Facebook Pixel
Join our Facebook Community

Guest Posts. How To, Why To, Where-Not-To, AND NARY A LIST IN SIGHT.

Posted By kellydiels 20th of January 2010 Blog Promotion, Featured Posts 0 Comments

guest post by Kelly Diels

I’m not a huge fan of arguments based on evolutionary psychology. They tend to justify the status quo, much of which is “status unacceptable” to me. They tend to explain social injustices and systemic discrimination as, oh that’s just the way we are. That’s evolution. That’s biology, baby.

Like this: oh, women seek relationships and withhold sex because evolutionarily speaking, childbearing was a life-or-death thing, so she had to be selective. So don’t bother granting them rights or jobs or treating them like people, or anything. They’re just baby-making, mate-seeking machines.

Or this: men are controlling and jealous because evolutionarily speaking, paternity was always a question. The only way to ensure the baby was yours was to ensure the baby can only be yours. So don’t bother thinking that men have feelings or emotions or that it might be nice to be kind to them or anything. Because they just want to bash you on the head, drag you back to the cave and make babies. Men. Neanderthals. Same dif.

Or this: we’re all racist because evolutionarily speaking, xenophobia helped preserve the safety of the tribe. Being cautious about strangers and outsiders is a survival instinct. So it is totally okay to make racist remarks and be suspicious of immigrants, because, like, that’s just natural.

The roots of these explanations may be true but often we make these kinds of statements as though we don’t have the brains, good fortune, common sense, compassion and creativity to evolve beyond them.

So, evolutionary psychology can be a good history of why we are the way we are, but it is not a strait jacket or a prison or a prophesy. Your biology and your ancestors don’t explain or predict all that you are or all that you can be.

Wherein I Get to My Point: Fear is the Enemy of the Guest Post. And Guest Posting is Essential to Your Success.

Take fear, for example. Fear is awesome. Fear warns you that something you’re about to do might cause you harm.  Fear is really useful. Every kid who was afraid of fire and stayed away from it, didn’t fall in and get burned. Every woman who looked at a big scary guy and thought, I don’t think so, lived to procreate another day. Every man who turned and ran instead of charging into battle unprepared also lived to pass on his genes another day, another way. You see where I’m going here?

Evolutionarily speaking, fear keeps you safe. Fear keeps you alive. We’re all here because the people who came before us navigated fear successfully.

I have a serious respect for fear, except when I get frustrated with fear and tell it off right to its face.

Because my world is just not that dangerous. And neither is blogging.

Fear, and Guest Posting. It is NOT a Sabre-Toothed Tiger and No One Will Eat You. I Promise.

So, my point: guest posting.

Guest posting was scary to me. And, based on the comments, e-mails and direct messages I received in response to my advice to guest post, guest post, guest post, it scares the prehistoric right out of you, too.

So let’s talk about it.

Yep, it is scary. Potential rejection is always unappetizing. But let’s put it in perspective.

There are 17 kajillion blogs out there. That means there are 17 kajillion bloggers out there who are working and writing and raising kids and worrying about evolutionary psychology and its sociocultural impact on justice and trying to figure out a way to beat spam because comment moderation is freaking killing them. In other words, they’re tired. They would LOVE a day off.

Your guest post is a day off. Don’t you want to give someone a day off?

Guest Posts are A Gift. Give Wisely.

That’s not very scary, is it? Your guest post is a gift.

My WordPress genius friend Dave Doolin, who also happens to be very smart and practical man, recently counselled my readers – in a guest post, let me point out – as follows:

Some of us have an almost pathological requirement to give. We need to give. The problem comes when giving to people who don’t want our gifts.

Our challenge is building a community who will freely – and graciously – accept our gifts.

That’s the key to guest posting: find the people who want to receive your gifts. Or, create a community in which this is possible.

How do you do that?

You do your research and you act human.

And how do you do that?

By reading other blogs, and commenting incisively and insightfully when something touches you. By e-mailing other bloggers. By talking to them on Twitter. In short, by making friends.

And please don’t do it as part of an return-on-investment strategy wherein you identify blogs with a certain level of traffic and then kiss the author’s ass. That’s just yucky. And transparent.

Be sincere. Reach out to the people who make you laugh and make you think and maybe even teach you a lil’ sum’in sum’in.

Then, once you’re all friends and you’re reading their stuff, and they’re reading yours, and your stuff is good (please make it good) invitations to guest post will commence. Really, they will.

But don’t just sit back and wait for that to happen.


I know. That scary monster in the bottom of your stomach just woke up and growled.

That still scares me.

How to Outwit The Scary Monsters In Your Stomach and Your Head

So this is how I cope: I figure out my roadblocks.

Like this: I’m not good with pressure. I like to write creatively, in great big bursts of inspiration. The daily grind wears down me down a little. Uncertainty is even worse. Waiting to hear if someone likes me – I mean “my writing”, of course I’m talking about my writing – is torture.

So I just write a bunch of electrical, eccentric posts and offer them forth, completed.

I rarely pitch. I rarely inquire. My writing skills are way better than my social skills, so I just send a completed post to someone and if they like it, they run it.

If they don’t, or if they send me a note saying ‘thanks but no thanks’ then I just dust off my pride and that post and send it off to the next site.

This doesn’t mean that I send my “how-to-blog” pieces to Dooce. That would be inappropriate. That’s not the right fit. And Dooce doesn’t do guest posts.

Pick Your Battles. Send Your Pieces Places They Can Win.

Oh, that’s the other thing: send your pieces to the right places. Blogs that are based on personality are not the right place.

Take a read through the blog you want to write for and see how many guest posts you find.

None? Don’t bother. Penelope Trunk and Steve Pavlina and Seth Godin are not going to run your guest post. Why? Because their people only want to read them.

Multi-author blogs, however, are guest-post gold. You know they run guest posts and are eternally hungry for guest posts. Definitely send your pieces there.

If you don’t have a relationship with the blogger – and it is a really good idea to have a relationship, first – then, by all means, pitch.

Ignore my fragile flower advice above because you are tougher than me. You can bear the will-she-won’t-she-run-my-post better than I. Yes, you can. Write an e-mail, include a couple of links to your best stuff, and hope for the best.

I still think it is a good idea to have the post finished before you inquire, though. That way, if the blogger says yes! send me your blazing epistle of righteousness, right NOW! well then, you can. Right away. While you’re still on her mind.

It also shows that you’re reliable, and fast, and possess that much-talked-about and elusive quality: follow-through. This is good, because you get a little mental check mark beside your name, and the next time you ask to guest post, the other blogger will remember, oh yes, he sent me a completed piece right away. That was easy. I like easy. Yes, yes, YES send me your lightning bolts of awesomeness. I will run as much as you can write!

Guidelines. Follow ’em.

One more thing: some blogs have guest post guidelines. That’s pretty useful. They tell you what they want, and how they want it.

Like…they might want it in Rich Text Format. Or saved to Google Docs. Or maybe a Word file will do. Maybe if you submit a post to that site, you no longer own the copyright to the piece. Maybe you’re not supposed to say bad words. Maybe affiliate links are a no-no (they’re almost ALWAYS a no-no in a guest post). Maybe you’re not supposed to link repeatedly from the body of your piece to your own site (don’t do this). Maybe they write about sex but are really, really not interested in pictures of your anatomy. Any of it. Not even your elbow.

So then sending them a post that includes a picture of your umm, elbow, will not get accepted.

It helps to know these things. So definitely look for the guidelines, and if you don’t find any, ask what for some.

And, finally, listen to the marketing gods at Nike and Just Do It.

You won’t die. Nobody will attack you. The worst thing that will happen is that you’ll get ignored, and again, that won’t kill you.

Other bloggers are not prehistoric monsters (mostly) bent on biting you (unless you like that sort of thing and they’re so inclined).

So psssssst, here’s a secret, one blogger to another:

Blogging is not dangerous. Fear has no place here. If you’re scared, do it anyway. Just try and find a way to make it less scary for yourself.

(Talking about it helps. But you know what really helps? Sending out pieces, getting them accepted, and getting confident.)

Those big, scary blogs that are popular, killing Alexa softly, and making money?

They’re written by bloggers who are you, five years from now. And those A-list bloggers remember their ancient history (being new and scared) well.


Kelly Diels writes for ProBlogger every week. She’s also a wildly hireable freelance writer and the creator of Cleavage, a blog about three things we all want more of: sex, money and meaning.

  1. Brilliant ideas here, not just for guest posting but for living, for leadership, for management, for attacking problems, and facing challenges. Thank you also for writing a very thorough and detailed post, and developing each thought into an actionable task. Thank you!!!! Wow. :)

  2. The first step is to research the topic you want to write on and then write it, and write it well. Save it as a draft and take a look at it again next morning. Often with clean mind the next day, one gets to improve the post further.

    Then post it in your blog, and then submit it for consideration in other relevant blogs. There is no harm in submitting the post to several blogs at the same time.

    With good content and relevant blogs, I see no reason why this will not lead to free marketing, and also help in developing relations with other bloggers.

  3. Really good quality post Kelly, long and full of great content. My blog is extremely new, but something I am currently looking into is guestposting, so this post has really helped! funny enough yesterday I got my first guespost accepted on a much bigger blog, which I am extrememely happy with : )

  4. You are right about Guest Posts. They are very valuable. I got a PR2 just on the back of 5 Guest posts. Not that PR matters so much now.

    Anyways a good post by you with a different touch than Darren. Nice job.

  5. This is such a great post, because it makes me feel I need to guest post RIGHT NOW. And you know, that is what I’m going to do RIGHT NOW. I hadn’t had a purpose for this afternoon yet, now I have.


  6. Hi Kelly,

    I agree with everything you are saying… We’ve never guest posted or had someone guest post on any of our blogs… But it’s something we are very interested in doing.

    I have a couple of questions. With our newest blog, today is the 3rd post we’ve done… On the other hand we have a couple of popular blogs that we could use some additional flavor in.

    When do you think it’s appropriate to have people guest post, is there a minimum number of post you should have before you do?

    Is it appropriate to edit a guest poster’s post? Like if they have grammar mistakes or bad sentence structure… or their headline sucks…

    Thank you…

  7. This is awesome post, and timely.

    My goal was to start guest psoting more in 2010 and I already have 3 big bloggers willing to run my posts.

    Just ask, worse they can say is no..

  8. I’ll be honest, I’ve been seeing a lot of advice recently suggesting people should guest post, but not how to. Hmm.

  9. Kelly,

    If there’s anything I think people should take away from this it’s not writing guest posts for ROI purposes. Many people who have been successful (i.e Josh Hanagarne, Matt Cheuvront, and others) have said don’t discriminate when you guest post. agree wholeheartedly. Ironically some of the best ROI I get comes from guest posting at blogs with less traffic than mine. I’d rather have 10 quality visitors who stick around and become part of my community than 500 one hit wonders. Awesome stuff as always.

  10. We have now published articles from over 150 guest bloggers on our blog and I find here some very useful advise for guest bloggers. I am sure lot of bloggers will benefit from this article and start guest blogging.

  11. Awesome advice! You put it all so clearly, thank you!

  12. John Christensen says: 01/20/2010 at 3:47 am

    I’m guessing Kelly DIehls had something worth saying above, but I couldn’t get past all the bloviation. Next time, maybe.

  13. Kelly,

    I’m still scared of the rumbling in my stomach, but I’m getting there. Goal this year: guest post at least once a year.

    Becoming a contributor at a multi-author/network style blog helps too! I’ve gotten a lot more confident in my writing since becoming a contributor.

  14. ok, you have done it…I am off to finish that guest post that I have been sitting on for weeks cos I am a bit scared! Thanks Kelli!

  15. Wow this post came in at a perfect timing I am on the third day of th 31DBBB and I just read the first bullet of the 3rd day. “pitching to other bloggers” I was kind of scared.

    I feel much more confident with your words of advice Kelly your witty post have really encouraged me to do some crazy things from now on. I will…wait I think that Moster in my stomach is talking to me again..what do I do? should I still guest post or not? I will do it anyway thanks kelly you rock you must be like top guest poster of month for problogger this is like the 3rd post I have read from you.

  16. Great tips for guest posts. I do intend on doing many guest post in the near future, but untill then i will be sure to post great content on my own blog. I’m really not sure on how to go about building a relationship with other bloggers though.

  17. Personally, I am not afraid to be a guest blogger. I just don’t have the freaking time because I already have two blogs of my own to write for. Still, it sounds cool to post on somebody else’s blog… I guess that’s what I’m doing now, right?

  18. Awesomesauce post, Kelly. I’ve been thinking more and more lately about guest posting, and I think the time has come to get off my prehistoric tuchus and actually write. Cheers. :)

  19. Hah! I have an artlcle brewing on the evo psych of timidity. Poorly understood, rarely researched.

  20. cool article and make me realize there is alo of thing that I must do :D

  21. Many thanks for the advice and encouragement. It’s difficult to know what is right or wrong when atarting out in the online world.

  22. I just started trying to do some guest posts. I realized just commenting on other blogs wasn’t enough to get exposure. I just finished one guest post and I’m looking for others.

  23. I’m so totally there! Now to make it happen! Thanks for the push!

  24. I just recently did my first guest post, and your tips are extremely helpful! Hopefully I will be doing a few more shortly.

  25. Thanks for the great advice. I was wondering how someone could get into the world of the guest post, so I appreciate the angle that you have taken here.

    It seems like it could be very hard to get into a popular blog’s list of guest-posters, but by chipping away at it slowly and offering something valuable to the readers, I’m sure it can be done almost anywhere.

  26. Good sensible advice. Take action or take several actions to get exposure and then stick your neck out and ask. Nobody is going to read your mind no matter how good you think you may be.

  27. I have it on my weekly checklist to submit one guest post a week. It usually never gets done because of time.

    After reading, I have decided to write a guest post every Monday morning. Other things can wait.

  28. Great advice, Kelly. Guest Posts are very valuable. My goal this year: Write a guest post at least once a year.

  29. I still feel a lot safer putting a comment than making a guest post heh.

    I guess I just don’t have a courage to guest post yet. Eventually I know I will be forced to, but not yet :D.

  30. I would like to see an article that provides guidelines for how to establish requirements for guest posting on your blog. You have covered many of them her, but I assume some are missing – so what should be in a set of guidelines?

  31. I’m really enjoying all your posts here at ProBlogger, Kelly. They make me laugh, but also have a ton of great guidelines for bloggers looking to grow, improve or get noticed (all things I’d love to do but I’m full of FEAR).

    I actually just submitted a post to Darren this week, knowing pretty well that it wouldn’t be accepted (because I am the LAST person who should be giving tips about blogging). But even though I knew it wasn’t the right fit, I am glad I “put myself out there” so to speak, because Darren’s response, even though it was a “No, thanks” sort of thing, was still encouraging and made me feel like I might be on the right track.

    My problem, in addition to the FEAR?

    Is that I care more about connecting with readers than all the strategizing about how to get more of them.

    But I still want more! I’m one giant conundrum.

    Anyway, thanks. I like your guest posts, and I just might try to get something of mine circulating somewhere other than my own page…someday.

  32. I will try. I don’t know if I’m really brave enough, but I will try.

  33. I offered myself to gest post in a lot of blogs, but I never received any answer. I guess it is worth to try it again

  34. I can’t say I am scared of guest posting at all. I do not feel nervous or scared when asking for a guest post.

    Matter of fact I get excited! The only thing that is of concern is writing a great guest post. A great guest post is something of value to the other person’s blog and to the readers.

    If you can provide value with each and every one of your blog posts, then you will be able to expand your blog in no time!


  35. If you need it to be DROP DEAD EASY to find a blog to guest post on (based on your niche) you must go now to:


    This is an active community DEDICATED to finding and offering guest post opportunities. I mean “gifts”.

    Easy peasy cover girl. Go try now!


  36. i think

    changing the content of posts and give revisions recording what the audience’s speaking is also good :-)

  37. Hi Kelly

    Guest posts are a great way to get more comments, at least according to this post http://blog.socialmaximizer.com/11-simple-tips-that-guarantee-more-comments-for-your-blogs/ it is. And looking at the size of this comment thread, it seems to be working.

    Thanks for this great post.

  38. Love you blog! Love your guest posts! I just started my blog. SO I am really just focusing on content now. I am trying to post everyday but it seems that it is more every other day. But guest post is on my goal list for this year. I was thinking around my blogs 6 month mark. Thanks again for all your helpful advice.

  39. Unique way of explaining the topic and I applaud that. :) Guest posting is a huge thing for new bloggers; but once you get through the ‘fearful’ part, the rainbow awaits — whether it’s going to be accepted or not, a lesson learned. I’ll say never stop sending in guest posts, apart from traffic another valuable reason is to build relationship with the author. :-)

    Social/Blogging Tracker

  40. Shyness and timidity has NO place in blogging! But it must grind your gears if you labour over what you think is a great guest post, only to have it rejected :( That’s my fear. But I’ll just have to get over it eh

  41. WOW !

    Totally not the point of your post but if that is what you think evolutionary psychology arguments are all about then you are very very naive when it comes to understanding human behavior.

    If your point was to create “controversy” and therefore interest in your post – and I have to believe that must be your goal – then I understand your comments but if that is what you really believe – just wow !

    Internet marketing is a perfect example of behavior evolutionary psychology in action.

    Start up costs are negligible, you can work part time whilst your establishing yourself, it hasn’t been about about the “technology” for quite a few years now and yet the industry is still totally dominated by men.

    Given how “level” the playing field is there is no logical reason for the very small % of women making a full time living online beyond being based in evolutionary psychology.

    As usual if I am wrong then I am still happy as just like in Internet Marketing the fewer people “get it” the easier life is for those of us that understand how things work.

  42. Ahh…You made me laugh, cry and think! Thanks for this very interesting guest post.


  43. Kelly

    Really good post. I will have to check out your blog next.

    I concur wholeheartedly. My recent guest post on Men With Pens (http://menwithpens.ca/get-a-rush-from-writing) came about through a bit of happenstance, but my follow-through I think conveyed that I wasn’t just some nut job. (Ha! @MenWithPens- I fooled you. I really am a lunatic.)

    All kidding aside, having a draft of a post is a prerequisite for guest posting on well-trafficked blogs. To have an idea is one thing. To have a cogently written post of about 700 words is another.

    Good stuff, Kelly.


  44. Thanks Kelli for your timely advice. I’ve tried guest posting and you are right, scary as it might be at first, it’s worked and my posts are accepted. In fact they want more.

    All good advice.

  45. Powerful posting and funny thing is I am right now at that point where I am wondering if I should make that jump into guest posting on other blogs to spread my image a bit more. But like you said rejection is a hard thing to get out of your mind and push aside. I need to get up the nerve and just realize the things I write benefit people and they will find value in it so post my best stuff up on others blogs. Will get around to it this week I do hope so :)

  46. “Like…they might want it in Rich Text Format. Or saved to Google Docs. Or maybe a Word file will do. Maybe if you submit a post to that site, you no longer own the copyright to the piece. Maybe you’re not supposed to say bad words. Maybe affiliate links are a no-no (they’re almost ALWAYS a no-no in a guest post). Maybe you’re not supposed to link repeatedly from the body of your piece to your own site (don’t do this).”

    So I never really thought about this until now. I accept guest posts all the time, my blog thrives on guest post relating to all things eco, “green”, and conscious living. I’m going to give more consideration to my “guidelines”.

    Question, when guest posting do you then offer the same post on your own site? Do you send the same guest post to multiple sites?

    Inquiring mind…

    Thanks for ANOTHER great post! I am so NOT kissing your patooty!

  47. Fear is good thing but in most of the cases fear cause us to be affraid from things that exists only in our limited head.

    I started out my dog blog (www.prezlee.com, in Hungarian) a while ago, and was afraid to write for a while. I was ashamed that my wording is silly, is not artistic enough is not special. One day I decided I write that blog, FOR myself. In my style, The way I see things.

    I just wrote and wrote and wrote and actually the very unexpected happened: I have fans on that blog… readers who come back, day by day, to see our adventures with the dog.

    And having that blog made me start the next one. In English. Its not my main language. The strange thing is I think in Hungarian. Sometimes the wordings are silly… but hey… that is a good way to learn. I just write, write and write. And not afraid anymore. :)

    Very good points in this post. Thank you.

  48. Me again. I thought I was subscribed to your email updates, but wasn’t…how did that happen? Anywho, thought you’d like to know that the subscribe box at the end of your posts doesn’t work…at all.

    Also, I searched high and low for your email addy, it’s not in a prominent place…bad Kelly. Unless of course this is a Jedi Master plan that I’m not privy to. Just sayin’.

  49. @ Missy – Why does the site offer registration? Doesn’t that limit the number of people who can see it?

  50. Charley says: 01/21/2010 at 4:32 am

    I loved this article because I havent even written an article for my own blog yet as I’m just starting out..so overcoming the fear of doing nothing is a very timely topic!

A Practical Podcast… to Help You Build a Better Blog

The ProBlogger Podcast

A Practical Podcast…