Naturally, most of my guest posts on these high traffic blogs resulted in additional visitors. Some of them even converted into paying clients for my freelance writing services.
Apart from the qualified traffic that guest posts on popular blogs send your way, they help in building the credibility of your services and also give you high value backlinks.
However, getting published on the top blogs in your niche is not as simple as some of the other less known blogs.
Guest Blogging on A-List Blogs – How Difficult is it?
All popular blogs, a.k.a. A-List blogs, receive hundreds of guest post pitches every month, but only a few get the nod.
It’s easy to believe that this large number of rejections is down to high publishing standards and strict quality guidelines. That is partially true as well. But it doesn’t tell you the whole story.
My personal experience with the top blogs has been very different from the popular belief.
Two of my guest posts for a leading freelancing blog got accepted within 24 hours, while it took me only one revision to get the approval from Problogger.
There’s no doubt that the top blogs maintain much higher content standards than other blogs, but if you’re prepared to spend a few hours in creating a really valuable post, there’s no reason why you cannot make it to their front page.
So based on my recent experiences, let me share a few tips with you on getting published on the most popular blogs in your niche.
1. Understand the Voice of Your Target Blog
If you’re serious about getting published for a popular blog, then you need to spend a few hours understanding the type of content that the blog regularly publishes.
Every popular blog has a certain theme and a distinct voice in its content. The styles of individual authors may vary on the blog, but the direction of the content remains in line with the blog’s theme.
For example, Jon Morrow is known for his to-the-point and aggressive style of writing.
His audience loves his advice and thousands of people follow him religiously. That’s why even when someone else writes for his blog as a guest author, the style remains the same.
Therefore, you need to understand the voice of your target blog in order to create something that appeals to their audience.
2. Read the Submission Guidelines Carefully
In an ideal world, I shouldn’t even be mentioning this point. It’s all common sense.
But unfortunately, common sense is not very common.
Ask any editor of a popular blog and he’ll tell you about the unbelievably naive guest post pitches that they receive every day.
An overwhelming number of guest bloggers are apparently in such a hurry that they never even look at the submission guidelines of their target blogs.
You might ignore these guidelines for low quality blogs, but if you want to have any chance of making it to the top blogs in your niche, then you need to follow the submission guidelines carefully.
Make sure you don’t ignore this point. Ever!
3. Search the Blog Archives for Ideas
If you’re waiting to come up with a guest post idea that has never been done before in the history of the blogosphere, then you might never even get started with your post.
Popular blogs already have posts on each and every aspect of their niche. They haven’t left anything for you.
But guess what, they don’t need anything absolutely new from you.
All they’re looking for is a unique perspective on a topic that has previously been covered. It doesn’t matter if it has already been done a million times before.
Every blog needs fresh content on a regular basis. Readers also have very short memory spans. So blogs need to keep coming up with content on the same topics from different angles.
The best way to do that is to go through the blog archives in detail for a few hours. Identify a few topics that you can approach from a fresh angle and come up with a few ideas that can be explored further.
4. Write a High-Quality Post
You can’t obviously expect a top tier blog to publish a low-quality post.
In fact, just for the sake of argument, even if a popular blog does publish a low-quality post by you, it would only expose you in front of a much bigger audience and damage your reputation as a blogger.
So quality is not an option, it’s a basic requirement.
In my experience, a detailed and actionable post not only stands a much better chance of getting published, but might also get you future guest post offers from the editor as well.
In terms of the word count, I would recommend going for at least a 1000 to 1200 word post. Although you’d want to have a look at the submission guidelines for the word count as well.
Don’t send an email to the editor asking if he needs a guest post on a particular topic, especially if it’s the first time you’re contacting them.
This might work for the medium sized blogs, but the top-tier blogs don’t usually get the time to respond to such emails.
The best strategy is to approach the editor with the complete post.
5. Write an Irresistible Headline
A weak headline might get your post discarded without even a first look from the editor.
So make sure your headline is compelling and generates interest in the readers.
Both these resources have awesome tips and techniques on writing effective headlines.
6. Link to Older Content on the Target Blog
The best way to win favors from busy editors is by sharing some of their workload.
When a guest post gets accepted at a popular blog, the editor has to spend some time interlinking relevant archive content on the blog within the post.
It might take a busy editor a few days or even weeks to get the time for this small activity. This can also result in unnecessary delays in publishing your guest post.
So why not take the burden off the editor, and get in his good books, by linking to their older content yourself?
Just make sure you keep the anchor text natural and don’t focus on exact keywords as anchor text.
7. Add a Descriptive Byline
All your hard work can go to waste if you don’t introduce yourself properly in the author bio.
Popular blogs usually allow a 2-3 line author bio that briefly describes you as a professional and contains a backlink of your choice.
Make full use of this opportunity to impress the editor as well.
Instead of wasting this precious space with buzz words, try to use the keywords that resonate with your target audience and describe you as a potential solution to their problems.
Link back to a special landing page, or to your main website. You can learn more about this in my previous post.
8. Contact the Editor with a Solution
Now that you’ve written a great post with a compelling headline, it’s time to approach the editor with a simple but intelligently designed email.
Editors are busy people, so don’t expect them to read a 100 line email from you.
Be concise and clearly state what you can offer.
Never ask for backlinks within the content. You already have a link in the byline so seeking out additional links might turn the editor off.
Here’s an email I sent to the editor of one of the leading blogging blogs.
Although this email was a bit longer than what I would normally recommend, but you can see that I’ve made it very easy for the reader to skim through the email by highlighting the key points.
I got a positive response from the editor in just a few days and my post was published within a month.
Throughout your email, try to emphasize on the fact that your post will be beneficial for the blog readers. This is the ultimate objective that the editor is also looking to achieve, so let him know that you’re here to help.
Also, notice how at the end of the email I mentioned a notepad file as well.
Sometimes when you write a post on MS Word, it becomes difficult to adjust its formatting in WordPress.
So you can make the job easier for the editor by sending an already formatted version of the post that is ready to post in WordPress.
And just like the post headline, your email subject should also be appealing. In my case, it was “A Detailed Guest Post Proposal”.
9. Follow Up in a Week
Don’t expect a reply from the editor as soon as you send the email.
It might take him a few days or even weeks before he comes back to you.
So you need to be patient.
However, it’s always wise to drop a polite follow up email just in case you do not hear from the editor for a week or so.
Here’s an example
10. Respond to Comments and Add Value
Once you get the green signal from the editor and your post finally goes online, make sure you’re there to answer the comments that come your way.
Popular blogs often attract detailed comments from seasoned professionals. Responding to their comments properly will also help you build relationships with numerous other bloggers.
Comments are like mini blogs where your post is discussed from different angles. These discussions hold a lot of value and may even give you a few good ideas for follow up posts.
11. Promote Your Post Aggressively
Editors love the guest bloggers who actively promote their posts on different social networks and attract new sources of traffic.
So make sure you do that as well.
Also let the editor know how aggressively you’re promoting the post by tagging or mentioning him in every promotion. (@mentions in Twitter and tagging in Facebook)
Here are a few quick ways to promote your post:
– Submit to JustRetweet.com
– Tweet multiple times in different time zones.
– Share your post in different Google+ communities.
– Share within different Facebook groups.
– Mention influencers on Twitter and ask them for RTs.
– Share with your email list subscribers.
To learn more quick ways if attracting traffic to your blog, read this post.
Getting published on popular blogs can open lots of opportunities for you and can connect you with some of the most influential people in your niche.
In my experience, if you follow the points that I’ve shared in this post, there’s every chance that you’ll not only be published on a leading blog but might also be contacted by the editor for future guest posting opportunties.
If you have been published on a top-tier blog as well, I would love to hear about your experiences and learnings in the comments below.