5 Tips for Guest-Blogging Like a Pro

Hey there! I’m running around like mad today, but I wanted to leave you a few tasty nuggets on a topic that I have a little bit of experience with, both on the writing and receiving end of guest posts. I’ve had stellar guest posts from lovely and talented writers like K.M. Weiland and Jennifer Brown Banks, and I’ve guest-blogged at vastly superior (to mine) blogs like Positive Writer, The Write Practice and The Write Conversation.

I’ve had hits and misses, strikes and gutters during my guest blogging adventures. Here’s what I know.

OMG. So tasty.
OMG. So tasty.

5. Pitch one post per blog at a time.

I learned this lesson to my own personal chagrin, and the person doing the schooling was the inimitable Bryan Hutchinson of Positive Writer. You see, I’d pitched him a guest post. I’d made sure to read his requirements, review his other posts for continuity, and come up with an idea that I was reasonably sure Positive Writer hadn’t yet covered. So far, so good, right?

But I made one crucial mistake, in two parts.

Part One: When I pitched my guest post, I only gave Bryan a short time to respond.

Part Two: When I concluded (here, my naivete should be coming through loud and clear) that Bryan wasn’t interested–less than 72 hours later, if I recall correctly–I pitched a different blog with the same post I’d offered Bryan. I drafted an email to let Bryan know my post was off the market, but forgot to send it. Careless!

In case you’re wondering, pitching a post to more than one blog without telling the blog owner what’s up is Not Kosher, and Bryan gently reminded me that it would have been preferable if I’d let him know ahead of time what’d transpired with my pitch.

Most blog owners will not do this. They’ll just write you off.

But Bryan is classy and, I think, could sense my newness to the blogging universe, so he gave me another shot at guest posting on Positive Writer. Thanks, Bryan!

4. When pitching, keep your email intro short and when possible, send over a complete post if the blog you’re pitching asks for it.

(And it shows good faith to send over a complete post even when the blog doesn’t ask for it.) When I receive guest pitches for The Procrastiwriter and you send me a fully written post, I have a much, much easier time deciding whether to accept it or not (without any doubts about your writing ability, especially if I don’t know you from Adam).

Also, in my experience, pitching with a full guest post has been more successful at receiving a “Yes” response.

3. If you’re pitching ideas instead of full posts, make sure you read the last few months of the blog beforehand, so you don’t repeat ideas.

I completed a 6-part series on Making Time to Write. I covered it from every angle I could possibly think of, and one of those strategies was how to use the software Evernote to write on the go. If you pitch me an Evernote post, MAKE SURE it doesn’t overlap with what I’ve covered already. Use the search function on your target blog. You don’t need to be exhaustive, but do some homework.

2. Reply to comments once you are offered a guest posting spot.

Blog owners love giving their readers new people to read and interact with. Make sure you interact back, or you might not be invited back.

1. Read a recent post, and make sure your style AND structure fit the blog you’re pitching.

For my blog, I tend to use subheads every few paragraphs. I like lists. My tone is down-to-earth and slightly sarcastic. You don’t have to write like me or the blog owner you’re pitching, but please make some attempt to follow the look and feel of the blog you’re targeting. If the blog is composed exclusively of listicles, don’t pitch a short story. If the blog centers around the technical whys and wherefores of fiction, don’t pitch business writing how-tos.

Sounds easy, but you’d be surprised at how often a lack of research and an overabundance of contact information can lead to wasted time on your behalf and on behalf of the blog owner. Be smart, and read first!

That being said, guest blogging is an absolute hoot, and your unique voice and experience is a valuable addition to the writing world, so make sure you’re out there pitching your stuff!

Have you ever had a guest pitch go spectacularly wrong? What happened? Tell me!

What’s the one thing you want blog owners to answer before you guest pitch? Share in the comments.