7 Tips for Placing Guest Posts on High-Traffic Blogs

June 28, 2012 · 18 comments

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Writing guest posts for popular blogs is an effective way to increase your own blog traffic, spread your message and grow your community. If you’re trying to up your blogging game, guest posting should no doubt be one of your big goals.

How to Write Guest Blog Posts

Massive traffic to your blog? That's reason to celebrate.

But how can you stand out in a cluttered field of aspiring guest bloggers? We all know it’s essential to write an awesome post. But what makes a post awesome? And what else can you do to convince an oh-so-busy blog editor to give your writing a shot?

As editor of Brazen Careerist’s blog, I sort through dozens of pitches and posts every week – and press “delete” on most of them. Here are seven things you can do to keep your post out of that virtual trash and filed in the to-publish folder:

1. Research whether the site you’re pitching has already written on the topic you’re proposing

You can do this with a simple Google search. Let me Google that for you. Seriously. A little Google action here is the easiest thing you can do to make sure your post is at least considered. Because no blog will want to publish a post on the same topic they covered last week.

2. Make your topic unique

Funny how this is the MOST BASIC concept, and yet SO MANY PEOPLE don’t do it. 6 Ways to Improve Your Resume or How to Use Social Media to Get a Job have been written a zillion times before. Those might get placed on a mediocre blog, but blogs with quality editors have higher standards.

That means you should put time into coming up with an angle that hasn’t been written about before, one that’s new in some way. Or maybe it’s simply your perspective that’s new.

What can you say that’s unique? That’s thought-provoking? That gets the gears turning in my head in a way they haven’t turned before?

3. Take the time to figure out exactly who to pitch at the publication you want to write for, and address your pitch email to that person

This ONE detail tells me how much you care about getting published on our blog or whether you simply want to get published on any blog. Addressing your pitch to me shows you did enough poking around to figure out that I’m the editor, which means there’s a good chance you did some research on what our readers care about, too.

It also shows you value the editor’s time, which will make them that more likely to want to work with you.

4. Demonstrate that you’ve read the blog

This sounds like another obvious one, doesn’t it? But you wouldn’t believe how many pitches editors get from people who haven’t even looked at the blog and aren’t familiar with its readership. Letting the editor know that you do, in fact, read the blog regularly – or have at least read it thoroughly before pitching – will put you leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else.

You can do this through flattery, by telling the editor how much you loved the last post she ran on, say, entrepreneurship, or you can do this by pitching a topic that’s directly in line with what readers care about. Which brings us to…

5. Pitch an angle the blog’s readers actually care about

Offering a unique pitch isn’t enough. You could have a fabulous angle, but if it’s not along the lines of what readers want to learn, it will get deleted, simple as that.

Here’s a quick example. At Brazen, we write about careers for young professionals. Every so often I get a pitch for some career topic that affects retirees. And I want to scream, DID YOU LOOK AT THE BLOG?

A solid pitch or post is not just about the topic, it’s also about readers. Will the blog’s readers care about your idea?

6. Write a concise introduction

By far the biggest weakness I see in guest posts is the introduction. Some writers take far too long to get into the meat of the post. Yes, you want to pull readers into your piece right away, and it can take a few sentences to do that. But if you take too long to get to the point, you’ve lost our attention.

One approach that sometimes helps writers with this problem is writing the meat of the post first, then circling back to create an introduction that’s in line with the rest of the content, one that prepares the reader to learn a few main points.

Remember, the first two paragraphs aren’t only the readers’ first impression of your work, they’re also your editor’s first impression. Introductions can make or break a post, so make yours awesome.

7. Make it easy for the editor to say YES

If you’re easy to work with, editors will want to work with you again and again. That means following all of the steps above, and then turning in a well-crafted piece that’s grammatically clean.

If you’re smart, you’ll even have a writer friend edit your post before you turn it in, so it’s as sharp as possible when your editor takes a look. The fewer changes I have to make to your piece to make it publish-able, the more likely I’ll be to read and accept your next pitch, too.

Because let’s face it: placing one guest post can do great things for your platform, but establishing a relationship with an editor who enjoys working with you and wants to publish your work again and again – that’s even better.

Want more tips for meeting your online goals? Check out my guides & courses.

Oh, and if you want to pitch a guest post for Brazen Careerist’s blog, puh-lease read our guidelines first.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve (JoeBugBuster) Case July 1, 2012 at 10:54 pm

This article is a keeper.
Thanks for the great tips – and for guest-hosting BlogChat tonight!
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scott aughtmon July 2, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Great post, Alexis. I really think your second point is really important. I think this is one of the things that makes a great blogger (and guest blogger) stand out. It’s the ability to write about a basic topic and make it seem new and exciting. (Seth Godin is a great example of someone who does this well.)
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Sheyi July 15, 2012 at 10:13 am

Alexis, my first time here and I enjoyed my visit.

Guest is the order of the day online now. Everyone is using it to grow their blog and most people are kinda abusing it.

Very soon, video guest post will take over.

Sheyi
Sheyi recently posted…Adrienne Smith Interview: Blogging To Become Engagement Super-Star!My Profile

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Amit July 20, 2012 at 10:56 am

As a new blogger, guest blogging is half of my marketing strategy. I’ve done so, but found that only small to medium sized blogs accept my posts. That’s a problem, because they don’t drive that much traffic. The answer is to find another strategy (e.g. video guest post), or put in the extra effort to stand-out, as you suggest.

I think I will go with the second route, because by definition it requires me to up my writing skills to a level somewhat close to the big bloggers. Thank you.
Amit recently posted…The 31 Benefits of Gratitude You Didn’t Know About: How Gratitude Can Change Your LifeMy Profile

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Website design company delhi November 10, 2012 at 7:56 am

Nice Blog on placing guest posts…

Thanks for Sharing !!

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Paul Akpomukai November 14, 2012 at 8:48 am

Thank you for the good advice. getting high traffic demands consistent and devoted work- and not paying company’s big money that promise you “so called high traffic” which is not always legitimate traffic they send to your website.

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The Stickler December 12, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Thanks for this…

I can totally relate having had many clients who want to have things published on various blogs out there, including Brazen Careerist’s blog (and that’s how I found this post) :-)

Thanks for these tips and pointers – will come in handy.

- The Stickler

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GenieCoach January 4, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Thanks Alexis. I’ve come here from Brazen Careerist’s blog to learn more about you, the editor. One would think that good grammar when pitching anything or a bit of research to see if and how you can fit, is basic. Yet, it’s so often ignored! A friend of mine got a grant from a local authority because their application stood out and “had no grammatical errors”! I often get people wanting to be a guest on my radio show to talk about something irrelevant to my vision and who don’t even know who I am.
Often, people tend to see these “communications” in numbers where quantity overwhelms quality. And that’s a big mistake. Thanks for laying it out plainly!
GenieCoach recently posted…Can you tell people you work in Finance and feel proud?My Profile

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Alexis Grant January 5, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Sure — thanks for stopping by!

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Susan Elcox March 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Alexis, I’m just getting ready to push for guest-blogging and am struggling a bit. Do we need to send potential blogs the proposed article finished, or a synopsis of the article?

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Alexis Grant March 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm

It depends on which blog you’re writing for — some like to see the full post (especially the first time you write for them), others are OK with a summary pitch.

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Gavin Lister June 8, 2013 at 9:27 am

Hi ALexis -thanks for this very helpful article.
I have been reading Brazen Careerist for while now as part of my own “blogger’s learning journey” and found this post as part of “doing my homework”editors expect from guest posts. Thanks for your very clear guidance.

It would be fantastic if you could spare a minute to have a look at some of my material and maybe leave a comment.

I plan to get in touch soon with an outline of a possible guest post for Brazen Careerist but here is a link to my latest effort
http://wp.me/p3zwh0-5m
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Amanda January 12, 2014 at 4:48 am

Guest Posting is something I’ve always wanted to do but have yet not dived in and actually done it. Don’t get me wrong I can write for me however it’s finding the right blogs in my niche that accept guest posting opportunities.
Amanda recently posted…Laundry Room CabinetsMy Profile

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julie January 22, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Thanks for the tips, Alexis. Every blog should have a list of what they expect from guest bloggers, since everyone is different. It ends up benefitting both parties in the long run.
julie recently posted…Corporate Independent Consulting and ContractingMy Profile

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