Guest Blogging on Popular Blogs: 11 Powerful Tips for Getting Published

guest blogging on popular blogs

Over the last few months, I’ve been published as a guest author on some of the most popular online marketing, blogging and freelancing blogs, including niche leaders like Problogger and Hongkiat.

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

understand voice of 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

guest blog close lookIn 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

Quality Control Approved Stamp Shows Excellent ProductYou 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.

I would recommend going through Jon Morrow’s “Cheat Sheet for Writing Posts That Go Viral”.  You can also have a look at “How to Write Magnetic Headlines” by Brian Clark of Copyblogger.

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.

 gp email

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

gp proposal

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 with in 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.

Conclusion

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.

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16 Thoughts on “Guest Blogging on Popular Blogs: 11 Powerful Tips for Getting Published

  1. Kalpesh Singh on December 31, 2013 at 9:17 am said:

    Hi Jawad,

    I loved the article. BUT there are times when your post is rejected by a low PR blog, but at the same time it is accepted by a very high PR blog. So I think the relation of writer and editor also plays an important role.

    What you say?

  2. Jawad,

    Thank you for the insightful information. Your knowledge is very valuable to someone like myself who is finally stepping into the blogosphere for my industry. I hope to be as insightful for my readers.

  3. Hello Jawad,

    I’ve been on edge finding the best post about guest blogging. This is objectively probably the best one. It’s a complete guide of what any beginner should do when seeking a place to guest post. I was extremely nervous because I never really had an idea on what kind of unique post should I submit to these big sites. But #3 of your post solved it for me. Along with giving me an idea of what I emails I should be making. I’m definitely subscribing.

    Thank you,
    Christopher Cuna
    Motivation For Writers

  4. I am a freelance writer and editor. Before you sent out the second email, I hope you spelled “receive” properly! Little things like silly typos are often the cause of rejections. Sorry; I didn’t mean to embarrass you – if I did.
    Lorraine Reguly recently posted…Posting, Planning, Publishing, Productivity and a PDF Planner for FREE for YOU!My Profile

  5. These are some great tips, Jawad.

    Guest blogging is one of these things that *seems* difficult when you consider how many people you’re “competing” against. However, once you recognize the level of quality that’s actually required to get published, it really narrows down the field of competition.

    For me, the challenge with guest blogging is simply finding the time to do it. I know this is something I absolutely NEED to do – just need to make time for it.

    – Eric

  6. Really great advice…especially #6. Also JustRetweet sounds interesting.

  7. Excellent tips, but here’s my question: How do you get accepted on popular blogs like this when they don’t accept unsolicited guest posts? I thought ProBlogger invited their guest bloggers to blog. Did you just send in a pitch anyway?

    • Yes! I sent the post anyway :)

      You’re right that Problogger, and many other blogs, do not openly invite guest post proposals. But that doesn’t mean they don’t publish guest posts.

      As I said in my post, when you pitch a really high quality post to a blog, it’s hard for the editor to turn you down.

      Of course, there will be times when this approach won’t work.

      I simply contacted the Problogger editor through their contact form. And I do that with every blog I target for guest blogging.

  8. I would say that being acceptable on popular blogs as a guest blogger depends on adherence to the guidelines of the blog.

    This is first and foremost essential. More so, writing to meet the voice of the readers and complying with SEO requirements are other keys for quick approvals.

    Nevertheless, the eleven powerful tips shared in this post are quite on track. They should form the bases for quick acceptance.

    I have shared this comment in kingged.com where this post was shared for Internet marketers.

    Sunday – Kingged.com contributor

    http://kingged.com/guest-blogging-on-popular-blogs-11-powerful-tips-for-getting-published/

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