How To Write A Killer Guest Post

We’ve had a special request for today’s post. Sheila Wray Gregoire sent me a message last week, saying, “I’m looking for people to write guest posts for To Love, Honor and Vacuum on marriage/parenting stuff. It’s a good chance for bloggers who are just starting to get some exposure.”

guest postingSheila’s right. Guest posting on other people’s established blogs can be one of the best ways to grow your platform and increase your following on your blog. When you write a guest post, you’re not only getting exposed to a whole new set of readers, but you’re also proving that you’re good enough for someone else to risk their blog’s reputation on.

Unfortunately, Sheila found that most people who submitted a guest post for consideration didn’t know how to properly write a guest post. Hence, she reached out to me to see if we could spread the word about her need for guest posters and also tell our readers how to write a killer guest post.

This one’s for you, Sheila.

Here’s what you need to do if you want to write a guest post for Sheila or for anyone else.

1. Study the intended audience, voice, and style of the blog you want to guest post for.

This is one of the fundamental skills of article writing that also applies to writing a killer guest post. They know what their readers like, and they are going to insist that anything they publish fits with what their readers expect. They won’t break the rules just for you.

Are their posts short or long? Do they use numbered lists? Is the tone sarcastic or serious? Practical, inspirational, or a combination of the two? Show that you’ve done your research by getting it right.

2. Write something new.

Don’t submit material you’ve already published on your blog (or in print). When you offer someone a guest post, the assumption is that they’ll be receiving new material.

3. Meet a need.

You should scan the last 6 months of posts to be sure you’re proposing something fresh that they haven’t already written on. Better yet, try to think of a post the owner of the blog couldn’t write themselves. What unique experience do you have that also ties in to the theme and topic of their blog? Not only will this help build a relationship with your fellow blogger, but it will also give people a reason to check out your blog.

4. Give your absolute best.

If you’re trying to choose between two ideas you think would be perfect for a guest post, choose the best one.

But then I won’t be able to use that awesome post on my site?

No, you won’t. You’ll do better. You’ll give a brand new audience a chance to see how awesome you are. Translation–you’ll actually gain at least twice as many new readers as if you posted that stellar content on your own site. Plus, you can provide a paragraph summary about your guest post and a link on your site on the day it goes live. That gives you the best of both worlds because your regular readers won’t miss out.

4. Ruthlessly self-edit.

Guest posts help the blog’s owner by giving them a day off from posting themselves. But not if they have to spend as much time editing your post as they would have writing their own.

5. Don’t blatantly self-advertise and link back to your own blog.

The blogger that you’re writing for will usually have you write a bio (or they’ll write an intro about you) where you’ll be able to include a link to your blog. That’s all you need. If you write well enough, people will click through to your site. I know because I’ve done it. Focus on the quality of your post, not on how many times you can talk about the content readers can find back at your site or how they really, really need to buy your book.

6. Include an appropriate keyword.

You and the blog’s owner both have a vested interest in people finding your post. Research an appropriate keyword the same way you would if you were writing for your own site, and let the blog’s owner know what that keyword is so they can include it in a tag and in the appropriate places on the backside of their website.

7. Promote twice as much as you would a post on your own site.

Basically this comes down to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Even though you’re sending traffic to someone else’s website, it’ll work out for your benefit somewhere down the road.

Now I’d like to call on you for some help. Help us help Sheila spread the word by tweeting about this post on Twitter or posting a link on Facebook.

**We’ve moved! Please join us at our new permanent homes. You can find Marcy at her website and Lisa at her website.


25 comments on “How To Write A Killer Guest Post

  1. Very helpful truthful post. Sending it out to the newly formed #LifeListClub, we’re a group of writers and readers supporting each other through our goals and we’ll be guest blogging every other week. What a great reference! Thanks Marcy!

  2. Hey, Marcy! Thanks so much for writing this for me. This is EXACTLY what I want guest posters to my site to know. In fact, I’ll bookmark this and send prospective writers to it. Sorry for not commenting earlier; I was on vacation with my kids at the International Bible Quizzing competition. Much less geeky than it sounds. But that’s a topic for another post!

  3. Pingback: Guest Who? | Sonia G Medeiros

  4. This is a great post. I would love to do some guest posting but have no idea how to go about it. Certainly don’t want to be inviting myself. This ia awesome checklist to have.

    • Actually, inviting yourself is the way to go about it. You find a blog that you have something in common with (so for you it’d be a writing blog or another blog that caters to thriller fans), and you email the blog owner with your proposal. Some blogs will already have guidelines posted for potential guest posters, but others won’t. It also helps if you’ve already connected with the blog owner through social media (either you regularly retweet their posts on Twitter, post comments, links on Facebook or Google+).


  5. Thanks to everyone who commented 🙂 If you have a question for us or if there’s something we could write about to help you, please drop us an email or swing by our Facebook page to let us know.

  6. Hi Tracy,

    I did a couple of posts on scene structure back in April that might give you a start.

    4 Tips for Writing Action Scenes (meaning scenes where the character is acting rather than being acted upon)

    4 Steps to an Engaging Reaction Scene

    If there’s something I haven’t covered in these that you’d still like to know about, I’d be more than happy to do a post on it 🙂 Lisa and I absolutely love to know when our readers have a specific topic/question they’d like us to talk about.


  7. Thank you, Marcy.

    I have added the two articles to my growing collection on how to write.

    I’m sure I’ll be able to come up with more questions. Just when I think I have “all” the answers–ha, another rears it’s ugly head. LOL

  8. I so agree with all points especially the last one! I’m taking guest-posts every day now (NaNoWriMo-related) and I’ve been lucky with the collection of bloggers/writers I got. However, not everyone advertises enough, and sometimes I have to do the heavy-lifting. So yeah, advertising is important. Also, I’d add being interactive in the post and starting discussions with the readers. 🙂

  9. Some really great tips here, thanks! Blogging on our own sites doesn’t usually require a second thought, we’re so used to it. But you’re very right about matching tone and content for the audience.Definitely something to keep in mind if we’re ever asked to venture forth into the big blogging world!

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