Guest posting on blogs is a fantastic way to build brand recognition, establish yourself as a credible expert in your field, and drive traffic to your website.
Guest blogging champion Danny Iny bulit his Firepole Marketing business through the power of guest posting on popular blogs. I've established my name as a freelance writer through guest blogging. I've won regular writing gigs on a number of blogs, most of which started by pitching a guest post.
In this tutorial I'll guide you step-by-step through the process of pitching a guest post to a blog. You can use this technique for pitching to any blog in any niche.
Even if you never plan to write a guest post, it's worth learning how to pitch by email. Pitching, after all, is how you sell your services and expertise to clients.
To complete this tutorial, you will need the following assets:
- An email account
- A laptop
- An internet connection
1. Lay the Right Foundations
You can find all kinds of excuses for not pitching a guest post. You don't have enough time. You're not sure your writing skills are up to scratch. It takes too much time to write a post when it might be rejected.
I agree, rejection is tough. If you send in a pitch and you get no response, that's going to hurt. But you can minimize the chances of rejection by getting your pitch right.
The key is in the preparation. If you lay the right foundations, you'll hit the jackpot more often than not. Instead of notching up rejections, you'll quickly find success, which will build your confidence and your writing portfolio.
What's more, if you pitch well, there's no need to write an article before you pitch. Far better to write articles after they've been commissioned by a blog editor, so you know they will be published.
Step 1: Decide Your Niche
What topic, industry or subject do you want to establish your expertise in? This can be directly related to your current freelancing services, as guest posting is great for getting your name out there in front of potential clients. However, guest posting is also ideal for branching out into a new niche. If you want to expand your skillset or learn something new, consider guest posting about it.
Step 2: Build Your Portfolio
Getting together a portfolio of your writing is the most time-intensive aspect of laying the groundwork, especially if you've never had any writing published before. You've got two options for a portfolio:
- Put together a collection of your best writing work so far. For each pitch you write, you need three articles.
- Write three stunning articles, published on your own blog or website.
It's better if your portfolio is related to your niche. However, the most important thing is showing that you can write well.
2. Do Your Research
Step 1: Find Blogs to Pitch To
Once you've laid the foundations, you're ready to start looking for blogs to pitch to. To start out, find one blog you want to pitch to in your niche. Then, to find more blogs to pitch to:
- Click through links on blog articles to see related news sites and blogs.
- Check out the comments, and click through to the blogs of commenters.
- Use Similar Sites to dig up hidden gems.
Once you've discovered a few possibilities, check through them looking for the following:
- Do they have a "Write for Us" or "Contribute" Page? If so, they're in the market for guest posts.
- What's their readership? Blogs with a big following give you better visbility. If they don't display subscriber stats on their blog, look at their Twitter or Facebook Page to see how big their audience is.
Try to get a shortlist of 3-5 blogs. If you pitch to a few blogs simultaneously, you'll find rejection easier to take than if you put all your hopes on one blog.
If the blog has a "Write for Us" page, they'll provide guidelines on how to pitch. Read these carefully, and take note, even if they're different to what you learn from this tutorial. You don't know better than the blogger you're pitching to. Always pitch on their terms, not yours.
If you find a blog you'd like to write for, but they don't have a "Write for Us" page, there are two ways to find out if they accept guest posts. First, you can search through past posts for contributions from guest bloggers. Second, you can drop the blog editor an email. Two lines saying you enjoy their blog, and you'd like to know if they accept guest posts is sufficient. It's a good way of breaking the ice before you submit your full pitch.
When you're reading through the blog, find out the name of the editor or the lead writer. This is the person you'll submit your pitch to. Including their name in your email will give your pitch the best possible chance of being accepted.
Step 2: Research Your Chosen Blogs
Now you've chosen which blogs you'll pitch to, you're ready to start deciding which articles to pitch. To do this, you must find out what articles the blog reads.
There's a simple way to do this. Look through the blog for their 5-10 most popular posts. These are the posts with the most comments, Facebook Likes, or Twitter shares. This gives an idea of the article ideas the blog editor is most likely to accept. When you're pitching, you can also say, "I noticed articles about [topic] are popular with your readers." That shows the blog editor you've taken time getting to know their audience, which gives them confidence you'll write a high quality, engaging article.
By the time you've finished your research, you should have an article idea for each of the blogs you'll be pitching.
3. Write the Email
Step 1: Outline Your Post
For each of your article ideas, create a bullet point outline of the 3-5 main points you plan to cover in your article.
This is the crux of your pitch, and is the "product" you're selling to the blog editor, so make sure it's good. You should be approaching the topic with new ideas or an original angle. A simple outline that works well is:
- Common problem faced by blog readers
- New solution to the problem
- How readers can apply the solution in a practical way
Step 2: Write a Sexy Headline
Your headline is what will hook the blog editor into reading your article outline, and it's what will tempt the blog's subscribers into reading your article. Needless to say, it's got to command attention.
You should spend as much time writing your headline as on the article outline.
Unless the blog's "Write for Us" guidlines state otherwise, you should use your headline in the subject line of your pitch email.
Step 3: Choose Your Compliment
The best way to open a pitch is with a short compliment. Say why you like the blog you're pitching to. If you've been reading the blog for months or years, say so. If you've found a particular article helpful, say so.
Starting with a compliment gets the blog editor on your side before they've even read your pitch. It shows that you appreciate their work and understand their blog. However, it only works if your compliment is genuine. If you fail to be honest, you'll come across the wrong way.
Step 4: Write the Email and Click "Send"
Now you're ready to send your email, and it's pretty much written. Using everything you've prepared, put your email together. Keep your email short and sweet. Most bloggers are busy people, and don't have time for waffle.
Here's the email template I use to pitch guest posts. You can use everything you've prepared to make your email sizzle with excitement.
Grab the email template:
Subject: Guest Post: [Sexy Headline]
Dear [Blogger's Name],
I'm writing to submit a guest post to [name of blog]. The post's headline is [sexy headline here] and the article will include:
- Bullet point
- List of
- Your article outline
I've noticed articles on this topic are particularly popular with your readers.
To let you know a little bit about me, I'm a professional [name of your job]. I've previously written for [names of other blogs you've written for] and you can find samples of my work here:
- Links to
- Relevant articles
Let me know what you think. I'm excited to hear back from you!
See, there's no magic to it. Just a short, simple email written in GMail.
Instead of sitting at your computer waiting for a response, start work on another pitch. The more pitches you submit simultaneously, the better you'll face rejection, as you'll always have seeds of hope out there.
Avoid These Mistakes
I've received many pitches for guest posts. Over 90% of them were half-hearted. That's good news for you. If you follow the advice in this outline, and avoid the following mistakes, you're set for success.
Here's the biggest mistakes I've seen in lame pitches:
- Failing to read and research the blog you're pitching to.
- Spelling and grammar mistakes in your pitch.
- An insincere compliment.
- Failing to find out (and use) the name of the blog editor you're pitching.
- Spray and pray pitching, where you pitch the same bland and irrelevant idea to every blog you can think of.
- Telling the blog editor what a fantastic writer you are and how you'd like to write an awesome guest post, when it's obvious you haven't even read the blog's pitching guidelines.