Writing posts for your own blog is kind of straightforward. Of course, I’m oversimplifying things a bit because you still have to do the research, outline the post, then edit it, and finally do some proofreading.
However, writing itself is a pretty straightforward task. WordPress is very lenient when it comes to the various methods in which you can upload/write your posts.
Apart from working inside the editor itself, you can also post via email, copy and paste your work from MS Word or from a plain text file. In other words, the possibilities are plenty.
So what’s different when we’re talking guest posts?
Well, a lot of things.
Why the format in which you send your guest post matters
The most important thing we have to remember is that we’re dealing with someone else’s time and site here.
So the form in which we send the post has to be the most convenient and also the safest for the person getting it.
Let me put it this way. Not everyone will open an email attachment from someone they don’t know. Not everyone will spend time going through an HTML document. And on top of this, not everyone will have the time to take your MS Word file and upload it to their WordPress either.
At times, this really can be tough. For example, I’m pretty certain that when I was just starting out as a guest blogger, I had tens of opportunities pass me by purely because I sent my articles in the wrong format and people never even bothered to respond.
I even made the mistake of sending my articles as .ZIP archive email attachments. Most people are just not willing to take the risk opening such files, and rightfully so.
In the end, the way you deliver your guest post really matters. It can even be the difference between a successful and failed guest blogging attempt.
Therefore, here’s the how-to that’s turned out to be the most effective for me. Although I can’t guarantee that it’s going to be the optimal solution for you as well, it surely is a good starting point. You can then build your own tactics on top of it.
How to write your guest post?
By far, the most manageable and accessible way for me to write all of my guest posts is inside the wp-admin of one of my own blogs.
Obviously, I don’t push the publish button on them. I just use the features and editing possibilities that WordPress brings, and then save the posts as drafts, or use an entirely custom post status (more on that in a minute).
Here are the reasons why using your own blog is a great trick:
- WordPress keeps your posts in a safe database that’s optimized and highly searchable.
- You can back up all of your guest posts with a plugin like WordPress Backup to Dropbox or something similar.
- You can easily search through your guest posts when needed.
- The revision functionality makes it possible to store and review the previous versions of a given post, and when there’s a need, even revert to one of those versions.
But wait, there’s more!
Apart from the native WordPress features, you can also use plugins to make the experience even better. Mainly, I’d like to recommend two:
It has a load of features, such as: editorial calendar, editorial comments, notifications, user groups, etc. But the main one you can use for guest blogging is custom post statuses.
For example, the default post statuses in WordPress are: Pending Review, Draft, Published.
The ones I configured on my site are: Draft, Pending Review, Edited, Finalized, Archived, Published.
Those additional statuses give me a good indication of the stage that a given post is at. For instance, guest posts that have already been published have the status of Archived. Guest posts that have been completed and are awaiting publication have the status of Finalized.
You don’t have to use the same statuses as I do, though. Feel free to set things up in a way that makes the most sense for you personally.
Jetpack is a huge plugin, so I’m not going to go through all of its features. But I will mention one specific module.
It’s the editing/proofreading module, formally known as a standalone plugin – After the Deadline. It uses a set of complex algorithms to help you with the editing process.
It offers rules for things like bias language, clichés, complex phrases, double negatives, and a lot of other common and problematic stuff.
In short, it will make your writing better with very little additional effort on your part.
Okay. So we have writing taken care of. Now, let’s talk about what to do with your post once you have it ready inside the wp-admin of your blog.
How to deliver your guest post?
I’ve tried experimenting with various types of content over the years, but the one that seems to deliver the best results is Google Docs.
It’s certainly better than MS Word or plain text files. Here’s why:
- It doesn’t require the blogger to use any external software to access your post.
- They can see your post right away just by clicking a link.
- They don’t have to deal with HTML.
- They can see the links right in the doc and preview the sites they’re pointing to.
- You can add additional editorial comments throughout the post.
- You can embed images right where you need them.
Apart from that, if the person you’re sending your post to uses Gmail, they will see a preview right inside their email view. And if you’ve placed an attractive looking image at the beginning of the post, they will be even more inclined to click it and see what’s inside.
So here’s what to do:
- Simply create a new document. Basic stuff.
- Copy and paste your post’s contents from the Visual editor in WordPress.
- Adjust the line spacing setting, like so (this will make the post more readable):
- Add some images, and if you can, an image right at the beginning.
- Go to the sharing box and set the access rights to “everyone with the link can view.”
- Send the link via email together with your pitch.
Note. One more thing I do in the email itself is I mention that I can send the HTML version too if the blogger prefers it (just to cover one additional scenario).
Build your archive
When you’re done and the post gets published, you don’t necessarily need to delete it from your wp-admin.
That way, you’re building a nice archive, and should one of your guest posts ever go down, you can quickly find it in the archive and send it to someone else.
Okay, I guess that’s it for my approach. In the end, the whole thing is not that complicated. You can basically use your own blog to write and store the posts, and then send them out as Google docs.