Guest blogging over a long period of time teaches you a lot of things … mainly in the “dealing with people” department.
Actually, I’d say that being a successful guest blogger is more about knowing how to handle interaction with editors, rather than being the best writer out there.
Of course, you do have to be able to put words and sentences together in order to make it in guest blogging. However, first of all, you have to be able to communicate effectively and listen to what blog editors have to say about your submission.
So today, let’s take a look at the six things that blog editors really want from you, your pitch, and then your article.
1. To give them something they can’t get on their own
This is something that’s especially relevant if you’re trying to pitch a bigger site.
Here’s the question you need to ask yourself prior to pitching: What I can offer to the blog editor that they can’t get on their own, or that would be very difficult for them to get?
Just think about it from the editor’s perspective. If you’re managing Forbes, for example, what possibly could a small business blogger offer to you that you don’t already have access to? What great advice could they have?
Simply answering this with, “a new and shiny article” might not cut it. Blog editors have loads of those. While you might “wow” the editor of a smaller site with a piece of free content, the bigger the site, the harder it will get. So you need to dig deeper.
- An interview with a person who you have access to and who’s relevant to the blog’s message.
- An insider case study that presents some interesting take on the niche – a take that only you can share because of the data you have.
- A success story of either you or your client in relation to a particular niche.
In short, the idea is to take the standard ol’ concept of a guest post and put it on steroids. That way, you will make the partnership mutually beneficial – for you and for the blog editor.
2. To promote your post to influencers
Something that blog editors really hate is dealing with writers who think that the editor will do all the heavy lifting in terms of promotion of your guest post.
I mean, sure, you can count on the editor sharing your post on their official social media channels and such, but don’t count on them rolling out their whole promotional machine for a guest post.
And I mean, why would they?
When you look at it, the guest post is a piece of content that ultimately promotes another company – yours – and not the blog itself. Most likely, the editor will exclude your post from their standard promotion process to make some room for their own content that will follow shortly, and give their partners a couple of days of rest that way.
What all this means in the end is that it’s only your job to promote your guest post to influencers in your niche. Luckily though, promoting an article that you’ve published on a well-known-site(.com) is a lot more compelling to the people you’re reaching out to than promoting your-new-less-popular-site(.com).
3. To emulate the style of the blog
Every blog is different, at least up to some extent. For instance, even if you’re targeting two seemingly similar “blogs about blogging,” their style and angles will inevitably be slightly different.
Just to name a few, you need to take notice of things like:
- the tone used on the blog (is it conversational, professional, in between),
- the length of the paragraphs,
- do the posts start with a story,
- are there custom featured images,
- are there images used at all in the posts,
- how long are the posts (word count),
- is there a lot of links in each post,
- what’s the structure of the sub-heads and paragraphs (typography-wise),
- what type of posts is the most popular (lists, tutorials, opinions, etc.).
In a nutshell, the more you make your post to appear like it fits on the target blog, the better your chance the editor will say yes. Essentially, minimize the amount of work they have to do to make your post fit.
4. To not ignore their suggestions
This somewhat ties in with the previous point and it’s about what happens once you get some feedback from the editor.
To be honest, I hadn’t even known that ignoring suggestions was a problem until I started receiving guest post pitches myself. The number of people that fail to follow through and include the things I’m suggesting to their guest posts simply staggers me.
So please, don’t be that guy/gal. If the editor sends some feedback/suggestions, take action. If you ignore them, you’ll never get your stuff published.
5. To mind the deadlines
In Tim Ferriss’ own words:
I live and die by deadlines. They are absolutely sacred, and I am merciless about this.
Tim is not the only person with this attitude. I’d even say that almost all successful people I know treat deadlines very seriously.
And when we take this talk to the blog scheduling scenario, it becomes even more so. Big and successful blogs have tight schedules, and if you want to land your guest post on them, you need to be willing to work within those deadlines.
This isn’t even that much about making the editor mad or crossing you off their “potential contributor” list for missing a deadline (although that might happen too). This is more about missing your window of opportunity.
For instance, what do you think happens when an editor sets your deadline to, say, Jan 27th and you send your post on Feb 2nd. Does this mean shifting your publication date by six days? Maybe on a small blog it does, but on a big one this could mean missing your window entirely or being re-scheduled by even a couple of months into the future.
In a word, deadlines are sacred.
6. To come back and interact
This is about comments, social media talks and mentions, and overall interacting with the community when they’re discussing your guest post.
Many blog editors actually have a policy (stated openly) that if you fail to respond to comments, you won’t be allowed to guest post on their sites again.
This makes it a perfect evidence of how frustrating it is for editors to see guest bloggers abandon their work right after publication.
So to make everyone happy, dedicate a couple of minutes a day to keep coming back to your guest post for at least a week and respond to the comments. This will go a long way and prove your credibility.
What else is there? I’d really like to see your opinion about this, and especially if you’re a blog editor struggling with sub-par guest bloggers.