As editor of the Content Marketing Institute blog, I review a lot of posts and work with many different authors. Over the past 16 months, I have worked with so many great writers and edited over 330 posts. It’s been a lot of fun — and a lot of work.
Writing for other blogs is a fantastic way to share your expertise and get your name out there. I’ve gotten work directly from blogging, and contributors to CMI have told me the same. If this is something you want to do – or do more of – here are some suggestions on how to get your posts accepted and make you a writer who is in high-demand.
Before you send your inquiry, check to see if there are guidelines for the blog – and read them! Blogs typically look for certain types of posts, so you want to make sure your submission adheres to the spirit of the blog. If there aren’t any visible guidelines, ask an editor for these when you first make contact. For instance, I have some requirements for a bio and bio picture. It’s a nice touch when authors send this with their post as I know they have likely read the other guidelines as well.
Read other posts
In addition to reading the guidelines, take time to familiarize yourself with other posts on the site. This is the best way to get a vibe of what readers like – and what editors love to see. You can also ask what posts have been popular. When submitting your posts, consider linking to other relevant posts on that blog.
Have a suggestion for topic
At the very least, you should provide some suggested topics when reaching out to an editor. Even better, send full posts for consideration. This way the author gets a really good feel for your writing style.
Be active in the blog’s community
I have found some of my favorite contributors – and have gone on to hire people – simply by reading comments that they have left on the blog. Even if you don’t comment, actively support the blog by sharing posts via Twitter, LinkedIn or other channels. Editors love people who are active in the community.
Proof your post before sending
I’ve asked a couple of authors who consistently send me very clean posts what their secret is, and they both told me that they have a proofreader review before sending me the posts. Even though my job as an editor is to edit posts, I love it when writers submit their very best.
Submit the post in the preferred format
Different editors like to receive posts in different ways. Ask what the best format is – a Word doc? Directly in the CMS? Editors appreciate these small gestures.
Adhere to your deadlines
With many of my bloggers, we have set deadlines for posts. If possible, always deliver when you say you will. Of course, life can sometimes get in the way, but keep the editor informed. If you do miss a deadline, ask what kind of impact that will have. In most cases, there are posts that can be used to backfill, but there are times when your post is needed for a certain date. It’s nice to ask, “I’d like to submit my post on this new date. Is this OK or will it cause an issue with your schedule?”
Don’t be promotional
Guest blogging is a great way to get your name out, but it’s best to include a couple of links in your bio; don’t actively promote you or your business in the post – or include multiple links to your own blog.
I have bloggers who like to check in after a post has been published to see how it's been received and what they can improve on for the next post.This follow up step is a nice touch as well.
These are the tips I’d give to anyone who wants to be a guest blogger. What else would you add to this list?
About the author: Michele is the Content Development Director of the Content Marketing Institute where where she works with a fabulous group of contributors who know a lot about content marketing. She's also a B2B content marketing consultant who has a passion for helping companies use content to connect with their ideal buyers. You can follow her onTwitter @michelelinn or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B.