Facebook Pixel
Join our Facebook Community

9 Ways to Become an Exceptional Guest Poster

Posted By Darren Rowse 24th of February 2010 Blog Promotion 0 Comments

Image by kwerfeldein

exceptional-blogger.pngIn a session I did with Brian Clark at Third Tribe last week Brian made the statement – Guest Posting is the New Article Marketing.

In days gone by the way one of the best ways to build a website’s ranking in search engines and to pull in traffic was to write articles for article marketing sites and allow others to republish them on their own sites. In return you’d get a link or two back to your own site.

While I know some bloggers do use article marketing as part of their promotional mix the evidence that I’ve seen lately shows that links in these types of articles tend to count for less than they once did as Google gets smarter in the way that they rank websites.

I wouldn’t write off article writing completely but in the last couple of years we’ve seen the emergence of guest posting as a primary way for bloggers to build their profile, traffic and generate some SEO Google Juice to their sites.

Over the last few years I’ve seen numerous guest bloggers really build careers for themselves in a variety of niches. People like Leo Babauta and Chris Garrett are two that come to mind who built solid reputations and sizeable audiences for themselves through the tactic of guest posting.

While Guest Posts can be a great tactic to use to grow your presence – as someone who uses quite a few guest posts on my blogs I’ve noticed an incredible variety in the quality of guest posts that I’m pitched. I get 20-30 guest posts per week – I couldn’t use them all even if I wanted to – but there are some things that make some guest posters much more attractive to me than others.

In this post I want to explore 10 things that I’ve noticed about the best guest posters that set them apart from the field. These things make them more attractive to me as a blogger evaluating a guest post – but they also make the guest post more effective – which has flow on effects for the guest poster.

1. Offer Your Best Posts

I chatted with one blogger a few months back that told me that his guest post strategy was to give away his 2nd rate posts as guest posts to other blogs. He kept his best stuff for his own blog and whipped up half hearted posts for guest spots.

While I understand the temptation to keep your best content for your own blog and give a half hearted effort for other blogs if you want to maximise the chance of getting a guest post published on a well known blog and you want to maximise its impact upon the readers of that blog – you need to keep the quality up in your guest posts.

2nd rate posts are not likely to get published and if they do – they’ll not drive you the traffic that a first rate post would do.

So take the time to carefully craft your guest posts and to make them as useful as possible.

2. Use Images

This will vary a little depending upon the blog you are submitting to but I know if a guest post is submitted to me that has a good creative commons licensed image with it that I am much more likely to use it.

I love images – they lift a post to a new dimension and make it attention grabbing to readers – if a guest poster goes to the effort of finding such an image I’m always impressed.

3. Optimize the Images

If you do send in an image to go with the post make sure you take a few moments to optimize it and make it ready for posting. By this I mean:

  • reduce the file size of the image so it’ll load fast
  • make sure the image width will fit into the post box on the blog you’re submitting to so that the blogger doesn’t need to resize it
  • name the file something that will help the SEO of the post (use a keyword in the heading).

These things are all small touches that can not only make an impression upon the blogger but help the post load fast, look good and rank a little higher in search engines.

4. Do a Little On Page SEO

While we’re talking search engine optimisation – take a few moments after writing your post to think about SEO. You might not think there’s any reason to do this and that its the blog owners job – but if your guest post ranks well in Google you’re more likely to benefit from the post for the long term as it’ll continue to attract traffic (it’ll also help pass on some Google Juice to your own blog through your byline links).

On page SEO includes making sure you work out what keywords you want the post to rank for and then using those keywords in places like the title of the post, header tags, image alt tags etc.

5. Format Your posts

Another tip to think about before sending off a post is to look at the styling and formatting that the blog normally uses for its posts.

For example – does the blog use headings in posts? If so – what header tags does it use? If it’s <h3> tags, put your own headers into <h3> tags.

If the blog uses blockquotes – consider using that. If the blog has a byline in a certain style or format – include yours in that format. The more ready your post is to publish the better.

6. Send posts in the Right Format

This leads me to my next point – wherever possible send your post to the blog you want to appear on in a format where it can easily be copied and pasted into the back end of that blog. I LOVE it when guest posters send me text files already marked up into html so I can copy and paste them straight in. I generally do a little re-formatting but it is so much easier if things are already formatted in html to some extent.

The best way to do this is to simply write the post up as a draft in your own blog – then copy and paste the html out into a plat txt document to send over. If you’re including images I generally would attach them to the email and indicate in the post where they should be inserted.

If you’re not sure about what format the blogger prefers to receive guest posts in – shoot them an email to ask. Alternatively some guest bloggers I’ve worked with will send two versions of a post – one in a Word Document and one in html.

7. Link to Other posts on the Blog

One technique that some of the very best guest bloggers go to the effort of doing is making sure that their guest posts interlink to other posts on the blog that they’re submitting to.

This is good for a few reasons including:

  • it shows the blogger and their readers that you’re familiar with the blog you’re writing for
  • it helps the SEO of the blog you’re submitting to
  • it gives readers more to read and increases page views on the blog you’re writing for

It certainly takes more work to do this step but it does make an impression.

8. Monitor and Interact in the Comments of the Post

Some guest bloggers feel that their job is done when they send the post off to the blogger for their consideration. However the best guest posters going around see this as just the beginning.

One extra task that can lift the guest post to another level is to monitor the comments being left on the post and interacting with those who read it. This shows a willingness to followup with readers and can make the post more useful to everyone.

9. Promote the Post after its launched

One last task that can also make the post all the more effective for both you and the blog you’re writing for is to take some time out once the post is live to promote it to your own network.

Link to it on your own blog, tweet about it, submit it to other blogs in the niche to see if they’ll link to it, promote it in forums, email it to your newsletter list…. etc

The benefits in promoting the guest post are numerous:

  • it makes an impression upon the blogger who is using your post (which could lead to further guest posts or opportunities)
  • it can make an impression upon people in your own network to see that you’re published elsewhere
  • it can help the SEO of the post to have it linked to (which has flow on effects for you both in terms of traffic and SEO)

All in all – the more successful the post is the better for all concerned so do take the time to give it some promotion – as if it were your own.

What Tips Would You Give Guest Posters to Help Their Posts Become Exceptional?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. As someone who recently started inviting some readers to contribute to my blog, I find that the first piece of advice here is possibly the most important.

    If you are contributing to another person’s site, don’t give them the scraps of the great content you normally write. Give them the best!

    Not only will this help build your relationship with the other blogger, but it will also put your best foot forward. This, in turn, will drive more traffic to your site.

    Thanks for a great post. Best Regards!

  2. Tell me something different!

  3. These are excellent strategies. Wonderful things have happened to me and my blog as a result of guest posting. I offered my best material to http://www.fuelyourblogging.com , and the next day I got an offer to take over one of my favorite blogs. Is that a dream or what. I’m still bubbling from that! I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to be able to guest post.
    You’re right – if you offer your best, your best will come back to you.
    You always share the most insightful information – thanks!

  4. Definitely, the first piece of advice is the most important.

    But, the rest I find very useful either. Hope this will help me in future guest posting. Thanks! ;)

  5. Great points! I told myself this week that I would do one guest post per week. I’m excited actually!

    Thanks for this post!!

    Arie Rich

  6. I have been meaning to look into this method of promotion. I think I have tried all others. This one just seems the most involved. You have to really sit down and work hard on this blog if you are going to send it to be a guest blog on someone else’s blog. I would do the opposite of what some said in this post. I wouldn’t send second rate stuff to a guest blog. I would send my best stuff. I would be more concerned in looking bad on someone else’s blog than I would on my own blog. Because at the end of the day it’s still my own blog, so who cares if it is second rate(well I do care, but still…). It’s kinda like how people put on their best behavior when they go out or visit someone else’s house. You don’t take your shoes off and prop your feet up on the coffee table like you might at your own house. You are on your best behavior.

  7. Excellent post. I’ve been doings some guest blogging recently and the formatting didn’t occur to me at all. What a great way to make it easy for bloggers!

    Regardless of it being a strategy, I enjoy guest blogging. I like it just for connecting with other bloggers and new readers. Exposure is just a nice by-product.

  8. Hi Darren,

    Thanks for these tips.

    I am just getting into guest posting myself so this article has been a great help to me.

    It seems it comes down to offering your best work and doing all of the donkey work such as finding suitable images. In short, making it as easy as possible for the blog owner to want to publish your post.

    Thanks again.


  9. I wanted to add that I the first piece of advice is the most important. Every guest post I have written were first written for MY blog. I offered them as guest posts before I published them because I thought the content was suitable for the blog I offered it to.

    The goal is always to add value to someone else’s blog because that value comes back to you.

  10. This is excellent advice Darren,

    I have never tried this before; I have just launched my blog two weeks ago.

    Do you think it is a bit premature for my blog to apply for guest posts? What would be the right timing to do this for someone just starting off?


    Bee a Blogger | REAL-TIME Blogging Report

  11. These are great tips. I have recently opened my site up to guest bloggers, provided they have a professional looking site and a good topic for a post.

    I’ll be sure to include a reference to this post as well.

  12. I, too, am just getting into guest posting. Thank u for sharing these tips. There are still so many things to learn but that is what keeps us coming back for more. Thank u for all that u share with us.

  13. Very good points on Darren.

    I’ve really begun to take guest posting seriously and have just signed on to blog twice a month for our city blog (http://delawareO.com).

    I have been asked to guest post on other blogs as well. It’s been a very good month for me.

    As always – I invite you to guest post on my blog, using these suggestions of course :)

  14. This has been really helpful Darren. I am just starting to get into the world of guest posting and I there are a few things here that I never thought of, such as linking to the blogs current posts.

    I have have seen this done a lot in Copyblogger but have never thought much about it. I definitely know the direction that I want to go in from here.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  15. I’ve been one who thought that I’d save my best stuff for my site but I see the value now in putting your best stuff out there for other sites. I’m making more of an effort now to write awesome guest articles. If I think of a topic that I think can be big I consider what site it might be good for before I grab it myself.

    Pre-formatting articles is such a HUGE help. You think accepting a guest article is easy but there are times when I have to do so much work to make it presentable that I might as well have written an article myself. Do the site author a favor and send them your article in the format of their choice.

  16. In the hustle of guest posting and pimping out content, most people forget entirely about promoting the post — great way to get the attention of bloggers, their audience and get called back :-) Good stuff!

  17. Yeah, the strategy of pawning off second rate posts is a bad idea. I’ve been busy pitching some guest posts lately. Sometimes they get accepted, sometimes they don’t. If I’m not able to find a taker for an article, I’m always able to use it on my site – because it’s a quality article.

    Even if your second rate posts get published, will they drive any traffic to your site? Or will people think, “Hey, this blogger is kind of second rate. No need to read more of this drivel.”

  18. Doing on page SEO and linking to other posts on the site will really make you stand out from the normal crowd of guest posters.

    Putting in that extra effort will really impress the blog owner!



  19. The more I learn about blogging, the more I learn how important guest posting is.

    I have submitted a few guests posts so far with fairly decent results. I defiantly need to turn up the guest posting to at least once a week.

    A lot of great tips and some even more great tips from the commentators. Thanks.

  20. Linking different pages from your and the guest blog would be a really productive idea while writing guest blog post. I love it and would try it to use it myself and see the result.

  21. Thanks for sharing this. While I do almost everything in this post, it’s a great reminder. It also gives us a way to improve the things we are doing with our guest posts.

  22. The more I guest post, the more I realize how very important it is. I also include a formatted “about the author” box so my host doesn’t have to worry about it. I also heartily endorse your hints for guest posting, some I am a bit lax on. But I will strive to do better ; )

  23. We have published nearly 170 guest posts on our blog and a large part of the reponse seems to depend on how well the post promotion is done on social media. The guest authors also get a better response if they answer to article queries in the comments.

  24. Dmytro says: 02/24/2010 at 5:29 am

    All good tips that I’m sure every guest blogger willing to be published should follow. Something I would add, and this is of course arguable, is not to try to be humorous or exibit some quirky personality unless you do that on your own blog.

    Too many times, guest bloggers, and here on ProBlogger too, go out of their way to be funny, outrageous, controversial or cynical just to make an impression and show they have some personality. Obviously one of the points of admitting guest bloggers is to have a different writing style, opinion, and add some interest to your blog, but I think guest bloggers can manage to do that without “clever” statements.

  25. I’ve done a few guest posts since I started blogging almost 3 months ago. Guest posting can have an enormous impact on readership, as I have pleasantly found out!

    The most important advice I read was by the #savvyblogging crowd (brilliant group of advice givers): Make your guest post your best post.

    That is my #1 goal with guest posting and it hasn’t failed me yet!

    You’ve listed great items here to remember.

  26. Darren

    I’ve never tried guest posting, but you’ve convinced me that I should be giving this a try.

    I particularly liked your point 8 where you advise guest bloggers to monitor and interact with the comments added to the post. If you engage the reader then they’re far more likely to visit your own blog. I think that this is also great advice for comments received your own blog when you’re also trying to engage your readers.

    Thanks for the post.


  27. I’ve been wondering about this a lot recently. A couple weeks ago, I sent off a guest post to a blogger who requested it and I haven’t heard anything back. Of course, that’s when the “am I crazies” set it and I start second guessing my post quality. But I heeded advice #1 to the best of my ability, so I am chalking up the delay to general blogger business. Might as well move on to the next opportunity, right? Thanks for the guest posting tips. They are much appreciated!

  28. Great, nuts and bolts tips, thanks!

    What I’m especially curious (maybe even naive) about in regards to guest posting goes beyond the post itself. That is–how do you become a guest post author? I know you can send in a pitch, so perhaps I should say, what credentials are required? Does the author need to have a blog that’s already widely read? Is there anything else that makes you likely to accept a pitched post, beyond what you’ve listed here?

    What about accepting guest posts? How do other bloggers feel about writing for a new or less-established blog? Is it a waste of their time, or are they looking for sites to publish on, regardless of how high traffic they may be?

    Look forward to hearing what you and the community think.

  29. Thanks Darren; some of those points weren’t things I’d ever thought of (aside from wondering vaguely about file formats to send them in).

    I’ve a few guest posts due out soon, so this list will be really useful as a checklist to see if I’m meeting as many of those points as possible.

    Thanks again!

  30. All sounds excellent. Now I just need a killer guest post idea! That’s where the olde brain power / inspiration will come in handy. Hmnnn…..

  31. Nice post Darren. I’ve recently written some guest posts and still trying to get the hang on it. Sometimes I worry whether the blogger is going to reject me or not, but I’ll use these guidelines to help me with trying to make it in as one of their choices to consider. Thank you.

  32. If a guest poster can’t take the time to provide their best stuff they don’t deserve the opportunity to be a guest poster.

    It is similar to bringing left overs to a dinner party.

  33. This is what i do even thought I consider myself a newbie guest poster. I have written for some blogs and still want to write more. If you are looking for a guest poster contact me.

    I also allow people to guest post on my blog. You can find out about that here http://adesojiadegbulu.com/guest-posting-improved-seo-method/

  34. Thanks Darren. This post is timely as I actually sent in a guest post request to your blog LOL ;-)

    I have a screen capture program and what I tend to do when I write guest posts is head over to the person’s blog and do a screen capture of the content area.

    I capture how far the text stretches across the content area and then use that to judge how wide I can make my images.

    Like you said, making it as easy as possible for the blogger to use your article goes a long way.

  35. The idea of guest posting sounds good, but when you are in a niche like mine what could I possibly guest post about for your blog. Maybe I could guest post about my experiences to date, I don’t know!

  36. I’ve been wondering how “guest posting” works, so thank you for providing such great content. Definitely something I will look into a little further.

  37. Using images is one of those tips I really like. But the whole idea of guest posting is really important. Thanks for sharing.

    Get $150,000 in Unsecured Biz Credit Lines

  38. Guest blogging is actually one of my 6 month goals. I wanted to grow my blog a bit and get some experience under my belt before I started send off my posts.

    Thanks so much for HTML tips. That was very useful!

  39. Beautifully prescriptive and precise!

    I like how you honed right in on the distinctions that count, from linking to other posts on the blog, to simplifying things for the blog owner. It’s the little things that mean a lot and the sum is more than the parts — it’s the package.

  40. This is really handy Darren. I hadn’t thought about a lot of these things if I am honest, so will bear these in mind for future guest posts I do.

  41. I love these topics about guest posting, because I’ve yet to do one and need all the advice on the subject I can get my hot little hands on!

    I guess it comes down to one thing: if you really love your blog and want it to do well, then ANYTHING you write, be it a blog post, a guest post, hell, even a comment, should represent your blog.

  42. I love these topics about guest posting, because I’ve yet to do one and need all the advice on the subject I can get my hot little hands on!

    I guess it comes down to one thing: if you really love your blog and want it to do well, then ANYTHING you write, be it a blog post, a guest post, hell, even a comment, should represent your blog, and be well-written.

  43. I’m so sorry about the double-post, please feel free to delete this post and the second one I gave.

  44. I use a lot of guest posts on my astrology and self-help site, Skywriter, and feel it adds a lot to the mix. What I look for is someone with expertise related to a topic I and my readers are working on at the moment or else someone who’s put sweat equity into overcoming that particular problem.

    I mostly find guest bloggers myself by searching Word Press and Google on topics I want to cover. Or links to links to links. I’ve encountered several wonderful authors by following links right here on ProBlogger, including most recently a very wise 21 year old Zen student named Steven Handel.

    When a post gets a good discussion going, I ask the author to come to the comment section and add more insights into the readers questions.

    When my blog was new, I did a project of finding several dozen excerpts from my books that would work as blog posts and publishing a list of them on a page on the blog. I got a good response because people in my field know my work, and it did help Skywriter get established. I’m not doing much of it right now, but when I get back to it, I’ll keep this advice in mind. Donna Cunningham

  45. Great thread! I have been doing a few guest posts lately and these tips will really come in handy. Thanks.

  46. Hi Darren,

    Thank you for the post. I have been sending my post in HTML and I wrote it on my blog as draft. Where I messed up is that I use Apture plugin and many people do not use that so I have to remember to strip that out or not use it.

    Linking to posts on the blog where I am guesting is a great reminder for me. I never thought of headline tag so that’s something that I have to look into. I am using Scribe and have been for less than a week, so it was been helpful with SEO.

    I am very diligent about responding to comments. I have to be more consistent in Digging and Stumbling the post. Thank you for providing information consitently that allows me to become a better blogger.

    Avil Beckford http://www.twitter.com/avilbeckford

  47. hurray.. Im doing all the things mentioned by you…
    Interaction to comments and providing a best post is best way to drive traffic and make our blog popular

  48. Great — so I know how to create a gust post that will be accepted in this blog.

  49. This is right on time as I have just started guest blogging. I didn’t think of linking to other blogs or commenting. Great ideas! Guest blogging seems to give you more “control” than article submission sites; although they have their place!

    Special marketing bonus: a reader of one of my first guest posts contacted me and is now a client for a long-term project! I was both surprised and excited!

  50. Yes, a lot of article sites by now are “dumps”. Plus, when you guest post to a good and frequented blog you are sure of the audience you get, not so in article marketing. Also, who goes to article sites on purpose? People do go to blogs though because “that’s where the action is”. Thanks for the pointers, all nicelxy in one place.

A Practical Podcast… to Help You Build a Better Blog

The ProBlogger Podcast

A Practical Podcast…