The Do's and Don'ts of Writing a Guest Post

Guest posting and/or contributing to another blog can be a great way to develop relationships with other bloggers. It's also a great way to grow your blog’s audience. But how do you become a contributor? Follow these guidelines to pitch and write a guest post that won’t go unnoticed.

DON’T sit around and wait

Here’s a little secret about guest posting – you don’t have to wait for a blogger to ask you to do it. Many blogs, even the big ones, publish guest/contributor posts on a regular basis. Do your homework. Come up with an idea that is interesting, unique, and fits well within a blog’s existing content.

DO address the blogger by her name

Most bloggers use at least their first name on their blog – find it and use it! You need to show the blogger that you follow their blog, and that you understand what their readers would like to see. A blogger is not going to accept a guest post on a topic totally unrelated to their blog’s content, even if they like you.

DON’T undersell yourself

Don’t say something like, “My blog is new so it’s not very big,” or, “I’m a newbie blogger so I’m not sure how to do this.” If your content is solid, the blogger probably won’t care about your blog’s current following. They want your ideas, not your readers. Be professional, and open your pitch with confidence!

DO share your ideas

If you have a really great idea for a guest post for a particular blog, write up a quick summary. Better yet, write up two or three! The more ideas you give a blogger, the more likely it is they will see something they like.

DO include examples of your work

Rather than simply linking to your own blog, link to two or three posts you have written that are similar in style. You can also include a link to a guest/contributor post you have written for another blog. If you don’t have a blog of your own, include writing samples as an attached pdf.

Example of guest post pitch

Dear Kelly,

My name is Kira, I have been a follower of your blog for over a year, and I am a blogger myself. I am a huge fan of your “That’s Handmade?” feature – you find and make so many cute things, I am constantly pinning them to my boards on Pinterest!

I am writing because I have some great ideas for Studio DIY, and I would be honored with an opportunity to guest post for you. I believe that these posts would fit well within your blog’s themes, and would appeal to your readers. Here are a few suggestions of posts I would love to submit for your approval:

1. “A Very Hungry Birthday” – party decor, food, and craft ideas based on the Eric Carle children’s book. I will style a photo shoot, and include a printable free cupcake topper for your readers.

2. “Tinsel Town Photo Booth” – a DIY tutorial for how to create a unique photo booth backdrop with sparkly mylar tablecloths – great for a New Year’s Eve or Oscars party!

3. “Cupcake Party Hats” – a DIY tutorial featuring directions to create adorable party hats that look just like cupcakes! These would be wonderful for a tea party birthday.

You can find similar tutorials I have written on my own blog - Her New Leaf - here and here. I have also contributed this guest post for a popular party blog in Boston.

I am prepared to include original, high-quality photos with the written text for any of these posts. I would be able to deliver the completed post within two weeks time. I would like to be credited with my first name and one link to my blog.

Thanks very much for your consideration, I look forward to working with you!

Kira

DON’T “over pitch”

If you submitted your ideas to a blog, wait at least two weeks before following up. Send one professional follow-up email to say you’re just checking in to see if the blogger had a chance to review your ideas yet. If a blogger declines or has not responded within 2-3 weeks, you can submit your ideas to another blog.

DO deliver

If the blogger accepted you as a guest poster and gave you a deadline, be sure to deliver everything you promised by that time. The more professional you are, the more likely this blogger will want to work with you in the future.

DON’T take it personally

If your first pitch gets declined, be graceful – no one is successful every single time. Take the opportunity to perfect your pitch, test your ideas on your own blog, or submit your ideas to another blog.

DO check your spelling

No matter how good the content is, I am never going to feature a post with spelling and grammar errors. Treat guest posting like a professional writing job, and let your work show it.

Post by Kira. Photography by Stephen Cummings.