So you’re interested in writing a guest post for That Blog you know and love. Here’s what you need to know. (Make sure you scroll down to the end for the checklist that will help you implement these steps!)
1) To Whom Are You Writing This Guest Post?
Do you follow That Blog faithfully? If you want to see your guest post published on it, then the answer is probably yes, right? So what makes you love it so? What causes you to comment beneath every other post? What compels you to share on social media a link to the words that touch your heart?
Multiple reasons. You may write like that; That Blog’s style may somehow sound just a smidgen like your own. That Blog’s authors may be at the same life season as you. That Blog’s target audience may fit either you or the audience your heart tugs toward, too.
Or you may not follow That Blog faithfully. If that’s true, start doing so. If you’re going to write for them, you’re going to need to know who they are, whom they’re writing for, and what they’re looking for in a guest post (written by you!).
- Read the feed. Don’t just read the posts from the last week. Pick a few from the last month or year to glance over, as well.
- Visit the Author/Team page. Brush up on who the author(s) are. Do any connections surface between their hearts and yours?
- Bookmark the guidelines. Once you feel comfortable with That Blog’s writing style and authorship base, find the Submissions page–and save it for later.
Want the checklist?
2) How Do They Want You to Submit?
The submissions page is incredibly important. I really can’t stress enough that you must read, reread, and read again the submission guidelines of the blog you’re hoping to guest post for.
Trust me, I’ve been on both sides.
I’ve emailed off guest posts only to have them rejected because I didn’t pay attention to that woefully obvious, should-have-seen-it detail in the guidelines; and I’ve cringed while reading a submission from a hopeful blogger wanting to be published on the contributor blog I call home.
Memorize those guidelines, and then read them one more time.
- Is there a word count? Is it a minimum or maximum? Is it a rough range or strictly-speaking?
- Do they require “extras?” Do they want you to include a pinnable graphic, headshot, author bio–and is there a sentence/word count for that?
- What is their submission process? Do they request that you email your piece/potential guest post as an attachment, copied into the body of the email, or shared via Google Docs? Do they want it to come already coded?
3) What Will You Send?
You’ve done your research, and you know That Blog’s style. You’ve scoured the Submission guidelines, and you’re sure you know how to stick by the rules. But now you are faced with the daunting task of adapting that style and melding it with your own, while still strictly adhering to the guidelines.
This is the scary part.
This is the part where you lay your heart on the screen. No amount of researching That Blog will see your name appear on it. No amount of studying the guidelines will see you safely within them. You must write something publishable, something That Blog will love, but, most importantly of all, something that will enrich the lives of the readers who will read it and glorify the God you’re writing for.
- Start with a story. Use “I” as quickly as you can. If you’re writing an inspirational-type post on a ministerial/devotional site, that “I” will draw readers in and bring to life the lesson/theme you’re trying to get across. If you’re writing a more technical/tutorial post (like the one you’re reading, for instance), that “I” will increase your credibility.
- Remember these words are yours. I’ve said a lot about style, and, yes, it’s a good idea to write a post you just know that it “fits” that blog. But the words we writers let loose seldom do as they’re told, so if something new starts to happen, let it. Then go back and write the guest post you meant to write (if possible). Or find a new place to which to submit what you actually wrote.
- Remember these words are not for you. What is your goal as a guest poster? To be noticed? To get writing credit? These are worthy goals–writers and authors can use all the exposure they can get. But remember that your readers will be looking for the benefit to them of what you’re writing (even if it is only a smile, laugh, or quote that sticks with them). So include one.
The writing part may be the hardest, but the sending part is a close second. Before you do, proofread that piece/potential guest post, sidle it by the submission guidelines one last time, and then slip it in an email to That Blog.
Do it. Your fingers may shake, your lungs may adopt an invisible corset, and you may consider backing out, but you’ve done the really hard work! Now don’t let it be in vain! Press Send and release your guest post out into cyberspace. It may not be long now before you receive an email back from That Blog, accepting your guest post for publication.
Do you plan on taking some of these tips? Let me know in a comment.