Getting your first guest post published

If you’ve never gotten a guest post published before, this week’s article about a guest post strategy might have felt a little overwhelming. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it you’ll find it’s actually pretty easy to get yourself published on other people’s blogs, as long as you have something valuable to say. In fact, the first three guest articles I pitched were all accepted by the first blogs I pitched them to, and that wasn’t by chance. It’s about getting the process right.

Grab the list of blog post ideas you created on Monday. If you didn’t, you should probably go do that. Like right now. Done? All right. Now pick a blog and a pitch idea and follow me.

Prepare a query

Most blogs want you to submit entire posts. Some will ask for a query. All of them want a cover letter. What’s the difference? A cover letter sells you; a query sells you and your idea.

Bloggers usually give specific formats for queries–especially bloggers who pay for posts–but there are some general rules you should always follow. Spelling the blogger’s name correctly and telling them why you’re interested in writing for them is usually a good idea.

When I write a query for a guest post it’s usually two paragraphs long. The first paragraph introduces me and my experience and explains why I want to work with the blogger. The second paragraph gives a brief explanation of the idea I’m pitching and mentions things like word count and–unless the blogger specifically asked for a completed draft–how far I’ve taken the idea. Even when bloggers ask for a query instead of a draft, I like to have the draft finished before I send out a query. This is especially true when I know I’ll be able to use the article on another blog or even post it here if it isn’t accepted.

Write the article

This is essentially the same as writing a blog post for your own site, except you’re playing by somebody else’s rules. Maybe you’re not usually profane online but you’re posting to Terrible Minds so you drop a few F-bombs. Your guest post might be a bit longer or shorter than what you usually write on your own blog.

The idea is that you want to meet the blogger halfway. Incorporate some of their writing style into your own and notice how they get their readers’ attention. Every audience is a little bit different, and you want to be able to tap into each one effectively. Before you draft the post and again before you edit it, read two or three posts on the site to make sure you have a good grasp on the other blogger’s style.

Send it in

Make sure your post is formatted properly so it can easily be posted to the blog where it will be appearing, do one last edit and send out your query/article. Remember that bloggers are busy people and be patient when waiting for a response. In fact, the best thing to do if you’re waiting for a response is write your next blog post. After all, you want to reach as many audiences as possible right? The best way to do that is by reaching out to several bloggers in a short period of time.

Most importantly, remember that your commitment doesn’t end when you press send. If your post is accepted and published, you’ll be expected to share it on social media and respond to any comments. Make sure the number of guest posts you have published in any given month is a number you can handle–bloggers won’t invite you back if you don’t communicate with their audience in the right way.