Writing a guest blogging pitch is something that still scares off many writers. To show you that it’s not a boogieman here is a series of posts on everything you need to know about guest blogging but never dared to ask.
Another week which means another post in our series on guest blogging.
First, we went through the various goals one can choose for writing a guest post. If you want to succeed in whatever field, you need to have an objective that will help you define your path.
After setting goals, we discussed ways to find guest blogging opportunities. Because writing guest posts requires extra care attention from us, you just don’t want to waste your time and efforts. Whether you are working with a fellow blogger or an influencer, you want to get the most out of it.
For this third article, it’s time for you to take a step forward and start contacting the hosts you selected.
- Build a relationship
- Get familiar with the community
- Know the blog’s content
- Check the guidelines
- Send your email
1. Build a relationship
Unless you are working together with another blogger you know (well), it’s necessary to build a relationship with the publisher. The reason you should do it is simple.
Picture someone you have never seen before asking you a favor. It might be that you are a such a kind person that you’d do your best to help this person anyways. If that’s the case, I can only wish there were more of you in the world.
However, most of the times, we don’t feel that comfortable to walk that extra mile for total strangers. We need some kind of connection, at least, know where the person “came from,” to feel motivated to listen to their story.
Even though guest blogging is not as personal, in the middle of various pitches, those coming from “known” writers stand out.
I am not saying that you’ll be completely ignored if you aren’t a member of their tribe. It’s just that becoming a friendly face may help your chances.
Leave comments on the blog you’d like to guest post. Take part in (online) events such as Twitter chats and giveaways, for example. Instead of taking the back seat, be proactive.
2. Get familiar with the community
Building a relationship is more about how you connect with the host of blog or website. But you also want their readers to recognize you.
Since you’ll be stopping by their site on a regular basis, you’ll see who the frequent visitors are. These people visit the blog for something more than just the content. As time passes, they become a supporting community around the hosts. Independent from the subject, they go there because they identify themselves with the brand.
Start interacting with these readers as well. Visit their blogs if they have one and leave them comments. In time, you will realize what kind of content attracts them the most and why. You will see a pattern that may help you give form to your content.
Don’t limit yourself to agreeing with what others are saying. Ask questions and build a conversation too.
3. Know the blog’s content
Think of the reasons why you decided to guest blog for the site to begin with. I’m sure part of it has to do with their niche and content. Even though you know how it “looks” like, you’ll need to go a little deeper before writing your pitch.
You aren’t going to write your post just yet; still you want to have a broader picture of their style:
- How long are their most engaging posts? Are they longer or shorter than 800 words?
- Do they use bullet points, subheaders, and numbering?
- How important is the visual aspect?
- How do their guest posts look like? Which ones received more engagement and why do you think it happened?
- In what ways are their blog posts like or different from the content you generally publish?
I’m pretty sure that you already did it automatically when you visit the site before. The difference now is that you should be taking a “scientific” approach. It’s not just your perception of their content, but a deeper evaluation. It’ll help you write content with your unique style but with a shape that is already pleasing to their audience. Everybody wins!
4. Check the guidelines
Most bloggers who offer guest blogging opportunities have specific guidelines available on their website. They are helpful instructions for both sides of the coin.
In the case of Debbie in Shape, for instance. I decided to put together clear and straightforward guidelines to avoid wasting the time of writers, my readers and myself. Should someone consider them too hard it’s because they have no idea of the amount of work I put on every single blog post I publish here. Whether my articles are seen by hundreds or thousands of people, I take time to:
- come up with an idea I consider to be useful for my readers
- outline my blog
- do research
- write and edit my posts
- create images
- format the layout
- set up SEO
- plan social media share
This means hours and hours of work for my beloved small blog. If a writer won’t have the same level of commitment with my audience, I don’t mind being the sole author here.
I’m all for helping people, and that’s the main reason for starting this series. I want to host YOUR guest post. The only thing I really want is that you’re willing to show you care about my tribe as much as I do.
For guest bloggers
I said it last week: you don’t want your baby been taken care by “anybody.”
Have a look at the guidelines and examples of guest blogs from your favorite sites. How awesome are they? You’ll probably say something like “mindblowing” and I’m sure they are. That is why you want so much to have your guest post published with them in the first place!
Now imagine if they left “whoever” contribute to their website. Would you still want to be part of their contributor’s team? If they accepted content without quality, full with backlinks and no added value, would you even visit them?
Don’t be afraid or get discouraged by how strict some might be. On the other contrary: get excited to raise your bar to their level! I, personally, prefer to invest in my personal improvement before taking chances. But that’s me. Whether you start a from-couch-5k or just sign up for a race and see what happens, there’s always room for growth.
Be certain that those guidelines are made to:
- filter those who actually care (if one sends a pitch without even checking the guidelines, it’s like sending a curriculum with typos)
- maintain quality level (if one doesn’t want to make the minimum effort, maybe they’re not worth the audience)
- back-up your published article (landing the guest post of your dreams may open many doors to you and your blog)
5. Send your email
When you started building your relationship with the publisher, you learned his or her name. So instead of sending an email addressed to “Dear Host” or “Dear Editor”, use their names.
I have never seen a blogger requesting to be treated by their titles. It’s true that I don’t read much on medicine (only medical research in my niche for certain articles, like this one on Mindfulness Meditation) or law. Most of the times, bloggers use their name or even, short name. That’s how you should address them. For your email, you want to use the same name as on the signature of their posts.
Introduce yourself briefly, eventually naming your blog or business. Please don’t include the story of your life here. Be concise. If the host is interested in your content, they might take the time to check your “about” page or profile on LinkedIn to get to know you better at an appropriate moment.
Finally, share why they would want to host your post. Give an introduction to the topic and explain why you think it’ll be of added value for their audience.
I simply love an example from Neil Patel from Quicksprout. There are others online that you might feel connected to.
Now it’s up to you
We are half way with this series, and I hope you are getting more confident about guest blogging.
Save some time on a weekly basis to write an extra post. Write and rewrite as you go through the preparation steps to pitching your guest blog.
Use the experience to improve your own content as well. As you learn about what the big guys are doing, you may realize your content needs some upgrade too.
For the pitch itself, I also recommend this awesome article on CoSchedule* blog named How To Cold Pitch Your Next Guest Blogging Opportunity.
If your favorite blogger has written about guest posting, have a look at their article. It’ll give you an idea of their expectations which may not be on their guideline.
I sincerely hope you’ll find this series helpful. Guest blogging is an incredible opportunity to get visibility and build credibility, but it has to be done right.
Remember that we are now offering guest blogging opportunities on Debbie in Shape. If you want to get started or practice your skills with us, it’ll be a pleasure to publish your post(s). Guidelines and details are available here. I cannot wait to read your pitch!
Make sure you come back next week for more guest blogging tips. Or sign up to receive an email notification whenever a new post is published.
How did you write your first guest blogging pitch?
Read all posts of this series:
- Everything You Need to Know About Guest Blogging: Setting Goals
- Everything You Need to Know About Guest Blogging: Finding Opportunities
- Everything You Need to Know About Guest Blogging: Writing A Pitch
- Everything You Need to Know About Guest Blogging: Writing A Post
- Everything You Need to Know About Guest Blogging: Promotion
- Everything You Need to Know About Guest Blogging But Never Dared To Ask
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Be Healthy and Live Fully.
*Please note that some of the links in this list are affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you any extra, but I earn a commission if you decide to purchase. Regardless of whether or not I receive a commission, I only recommend products that I personally use and sincerely recommend. Affiliate links will be noted by an asterisk.*