As a blogger, there comes a time when you’re going to want to write posts for blogs other than the ones you own and operate. It can be very valuable to blog outside of your own sites, both to promote your own content and to build a reputation for yourself as an author. Forging relationships with other blogs can be very beneficial to everyone involved, but it requires the proper approach. How do you apply to other blogs properly?
Determine Your Position
The first thing you need to do is determine what your expectations will be of the potential relationship between yourself as an author and the blog as a platform.
• Are you looking for a place for a single guest post?
• Are you instead looking for a position as a regular guest blogger?
• Are you looking to be a regular contributor to the blog?
• Are you looking to be a major contributor to the blog?
You also have the issue of compensation. Will you be paid for the post, and if so, will they pay your rate? Or will you accept their rate? If you aren’t offered monetary compensation, are you compensated in any other way? Will you receive a followed backlink in the content you create? Will you receive a product or software subscription in compensation? These are all considerations you must make before you choose a blog.
If the blog you want to write for does not meet one of your considerations, you have two options; you can change your considerations to meet their offer, or you can walk away. Which option you choose depends on many factors, including your purpose for blogging and your potential future with the blog.
1. Study Their Guidelines
Virtually every blog will have some form of “contribute to our blog” page you can use to get started. This will often set forth a few strict rules and general guidelines to help you along your way. You will learn their general subjects, any subjects they don’t want covered, formatting rules, length rules and other such guidelines.
Study these rules and make sure your initial submission is in line with what they ask for. Chances are, they receive enough submissions regularly that they can afford to be selective.
In some cases, the blog will require contacting their editors for any potential post. You may be asked to pitch an idea before you take the time to write one. It’s up to you whether you write a full post to have it on hand, or if you simply write a pitch. If you write a full post and your pitch is rejected, you still have the content to post elsewhere. On the other hand, it takes time to write a post, and if you aren’t guaranteed the publication benefits you want, you may not want to take that time.
2. Study Their Content
Read the past few days, weeks or months worth of publications on the target blog. This will give you a good sense of what they cover. Ask yourself a few questions about their content.
• Do the posts focus more on breadth of coverage or depth of discussion?
• Do the posts strive to be evergreen content or topical commentary?
• Do the posts take firm stances on controversial issues?
• How long are the posts on average?
These questions will help determine what kind of post you need to write for the site. It will also help you learn if you’re a good fit for the blog. If the blog takes sides on an issue and your opinions lie on the other side, you may not be a good fit.
3. Study Their Audience
It’s a little harder to study the audience of a blog you don’t have access to, but you can perform some investigation. Browse their comments and their social media pages for an idea of the demographics they write for. This allows you to tailor your content for that audience. For example, you don’t want to write a blog post about cell phone maintenance for an audience of people completely disinterested in the technical maintenance of electronics.
Knowing their audience will give you topic ideas as well, if you need them. You also should make sure that the blog audience is beneficial to your blogs; if they aren’t the kind of people who would care about your home blog, blogging on that site isn’t going to benefit your home traffic. This may or may not be a bad thing, depending on why you’re blogging on this new site.
4. Study Their Voice
How casual are their posts? Do they address the reader directly? Do they speak in first person? Learning the voice of the blog will help make sure any content you write will fit in with the content they already have. You want to make sure your content doesn’t stand out in a way that turns off their readers.
5. Study Their Stances
This was partly covered above, but is worth reiterating as a separate point. You need to know the perspectives taken by the blog you’re going to write for. If they dislike using specific tools and consider them overrated, you don’t want to write a post extolling their virtues. If they sit firmly on one side of some of the common social issues, you don’t want to bring up your opinion on the other side of the line.
This is not to say you can’t write for a blog you personally disagree with. It’s entirely possible to have a long and lucrative career under the management of someone whose opinions are the opposite of your own. You just need to make sure you know what issues to steer clear of in your writing.
6. Create Customized Content
Now that you understand the audience, stances, opinions and voice of your target blog, it’s time to contact them about writing. You may need to pitch an article idea, or you may be asked to submit a post in its entirety. Whichever the case, make sure your idea fits with all of the information and perspectives you gained before. This will decrease the possibility of a rejection. This is particularly important if you’re applying to be a regular contributor; you need to demonstrate your ability to fit with the tone and theme of the blog.
7. Guarantee Content Originality
This step should go without saying, but you need to make sure any post you write is not copied from another source. Any blog owner checking your content and finding copyscape matches is going to be suspicious. It hurts both the site and your reputation to use copied content in submissions.
8. Allow for Revision or Rejection
Remember that you always have a chance to be asked for a revision on your content before publication. Be willing to make that revision. Likewise, it’s possible your application will be rejected. Rather than attempt to argue with the blog owner, it’s best to make note of the rejection and move on to another blog. Diversification is the name of the game; if you’re putting all your reliance on one blog, being rejected will hurt far more than it otherwise might. That said, as long as you are prepared and do your research, you have a very good chance of being accepted.