This guest post is by Aman Basanti of Ageofmarketing.com.
Since launching my blog in Mid-may 2011, I have guest posted on a number of A-list blogs in the blogging and online marketing niches (including ProBlogger, MarketingProfs, and Daily Blog Tips). In doing so, I have learned some important lessons in getting guest posts accepted on big blogs.
But rather than boring you with the usual advice (pick the right blog, research the blog, pitch quality content etc.) I will attack a specific aspect of guest posting—preparing the pitch. If you want to learn about other aspects of guest posting check out Ali Luke’s post, How to Get Your Guest Posts Accepted Every Time.
I’ve identified four important elements that can greatly increase your chances of having your article or pitch accepted.
1. Pitch multiple post ideas
I had been reading ProBlogger for over a year before I pitched them a guest post. By any measure, I had done my research. Still, my judgement of what would be accepted was way off.
The post I thought would be best for ProBlogger was rejected, as was the one I thought would be second best. The one I least expected to be published was accepted. Had I not pitched three post ideas at once, I would never have known. I’ve had similar experiences with other editors.
So the lesson here is to pitch multiple posts. You cannot guess what the editor will find interesting. Stop trying to be a mind-reader. Place your trust in probability.
2. Write solid outlines
If you pitch multiple pieces, do not simply include them as attachments. A-list blogs get a ton of pitches every week and do not have the time to read through them all. Make it easy for the editor and write a short description for each piece.
Here’s a sample outline:
The Pimp, the Grocer and the Hit Man: Magnetise Your Headings Using the Power of the Unexpected
An article about how humans are wired to pay attention to unexpected events and how bloggers can use unexpected details to write more attention worthy headlines.
Sending article pitches, rather than articles, also benefits you. You do not have to have the post written before pitching it. You pitch it, see if the blogger is interested, and then write based on their feedback.
Pitching multiple posts with outlines is the single most important thing that has helped me get more posts accepted. It cuts out the guesswork.
3. Use the right keywords
As editors are busy, they do not have the time to imagine how your post relates to their niche. Your pitch has to be specific to their blog from the outset. The simplest way to make your post appear more specific is to use the right language.
This is where your research will come into play. Most sites target specific keywords. ProBlogger, for example, targets blogging-related keywords. So if you are pitching to this site, use the word “blog” instead of “website” and “post” instead of “article.”
Even cosmetic fixes like these can make your pitches more appealing. As Georgina explained it to me: “I, like the search engines, like to see [keywords] used in the posts I’m reviewing. There’s plenty of content online that’s relevant to blogging, but unless it’s specifically and explicitly tied to blogging and bloggers, we can’t accept it.”
4. Show samples of your work
Include in your submission samples of your writing from around the web. Ideally, you want to list your top three pieces, with at least one of them (if not all) being on a site other than yours.
This will help the editor get a better idea of the quality and style of your writing. Even if they do not read it, it shows social proof. It shows that other blogs have found your writing interesting.
A sample submission
Here is the email template I use to submit my guest posts. This should bring the tips listed above together into an actionable plan that you can use next time you submit a guest post to a blog.
Hello [name of editor],
My name is Aman Basanti and I am a consumer psychology writer from Australia. I am interested in writing a guest post for your blog.
Are you currently accepting guest posts on your blog?
If yes, I have the following ideas for you to consider.
– The Christina Aguilera Error: Are You Saying Ironic When You Mean Coincidental?
An article on how many people confuse ironic with coincidental. It defines what ironic is, gives examples of situations that are often incorrectly identified as ironic. It then goes on to discuss why this distinction matters to bloggers, especially to those who submit their articles to other publications.
– The Pimp, the Grocer and the Hit Man: Magnetise Your Headings Using the Power of the Unexpected
An article about how humans are wired to pay attention to unexpected events and how bloggers can use unexpected details to write more attention worthy headlines.
– Idea 3
A short description of the blog post.
Also, you can see samples of my writing at:
– 4 Success Secrets of Infamous British Author, Jeffery Archer
– The Joe Girard Method: What the World’s Greatest Salesman Can Teach You about Sales and Marketing
– The Margaret Thatcher Effect: Does Familiarity Breed ConteMPT or ContENT?
I look forward to hearing from you,
There are no magic bullets to getting guest posts. Quality posts pitched to the right publications in the right way will increase your chances of scoring a guest post and reaping the associated benefits. Do you submit pitches to sites you want to guest-post on? Let us know how you approach pitching in the comments below.
Aman Basanti writes about the psychology of buying and teaches you how you can use the principles of consumer psychology to boost your sales. Visit www.Ageofmarketing.com/free-ebook to get his new ebook—Marketing to the Pre-Historic Mind: How the Hot New Science of Behavioural Economics Can Help You Boost Your Sales—for FREE.
Are you thinking of Alanis Morisette, rather than Christina Aguilera?
Good pick up but no. The article does talk about Alanis’s Ironic song but the focus is Aguilera. Thanks for asking anyway.
great tips. ive just written couple of guest posts as well. These ideas are good suggestions and I hope I can implement them in the near future. thanks man
I’ve heard back and forth about #2. Some say that you should include the article in the first e-mail while others like this back and forth e-mailing. Personally, I have had success with both and have also seen both fail.
With that said, I think it all depends. I would rather send the article in the e-mail with a headline. That way, they can see exactly what I’ve written almost immediately. However, I also include a couple of other article ideas I had because they might want that as well. Two articles is always better than one.
Enjoyable article. Thanks for publishing. :)
Jacob, I agree that you can definately attach the full article. Just as long as you still write the outline. Because many people (like I used to) simply attach 2-3 articles with no description for the editor.
The big benefit of only including outlines is that you do not have to have the piece written. You can pitch it, see if it sticks and then write it. I find that this helps me prioritise article ideas (because I normally have too many ideas and not enough time to write them all).
Hi there Aman,
These are all great tips whether you are new to guest posting or have been at it for a while. I’m sure many people will find this information you shared here today to be useful. Thanks!
Glad you enjoyed it Darryl.
Aman – Nice tips. I have just started out with my blog, and have written couple of guest posts as well. These ideas are good suggestions and I hope I can implement them in the near future. Thanks for sharing.
Glad you found them useful. These are tips I’ve learnt from getting many posts accepted and rejected. I see you have started guest posting on some sites too. I hope it works out for you.
It’s also important to explain why a site would want your article. What its purpose is, why people would want to read it, etc. Just saying that you want to write something isn’t enough; Why should the site care about what you have to say?
Good point J. A solid reason can definately help you make your appeal more persuasive.
Nice Tips, This Post has a perfect Timing for me, because am currently working on improving my Blog by guestposting on various blogs including Problogger, copyblogger and co.
Yeh I find that guest post traffic is the highest converting traffic out there. So yes you have every incentive to write some guest posts.
Great tips. Guest posting has become a pretty big “new thing” it seems, as the benefits seem to be increasing if I’m right. For example,posting tons of articles in places (i.e. Ezines) used to be the “thing to do” but guest posting is becoming a larger consideration now for search engine ranking.
And for good reason. Of all the traffic sources I have tried, guest posts are the highest converting.
StumbleUpon – 0.5% conversion of visitors to subscribers on my blog
Adwords – 5% conversion of visitors to subscribers (I can probably increase this a bit but still)
Guest post – 45% – conversion of visitors to subscribers
People pitch to us all the time and about 90% of the time I turn them down. The problem is not the content but the fact that somebody you don’t know or have ever talked to coming straight out and asking you for something is never a good start to a relationship. Once I get to know somebody even over a couple of tweets I am far more likely to at least read their stuff and see if they are any good.
Thanks for adding that Niall. It is something I have also learnt. I think I even made a pitch to your blog when I first started. Now I know why I didn’t get a reply :)
Until I started following PROBLOGGER.NET avidly, I didn’t realize the power of Guest Posting. These tips are great.
Besides Problogger, does anyone have any recommendations on GREAT BLOGS to read on a regular basis as well as to submit Guest Posts?
Yep Copyblogger.com is a good one to read as is MarketingProfs.com. I also don’t mind DailyBlogTips.com
And yes MarketingProfs and DailyBlogTips accept guest posts. Though the editor at DBT can take a while to get back to you so don’t be put off if you don’t hear back straight away.
And at the risk of shameless promotion, I also recommend my own blog AgeofMarketing.com haha
While this a hugely important post to read for anyone looking to get featured on “a-list” blogs, I’d like to point out the obvious:
If a blogger knows your name, it’s more likely you’ll get accepted. This doesn’t mean your blog needs to be the top of the top, but it DOES mean you should be talking to them on Twitter, contributing to their Facebook page and leaving comments on their blog. This shows you’re part of their community and love their stuff. It’s a way for them to get a taste of your voice.
If you’re doing this on a regular basis, your name will stand out in their inbox. Your pitch could be the greatest thing ever written, but if you haven’t made an effort to participate in their community, why should they feature you at all? Food for thought…
Marian great advice. That is exactly what Nial said above. And he gets lots of guest post requests on his blog. He rejects many of them exactly for the reasons you outlined in your comment. So I’m hearing you :)
P.s. I like your blog tagline – Less Zen More Kung Fu – that’s kool as!
Awww, thanks :)
That’s such a great idea to pitch more than one post idea! I’ll try this in the future!!!
I have been using the technique that you have been suggesting and it does work like a charm if you really put a lot of work into the guest submissions that you are offering other blogs. I also tried to tell the webmaster that I can both edit and insert the post into the WordPress site so that they don’t have to do anything but review and confirm the post and also add images.
“I also tried to tell the webmaster that I can both edit and insert the post into the WordPress site so that they don’t have to do anything but review and confirm the post and also add images.”
You know I’ve heard someone say that before. While I understand that it’s more of a gesture, have you actually had any editors let you do this? I’m curious.
By the way, if you are wondering who Georgina Laidlaw is, she is the editor here at ProBlogger.
The best, most important tips here are pitch multiple ideas (don’t assume you know what an editor/blogger is looking for or needs) and give samples (especially to other places you’ve guest posted).
You’re right. While sometimes you can be on the same page the editor, many times there’s no way to knowing what they will find interesting.
It is a bit hard to give examples of guest posts if you are a newbie…I am currently thinking about writing my first guest post after having my blog up and running for a few weeks. My aim is to start with fairly low readership sites and work up.
However as a freelance writer I can always link to many articles I have had posted across the web.For others the only examples of their writing may be their own blog. I guess this is a very good reason for making sure it contains great content.
Good point Megan and you answered your own question :) Yes it is difficult when you haven’t been published anywhere but that is why you start on smaller blogs.
With that said, it is still worth pitching a post to a big blog. You never know what the editor will find interesting.
This is the first time I ever read any thing about guest posts. Aman the post is terrific and I’m really pleased to come across this. This is not just a bit helpful to me but is totally helpful. I think the point “pitch multiple posts” is what really the newbie should keep in mind while thinking to submit any post.
Once again a really fabulous post with so many points to learn for the newbies especially.
I’m glad you found the post useful. These are the lessons that I learnt the hard way. I hope you can benefit from my experience.
I do pitch to sites, but my pitch isn’t nearly as complete as yours Aman, thanks for sharing, I’m going to work on that today.
While there is no bullet proof way, this method will help you increase the probability of having your guest post accepted. Good luck with it.
Great topic choice Aman,
Always wondered how guest posts work. I’ll give a shot myself. Thank you for the tips.
Yeh no worries Daniel.
If you haven’t guest posted yet, you should. It’s exciting for a new blogger like myself to be able to engage a large audience not only as a community member but as an author.
The best way to advertise on your blog is to guest blogging and keep experimenting with different things until you find what works for you!
You are right Marion.
Of all my advertising and traffic generation methods, guest posting stands head and shoulders above everything else.
This article is spot on when it comes to guest blogging, Aman!
I’ve been reading most of your articles and guest posts on other big blogs and it seems you’re a good writer!
I love the point about giving the editor an insight into what your article is all about – this can be a really good way to catch the attention of your editor and get your guest post published soon.
Thanks man! It means a lot coming from the king of guest posting.
I’m glad you enjoyed the piece. I have also read many of your articles on DailyBlogTips and your site and have found them very useful. Good to finally talk to you.
Thank you for sharing this tactic. I have pitched a few guest posts, but I really don’t have time to write several articles and then wait and see if they will choose them. I like the way you have it laid out step by step, will definitely give it a try!
Don’t get distracted by the SHINY!
I’m glad you found it useful. And you are right, its hard to write so many articles not knowing if someone is going to accept them. It’s much easier to write an outline and then work on the piece if the editor accepts.
Nice article. I like the key points and are really very impressive. Let me try to implement at my blog.
Thanks for sharing. Manickam
Glad I could be of assistance.
I like that how you write this Aman, direct and precise. It’s very useful for those who are really thinking of doing some guest posting.
But more importantly, I think that doing some guest posting is not easily done in an instant. It is something that should be learned in due season and time.
As some has said, before being able to guest post in an “A list” blog one should be at least be part of community, you also mentioned that doing some adequate research should be done and many other preparation. This is primarily for the reason to be able to provide quality and substantial content for the blog host.
Essentially, I think guest posting should be beneficial in all aspects. :)
Yes it is very important that you do all of those things that you mention. And I do say that at the start of my post. This post, however, was only focusing on a specific part of guest posting. But thanks for adding in extra bit anyway :)
The point about pitching multiple blog post ideas is brilliant. Thanks.
Of all the successful guest posts I’ve pitched it’s when I write up a sample of the article and attach it that I’m most successful.
I like your approach of giving outlines though, make sense.
Great template too, I’m going to use that!
Thanks for the tips. They sound so simple and yet they are so true. It’s a great result – blog-launched in May and already postblogged in the A-list blogs. Awesome! Keep up the good blogging work!