How to Get Your Guest Post Submission Accepted

Over the course of the past few months, I have had guest articles on six different blogs.  The blogs have been in the fields of personal finance (Lazy Man and Money and The Digerati Life), technology (40 Tech), blogging (ProBlogger) and blogs that defy categorization (Life, Laughs, and Lemmings and World’s Strongest Librarian).  I suspect that I will be the only person to land articles on this specific mix of blogs.  Interestingly, despite being first and foremost a fiction writer, I haven’t been a guest author on any fiction-oriented blogs.

My recent guest article on ProBlogger was related to the multi-author aspect of The Soap Boxers.  Not surprisingly, this spurred many comments related to guest posting.  Some of the commenters were frustrated at their lack of success in landing guest spots.

I’m hardly the most successful guest poster in the history of the blogosphere, but I may have a few tips for those who are in the beginning stages of trying to build their brand.

Build relationships

I’d like to say that everyone submitting a guest article has an equal chance of being accepted.  In reality, this isn’t the case.  If a blogger is comparing two articles of similar quality, it’s only natural they lean toward someone they know.  I’ve known Lazy Man for several years.  On the other side of the spectrum, I was less familiar with Josh at World’s Strongest Librarian, but had commented on an article of his at ProBlogger.  The other sites are ones where I had established myself as a frequent commenter.

This doesn’t mean that you need to stalk your favorite bloggers as a way to get to know them better.  Please, don’t.  Many of us carry pepper spray.  However, do take the time to comment on other people’s articles – the comments that are relevant and insightful.  This will raise your profile a bit.

Try, try again

You’re not going to get every article accepted.  Rejection is part of the process of being a writer.  In addition to the articles I had published, I had many others rejected.

Just because one site isn’t interested in a particular article doesn’t mean that it’s dead.  A couple of articles that landed as guest posts on one blog had been previously rejected by another site.  Do some blogs have high standards than others?  That’s possible – the New York Times probably has higher standards for submissions than the Hometown News.

Equally possible is the fact that each blogger just has a different taste.  Quite often, when a blogger rejects your submission, they will give you feedback on WHY they rejected it.  A few weeks ago, I was trying to peddle some fiction stories based on the theme of personal finance to blogs that specialized in personal finance.  This is admittedly a bit of a square peg/round hole situation – these blogs didn’t usually run fiction pieces.  The response from The Digerati Life was that she simply wasn’t interested in fiction – but would be interested in a non-fiction piece.  A short time later, I had an article on the etiquette of tipping (waiters, not cows) on her site.

Always be respectful during the process.  Never go down the road of “You’ll regret it when this article appears on your competitor’s site!”  You can spend years building a bridge and just a moment burning it.

Give them a quality, finished product

First of all, give away your top shelf work.  Don’t use your guest articles as a dumping ground for substandard work.  Darren @ ProBlogger made reference to this in one of his articles.  This seems completely counter-intuitive to me.  You’re introducing yourself to a room full of strangers – put your best foot forward!

Make sure that your article fits into their niche, if the blog is a niche blog.  If it’s a baseball blog, don’t submit an article about football.  I’ve bent this rule on occasion with some things that were a bit outside the box.  However, I knew that this could work against me.  Even in those cases, the articles were a half twist away from the true focus of the target blogs.  Sure, I was pitching fiction to personal finance bloggers – but finance played a significant role in those stories.

Give them a finished, polished product.  A blogger wants to be able to turn your content into an article quickly, with minimal fuss.  Proofread your article carefully.  Nobody wants to spend time cleaning up typos.  Even worse, poor grammar reflects poorly on the blog.

Add a short biography for inclusion in the article.  This avoids having the blogger contact your for additional details.  I have developed a standard short bio for myself that will now be appearing wherever my guest articles appear.  The consistency may also help trigger familiarity amongst readers who stumble across your articles on several different blogs.

Most sites are going to want exclusive use of the article you submit.  If you truly value the experience of being a guest on that blog, give them the exclusivity.

Last, but not least, include a link to your blog – you want to make sure to reap the benefits of your work!

OK, I surely missed some good tips.  For those of you who have landed guest posts – what are some of your secrets?

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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