

Guest posting (also called guest blogging) is when you write content that appears on other websites and blogs while still getting author credit.

When done right, guest posting opportunities can help you:

  • Improve your search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • Increase organic traffic to your website
  • Expand your audience and sphere of influence
  • Enhance your brand as a writer
  • Establish yourself as a thought leader in your field

That’s right. You could get all of those benefits by simply doing what you’ve already been doing: writing (plus a few other simple steps).

Sounds too good to be true, I know, but I can tell you from first-hand experience guest posting for Pearl Lemon that it’s more than true.

And I’ll prove it by explaining to you exactly how to write guest posts.

In this ultimate guide, I will show you how to increase your organic traffic, expand your brand and establish yourself as an expert through guest posting. 

Then, I will walk you through step by step on how to find, pitch and land guest posting opportunities on high-quality websites, before giving you actionable writing tips on how to write a killer guest post.

And if that wasn’t enough, I’ll share throughout my experiences on writing guest posts for high-quality sites, which include:

How Exactly Do Guest Posts Benefit You?

If you already know understand the benefits of guest posting and feel like skipping down into the more technical step by step portion of this guide, you can jump down by clicking here.

Go ahead. I won’t be offended.

If you’ve decided to stick around, however, then great! Let’s dive in.

There are several ways in which writing guest posts can benefit you, your brand, your business and/or your website.

Some benefits are tangible, like the acquisition of backlinks (more on backlinks later) and getting more visitors to your site.

Other benefits will be harder to measure directly at first, such as brand exposure, establishing your authority and demonstrating expertise.

But, if you’re patient and consistent with your guest posts, they will lead to more measurable metrics of success like an increase in:

  • Leads
  • Customers
  • Revenue
  • Professional and mutually beneficial relationships
  • Business opportunities

Here’s how:

Guest Posting Improves Your SEO

When you write a guest post, you are typically allowed to include 1-3 backlinks in your submitted content.

A backlink is a link embedded in text that, when clicked on, sends a user to a different domain. It can also be called an external link because the link sends the user to an external page.

For example, this is a backlink, because it sends you to Pearl Lemon Leads, which is a different domain than Pearl Lemon SEO.

So, when you write a guest post, you will be able to include at least one backlink that sends readers to a page on your site.

Backlinks are essentially the currency of guest posting, and they are super valuable for two reasons:

  1. Backlinks boost your organic traffic
  2. Backlinks improve your SERP ranking

How Guest Posts Boost Your Organic Traffic

By getting a backlink on a new site, you are creating a new avenue for people to land on your website or desired page.

Someone who discovers and reads your guest post can now find themselves heading directly to your site with the click of a button, which means your organic traffic (the number of people landing on a website through unpaid means) will increase. And as a by-product of this, your website will show up higher on Google.

But why is this so different than if you posted the blog on your site? Can’t you just put a link there leading to your main site homepage?

Well, the difference is that the person who arrived on your site through your guest post is a person who likely wouldn’t have landed on your site without your guest post.

Think about how they got to the guest post in the first place. They likely weren’t Googling your name, and they definitely wouldn’t have been looking for your website directly. Otherwise, they would be there and not on the guest post.

No, they either arrived at your guest post because either:

  1. They are a regular visitor of the site your guest post is on and found your blog by exploring the site
  2. The site or your guest post showed up in a Google search

A guest post then is not just attracting organic traffic to your site, but it’s traffic you would not normally receive.

The best part about this traffic is that those arriving at your site are in your target market –  assuming you contribute to blogs that are within your field – meaning they are more likely to convert into leads and customers.

How Backlinks In Guest Posts Improve SERP Ranking

Source: Seobility

Getting a backlink to your site will improve your Search Engine Result Page (SERP) ranking directly, regardless if people click on the backlink.

This means that your website will show up higher on Google which will naturally lead to more visitors, as according to Backlinko, the first result on Google has a click-through rate of 31.7%, and only .78% of Google users click on something on the second page.

The reason this will occur is that backlinks are considered a “vote of confidence” in the SEO world. 

When a website includes a backlink in a piece of content, they are putting their reputation on the line too. If the backlink sends a user to a low-quality site, it reflects poorly on the original site, potentially costing them users. 

Backlinks, therefore, aren’t given out lightly, and by including a backlink, a website is essentially saying that “this other website is so good and useful, that I am willing to send my visitors to it.”

Google and other search engines understand this, and it is factored into their algorithm, so that the more backlinks that send users to your site, the higher it will rank.

Backlinks are actually one of the most significant factors in improving your SEO, making writing guest posts worth it for the backlink alone, as they are not easy to get.

Keep in mind, though, that the quality of a backlink matters in a website’s ranking as well.

What I mean by a quality backlink is a backlink that appears on a well-known and trusted website with high organic traffic.

Search engines added this as a factor to prevent people from creating sites specifically for backlinking that provide no value to its users. 

Because of this, you’re better off focusing on acquiring a few backlinks from high-quality sites than going after tons of backlinks from sites with low traffic.

Later, this guide will show you exactly how to find sites that are worth your guest posting efforts.

Guest Posts Help Establish You As An Expert/Thought Leader

Appearing on a high-quality website as a contributor will implant the idea in people’s minds that you are an expert in your field.

Source: The Right Brain Entrepreneur

I mean you have to be, otherwise, the website wouldn’t have accepted your work.

And your position of expertise will only get amplified the more guest posts you write.

How many times have you thought “man, this person is everywhere!” and assumed they were great at what they do?

Like that actor/actress in seemingly every movie trailer or the author whose name appears on all of the book covers in a store display case?

It’s the same with guest posting. 

The more you get your name out there, the more your online authority will grow, establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field.

Of course, the quality of the website and your work has to be there as well.

Writing for websites no one visits is simply a waste of time because the idea is you want people reading your stuff. 

And offering up low caliber content won’t help either. In fact, it can actually hurt you, as users may begin to tag you as the person who writes useless content, and Google may penalise you for it (more on this later).

But if you go about guest posting in the right way, you could find yourself as a leader and influencer in your industry, increasing people’s trust in you and what you have to offer while also leading to more customers down the road.

Expand Brand Awareness Through Guest Posts

Source: pxhere

The above is also true for your business and its brand. 

If people are going to engage with your business, they need to have heard about it, and guest posts are an excellent way to increase your brand awareness and spread your company name across the internet.

The best part about guest posts is that in addition to simply putting your company name on other sites, you, as a representative of the company, are also demonstrating its potential value to the reader and establishing its authority through your quality content.

And because a guest post adds a layer of objective approval, it will make the reader more likely to become a customer than if they just saw your company logo on a paid advertisement.

You can increase the effectiveness of both of the above by writing more guest posts, as it often takes several impressions before a person will cognitively remember your brand.

Reach New Audiences And Grow Your Own

A sitewide link is one that points back to a single URL but does so on every page of a site. For example, a sitewide link might appear in the site’s footer for the website building tool they used.

For every new article or update on your own blog, a majority of its readership will be people who consistently see your content.

Which is great, but don’t you also want new people to be reading your stuff?

When you contribute to a website as a guest blogger, you are gaining access to a brand new and potentially massive audience with little effort.

Why?

Because the website you are guest posting for already has its own set of regular visitors that will now be consuming your content. 

Normally, you’d have to conduct a considerable amount of SEO, lead generation and promotional strategies to expand your audience even a little bit.

But by writing a guest post, you just expanded your readership dramatically without putting in any more effort than you normally would writing for your own blog. The other website already did the work of obtaining that audience for you.

And the best part is that some of those people reading your guest blog may become a regular consumer of your content, as well as potential prospects, leads and customers.

Establish New Professional Relationships

Source: pixy.org

When landing guest post opportunities, you will typically be communicating with at least one other person throughout the process; creating the possibility of building a professional relationship with someone that could potentially benefit both parties beyond this initial exchange.

Yes, even guest posting can be turned into a networking opportunity.

So be sure to stay in touch with your contact, because:

  • It could lead to more guest posting opportunities
  • They might become a lead, client, or customer
  • They could connect you to other influential people in your field

This guide later will talk more about maintaining this relationship after your guest post is published.

Outside Approval Will Push You To Do Your Best Work

With your own blog, you’re in charge of what goes up.

Meaning that sometimes it can be easy to fall prey to publishing content that isn’t your best work, knowing that it will be published regardless of the quality – especially during those times you just feel absolutely swamped.

Trust me. As a content writer, I’ve been there. 

There have been times – whether it was because I was just too busy to put in the time or simply got frustrated with a piece – where I’ve gotten complacent and published content that I knew wasn’t my best.

But it didn’t matter, because I was in charge of putting it up.

Sometimes, we need that extra kick of motivation that comes from another person looking at your content.

And guest posting gives you exactly that.

Because you don’t get to decide if it gets published – another website does. And knowing that if you don’t give them a high-quality blog post that you will get rejected can push you to put in maximum effort on your guest blog.

Plus, we all do our best work when we know other people are going to see and judge it.

It’s just human nature.

Can I Get Paid For Writing Guest Posts?

Unfortunately, most guest posting opportunities won’t result in a payday.

“What?! That’s a rip-off!”

If you’re thinking this right now, this may not be the guide for you.

I want to make this clear because guest posting isn’t about getting paid to write. 

If that’s your goal, then that’s awesome! There are tons of paid writing opportunities out there, but guest posting isn’t one of them.

Writing guest blogs is more about growing your brand as an influencer in your field and marketing your website/business.

This won’t be as tangible as receiving cash, but it can be extremely beneficial in the long run.

“But wait, you said MOST guest posting opportunities don’t result in a payday?

Ah good catch, I did.

Yes. You could potentially get paid to write a guest post, but there are some things you have to keep in mind if this is your desire.

One is that there will be fewer opportunities for paid guest posting opportunities.

Well established websites – in other words, websites that are worth guest posting for – will already have professional writers on staff, meaning it won’t be worth their time to pay someone they don’t know to write a blog when they have several people whose writing skills they trust.

These sites also understand the value they are offering by giving you access to their visitors and placing a backlink on their site. Knowing this means there aren’t going to be many opportunities where you get all of the above benefits AND get paid.

If you want to get paid, you will likely have to sacrifice author credit and/or the backlink, which is the whole point of writing a guest post. 

Besides, the value you get from expanding your brand through author credit and helping your website and business through a backlink will likely be much more than the $250 you get from writing the article.

Can’t I Save Myself The Trouble And Buy Links?

The simple answer to this question is yes, you can, but there are some severe downsides to buying links.

The first one is that it will cost you money, and why pay for something when you can do it for free?

The second reason is Google doesn’t like the idea of people buying links, because it means that the content that appears highest on its SERPs aren’t necessarily the most useful to a searcher, but content produced by people with the most money.

To combat this, Google created a tag that is added to the HTML code of links that are paid for.

This tag makes it so that the site that the link goes to doesn’t receive any additional SEO benefit beyond organic traffic.

And if the site you buy the link from DOESN’T put the tag on, you’ll risk getting penalised by Google.

Lastly, if you buy links, you could unwittingly get involved in an unethical link building scam, like low-quality links or blog comment spamming, which could also result in penalties from Google.

All of this is to say buying links is way more trouble than it’s worth.

Besides, you’ll feel so much better having earned your backlink than buying it!

Wouldn’t It Be Easier To Write Low-Quality Guest Posts For Low-Quality Sites?

Sure, it would save you time and effort to write half-assed guest posts for a low-quality website. But, as I said earlier, putting in maximum effort for higher quality websites will provide you with more significant SEO benefits and more organic traffic. “But what if I do, like, a hundred low-quality guest posts? Won’t that be better than writing four high-quality guest posts?” Not necessarily. Google hates low-quality content and has built its algorithms around rewarding high-quality content, which, as a result, hurts poor quality content. Google’s emphasis on quality was originally introduced in Google’s Panda update back in 2011.
Source: Wikimedia

Initially a filter, the Panda update was officially incorporated into Google’s algorithm (in 2015/2016) to fight content farms (websites with a ton of low-quality content), reduce the ranking of low-quality content and increase the rankings of high-quality content.

In other words, if you go after the quantity over quality approach to guest posting, you may only be hurting your website.

There is also the fact that if you associate yourself and your brand with useless content, then you’re also hurting your reputation, driving away potential customers/clients/business opportunities in the process.

How To Pitch, Land And Write A Guest Post

Ok, now that I’ve convinced you that writing guest posts is definitely in your best interest, it’s finally time to tell you exactly how to do it!

I’m about to take you step by step through the whole guest blogging process, from conducting outreach to writing your blog and what to do after your content is published.

The Outreach Process

To get guest posting opportunities, you’re going to have to get in touch with the decision-maker of the website you want to write for – typically, in the form of an email.

But before you can start drafting emails, there are a few things you’ll need to do.

Find High-Quality Websites

Alright, first thing’s first, you have to find guest posting opportunities.

The best tool to find high-quality blogs accepting guest posts is good ol’ fashioned Google (crazy that I’m calling Google “ol’ fashioned” am I right?)

Source: Pixabay

Write a list of a few keywords related to your field and use them to create search terms that will result in potential guest posting opportunities. Here are some examples:
  • (keyword) guest posts
  • (keyword) guest post opportunities
  • (keyword) guest-blogs
  • (keyword) write for us
  • (keyword) blog
  • (keyword) guest posting
This will result in a ton of websites with blogs that accept guest posts. You’ll also probably find articles that have gathered websites that accept guest posts. Now, create a list of websites from your search results that you can potentially write guest posts for. When choosing which ones to add to your list, they should hit a few requirements to ensure that you will actually benefit by writing for them:
  • High domain authority – a metric on a scale of 1 to 100 on a website’s ability to rank on SERPs. The higher, the better, but aim for websites that have a domain authority of at least 40
  • A lot of organic traffic – the number of monthly visitors a site has. This will be relative depending on the site and field but shooting for sites with at least 1,000 is ideal
You can use a tool like Ahrefs or Moz to find the above metrics. Also exploring the website and reading some of its content will give some indications as to if it’s a quality site or not. Copy and paste the URLs of the sites that hit the above requirements into your list. I recommend doing so in a Microsoft or Google spreadsheet, as you can neatly organise and fill in contact information for each website, as well as potentially use it with an email automation tool such as MailShake. Here is how I layout my spreadsheet, but feel free to customise yours:

You can also add to this list:

  • Well respected websites and blogs in your field that you know about
  • Blogs that don’t explicitly say they accept guest posts. You can still reach out to these sites to inquire about guest posting, although you may be less likely to get one accepted

Websites That Accept Guest Posts

Don’t feel like doing the research yourself? Well, don’t worry! We did some for you. Here are some high-quality websites that accept guest posts:

Gather Contact Information/Check Submission Process

Once you have a sizable list (at least 20 but potentially more), it’s time to gather contact information to use for outreach.

Start by checking to see if the website has guest posting guidelines.

If they do, these guidelines will be your best friend throughout this whole process, as they tell you EXACTLY how to get a guest post approved for that particular site. So hold onto them, as we’ll be coming back to the guidelines. But for now, check to see if they layout their submission process. More often than not, they’ll give you an email to submit pitches or an article to. Some websites also use forms to accept submissions. If that’s the case, copy and paste a link to the form in your spreadsheet, and you can use that to submit your guest post later. Otherwise, add the email and name of the person you’re supposed to contact into your spreadsheet. If there are no visible guest posting guidelines or “where to submit” page, you’ll have to find the owner/editor/decision-makers email address. You may have to scrounge around, but here are some tips on finding the right contact information:
  • Scour the website and look to see if you can find an email of the owner/decision-maker/editor on it
  • Check the social media or LinkedIn of the owner/decision-maker/editor for their email (or you could potentially DM them)
  • Got to the “contact us” page
  • Find a customer service email
  • Get the email of the authors of content on the blog. They may not be the one who approves content or the site, but they may be able to put you in contact with the person who does
  • Use an email scraping tool like Hunter or Prospect to get emails associated with the domain name
Do this until your spreadsheet is all filled out with the contact information you’ll need.

Come Up With Topic Pitches

Source: Syracuse

The last thing you’ll need to do before you can start drafting emails is to come up with blog topic pitches to send to each website.

If you don’t have any pitches, no one is going to bother accepting even a first draft of your guest post. Editors want to make sure you have an existing blog idea that will benefit their website, so they don’t read something that isn’t worth their time.

Make a list of topics in your field that you will be able to write about effectively and that you are very knowledgeable on.

The topics should also be something where you can bring something new or original to the discussion and add value to the reader. 

This can be:

  • A new take or opinion
  • A problem and potential solution
  • A new study
  • Data/statistics
  • Original tips and advice

Here are some tips for brainstorming pitches:

  • Be specific – The more specific you are, the more likely your topic will be different and original. Specific topics also usually lead to better blogs, especially if your word count is going to be 1,500-3,000 words  
  • Demonstrate how it will be beneficial to readers – make sure it is clear how someone will benefit from reading your blog

To show you how the above tips work, I’ll give you a couple of example topic pitches:

  1. 8 New Strategies For Implementing A Call To Action In A Video
  2. Lead Generation Using Videos

Which pitch do you think is better (in a kid’s show, this is usually where the host pauses for a beat to let the children shout out the answer. Go ahead… I’ll wait).

If you said pitch number one, you’re correct!

It’s specific, telling you precisely what the article is going to be about, even giving you an idea of how long it may be. Pitch number two, on the other hand, is vague and can go in so many different directions.

Pitch number one also says right in the title what a reader will learn from reading the blog post, as well as demonstrates your knowledge base through using vernacular specific to the area of study (lead generation). 

Pitch number two gives virtually no indication of what the reader may learn, nor if you even truly know about the subject.

Now, using the above tips, make a list of 10 or so topic ideas that you think you could write a 1,500 word plus blog post about.

The more potential pitches you have, the better because:

  1. If you get accepted by multiple sites, you can’t write the same article for both
  2. You may notice that even though all of the sites you gather will be within your field, their blogs may differ slightly on the more specific areas they like to cover

If you’re feeling stuck at any point, here are some templates for topics that usually work pretty well:

  • How-to guides, ex: The Quick Guide On How To _____
  • Advice, ex: __ Tips For _____
  • Explanations, ex: _______ explained, or Reasons why more people are choosing _____
  • Reviews/recommendations, ex: ____ tools to help with _____

With each pitch, it will also be helpful to have a brief description and potentially an outline, as some sites will ask for that.

It will also be helpful for you later during the guest post writing process.

So, with each pitch, write a little description, describing what the article will be about and how it will benefit readers.

Then include an outline. It can be as simple as laying out the headings you plan to use. Or, if your topic is “X Tips on ____”, you can simply lay out all of the tips you plan to share.

Reaching Out

Okay, so you have a spreadsheet with a list of website URLs, the proper contact information and tons of excellent and specific topics you are itching to write about.

It’s time to start writing emails!

Source: pixy.org

Essentially, what is going to go in the email is:
  • A subject line
  • Greeting
  • An introduction on who you are
  • That you want to write for their site
  • Some qualifications (usually sample blogs you’ve published)
  • 2-3 topic pitches
  • A nice little thank you
As you can see, it’s nothing extravagant.  You won’t need to write an essay arguing why they should let you write a guest post, and you don’t need a ton of fluff either. If you are pitching to a reputable website, their editors are likely receiving several pitches per day. According to a recent survey from Point Visible, a majority of editors get ten guest post pitches every day. That may not seem like a lot, but just think about how many other responsibilities an editor has at a website. They simply aren’t going to want to spend too much time reading long emails. For the most part, all you have to do is let your pitches speak for themselves, which is by far the most important part of the email. That said, you don’t want to come across as dry and boring. Add some personality to the email to show that you are, in fact, an interesting person. A few ways to do this are:
  • Have a voice in your writing
  • Add humour. Self-deprecating humour can be especially effective with outreach in general (but don’t overdo it)
  • Use Gifs, pictures, and Memes when appropriate 
And finding small ways to personalise the email to the company will show that you care and took some time with this. For example, you could:
  • Mention a specific blog you read (but avoid general compliments like “I love reading your blog”)
  • Talk about how their product/service has benefited you (if this is true)
  • Write a specific compliment to the editor (maybe you saw they won an award or posted something on LinkedIn you can mention)
The above are all general pitch email writing tips, but now I’ll take you through the writing of each section of an email for guest posting. I’ve also included a couple of templates to give you a better idea!

The Subject Line

When crafting your subject line, the first thing you should do is check the guest post submission guidelines, because it may ask for a specific subject line to be included with your email.

If it does, be sure to use that, so your email doesn’t get lost, and you don’t irritate the editor.

If the submission guidelines don’t specify the subject line, you’re honestly fine keeping it simple and straightforward, like:

  • Guest post
  • Article submission
  • Blog contribution
  • Guest post pitches
  • Guest blog topics

Or something else similar.

This will let the editor know what your email will be about, making it easy to find and label so it won’t get lost.

Another route you could take is to write a clever/funny subject line to help your email stand out. It may potentially annoy some editors, but in our experience at Pearl Lemon, emails that stand out get read.

If you decide to go this route, just be sure that:

  • Somewhere in the email, it is clear that you are pitching a guest post
  • If the guidelines ask for a specific subject line, then use it and don’t take it upon yourself to create your own

Examples of potential subject lines are:

  • You guessed it, this is another email asking about guest posts
  • Did you know you don’t read 100% of the emails about guest posts that you don’t open?
  • So a guest post pitch walked into an inbox…

Greeting

Source: Pinterest

You don’t have to put much thought into the greeting. 

A simple:

Hey (name of the person you are addressing), 

Will do the trick.

There are two things you should always, always, always do though.

One is to do everything you can to find the name of the person you are addressing.

It will go a long way in getting your email read.

It shows that you put in some effort and/or paid attention to their directions if their name is mentioned in the guidelines.

Also, people are more likely to open and read an email if their name is in it.

Just put yourself in their shoes.

If you check your inbox and see an email addressed to you with your name, aren’t you more likely to read it than if it just said “hello”?

If you can’t find a name, a “Hey there,” will do the trick, but only if you’ve exhausted every possible resource.

The other thing I’d recommend is to avoid the word “Hello.”

Business emailing has taken on more conversational tones in recent years and “Hello” sounds overly formal, and people don’t typically talk like that in person when meeting someone.

It likely won’t be a deal-breaker, but saying “Hey” or “Hi” could give your email a little bit more energy and friendliness.

Introduce Yourself

The absolute first thing you should do is introduce yourself.

Source: Tenor

I mean, that’s just polite in any situation, but it is also crucial when pitching guest posts, as website owners will want to know who is writing for their site.

Along with your name, be sure to include:

  • Your position/title
  • The company you work for/own 
  • Your website

If you don’t include these, your email can come across as sketchy, like you may be hiding something or running a scheme.

Including your business and website is also important so an editor can ensure that there is brand alignment, as well as check that the website they may include a backlink to is legitimate.

All four of these things don’t have to be included in the first sentence of your email, (although your name definitely should) but make sure they appear in the email and are clear.

For example:

This is (name) of (company name).

(Name) here, of (company name).

I’m (name), and I write for (website).

That You Want To Write A Guest Post

This should be obvious from the subject line, but still, make it clear that you would like to write a guest post/pitch topics for their website.

That way, whoever is reading your email will know exactly what you want.

And get to this relatively quickly, because again, if you have too much fluff, an editor may decide it isn’t worth their time and trash the email before even reading what the email is about.

In sticking with the theme of simplicity, you can say:

“I am emailing you about writing a guest post for your blog. I have a few potential topics that I think you and your readers will love.”

As always, feel free to personalise this and add your own voice.

For example, you could toss in a little joke in parentheses, like, “I am emailing you about writing a guest post for your blog (sure you don’t hear that very often!), and I have a few topics I can guarantee you’ve never heard before!”

Do whatever feels most natural to you, but this should give you an idea of what you could say.

2 To 3 Topic Pitches

The most important part of your email: your topic pitches.

This is what is going to get you approved to write a guest post. Everything else up to this point is just to make sure you don’t get rejected before someone reads your pitches.

Don’t worry, though. You’ve come prepared for this. Go ahead and whip out that list of pitches you’ve already drafted up.

BUT WAIT!

Don’t just plug in any three random pitches you’ve come up with. You’re going to want to tailor your topics to each website you’re submitting to.

This is super important because if you pitch topics unrelated to their blog, you’re going to get rejected.

“Well if these websites are in the same field, shouldn’t all of my topics be related to their blog?”

Not necessarily. 

Because some blogs may cover smaller niches within an industry.

For example, just think of something like marketing and how many topics fall underneath such a vast field.

Some blogs will cover marketing in general, but there will also be plenty of other blogs with a more narrow focus under marketing, like paid advertising or video marketing.

So yes, consumer psychology is related to marketing, but pitching that topic to a brand-building blog will lead to a swift rejection.

How can you be sure then that you are pitching the right topics? 

First, check that handy ol’ “Submission Guidelines” we talked about earlier, as it will often tell you exactly what topics they are looking for in submissions to help you pick the right topics for the website you are emailing.

You can also look at their blog to get an idea of what topics they typically cover. 

Then pick from your list the topics that make the most sense for the blog you are emailing. If you have to, come up with new pitches or alter your pre-existing ones, so they are specific to their blog.

Once you have two or three pitches you think are a good fit, there are a couple more things you’ll need to do before officially putting them in your email.

Go back to their blog and double-check that they haven’t already covered the topic you are pitching. If you don’t, that topic will automatically get rejected, and it’ll look like you didn’t put in any effort in. 

The other thing you should do while examining their blog is to pay close attention to how they phrase their titles so you can conform your guest post pitches to that particular website.

Here is what I mean:

Say one of your pitches is “6 Ways To Increase Efficiency With Microsoft Powerpoint”, but you notice that most of their blog titles have the words “how-to” in them. You may want to then adjust your pitch to be “6 Ways On How To Increase Efficiency With Microsoft Powerpoint”.

It’s subtle, but it could make a world of difference.

Alright, after going through all of that, you should now have two or three excellent pitches to put in your email (unless the submission guidelines ask for a separate Google or Word Document for your pitches).

You can simply introduce them like: 

Here are some topics I would love to write about for you guys!

Topic #1

Your brief description

Topic #2

Your brief description

Topic #3

Your brief description

Writing Samples

Including a few published writing samples in your email will help demonstrate to the person approving your guest post that you are a competent and interesting writer.

Attach a couple of links to some previous blog posts you’ve written like this:

Here are a couple of writing samples if you want to check out my work!

Link 1

Link 2

Two samples should be fine, maybe three. You don’t need to send any more than that, and definitely don’t send your entire portfolio. It’s overkill, and an editor is more likely going to toss out your email upon seeing a portfolio than take the time to read through any of it. 

It could even cause you to come across as a bit pretentious.

So two to three samples max.

Also, send samples that are relevant to the blog you are submitting to.

This means that they should preferably be another blog – whether that be your own blog, your company website blog, or a guest post somewhere else – and in the same field.

Seriously, don’t send your screenplay (something I’ve actually gotten as a sample before).

Editors don’t care how you can pull off the three-act structure; they want to see that you can write about topics that will benefit them in their style.

Sign Off

Source: Inkforall

Again, simple is your best friend here with your email sign off.

Here are some examples:

  • Looking forward to hearing from you!
  • All the best!
  • Cheers

And then finish it off with your name and contact info as you would any email.

Outreach Email Template

Hey (name of editor),

(Name) here, of (company/business/website). I’m a (writer/other position).

Here is some of my work if you want to check it out (include links to writing samples/website)

I’m reaching out because I would love to contribute to your blog on (topic of blog).

Here are a few pitches I think would work great on your blog

(Topic 1 and maybe a brief description)

(Topic 2 and maybe a brief description)

(Topic 3 and maybe a brief description)

Let me know if you like any of these!

Thanks!
(Name)

(Contact info and link to website)

My Actual Outreach Email

If you follow the above, you’ll come out with a pretty solid template that you can use for your guest post outreach emails.

Just remember to personalise each email to the website.

But I’m not just going to give you a template. I’m going to show you the email that I actually used to get my guest post with Hubspot.

No joke, this is word for word what I sent.

Here it is:

Hi,

My name is Noah Carey, and I am the content marketing director at Pearl Lemon, an SEO company in London.

I was wondering how I could contribute a guest post? I specialize in writing about lead generation and growth hacking. 

Here is some of my work:

https://pearllemonleads.com/lead-generation-a-beginners-guide-to-generating-business-leads-the-inbound-way/

If I could contribute to your blog in some way that would be awesome. Just let me know!

Noah

Yes, the email was that simple.

The response I got from this email was essentially a thank you, a link to HubSpot’s submission guidelines and then a request for pitches.

Here is the email I sent with the pitch that got approved (with the name changed to protect privacy).

George,

Thanks for the response! Here are some topic pitches. Let me know if you like any of them!

  1. How to get customers raving about your business through automation
  2. How Pearl Lemon onboard their agency clients like a SaaS company
  3. How to use Whatsapp and Email to make your clients love you more than ever before

Noah

I then got approved to write the guest post about WhatsApp and Email (which I later changed to just being about WhatsApp), then I was off and writing!

Follow-Up Email

Ok so you’ve sent your email/submission, it’s been about a week, and you haven’t heard back.

What do you do?

Most people will give you the generic answer of “send a follow-up,” and to that I say: NO!

I say, be patient and wait a little longer.

Some websites get ten or more submissions a day, meaning it takes them a bit to get through all of them.

Plus, in my experience, most websites will include in their guest post guidelines something like “please give us time to review your submissions, as we get a lot every day”. So don’t pester them.

Just give it a little time.

Eventually, if you don’t hear back, a follow-up email is a good idea, but I’d recommend waiting two weeks instead of just the typical one week.

When sending your follow up email, something we have found that works well is using a little self-deprecating humor, acknowledging the fact that you are pestering them.

For example: “Yes, yes, this is the “follow-up email.” Just want to make sure you didn’t forget about me!”

You can even send a third or fourth follow-up email. I mean, why not right? What’s the worst they can do, continue to not respond?

A few other tips when sending a follow-up email:

  • Check the guidelines to see their policy. They will often say something like “wait at least X amount of time before following up”. Sometimes they’ll even say “don’t follow up”. Whatever it says, follow it!
  • Keep it short. Two to four sentences will do the trick. The goal is to get them to check your previous email, not give them more to read.

Can You Send Another Submission If You Don’t Hear Back?

Yes!

But again, wait. At least a month or two.

Give them time to read your original submission. You don’t want to get the reputation as the guy who continually sends submissions and gets rejected. 

Because as soon as your name pops up in their inbox, it’ll head for the trash.

In the meantime, you can concentrate your efforts on landing a guest post/writing one for other sites, before eventually circling back.

Dealing With Rejection

Source: Pixabay

Rejection is part of life.

You can get rejected by universities, job applications when asking someone out, and of course, guest posts.

But don’t give up!

Often, when you get a rejection response, the person emailing you will give you another chance to submit new topics, and maybe even offer advice.

This is what happened when I first emailed Hubspot.

My original set of topics were not in line with what they were looking for.

This is because I sent marketing topic pitches, but at the time, they were looking for guest posts about customer service, so they rejected me.

I didn’t throw in the towel though!

I hunkered down, and with a little help from some co-workers, came up with new topics and sent another email.

This time though I got the go-ahead to write one!

And the rest, as they say, is history…

So, if your first set of pitches get rejected, keep trying! 

Be sure to take any feedback they give you. You can even go back to their blog and see if it sparks any ideas or gives you some insight into exactly what they may be looking for.

Writing Your Guest Post

Source: Pixabay

You got a topic approved! Take a moment and congratulate yourself.

No seriously, that first guest post-acceptance is a great feeling, so let it boost your confidence a bit.

Don’t take too long, because the work isn’t over yet. You still got to write the thing!

Unfortunately, there isn’t one straight answer I can give you to write the perfect guest post.

What I can do though, is give you grade A tips and strategies to help you write a killer guest post that is sure to get published.

First, I’ll go into some general writing tips that will help you write an engaging and internet-friendly piece of content.

Then, I’ll share with you specific ways to improve your guest post that, in my experience, editors love. 

After that, I’ll dive into the backlink, telling you how and where to include it in your guest post.

Tips When Writing For The Internet

Remember, your guest post is going to appear on the internet.  Yeah, no duh. But that fact is often forgotten when writing. When we bring on new writers, I often see that their early pieces are academic in tone and structured with large paragraphs, which simply doesn’t work all that well for the internet. I mean, think about what you typically look for when you Google something. Are you spending an hour reading an academic journal? Or trying to find an answer quickly? Probably the latter. So put yourself in your audience’s shoes.  If they open up your blog and find the language overly complicated, they’ll likely get bored or give up trying to decipher what you are saying to find something else. This is especially true if they’re using a phone, as large paragraphs with long sentences can be annoying to read. And with the ever-decreasing attention span of internet users (the average time spent on a webpage is 15 seconds according to The Daily Egg), you don’t want to give your reader any reason to hit the back button. So, when writing for the internet, you want to make your blog engaging and easy to read, and the tips I’m about to give you are geared towards this internet style of writing. Most of the following would make a high school English teacher scream, and I wouldn’t recommend using many of these suggestions when writing your debut novel. But, they’ll help you write a guest post that will leave editors clamouring for more.

Write An Engaging Guest Post

Being engaging is probably the most important thing when writing content for the internet, as it will solve the 15-second problem mentioned above.

And if your guest post submission has an editor fully engaged and immersed in your content, you’re almost guaranteed to get published.

Writing an engaging blog, however, goes way beyond just including interesting tidbits of information.

Being engaging is about presenting information in a way that captures and holds the reader’s attention while making them actively engage with the text.

For example, the fact that the moon travels around the Earth at a rate of 1.022 km/s may be interesting in its own right to some people, but I just presented it in a dull, matter of fact way.

But what if I presented it like this?

“Have you ever thought about how fast the moon travels? 

To the naked eye, it’s hard to see it moving, but the moon is actually travelling at 1.022 km/s!

That means over the course of an hour, the moon covers its entire diameter. That’s 3,472.2km! (now if only we could build a car that travels that fast)”

Isn’t that WAY more engaging and fun to read?

Let’s take a closer look at some of the elements of that piece of text that you can use to make your writing more engaging.

Questions

Source: pixy.org

When you ask a question to the reader in a blog, you get them engaged because you are directly provoking them to think.

Questions also leave the audience with a bit of suspense and create investment in your blog as they look for the answer they know you will provide. 

With the example above, you weren’t consciously thinking about how fast the moon travels until I put the thought in your head through my question.

If I had just given you the answer straight away, you’d think “ok, cool.”

But instead, I got you thinking about it and wanting to know the answer, essentially forcing you to continue reading to figure out the question.

And if you present your question right and time the answer, you can keep your reader engaged throughout your entire guest post. 

Because you don’t have to give the answer right away, you could make it, so the reader has to consume the whole blog for the answer.

I mean, do you think it was a coincidence that I started this guide with a question?

Source: gfycat.com

Italics And Punctuation To Add Voice

Who is a more interesting person to talk to?

Someone who has energy in their voice with varying pitches and cadence, or someone talking in a monotone?

Probably the former, right?

Well, it’s the same when reading.

A blog with a voice is way more interesting to read than a blog that sounds flat.

But how do you give a blog voice? Because a blog doesn’t make any noise, even if there are people in the woods to hear it (get it? Like the joke about a tree falling?).

As I’m sure you guessed by the heading, one way to do this is with italics and punctuation.

In my moon fact example, when I said, “That means over the course of an hour, the moon covers its entire diameter,” you probably in your head put emphasis on the word “entire” because of the italics.

Without the italics, it sounds more flat, like this: “That means over the course of an hour, the moon covers its entire diameter”.

You see? Boring.

Another trick I’ve used in this section is adding parentheticals. 

People always read the text in parentheses differently, like an aside or (even a whisper).

You’re probably even picturing me talking like this:

Source: Pixabay

And if you want to shout to your reader, you can, of course, write IN ALL CAPS AND MAYBE ADD AN EXCLAMATION POINT!

Lastly, you can use commas and periods to mess around with cadence.

You were probably taught in school that commas are like pauses, and periods are a full stop, and you can take advantage of that, even if it isn’t “grammatically correct”.

For example, this upcoming period isn’t proper grammar but. It creates a bit of a dramatic effect, does it not? 

And if you really want to push the theatrics, you can use… ellipses.

As for commas, you can use them to simply slow, a sentence, down. Maybe create a bit of a beat like I did there.

Or you can take out all commas in a long sentence to create a rambling or fast-talking effect like you are ranting or in a rush or using it to make a point about how overwhelming som