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How To Craft The Best Guest Post Pitch Possible – 11 Successful Bloggers Reveal All

The Best Guest Post Pitch Ever

I did a rather odd thing this one time…

I went to a popular blog, read their guest post submission guidelines, took notes, and then deliberately designed my pitch to break most of those guidelines, and sent it out.

Guess what happened?

I got the spot. I got my post published.

“Wait, what?! How?!” – asks you. “Aren’t guidelines made to help you get in and make sure that your pitch and your post is optimal for the blog in question?”

Well, no … and yes.

But let’s start with the no.

Consider the following example. As a blogger, you’re more or less familiar with SEO, right? Okay, so on one hand, we have Google with all their advice, “best practices,” Matt Cutts’ tutorial videos and Q&As … in a word, we have their guidelines. But on the other hand, we have what actually works. And the two aren’t always the same.

It’s a very similar story with guest blogging and guest blogging guidelines. Yes, knowing the guidelines will help you get your post accepted. But finding your own way of pitching and developing your own skill that might go against those guidelines will take you much further.

Which brings me neatly onto the topic of problems with most guest post pitching advice. Sorry that I have to say this, but the majority of it is simply useless.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to sound clever here. I’m no genius. But the problem I see is that most of the advice is applicable to individual specific scenarios. It’s always one blogger telling you how they think a pitch should be done.

This might trick you into believing that there’s just one way to do this correctly. They only showcase one point of view. They tell you what has worked for them once.

We need something that can be applied a bit more broadly.

But for that, we need more voices.

So to solve this mystery, I invited 11 successful bloggers to help me out here. I asked them to take a moment out of their day, look at the best guest post pitches they’ve received, and share what was so special about them and why they worked.

The following guide presents the lessons learned, discusses the individual pitching techniques, and explains the psychology behind it all, coming from 11 experts and their experiences. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Here’s how it’s going to work. This resource has two parts. In the first part, I’m going to list the individual factors that make up a good guest post pitch as pointed out by our experts.

Generally, if a given factor gets mentioned by more than one expert, it gets put on this list. The idea is to find the things that actually work in more than one scenario. The more often something gets mentioned, the more important it has to be, right?

The second part is where you can see all the individual responses by each expert.

Today, we’re learning from:

Onwards!

Part 1: The traits of a guest post pitch that works

Starting from the ones mentioned the most often:

1. Make your post topic/headline fit hand-in-glove

I know that this might sound like a basic piece of advice, but it turns out that the quality of the topic you’re pitching really plays a crucial role.

In fact, everyone I interviewed mentioned it as a factor.

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I really can’t emphasize this enough. Again, everyone – every blogger on this list – says that the topic is what truly matters.

Guess what's the most important factor when pitching a guest post; 11 experts shareClick To Tweet

So the question is: What does this mean in practice? What makes a topic (or a headlinequality?

A handful of elements:

It needs to be in tune with the theme of the blog.

[…] The actual article he proposed is ideal and perfect for my blog. I run a blog for freelance writers, and who in my position wouldn’t want to publish an article on how to go from $15 to $450 per article in under 90 days. The content alone was responsible for at least 80% of the success of this pitch.

-Bamidele Onibalusi of WritersinCharge.com

In your email include 3 potential titles that you think will be a good fit for the site’s readers. A huge bonus would be 3-4 bullet points under each title on what each post would generally cover.

-DJ Thistle of SteamFeed.com

Their blog and content were a perfect fit for my audience – this is a deal breaker for most pitches. The fact that the blogger is a great writer and writes about the topics my audience wants to know about was the deciding factor.

-Adam Connell

This may sound basic, and obvious, but crafting a headline that truly fits isn’t an easy thing to do. First of all, just because a blog is all about, say, conversion optimization, doesn’t mean that the editor will green light anything with “optimize conversion” in the title.

The theme of the blog is about something more.

Within their niches, some blogs prefer tutorials, others list posts, others case studies, others research-supported content.

Then, there are other parameters. What length of posts is typical to the blog? What about images – should there be any? What about the competition – does the blog accept linking to their competitors? And so on.

All these factors make up the theme of the blog. Make your post fit that theme and you’re in.

It needs to be in tune with the current content being published on the blog.

[…] he also did a bit of research on the blog and found a piece he wanted to follow up on, a big plus as it makes the whole process easier: he would write a piece of content that will be related to some existing stuff on my blog, rather than pitching random topics that “might” be a good fit for our readers.

-Catalin Zorzini of Ecommerce-Platforms.com

Setting the theme of the blog aside, your content has the best chance of getting accepted if it’s in tune with the current content that’s being published on the blog right now.

Basically, once you’re following a blog for a longer while, any blog, you’ll start noticing patterns. Like when the blogger gets into a topic of Something Specific within their niche and they stick with it for a month or so.

For example, take someone blogging about conversion optimization. One month the blogger might start publishing articles related to optimizing conversion on a WordPress site (talking about plugins, themes, etc.). If that happens, you’re much more likely getting in with a WordPress-related article, rather than a standard piece on conversion optimization in other environments.

It needs to be what the audience wants.

[…] Her blog [post] was suited for our target audience (and she was obviously aware of that).

-Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré, editor at Inbound.org

The topic – […] – is an ongoing concern for established freelancers, so we knew this topic would appeal to our audience across all experience levels.

-Sophie Lizard of BeaFreelanceBlogger.com

[…] It shows the author did the research. They know the type of content we tend to post, which also gives a good idea of who our audience is. This is ideal because then we can get right into working on the post and getting it on the editorial calendar.

-Selene Benjamin, editor at Mirasee (previously Firepole Marketing)

Publishing what the audience wants sounds rather vague, and like something that’s hard to discover, but it’s actually not difficult at all.

Just look at what the audience comments on and shares the most.

You can check those things through tools like Ahrefs, Buzzsumo, or Quick Sprout.

See what gets shared, pitch a topic that’s in some way similar. Don’t forget to mention that you’re suggesting this topic because of those other posts that are already on the blog.

Bonus. It can be a follow up to something already published.

This is a neat trick if you want to improve your chances of getting accepted. The idea is that instead of pitching a completely new title/headline, you’re pitching a follow up to a post that’s already published on the blog and (important!) that is popular.

Don’t go too extreme here, though. You don’t necessarily want to suggest a follow up to the blogger’s most popular post ever. Immediately you’re making them suspicious and questioning your ability to really match their best content. Go for something middle of the road instead.

The power of the right topic is really incredible. Unless you’re Seth Godin, other bloggers will pay attention to hardly anything else other than the topics you’re pitching.

In other words, spend 80 percent of your time developing the headline, then 20 percent working on the rest of the pitch.

2. Personalize your email

Believe it or not, but good ol’ personalization still goes a long way. Actually, eight of our experts pointed it out as an important factor when looking through pitches.

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And that personalization can be really simple, e.g. starting off by mentioning the editor’s name in your email, so it’s not like you really have to get to know the person you’re reaching out to.

The best thing about [his] email? It was for me. He was actually talking to me. It was not like the other robot emails I usually get. You know, those “Dear Sir/Madam..” ones. Take a look at how he mentioned my name, […], and how he wrote his email – very personalized, right? He obviously took some time to learn about me. He knew what makes me tick.

-Pauline Cabrera of Twelveskip.com

Of course, going a bit deeper does help. Apart from using the person’s name, you can also reference something they did on their blog, or the products they offer, or anything else that makes the connection personal.

The email was personal; [He] addressed me by name, and he referenced a recent guest post I did on Linda Formichelli’s blog, which meant he is familiar with me.

-Bamidele Onibalusi of WritersinCharge.com

[…] he starts from saying how cool our tools are. Now if I don’t answer his email just to say thanks – that would be impolite of me and that would make me feel uncomfortable (because I’m not a bad person). Nice move there! He got his reply too.

-Tim Soulo, marketer at Ahrefs.com

Whatever you do, though, please don’t go with a lame note like “I really enjoyed your last post about HEADLINE.” Mentioning the most recent post on the blog will no longer cut it. People can really see through that.

Be genuine.

In general, think of personalization as a required element, and not something that will give you an advantage, if that makes sense.

For example, picture the following. When you’re dealing with a popular blog, it’s very easy for the editor to automatically discard every pitch that doesn’t speak to them directly. When you get multiple pitches a week, and X% of them don’t appear to know who they’re talking to, why would you even bother to reply?

3. Prove that you’re the right person

At some point, the editor will naturally start questioning your expertise as the person skilled enough to write about a given topic.

In other words, to get in, you need to prove that you’re the right person and have the experience.

Eight of our experts pointed this out as an important factor when going through pitches.

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[…] if you come to me with an experience and can weave it throughout the narrative, you definitely have my attention.

-Jordan Teicher, associate editor at Contently

You can take care of this in a variety of ways, but the simplest one is to just provide some samples of your writing, preferably in the form of already published posts on other sites. And those posts should be related to the topic that you’re currently pitching and the blog you’re pitching it to.

Of course, providing samples are very important as well, those will help me determine your skills and how savvy you are with what you do.

-Pauline Cabrera of Twelveskip.com

Don’t go too crazy on introductions though. Remember, people care about the headline you’re pitching much more than they care about you. Do only a minimum in terms of talking about yourself.

People care about the headline you're pitching much more than they care about youClick To Tweet

4. Make it short

So I’m on Jon Morrow’s newsletter. One day, he shared his take on the best possible article pitch. I’m not going to mention it here word for word since it’s his exclusive content (you need to sign up to get it), but what I can tell you is that it was only three-lines long.

  • Line 1 was a general “hi” message. No introduction. Just stating that you’re reaching out to pitch a post.
  • Line 2 was the headline itself.
  • Line 3 was a question if the editor is interested.

And that was all.

I was shocked!

First, this goes back to the idea that the topic/headline is the ultimate thing that matters. Secondly, it demonstrates that people really don’t have the time to read long emails. Keeping things short and sweet seems to be therefore a good alternative.

If we include Jon (although he didn’t give me a direct quote for this resource), that’s four highly successful bloggers who recommend using short messages.

[…] His pitch is short and straight to the point.

-Bamidele Onibalusi of WritersinCharge.com

Keep this email as short and sweet as possible.

-DJ Thistle of SteamFeed.com

[…] Short and sweet – the email was direct and to the point.

-Adam Connell

And this really doesn’t need any further explanation, I think. People don’t have time. So value their time. Write short emails.

5. Make it correct

Here’s one for you: why would you believe that a blogger is capable of writing a quality article if they’re apparently not able to send you a well-written email?

It doesn’t make any sense, right? If you can’t do grammar in an email, or can’t convey why you’re contacting the editor, or can’t explain what your post is going to be about, why would anyone believe that you can deliver?

When it comes to our experts, three of them pointed out the quality of the email itself as a factor.

Proofread your email. This is a must. If the language of the site (in our case english) is not your first language then find someone to proofread your email who is native to the language. This shows that you’re the type of person that cares about high quality content.

-DJ Thistle of SteamFeed.com

In a word, proofread. Then proofread again. Sending a complete article that has some grammar issues is okay(ish). Sending an email pitch that has them is not.

6. Be confident, it pays off

An interesting theme I can see throughout the responses given by the experts is that being confident pays off.

Even though only one expert pointed it out directly, when I look through the winning pitches I received from the experts, the impression of confidence does stand out very visibly.

[…] She was confident: this was her first pitch to us, but she attached a blog [post] for our review from the get-go.

-Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré, editor at Inbound.org

And it does make sense when you think about it. If you’ve decided to pitch a post idea then why wouldn’t you assume that it will get accepted? I mean, if you think that it’s not good enough, why send it?

So just be confident.

But there’s a catch…

Being confident doesn’t mean talking openly about how awesome your post is. In fact, saying anything like “your readers will love it” is only a sign of weakness.

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Any man who must say, “I am the king” is no true king. -Tywin Lannister (Game of Thrones)

What to do instead? Say nothing about how anyone will or won’t love it. Just say that you have an article and that you want to show it to the blogger.

Confidence is about being, not about saying.

7. Other factors

The following factors got individual mentions.

Important note to keep in mind. Even though something might have been mentioned only once, it doesn’t mean that it’s less important. You never know what is the most crucial factor for a particular editor, and not having this element can still be a deal-breaker.

  • Say that the content hasn’t been published elsewhere. I thought that the times when we had to ensure editors about our content’s originality are long gone. But not. Still important. Especially when dealing with large sites that don’t have time for much back and forth with bloggers.
  • Include images. Finding the right image for a blog post can take time. And that time is often something that editors don’t have. Make their jobs easier, send everything that your post needs along with it.
  • Follow the technical guidelines. In this very guide, I might have said that the guidelines are not the most important thing out there. I still stand by that, but let’s keep in mind that some parts of the guidelines touch upon technical aspects of the post. For instance, you might find that the blogger doesn’t accept anything else other than list posts. Pay attention to things like that.
  • Have a good email signature. Your signature is a valuable real estate for proving that you’re a real person. Spammers rarely use email signatures. So do stand out. Include your Twitter, LinkedIn, your blog URL.

An email signature – a short email signature was included with a link to a blog and Twitter account. This made it easy to find out more about the blogger, although since we’d already spoken before it wasn’t essential but it’s good to include.

-Adam Connell

  • Use a branded email address. This is again, about spam. Everyone can have a generic Gmail address, like First.Last@gmail, but not everyone can have an address like First.Last@SomeCompany.com. The latter may appear more genuine to some editors.

8. The one trick to rule them all

I really regret that I have to do this, but there’s actually one, tested, and really effective trick that can help you bypass all of the above.

The hint first came from an answer by Ruben Gamez of Bidsketch.com (the proposal software, blog, and proposal resources for freelancers). What started as a single question sent to him, turned into a mini interview as soon as he shared possibly the best guest post pitching advice ever. I simply needed to know more, so I kept asking.

But before I tell you what it is, let me ask you:

What’s a more trustworthy scenario, you saying good things about yourself, or someone else saying them about you?

Of course, it’s the latter. Why would anyone believe an author when they’re praising their own book, right? But seeing an independent review rating it at five stars … well, that’s something entirely different.

So the advice shared by Ruben is this: Get someone else to recommend you as a guest contributor.

Let me emphasize. Here’s how you can do this:

  • Either get an introduction – reach out to someone you know who has already posted where you want to post, and ask them to whisper a good word for you. Or,
  • ask your own audience to help you out and tweet the blog editor with a “friendly suggestion.”

[…] getting someone else to either request a writer, or make an introduction to one, is far more likely to result in a guest post on our blog. Having the request for a guest post come from someone else (like a reader) is usually a good signal I should be paying attention to that writer.

[…] The better I know the person making the recommendation, the more likely I’ll be open to a guest post, but reader recommendations do carry weight and can make a difference. That said, a recommendation from a current author would be more ideal (if they can get it).

-Ruben Gamez of Bidsketch.com

Getting an introduction is by far the best way of stacking the deck in your favor. In this scenario, the blog editor gets contacted by someone who they trust and who recommends a specific writer – you. Why wouldn’t they pay attention?

How to actually convince someone to give you an introduction? Well, that’s probably a topic for whole another post.

Part 2: The answers given by the experts

Here’s every great piece of input I got from the experts on the topic of crafting a guest post pitch that works:

Note: You may notice that there’s something missing here. After some thought, we’ve decided not to include the specific pitch examples sent by the experts alongside their comments. Although both me and Adam realize that those could be helpful to you, they also might do more harm than good. The thing is, templates aren’t always best. You’re going to be much better off learning to incorporate specific elements in your pitch, rather than specific words. Also, if we publish any template, the impact will be lower response rates for the people who use it and also the person who originally wrote that template.

Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré, editor at Inbound.org

I loved Julia’s approach because:

  • She was confident: this was her first pitch to us, but she attached a blog [post] for our review from the get-go.
  • Her blog [post] was suited for our target audience (and she was obviously aware of that).
  • She explained that the attached blog [post] hasn’t been published anywhere else – this is something we usually have to inquire about.
  • She included a stock photo and referenced her ownership of it (we love photos, and we especially love them if we’re aren’t violating any guidelines!)
  • She provided social proof: she mentioned that she contributes to Search Engine Journal.

As of now, Julia is actually our only dedicated weekly blogger on Inbound.org and we appreciate her work!

Pauline Cabrera of Twelveskip.com

The best thing about [his] email? It was for me.

He was actually talking to me. It was not like the other robot emails I usually get. You know, those “Dear Sir/Madam..” ones.

Take a look at how he mentioned my name, how the suggested topics were super relevant to my blog, the provided samples and how he wrote his email – very personalized, right? He obviously took some time to learn about me. He knew what makes me tick.

Usually, I judge bloggers based on how they email me. It’s like, “your email is who you are”.

If their emails are thoughtful and could keep my attention, then I would think that they will care about my readers too. If the email looks lazy and too generic, I will simply ignore it.

Of course, providing samples are very important as well, those will help me determine your skills and how savvy you are with what you do.

Bamidele Onibalusi of WritersinCharge.com

This particular pitch was successful for 3 key reasons:

  • The email was personal; Dan addressed me by name, and he referenced a recent guest post I did on Linda Formichelli’s blog, which meant he is familiar with me.
  • His pitch is short and straight to the point.
  • The actual article he proposed is ideal and perfect for my blog. I run a blog for freelance writers, and who in my position wouldn’t want to publish an article on how to go from $15 to $450 per article in under 90 days. The content alone was responsible for at least 80% of the success of this pitch.

Sophie Lizard of BeaFreelanceBlogger.com

The best pitch we’ve received lately at Be a Freelance Blogger was the one that won our $100 Pitchfest contest in March.

3 main reasons we chose this as our winner:

  1. The topic – receiving international payments is a worry for beginners, and receiving them without losing too much in fees is an ongoing concern for established freelancers, so we knew this topic would appeal to our audience across all experience levels.
  2. The pitcher’s experience – Mandy has direct experience of the topic and her follow-up offer to add more of the weird, roundabout ways she’s received payments from clients made us even more interested in her pitch.
  3. The voice – Mandy nailed the informal yet intelligent tone we’re looking for, and her pitch showed plenty of personality without getting too eccentric.

Selene Benjamin, editor at Mirasee

My favorite pitches are the ones that follow our guest post pitch guidelines right off the bat. Those are exciting for me! It shows the author did the research. They know the type of content we tend to post which also gives a good idea of who our audience is. This is ideal because then we can get right into working on the post and getting it on the editorial calendar. Even if it’s something we can’t use, we know right away and that author can then work to find another venue for their piece.

However we get a lot of pitches that not only do not follow our guidelines but also show they haven’t read the blog at all. They will say they want to write a post about something that would not be of value for our audience at all. Or if the idea is feasible for us but it’s not in accordance with our guidelines, I will send a reply with a link to the guidelines and clearly state we cannot move forward with pitches that do not follow them. Once we’ve danced that dance two or three times (sometimes even up to four times), and I still haven’t received an appropriate pitch, I know that that is not an author I want to work with because they cannot follow simple instructions.

Jordan Teicher, associate editor at Contently

What really makes a good pitch stand out is some sort of personal relationship to the material. I had one blogger come to me with an idea about how he spent all day on LinkedIn trying to find work and wanted to write about the experience while offering some big-picture takeaways to our readers. It’s one thing to lead with an anecdote and then get into thought-leader mode–which I think is how most blog posts are structured–but if you come to me with an experience and can weave it throughout the narrative, you definitely have my attention. A lot of pitches lack that action and personal relevance. This one checked off both boxes perfectly.

Tim Soulo, marketer at Ahrefs.com

Before I show you a recent pitch I’ve got that I think is rather cool, I want to stress on something:

There’s no such thing as a perfect pitch!

Every blog owner is different and he has his own psychological triggers that tell him you’re worth his time. Your job is to identify them.

So here’s one cool pitch for guest posting at Ahrefs blog: [edited out]

Here’s why I think this pitch is cool:

  1. The email subject sets the right expectation. The guy is upfront as he says he wants to write for us. Well, we’re pretty much interested in quality stuff. So he gets his email opened.
  2. Then he starts from saying how cool our tools are. Now if I don’t answer his email just to say thanks – that would be impolite of me and that would make me feel uncomfortable (because I’m not a bad person). Nice move there! He got his reply too.
  3. He’s not trying to persuade me that he is cool and his content is top notch. I like that, because most people are not as cool as they think they are. So he gives me the right to decide if I think he’s cool or not.
  4. He gives me topic ideas and writing samples straight away. That’s all I need to evaluate him. And from now on it all comes down to the quality of his topic suggestions and his published articles.

So that was a really good pitch.

Guess if that guy landed a guest article at Ahrefs blog? HELL NO!

So remember this: Even the best pitch in the world falls flat if you don’t put enough effort into your content.

DJ Thistle of SteamFeed.com

I’ve spent a while looking through some of the emails that people sent me trying to pitch me a guest post […]. However, none of them that I looked through have everything that I would really love to see in an email from a potential guest blogger so I added below what I wish they all had.

Here is how to get my attention and increase your chance of guest blogging on SteamFeed and other high quality sites.

  1. Spend some time reading the about page on the site. You want to get to know the core values of the site. Hopefully you’ll be able to get an email and the name of a person you’re pitching to on this page. If the site has a procedure to submit guest posts, you’ll want to read this carefully and follow the rules if you hope to be considered (most high quality sites have to have something in place to sort through the incredible amount of low quality spam pitches they get).
  2. Read a few of the most recent articles to get a feel for the type of quality and writing style that will be expected of you. You’ll want to mention one or two of these articles in your pitch and few takeaways in them that you enjoyed or found value in.
  3. Now you’re ready to compose the email pitch. Do your best to find the name of the person that you’re pitching. Keep this email as short and sweet as possible.
  4. Give a quick introduction to yourself (include skills and experience that is relevant to the site). Link to your social profiles and link to other articles that have been published on reputable sites so you can be vetted properly.
  5. In your email, include 3 potential titles that you think will be a good fit for the site’s readers. A huge bonus would be 3-4 bullet points under each title on what each post would generally cover.
  6. Proofread your email. This is a must. If the language of the site (in our case English) is not your first language then find someone to proofread your email who is native to the language. This shows that you’re the type of person that cares about high quality content.

Here are some reasons why I delete an email pitch without even finishing reading it.

  1. Your email is written in broken English.
  2. You tell me I don’t have to pay you (let’s start the relationship first before we start talking about money. This just screams spam).
  3. You tell me you require “do-follow” links (if your content is great and the links make sense then you don’t have to worry about it).
  4. Your email is clearly a copy and paste generic email that you’re sending to every site like ours.

Catalin Zorzini of Ecommerce-Platforms.com

I run three different blogs (Ecommerce-Platforms.com, InspiredM.com, and DesignReviver.com)​ so I receive quite a few guest blogging pitches on a daily basis. Maybe other bloggers are luckier, but in my case, most of the pitch emails I get are boring (instant delete), a few are decent, and only rarely I get an interesting one.

Today, I’m going to share an interesting one with you, and a few things that predicted a great collaboration:

  1. Sender’s email address: name@companyURL is quite rare. Most pitches come from fake “personal” Gmail addresses, from people who hope will be able to plug their URL into a guest post, without being upfront that they work for that company (either in-house or as contracted freelancers).
  2. “Warming up” the cold call: Richard realized I also run another blog that he reached out to a while ago. Most times I receive the same exact pitch for all my blogs, which makes me feel like I’ve been included in a “bulk” mass email campaign, so I tend to ignore them. Sometimes I even get an “unsubscribe” button at the end of the pitch, which makes it even more obvious. 🙂
  3. Research: he also did a bit of research on the blog and found a piece he wanted to follow up on, a big plus as it makes the whole process easier: he would write a piece of content that will be related to some existing stuff on my blog, rather than pitching random topics that “might” be a good fit for our readers.
  4. Sample work: As an example of his past work, Richard was again upfront about this and suggested the link of the main company blog, instead of linking to other articles published on 3rd party blogs. This makes things even more clear: the guy is in charge of the company blog, not someone who was hired to get backlinks. I love it!

My hunch based on these clues proved to be true, and now I work with Richard on a regular basis.

Ruben Gamez of Bidsketch.com

Here’s my conversation with Ruben.

Ruben Gamez:

Most of the pitches I get suck. Many of the guest posts that aren’t regular contributors actually came in through intros from someone I know.

Me:

In that case, would you say that the best way to pitch is to get someone else to send it for you?

Ruben Gamez:

Yeah, getting someone else to either request a writer, or make an introduction to one, is far more likely to result in a guest post on our blog. Having the request for a guest post come from someone else (like a reader) is usually a good signal I should be paying attention to that writer.

Me:

That’s interesting. So you’re saying that the person recommending a guest blogger doesn’t even have to be someone involved in your organization, like a current author for example. But even a suggestion from a reader is something that can help a lot?

Ruben Gamez:

Right. The better I know the person making the recommendation, the more likely I’ll be open to a guest post, but reader recommendations do carry weight and can make a difference. That said, a recommendation from a current author would be more ideal (if they can get it).

Adam Connell

I received a great guest post pitch a few days ago, here’s what stood out:

  • Pre-outreach – the blogger invited me to a group interview a week before pitching me an idea on a guest post.
  • Personalization – my name was included, and reference was made to the group interview I contributed to previously.
  • Short and sweet – the email was direct and to the point.
  • A personal introduction – the blogger introduced themselves, their blog, who they help and how they help them. This immediately highlighted that they were a good fit for contributing to my blog.
  • An email signature – a short email signature was included with a link to a blog and Twitter account. This made it easy to find out more about the blogger, although since we’d already spoken before it wasn’t essential but it’s good to include.

Aside from the outreach process itself, there was another important factor:

Their blog and content were a perfect fit for my audience – this is a deal breaker for most pitches. The fact that the blogger is a great writer and writes about the topics my audience wants to know about was the deciding factor.

Final thoughts

At the end of the day, pitching a guest post is probably more art than science. Yes, there are certain elements that you need to get right if you’re seriously expecting to get accepted, but above that, your pitch just needs to be overall appealing on a personal level.

So get to know the elements, dissect them, study what they’re about, and then craft your own approach. Make it unique. Make it yours.

But wait, there’s more!

This has been a long resource. Heck, together with the expert quotes it’s a little over 6,000 words.

So to make your life easier, I’ve created a flowchart to guide you through the individual steps of developing the perfect guest post pitch that’s unique to you.

Here’s a teaser (don’t mind the yerba cup):

Flowchart

Get it here (no opt-in required).

What do you think? Do you have any questions about these techniques and how to use them?

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About Karol K

Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a blogger and writer. He has his work published all over the web, on sites like: NewInternetOrder.com, Bidsketch.com, Six Revisions, Lifehack.org, Quick Sprout, ProBlogger, and others.

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  • Wow! What an amazing article. It’s good to learn direct from the experts from run authority sites in the niche. Now, I got the real tips.

    • Karol K.

      Thanks, and I’m glad you like it, Michael!

  • Getting “inside” information has always worked well for me when pitching posts. It’s the little things that count, like asking someone how their sick 3-year-old is doing, bonding across a particular brand of chocolate, or something that shows a personal, commom interest.

    Of course, I’ve been on the receiving end of a bunch of “bad” pitches, too. Time-wasters!!!

    You’d think that everyone would know, through simple common sense) what will turn off an editor or blog owner… but they don’t. Honestly, sometimes others’ naiveté shocks me!!!

    That’s why I love posts such as this one — they provide a modicum of education to such people.

    Nicely complied, Karol. 🙂

    • Karol K.

      Thanks!

      I think that some percentage of those bad pitches is a result of trying to do things at scale. People just send 100 pitches in a batch and wait to see what sticks. If you’re doing that, it’s hard to remain unique and establish a relationship of some kind.

  • This is a very helpful article! I have been doing pitches to guest post. I’m glad you put the actual quotes by people who are the ones getting the pitches; the inside info. I have made some mistakes I see and doing some things right. Thanks for the article!

    • Karol K.

      Thanks, I’m glad you like it!

  • Hi Karol,

    Thanks for collecting together these answers from top editors about what convinces them to accept guest posts. I found this particularly useful and interesting too.

    One reason why guest posts fail is because the writer has only thought of the exposure and marketing potential of getting accepted on a particular blog. Success comes from not only writing a quality and useful guest post for a host blog’s readers but also from the job done of increasing interest in those readers to click through to their own blog.

    This doesn’t just mean a compelling Bio. It means intentional but low-key interest and curiosity-building in the guest post itself. I hear a lot from guest posters unhappy with the lack of traffic their guest posts drive back to their own blogs. This is because they’ve not included these 2 vital ingredients: intentional, low-key interest and curiosity-building.

    Your guest posts become so much more affective for you if you do.

    You can increase your chances of your guest post getting accepted by looking for questions from readers of a blog you want to write for.

    A question from a Commenter that asks about a topic on a subject not covered in a post is a great way to find a topic for a guest post.

    Then, when pitching this guest post, you can mention that in your first two or three opening lines of the email you send pitching your post.

    • Karol K.

      This makes sense.

      In other words, you do have to find the connection between what you want to say, what the audience wants to hear, and what you can get out of it.

      Thanks for the comment idea – finding guest post topics from comments!

  • Hey Karol

    I’ve been doing a few guest posts recently and these are great tips. Getting to know the target blog is really key. I usually browse through their most popular posts – I use topsy, although buzzsumo works too – to get a feel for the content that will work for them. Once I’ve done that I can pick a topic that they can’t say no to.

    It’s also very helpful to try and establish a relationship with the blog owner beforehand, or with someone who can introduce you. That has worked for me too!

    • Karol K.

      Getting to know the popular content on the blog is the key to having your pitch accepted. Like you’re saying, editors simply can’t say no to something that’s similar to other content that has been proven to work in the past.

  • What a compelling article, Karol!

    I’ve seen a number of posts on guest blogging, and none of them have offered even close to the detail you have here.

    Further, I’ve seen a number of expert roundup posts, but never one set up quite like this.

    A job very well done. 🙂

    “why would you believe that a blogger is capable of writing a quality article if they’re apparently not able to send you a well-written email?”

    ^ Loved this point! Nailed it.

    Keep up the great work, Karol.

    Best,

    Brent

    • Karol K.

      Thanks, Brent, I’m glad you like it!

      I’m reluctant to admit that sometimes I proofread my email more than I proofread my articles. 🙂

  • Hi Karol,

    Personalizing makes me listen.

    I have been pitched a few times the right way. They sweetened the pot to make me take note. I could not refuse. 1 cat addressed me by name and then followed up with a guest post about how to retire to the tropics as a digital nomad. How much more relevant can one be? How much more focused, on point, and targeted can you be on a blog named Blogging from Paradise?

    I enjoyed this read Karol because each tip from each expert works. You can’t make a mistake with the name bit or with pitching a post which fits as perfect as a glove. Also, here’s a tricky one; it has nothing to do with getting your guest post placed. It has more to do with you. Or it has everything to do with you. I have written some guest posts that were not related to blogging tips. Perfect fit for a certain blog yet it did not do me much good. Because if I want to draw in blogging tips focused readers I better stay on topic on my blog and through my guest posts.

    I did not. More than a few times. Wasted my time a bit because even though I formed a bond I should have stayed on topic to benefit me, my audience and to help out a fellow blogger. Lesson learned. Big time. I pitch posts which relate to my blog first then I make sure the post will fit like a glove to whatever blogger I’m connecting with.

    I’d just say, do your best freaking work possible. I landed guest spots on Pro Bloggers a few times and they fasttrack my posts because I genuinely did my best work, or the type of stuff I’d publish to Blogging from Paradise. Sometimes I write shorter posts because bloggers may demand a shorter word length but I do not hold back. I do my best. Fab way to build your rep, to build friendships and to grow your blogging audience.

    Thanks for the tips.

    Ryan

    • Karol K.

      You’re right about everything you’re saying, Ryan!

      If you want to get published somewhere, suggesting the right topic is the best way to do it every single time. At the end of the day, bloggers care about this more than they do about any other aspect of your post.

    • That’s a great tip, Ryan — it’s not just about matching your pitch to the client’s blog, but matching it to your own blog as well.

  • Very insightful article with supporting examples.

    To pitch for a guest blog, you must learn about the site where you want to blog. Decide the topic which are relevant with the topics already featured on the site. Your pitch must contain the outline of your thoughts.

    Before pitching, having a bit of knowledge about the owner of the site and preparing a personalized draft further boosts your motive.

    • Karol K.

      Just like you’re saying … all of this is important. 🙂

  • Cool post, Karol. One thing that occured to me as I was reading it:

    This post is also a handy list — complete with editors’ names — of authoritative blogs that accept guest posts! =D

    Thank you VERY much for that.

    • Karol K.

      Shhh! … Let’s keep this part between ourselves 🙂

  • Awesome post, Karol. It was a long post, but I read through it all. I’ve been guest posting for years, and one of the most valuable tips of advice I saw in this post is to get someone else to introduce you. I have never done that before. Heck, it never even crossed my mind, but I can definitely see where it would be valuable. I think I’m going to have to try it at some point. 🙂

  • Isabelle Fredborg

    Karol, thank you for getting the editors to share their view from the inside! This post was really helpful. It’s one thing trying to craft a good pitch, but a completely different experience receiving dozens of pitches per day.

    I do my best to make my pitches personal so I don’t think I fall into the “obvious spam” category, but this post had some really good insights into what editors value – such a thing as adding a post and reference its ownership from the start is not something I would have done in a first pitch. As always, it comes down to reading the guidelines first – editors’ preferences vary a lot!

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