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Following on from the Guest Posting for Beginners guide. I thought I’d share some more specific tips and hacks to improve your success rate whilst attempting to get guest posts on decent blogs. Some of these are a little contrary to popular advice, but standing out and doing something different is what this games all about!

Email First, Follow Later

Typical advice on guest posting is to build up a relationship over Twitter or another social network before you fire off an email asking for a post. Try turning this on it’s head and send an email straight away. Obviously don’t just outright ask for a post though, instead try asking a question or just let the blogger know you especially enjoyed a certain post. You are much more likely to stand out if you make a Twitter later this way and more likely to get a post further down the line.

Mention (subtly) Related Blogs You’ve Posted On

If you’ve posted on other decent blogs in your niche, subtly mention (name-drop) these when pitching posts to new bloggers. It will add weight to your pitch and help build trust.

Suggest Topics, with Care

It will usually help if you suggest a topic you might like to write about when pitching blogger. Just be careful you don’t pigeon hole yourself and end up having to write the same post twice! If you’re doing a lot of outreach, it might be a better strategy just to ask if you can post first and then work out the content later.

“You may have seen me around…”

If you’ve already connected over Twitter, commented on their blog, sent an email or had any sort of interaction, it will probably help if you mention this to make your request seem less “out of the blue”. Ideally, they will recognise you anyway but plenty of people are busy, bad with names and may just assume they should recognise you if not!

Don’t Be Scared of the Top Blogs

Here’s the situation – you have a list of blogs sorted by PageRank or MozRank etc and you immediately rule out the top blogs as you think the content bar will be too high. This is actually quite often not the case. Don’t assume that a high SEO score means a high content score. Sure, good quality content usually attracts good links but there are plenty of blogs that would be great to get a link from that aren’t going to win the turner prize any time soon. This is testament to the fact that a lot of links come from relationships rather than content. Being part of the community can be as, if not more important than producing top content.

The Subject Line Matters

Popular blogs will receive a lot of guest post requests. If you’ve put “Guest post” or “Guest post offer” in your email subject line then you’ve likely helped auto-filter your email into a rarely checked folder and almost certainly moved it to the bottom of the priority pile. Stand out from the crowd, try something different, more personal, funny and spam-free.

De-Spam Your Email

On the subject of spam, test your email before you send it and stop falling at the first hurdle. Contactology have a great tool to do just this. You might be surprised what was triggering the spam filters. Note – you need to paste a HTML email in for best results.

A Guest Post is for life…

After you’ve scored a successful post, don’t just cut the relationship off. Not only is this plain rude, you may want to post on the blog again and disappearing from the face of the earth looks like you were just in it for the link all along. Whether that’s the case or not, it’s bad form and may result in your links being removed and relationship destroyed. Stay in contact, comment on your post and help share the post via Twitter.

Start Small

If you’re struggling to get guest posts, perhaps you need to start a little smaller. By that I mean, go for some of the less popular and newer blogs. You need to earn a reputation and show your face in the community before you can expect top bloggers to let you post on thier blogs. Aim for blogs that are just a little more popular than yours. If you’re right at the bottom of the pile, then perhaps it’s time to build your own blog up first.


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James is the founder of JetRank. He blogs about SEO, inbound marketing and business.

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