April 16, 2014

Guest Posting: How to Find and Seduce Your Editor

Posted on 03. May, 2012 by in SEOchat

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You know all the benefits that writing a guest post for a well-read blog in your niche can offer. You know you can write great content because you’re an expert in your field. But how do you get into guest blogging? Let me give you a few clues from the blog editor’s perspective.

I’d like to tip my hat to two people here. The first one is Matt Goffrey. He’s written articles for SEO Chat for the last quarter, and he’s done just about everything a guest poster should do. The second one is Matt Beswick. He wrote a piece for Search Engine Journal on how to cheat at guest posting and get away with it. Some of the tips I’ll be including here I got from his article – but I’ll be talking about them from the other side of the desk.

So let’s assume, for the moment, that you’re an expert in  your field, and you want to find someone – or many someones – who will appreciate that expertise. It’s a little like dating seriously; you’ll looking to build a relationship that will last for a long time and be mutually beneficial. Instead of going to an online dating site, though, you might start by hitting up Google and searching for the keywords “guest post by” or “write for us.” Beswick recommends this. I don’t know if Goffrey did this, but he certainly could have found SEO Chat that way; we do, in fact, have a “Write for us” page that covers the entire Developer Shed network.

Once you’ve collected a list of candidates, forget about sending flowers and chocolate to all of them. If you really wanted to score a date online, you’d study profiles, and that’s what you’re about to do. Go to each site on which you’re thinking of guest posting and read a bunch of entries. You need to read enough posts to get a feeling for the site. Remember that saying about being known by the company you keep – so if you find a site that isn’t posting quality content, cross them off your list. Aim for websites that will appreciate what you have to offer.

After you’ve narrowed down your list, you need to approach each website with your offer to write a guest post. Beswick almost glosses over this as part of the hunt (so totally like a man, right?). As an editor who will receive your offer, however, I see this as a separate step. Focus on each website, and write an individualized letter for each one. Get the name of the editor if you can, and include it in your salutation. Tell her what you like about the website, why you want to write for it, and what value you can add. List your qualifications and include links to examples of your writing.

If the website features a “write for us” page that includes a procedure to follow, follow it. Few things turn on an editor as much as a writer who can follow directions. If that means you need to include a free writing sample, do it. As an editor, I must see what your writing looks like “naked” to know how much time I’ll need to invest in fixing your deathless prose. Matt Goffrey did this, and his sample became his first guest post on SEO Chat. It included our first link back to him.

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