Every so often, a relatively “unknown” freelance writer gets it right – but these instances are sadly few and far between. All too often, it’s a thinly-veiled attempt to market his or her stuff couched in a poorly-written, badly-conceived, keyword-stuffed piece of caca I wouldn’t unleash upon anyone – much less our loyal blog readers!
So both inspired and irked, I have assembled some tips for successfully submitting your guest post query and text to a quality site – and for ensuring your content is well received!
- Your research
This not only applies to your blog topic, but also to the guest blog site’s tone and feel.
Is it a data-based blog that features stats and research? Is it light and airy with humor thrown in? Research the site’s past blog posts – have they already recently published a post on your topic? Adjust your copy and the timing of your guest post submissions accordingly.
- Write about what you care about
This may seem obvious, but apparently it is not so…If you haven’t any passion for a subject, it will show in your copy (translation = it will be mind-numbing dull). Dig deep and share what you care about and feel for – your writing will be all the more captivating and informative when you do!
- Be smart about how you pitch it
Speaking of care, do take care in crafting your pitch in your email subject line and in your first few words of introduction. Sending emails that start off with “I am looking for links to my site and I can write an original article for you” is far from compelling (translate: spam folder)…for any blog editor.
- Take the time to double-check your spelling, grammar, tense & syntax
Sure, you may have done a spell-check – but spell-check does not catch errors in tense or syntax. Amy C. Teeple wrote a great post about just this with “SEO is no excuse for cre8ive spelling and grammar.”
If you start off in the first person, stick to it. If you are writing in present tense, keep it in the present tense. It is a matter of staying consistent and being conscientious –try printing off your post and reading it out loud. If something sounds “off” it probably is…
Does it make sense throughout? Or did “they” become “him”? “Had” become “have”? “Is” become “was”? Pay attention to these details – if missed, these simple errors make both you and the blog site look bad. If caught, your guest post may end up returned with those red notes or rejected altogether.
- Make sure your links are working
There are few things more annoying than having to investigate a broken link in submitted content. It is a time-consuming pain in the ass.
As with your basic grammar/spelling/tense/syntax check, take the extra time to make sure your links are functioning!
- Credit your sources and link to them
This goes beyond copyright law and covering your butt – it is a matter of respect to other writers and website sources.
The freelance writing community is relatively small, and if you go into niche writing (like SEO), it is smaller still. People notice (and talk about) those who neglect to give credit where credit is due.
Just do the right thing, and you’ll be all right.
- Include quality images, properly cited
It has been well documented that images greatly enhance content – so go that extra distance and include images with your guest post, provided they render well and resonate with your post.
For free images online, check out Yahoo’s flickr creative commons (select the attribution-only photo option), and Wikipedia’s public domain images. As with giving due credit to content sources, be sure to credit the source of the image you include with your post (if requested).
- Get clear with the blog editor about reprinting your post on your own site and the whole “syndicated content” thing
Should you have plans to reprint your content elsewhere, whether it be your own site or elsewhere, be sure you communicate that with the blog editor.
It is most unpleasant for host site editors to find their “original” guest post content duplicated all over the web – and especially on the same dam day!
Give your host a “head’s up” – or better still, an explicit notice as to where and when you intend to reprint your post. Most blog editors will be okay with a reprint within a month or so – the same day or week…not so okay! At least, not without a conversation and links back to their site, sourcing your original guest post.
- Finally: Honor the deadline
Give the blog editor a chance to review, edit, and upload your copy into their publishing platform. Believe it or not, this does take some time and the more lead time you give the editor, the better your post will read!
An 11th-hour post submission is rarely free of a glaring grammatical error or five. Account for the fact that it takes two pairs of eyes and a bit of time to ensure your copy is free of oh-shit! errors!
And p.s. it will not go well with the frazzled blog editor. Don’t burn your bridges if you hope to keep a good thing going!
Hope you find these tips helpful and not overly snarky :) For more great advice on getting your guest posts published, see Ann Smarty’s own guest post on landing guest posts!
photo thanks to jinterwas
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