When I read Ashley Faulkes’s post on the SEMrush blog, "How to Find Guest Posting Opportunities," I knew I wanted to chime in.
First off, Ashley’s post is awesome. I use the same techniques almost every time I search for these opportunities.
I've been a serial blogger since 2005, and in this article I will share the exact steps I do to score a guest post spot, which works 95% of the time for me.
When you write for big brands like SEMrush, you can rest-assured the editorial team will send you pages after pages of things you should and shouldn’t do if you want to have that tiny bit of chance of becoming a contributor. This is typically known as the Writer Guidelines.
With this document, you have an idea of what they want and should know they expect nothing but the best from you. Yup, it's a fair deal since you are literally borrowing their audience, one they have built over the years.
So, how about sites that don’t have guidelines?
This is very common. There are still many big sites that don’t have written guidelines; they usually publish what (they think) is best for their readers.
This can be challenging. When faced with such a situation, you are trying your luck with a topic you think might be useful to the readers and something the editor will approve.
I know exactly how that feels. Through my years of writing, I have created a simple checklist that you can follow to double (or triple) your chances of becoming a contributor.
Understanding the Blog Itself
No two blogs are built alike. Each one has its own character.
Understanding the two points above will increase your chances by a mile, to say the least.
In order to understand the blog itself, dive into their archive. Discover the first few posts that have been published there.
This gives you an idea of what the site was like in the earlier days, and how or if they've changed. But don’t stop there. The next step is to review the latest posts published. You can easily check through their blog posts and see the tone of writing, number of guest writers and even topics that are published the most.
Also, follow company employees' work accounts on social media, and pay attention to what topics they are sharing a lot. If you see the person constantly sharing the same type of information, you know there’s a high level of interest in that topic.
Know the Person in Charge of the Editorial Process
Whenever you submit a request to become a contributor, make sure to pop the question to the person in charge of editorial.
Take myself, for example. I am an email type of person, and I strongly believe that emailing the right person will get whatever job done quickly and efficiently.
What if there is no editor listed for the blog?
Scour the website "About Us" section, look for clues on social media and strike up a friendly relationship with someone else who's contributed to the blog. Also note there could be more than one editor.
The Power of Asking "The Question"
You know, that question!
In this case, it would be, “What topics would the editor or website owner be interested in?”
I learned this during my time in the corporate industry. In the real world, everyone is competing to sell their solutions. But how often do they take time to understand what their specific client’s needs are?
When it comes to guest posting, ask that question and wait for the answer. To be honest, 50% of the editors I come across do not have a specific answer for me. They are just looking for good content, which, in some ways, makes your life easier (and harder at the same time).
You’ll get an idea once you've popped the question (no, I’m not talking about “Will you marry me?"). The next thing is to give recommendations on topic titles.
Pro tip: provide between 3-to-5 different titles for the person to choose from.
Submitting Your Guest Post
There is an etiquette you need to follow when submitting a guest post. Keep in mind:
For me, languages is a no-brainer. It is important for you to double-check the types of languages accepted in a guest post before submitting. If not, it could be a wasted effort. Also, for those who are able to speak multiple languages, like me, it is always recommended to hire a proofreader to reread the post for you (just to be on the safe side).
When it comes to spelling, mistakes happen. We are human and may overlook some parts at times. Check the post as much as possible to avoid any unwanted mistakes. Keep in mind it’s your duty to make the editor happy.
Images matter. If you plan to become a good guest blogger, make sure you choose decent images and properly cite the source of said images. For me, I love Canva. With limited creativity, Canva helps me create beautiful images of any size.
Formatting is also very important, especially when you want to stand out from the rest. If you are the type to write long posts, use formatting such as bold, italic, underline and heading tags to state your point. Avoid giving your editor a tough time by submitting a block of text to comb through.
I also tend to put some extra effort into search engine optimization. Editors and website owners are busy people and it takes a lot of their time to review a post. So why not do them a favor by doing some SEO for them in return?
Lastly, I use tools like Buffer, HootSuite and SocialOomph for sharing. Each one has a specific role; for example, I use Buffer for my main social media accounts, HootSuite for group postings and SocialOomph for automation from time-to-time.
Now, Over to You!
I hope you found this post useful, and I would LOVE to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment and let’s discuss!