Getting Accepted as a Guest Blogger: It’s a bit like dating

So you’ve been listening to everyone (possibly even me) about why you should occasionally guest blog. And you’ve bought in.

But now what? What do you do to “get accepted?” How do you approach this?

Guest blogging is a bit like dating: it’s going to take some nerve, gumption and yes even a willingness to hear the word no. But if you want to take the guy (or girl) to the prom, then you gotta put yourself out there.

Understanding that you might not be the cheer captain or hometown football hero when you ask your intended out, here are some things to think about.

First – get to know the target. Just as you wouldn’t walk up to some random person in the hall and ask “hey, wanna go with me to the prom” (or maybe you would? In which case, that’s a different blog…) so too, don’t just blindly send a website owner a new post saying “looking forward to seeing this in print!”

After all, the website owner OWNS his or her website. They kinda like deciding what goes on their website.

Spend some time following the posts and discussions. Participate in them. Add value even by just being a participant.  Just as a guy might get to know more about his hoped-to-be date by getting to know her best friend or her brother, you need to get to know your target website owner and their audience

Second – do your homework. What are the “rules” or guidelines for being a guest blogger on the site? Make sure you’re ok with them and that they also meet your needs. After all, if the guidelines say “no links to any outside sites” and your prime reason for doing the guest blog is to drive traffic…. then is this the right site to meet your objectives? It might still be… but think about it. I once had a friend who’s parents only allowed them to go on group dates in high school. If you wanted to go out with her – that was the score.  For some guys, that was a downer. But there were others who understood that she was a gem of a person and was fine with that.

Third – Approach the website owner first. Introduce yourself and in your email explain how you’ve been involved or engaging in their site (ie: I’ve been an avid reader of yours for the last 2 years. DON’T SAY IT IF IT’S NOT TRUE.   Explain what you’d like to do – offer them a blog post about a topic that perhaps they’ve not covered in depth, offer a different perspective, or something very much related to their topic that might be new to their readers.  Take time to even pitch a catchy title. If it gets their attention – it surely might get their reader’s attention.  If you have such information, you might share where you’ve guest blogged before, what metrics happened in those instances, etc. If not, don’t stress – point them to some of your previous writing (presumably your own website). You’re sharing your “reputation” with the owner; while in high school your reputation might precede you, here, you’re going to have to do a little sharing to get their attention.

If they like the topic, you can have a draft to them (notice I said draft) by X date…. would that be ok?

The reason behind saying draft is you’ve got to assume that they, again, as the website owner, are going to want to have their fingerprint on the article somewhere. That’s normal. Check your ego at the door. You’re doing this to accomplish whatever business objective you have (traffic, followers, etc).  Assume they’re going to have feedback.

Fourth – deliver the draft – a VERY GOOD version – by the date you promised or agreed to.  When the owner gets it, ask when to anticipate feedback.  When you get feedback TAKE IT and implement it. They’re the boss in this instance.   This is a bit like the guy engaging the girl in the planning: shall we get a bunch of friends to go to a restaurant? which one? who?  what are you going to wear so I can get flowers?

When you do finally get your name in print, be sure to be around to participate in the discussion (if the owner is ok with that).  Answer questions. Thank people for posting and engaging. Promote the posting through your own social media outlets to your own followers.

After the publication, take time to thank the website owner for his or her faith in your efforts. See if they any metrics they can share with you (ie: increased traffic, responses, etc)  Ask for feedback at the same time. If they offer it – really listen and thank them for the input. If they were happy – tee up your next possible blog post (no different than a guy walking her to the door and asking if they can go out again next weekend).

And who knows – maybe you’ll find your “steady” in the process?


Category: Blogging, Writing

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