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5 Tips to Convince Editors to Say “Yes” to Your Guest Posts

Posted By Guest Blogger 2nd of May 2012 Writing Content 0 Comments

This guest post is by Alexis Grant of AlexisGrant.com.

You know all the benefits of guest posting on popular blogs. And you’ve decided to start guest posting today. So you want to do your best to crank out awesome content.

But smart ideas are only half the battle. The difference between pitching a thought-provoking post and pitching a thought-provoking post that gets accepted is making it easy for your editor to say “yes.” In other words, go beyond providing awesome, unique content and make accepting your post a no-brainer.

As editor of Brazen Life, I see aspiring contributors make the same mistakes again and again—mistakes that make me groan and delete. Here’s what you’ve got to remember: the editor you’re pitching is a person with a job to do, just like you. And the easier you make their job, the more likely they are to publish your post.

Here are five steps you can take that will make it easy for editors to say “yes” to your guest posts.

1. Write in the “you” voice, not the “I” voice

Readers want to feel like you’re talking to them, offering helpful advice and ideas—not like you’re talking about yourself. While the occasional anecdote can be effective, your best bet is to start out your post by talking to the reader, and writing about how what you’re about to share will change their life. Then delve into your personal anecdote.

Here’s an example of what I mean. Writing in the “I” voice might turn out a post that begins like this:

“I’ve always had trouble paying back my student loans.”

Writing in the “you” voice would look more like this:

“Having trouble paying back your student loans?”

The “you” there is only implied—“[Are you] having trouble paying back your student loans?”—but it’s still there. Here’s another option:

“Lots of students are having trouble paying back student loans. If you fall into this camp, listen up.”

That’s not the catchiest intro, but you get the idea—it’s written with “you”s rather than “I”s. This concept is essential throughout your piece, but most important in your introduction.

2. Don’t bury the lede

The biggest problem I see with guest posts is that they fail to have a focused introduction that tells the reader what they’re about to get—and tells them right away. In journalism, we call this “burying the lede.”

You only have a few seconds to catch and keep the attention of your reader. That means you can’t spend two paragraphs getting to the meat of your idea. Instead, you’ve got to get a running start, at least hinting at your main point from the very beginning.

If you’re having a hard time with this, see what happens if you chop off the first graph or two. Is it possible the piece would actually be stronger if you started with the second or third paragraph?

Even writers who offer fabulous ideas throughout their piece often have a weak introduction. Give your first few paragraphs extra care; they’ll make or break your post. And your editor will be particularly happy if s/he doesn’t have to rewrite your intro.

3. Write a great headline—even if you don’t have to

You may not be required to write a headline for your post, but guess what? It makes your editor’s job easier. The headline can be the hardest part; it’s got to be catchy, relevant and SEO-optimized. And it should match the voice of the other headlines on the site.

That means it will probably take some time to come up with a good one. But rather than completing your post and pitching it straight away, consider the extra effort it takes to create a fabulous headline part of the assignment.

There’s an added bonus here, too: if your headline is great, more readers will read, share and comment on your post. You’ll get more clicks on the link in your byline and more return for your investment. If you leave the headline up to the editor, there’s a chance they’ll come up with one that will serve you well, but if you take the time to do it yourself, you know you’ve done all you can to maximize eyes on the post.

Of course, it’s always the editor’s prerogative to change the headline, but that shouldn’t keep you from giving it your best shot. And take it from me—your editor will appreciate it!

4. Follow the publication’s link policy from the get-go

Each publication has its own policy about including links within the post¸ So either look for those requirements within the publication’s guest post guidelines, or ask the editor ahead of time.

At Brazen Life, we love to see links within the post so long as they’re relevant and helpful to our readers; in fact, we don’t run posts without links. But some publications have different preferences, often asking, for example, that the writer not link to his or her own blog. Getting this right the first time will make your editor’s day that much easier.

5. When in doubt, create a list

Having trouble getting your ideas across succinctly? Lots of us do, and lists can be a great help with that.

Here’s the good news: lists are popular with readers, too. Most posts with “5 Tips” or “5 Pieces of Advice” or “5 Reasons” get lots of clicks, which means if you’re good at writing list posts, you should do it.

I hate to advise this initially, because it’s so refreshing when a writer offers an awesome post that’s not written as a list or in bullet format. But bullets do make posts easy to read online. And if you’re struggling to write a helpful post, bullets can make it easier for you to convey your main ideas.

Following these tips—and making your editor’s job easy—won’t just help you land one guest post. If you abide by these suggestions, write a clean post and offer thought-provoking content, they’ll want you to write for them again down the line. And that means lots more guest posts in your future.

Do you have any tips you can add to this list? We’d love to hear them in the comments. And if you’re looking for other ways to use guest posts to attract new readers, stick around—later today, we’ll see how accepting guest posts on your blog can boost your traffic levels.

Alexis Grant is managing editor of Brazen Careerist’s blog, Brazen Life.

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  1. As a former newspaper reporter and current blog editor myself, I think you offer great tips here. Completely agree! I would also add this: research the site first and really come to understand the blog’s “voice.” This is very typical of pitching magazines, as well. Editors have a certain style they seek for their publication. If you’re writing in that style, and speaking to their readership, they’ll be more likely to accept your work!

  2. Great tips you have given to convince the editor but the main key is the Headline of the post for the editors to get approved

  3. At the risk of sounding disingenuous, is the use of the word “graph” in the phrase “see what happens if you chop off the first graph or two” a typo? Did you mean to type “paragraph” or is “graph” an insider term like “lede”?

    And while we’re on the topic of weirdly spelled words, what’s the etymology of “lede”? One would think it would be spelled “lead” but obviously not.

    • Hey Barbara!

      Ah, good catch — graph is meant to be paragraph! That is sort of a short word editors use for paragraph, but perhaps I should’ve written out paragraph here for your benefit.

      Re: lede — I also know plenty of editors who spell it “lead.” Honestly not sure which is more accurate!

  4. I have been doing the second point. I must have known. I thought people are not interested in reading unnecessary things.

    But thanks a lot.

  5. Thanks for the post and the good points. As I’m about to start looking for guest blogging, this is perfect. The hard part is still to offer thought-provoking content ;)

  6. Why is it spelled “lede”, and not “lead”?

  7. That first tip is fantastic!
    I do write the posts on my site in an I voice, because it’s my way of connecting with my audience; but the guest posts I’ve written that were in a you voice were very successful and I never thought about why until reading this one.

    I’ll definitely keep these tips in mind the next time I write guest content; I’m trying to build my blog fast and right so I love great posts like these!


  8. Thanks, Alexis–great advice! I would also add: edit and proofread your work before you submit it. This seeminly obvious task is often overlooked.

  9. I would imagine that if you’re going to target a blog to do a post for, it would be a fairly popular blog that ranks well. It would make sense that the editor of that blog gets pitched a lot. I would wager that its very easy for your pitch for being published has to get his or her attention in some way.

  10. I think the hardest part is trying to find a topic that hasn’t been done much on that blog, but once you find it, the job is easier, we write posts on our own blogs, that is what we are good at.

    Next hardest part is the catchy headline and the pitch, I always try and use hooks in both to grab the editors attention, this is the best trick because they wont want to miss your post.


  11. Very useful tips. I was trying to convince many blogger to publish my articles, some are approved and some are waiting to be approved. Hope this method will help.

  12. Thanks for the post and the good points.

  13. Good stuff! I’m just getting into guest blogging and this is really helpful. Do know of any resources out there listing the blogs that welcome guest bloggers?

  14. I like the point about the intro paragraph(a). This is good for SEO as well because often a snippet of the beginning of the article is used for search engine listings.

  15. A good alternative to list posts is a regular post with several subheadings, as much as a good headline will get the readers on to the post, good subheadings will keep them reading each section.

    • Hi Jamie — Totally agree. I love a good post with subheads, especially since it makes it a bit different than the normal list post.

  16. When it comes to submitting a guest post to a blog of any relevance, you have to provide value that the editor won’t be able to get otherwise. Typically, guest posts will be some of the best posts on the blog (unless, of course, the editor is an amazing writer – then theirs will be supreme). After reading – just skimming, if you want to take it that far – the editor should sit back and think, “Wow, this was pretty great”.

    The ultimate goal is not to just get one guest post accepted, but to be asked to write more. The more you write, the more exposure and SEO value you gain – it’s that simple. Great tips.

  17. Let me ask a question here, if you are following all the things listed above and you have some of the great skill of your own that surpass the above one aswell, but the only problem if you are weak in English Grammar, why these all guest blogging site don’t accept you article ? why they don’t change few grammar mistake’s ! they don’t see what a Informative article guest blogger really write, but they just reject it on the basis of a small grammar ! tell me is its fair ?

    • Hi Ubaid,

      Unfortunately, I think it’s all about the editor’s time. If it will take a lot of time to edit a post so it’s up to our standards, then yes, we’ll pass — especially because there’s so much other content out there that IS up to grammatical standards.

      If you’re having this problem, I’d recommend getting a friend who’s fluent in English — or hiring an editor — to polish your piece before you submit.

  18. I’ve been looking for some ideas while writing my blog posts for work. I tend to write guides and tutorials so the idea of writing ‘in the “you” voice, not the “I” voice’ makes a lot of sense but something I feel I have ignored.

    Anyway, thanks for the article and I will reread it when I get home :)

  19. Great tips, Alexis. But this is all assuming you write your entire guest post and then submit it. How about the pitch letter itself? I’m approaching a lot of sites asking if they accept guest posts and whether they’d like to run one from me. It’s a grueling process. Any tips/thoughts on how best to basically “cold call” a website with a pitch for a guest post?

    • Hey Andrew — Here’s a post that addresses your question: http://alexisgrant.com/2012/02/29/how-to-write-an-effective-email-pitch-that-people-will-actually-read/

      Quick tips:
      1. Look to see if the site offers guest post guidelines, and follow them CLOSELY.
      2. See if you can make a connection with the editor/blogger who oversees the site before pitching cold. Does anyone you know know that person? Can you interact with them on Twitter first so they recognize your name when it comes through their email?
      3. In your pitch, say why your idea is relevant to that particular site. Plenty of people don’t do this, so tailoring your pitch will go a long way.

      Good luck!

  20. Thanks for the tips! Exactly what I needed today! One question, what is the proper way to inquire and/or submit a post for guest blogging? Is that something that differs from site to site?

  21. As a former newspaper reporter and current blog editor myself, I think you offer great tips here. Completely agree! I would also add this: research the site first and really come to understand the blog’s “voice.” This is very typical of pitching magazines, as well. Editors have a certain style they seek for their publication. If you’re writing in that style, and speaking to their readership, they’ll be more likely to accept your work!

  22. thanks for nice tips in future when i m going to write guest article i rembers these tips.

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