DAY 4: How to Pitch and Write Guest Posts to Build Backlinks

Start a Money Making Travel Blog

One of the best ways to build up an audience quickly (and growing the authority of your site) is to do guest posts. 

What are Guest Posts?

Basically, this is where you write an article for an established blogger or publisher, and they will link to your website.

This is helpful for 2 main reasons: 

  1. People can discover you: That established blogger or platform has a bigger audience than you do as someone that is new to the industry. Imagine if you can capture the interest of some of those readers and turn them into your own audience too!

  2. Links are power! Without getting too technical here, links that point to your website tell Google that you know what you are talking about. But not all links are equal: If that link comes from a high-quality website that gets lots of traffic, that is like digital gold, or “Link Juice” as it’s called in the blogging world!

This is just scraping the surface of backlinks, but it should be enough to illustrate just how important guest posting can be at the start of your blogging career.

Even before you start a website, you can begin doing guest posts to “test the waters” and see if blogging is for you. Or if you know you will be starting a website, but not for a few months, you can start guest posting and ask for the link once your site is live.

But don’t leave this page and start pitching just yet… 

As established bloggers, we get daily requests from people who would like to do a guest post for our website.

We delete 90% of them because they do not pitch correctly.

We’re going to go over exactly how to pitch to established bloggers to start getting some high quality “link juice” to your website. Even if you’re brand new…

How to Successfully Pitch a Guest Post

Many big blogs out there accept guest posts so they can cover a wider range of topics and get more traffic to their website.

But major blogs will get hundreds of emails each month with people pitching to write for them. So how can you stand out?

It’s easy actually. They likely receive a TON of bad pitches, so as long as you follow the tips below, you should get a pretty good response rate.

1. Follow instructions EXACTLY

For example, we have a specific page for people to pitch to us. When someone emails us instead of going through our guest post submission form, we delete their email and do not respond. No exceptions.

It might sound harsh, but we get several of these types of emails each day, and we just don’t have the time to respond individually to those people who aren’t following instructions. Plus, it is stated very clearly in many places on our website, so we assume that if they can’t follow the directions of how to submit a pitch, they probably won’t be able to follow the instructions we give them when it comes to the actual writing.

If you have a blogger in mind, search their site for a guest post submission page. Often times, it is under their “Contact” or “Work with Us” sections. If you still can’t find it, type “guest post” into the search bar on their website and see what you come up with.

Still nothing? You can shoot them an email, but keep it brief because there’s a good chance they just don’t accept guest posts. Or move onto a different blogger who has an established submission form – there are many out there.

2. Read their requirements

Read their requirements BEFORE you pitch. For example, we have very strict guidelines, and we require all guest authors to supply their own high quality photos. If you don’t have any photographs, it doesn’t make sense to waste our time and yours by pitching to us, only to be turned down later.

Additionally, be sure you can commit to what they’re asking. We typically only accept long-form articles (1,000+ words), so if you can’t put in the time for what the blogger is asking, find a site that will be a better fit.

3. Don’t pitch to the masses. 

It’s fine to pitch to multiple bloggers at once. But it is SO painfully obvious when you are copying and pasting the same pitches to all.

There are some websites out there that have all sorts of email addresses for bloggers that they have determined “accept guest posts”.  

Please, please, please DO NOT just go from a list like that and start emailing.

It can be a good starting point to get an idea of bloggers who accept pitches, but before you email them, go to their website and look around.  

4. Make sure your pitch makes sense

Don’t come up with a pitch before even looking at their website.

In order to make a good pitch, it must be something that fits on their site, but not something they’ve already covered.

For example, someone wrote to us a few weeks ago asking if he could write for us. His pitch? “Things to do in Bangkok”. It’s pretty clear that he didn’t actually look at our website, because had he done so, he would have seen we already have an article titled “Things to do in Bangkok”.

Also, try to pinpoint the audience of the website. If the blog you’re pitching for has a focus on luxury cruises in Europe, you’re going to look like a dud if you pitch an article about traveling on a budget in Southeast Asia. That blogger will be able to tell right away that you didn’t take the time to get to know their site. 

5. Personalize it

Get to know the website a bit before you pitch. This doesn’t mean you have to be following for years. But get a feeling for the tone at least.

If possible, find their name(s) and address the email to them. The 30 seconds that takes goes a long way.

And a little flattery never hurts. Trust me, the extra 2 minutes it takes to compliment a blogger on their site design, their photography, their most recent article on a Kenyan safari, or whatever it is that you like about their website, will go a long way.

6. Do Not follow a template!

On average, we get 20 spammy emails a week from people asking to write for our site. And it is so obvious they are following a copy and paste template.

DO NOT DO THIS. We delete every single one of these emails and they never get a response. Honestly, I don’t know any other (high quality) blogger who would respond to these.

Just take a look at some of these laughable pitches below, and you’ll understand why this topic gets us so fired up!

Guest Post Pitch
Guest Post Pitch
Guest Post Pitch

And for goodness sake, DO NOT just paste their URL like this:

“Hello editors at www.twowanderingsoles.com!”

Oh, hell no!

7. Be professional

This means that you will need to spend time crafting an engaging and informative article.

And please, please, for the love of GOD, triple-check your spelling and grammar. I cannot stress this enough. It is not a good look for you to submit work ridden with mistakes. Use Grammarly, a free web plugin that checks your spelling, grammarly and tone.

And while it sounds like common sense, show professionalism by sticking to the agreed upon deadlines, and communicating if you need more time. 

8. Guest Posts should be your BEST work

It can feel weird giving your best writing to another website, but if you have zeroed in on a high-quality site, it will only benefit you:

A) You want to convince the readers of this established website to follow YOU. If your writing is just meh, they will notice, and they won’t ever visit your website. Your chance will be gone.

B) You want to create relationships with established bloggers, and there is no better way to ruin your chances of working together in the future than to submit subpar work and become a pain in their a$$. 

We take our website very seriously, and we only publish work that is super high quality. It’s really easy to tell when someone is only doing a guest post to get a backlink from us, rather than to help our readers.

When someone submits crappy, half-assed writing, we do not accept it. If you’re going to make the effort to do guest posts, make sure you are submitting quality work.

Tips for Guest Articles

  1. Each blogger will have different rules for how many links you’re allowed in your guest post. If possible, try to link to your blog as high up in the article as possible (as this link will have more power than a link in your author bio at the end of the article).

  2. Show your personality, but not too much. This article is on someone else’s site, so talking too much about yourself is going to be strange. That said, try to add some pizazz so readers hear your voice!

  3. When pitching, it is helpful to give the blogger examples of previous articles so they can see your writing style and quality of your work. Giving them a link to your own blog is the best option, but if you don’t already have your own blog be sure to have some other writing samples on hand. When you’re just getting started, you can self-publish on sides like Medium and BuzzFeed so you have something to share. Also, if you don’t already have a website, ask the blogger you’d like to write for if it is possible for them to link to you once you have a site established. That link will be very helpful, so make sure you are clear and up front to begin with.

Takeaway from today’s lesson

Guest Posting is a great way to grow your presence as a blogger and it can help boost your site’s authority through high-quality backlinks.

It is important to follow the guidelines above so you get a good response from your pitches, and to provide quality work so you earn a good reputation in the blogging community.

Your Assignment

  1. Make a list of 3 bloggers you like.

    Tip: Try to find blogs that get lots of traffic and are high-quality; check their domain on SEM Rush — you need to set up a free account, but it will show you how many keywords other sites rank for, as well as some info on their traffic.

  2. Go to their websites and find out if they accept guest posts. If they do, take note of the instructions. If they don’t accept guest articles, find a new blog to replace them. (Don’t waste your time trying to convince them to accept your pitch — they won’t.)

  3. For each of the 3 bloggers, write down 3 potential article ideas you can pitch to them. Remember, spend some time on their website, so you know the pitch is appropriate. 

  4. Now, begin pitching! Be sure to follow their guidelines (if they have them), and get started right away. There’s no point in putting this off, as this is really an essential strategy to building your audience.

What did you think of today’s lesson?

Who are you going to pitch to? Have questions? Reply to today’s email, and we’ll do our best to help you out!

Things you should know by now from this course:

  • Know WHO your audience is, and know how to write for them (Day 1).
  • Understand the structure of articles Google likes (Day 2).
  • Have a grasp on basic SEO techniques (Day 3).
  • Understand the importance of guest posting and know how to make the perfect pitch (Day 4).
Blogging Bootcamp Course Katie & Ben