If you run a website, you’ve probably received countless emails from people offering to write for your blog. (And if you haven’t, well, you probably will at some point.) Guest posting is a classic SEO strategy, but if we’re being real, a lot of the guest post outreach emails rub people the wrong way. They sound insincere at best, and downright sketchy at worst. How do you do guest post outreach without getting your emails deleted? How do you not sound like a total drip?

1. Make Sure the Site Accepts Guest Posts

A lot of websites clearly state their policy on guest posts on their contact page or FAQ. Look for this before you send an inquiry. Not only will you save yourself time by not pitching to sites that don’t accept guest posts, you might also find valuable information about what to include in your pitches. Some sites may ask that you write your post and submit it with your inquiry, while others may want you to send a few potential topic ideas.

2. Be Authentic

When you search the web for guest post outreach email ideas, many of the templates you’ll find are targeted to the scammy writers who are getting paid to slip links into unsuspecting bloggers’ sites. If you use one of these email templates, most recipients will hit delete before they’ve even finished reading—they’re usually intentionally vague about who the sender is and what their motivation is for wanting to share their writing for free.

The best way to get a guest post on another website is to be you. Write an authentic email. You don’t have to make it a novel, but include a line or two about what makes you want to contribute to the site, then be sure to include your credentials. Be sure to explain:

  • Who you are
  • What makes you an expert
  • What you’d write about
  • How you’d promote the article on your own channels

What sets you apart from sketchy guest posters is that you have E-A-T, and that means your writing adds value to any site you’re writing for. 

3. Write a High Quality Post

If you’ve gotten a site to agree to let you write a guest post for them, the next step is writing the post. You want this post to represent the very best of what you have to offer. Share your knowledge and insight into the topic at hand; you have a unique perspective and your writing should reflect that. People love getting advice and insider tips from an expert.

A good guest blog post should have:

  • At least 500 words, or more if the blog you’re contributing to regularly publishes long-form content
  • A royalty-free image included if the blog won’t be using one of their own (Unsplash is a great source)
  • At least some on-page SEO—include keywords and a few internal links to other articles on the site
  • Headings to break up the text and make it easy for readers to skim
  • A tone that matches the overall writing style of the site (i.e., don’t write a humorous blog post if everything else on the site is serious)
  • Useful content that informs readers—your post should not be a sales pitch
  • A bio at the end that explains who you are and why you’re an expert – and this is where you’d typically include a link back to your website. 

Before you send the guest post, make sure you proofread it and correct any typos. It can help to read it out loud — it’s difficult to edit your own work because your brain will always read what it thinks is on the page, not what your eyes actually see!

Perhaps you’re not much of a writer. That’s okay too! Hire someone to ghostwrite your post for you. Provide them with an outline so they can hit on the points you want to include in your article, or have them write it and then incorporate your insight. 

4. Publicize Your Post

Once your guest post has been published, make sure you share it widely. Doing so will build backlinks for the post, direct more traffic to it, and may even get you invited back for more guest posts in the future. 

If you have a blog on your own website, write an article about a complementary or related topic (without cannibalizing the guest post’s content!) and link back to the guest post. Share your guest post on all of your social media channels, and if you have a newsletter, make sure you promote it in your newsletter and point people to the guest post.

5. Understanding the Value of Guest Posts

In the past, the primary value of guest posting was to get links. Today, things have shifted, and the value is in building your brand and demonstrating your E-A-T. 

That said, you’ll still want a link if you can get it.

Here’s where things can get a little shaky. People are often leery of random links in guest posts, and for good reason — for a while, Google frowned upon guest posting, and there’s also the fact that so many people have been burned by scammy guest posters in the past. 

Since then, Google has clarified that they do not penalize guest posts, but they do devalue what they see as unnatural links. A link to your site’s homepage in the context of an informative guest post is one thing; a link anchored by a long-tail keyword in a low-quality post (poorly) written by a mystery person is what Google doesn’t like.

The moral of the story here is that you should ask for a link to your site (rather than sneaking it in), and you should make sure it’s natural. If the publisher tells you no, the guest post can still have value. You’re still building your brand and your E-A-T bona fides. For example, if you land a guest post on the top website in your industry, it can still be worth getting yourself featured for the credibility, even without a link — and then you can highlight the fact that you were featured in that publication when doing future outreach. Attaining credibility can snowball into more opportunities and more credibility, and that can make future outreach easier over time.

The tl;dr of this post is that the best way to not sound like a goober when you’re performing guest post outreach is to be yourself. Be authentic! You’re not a goober, so as long as you’re upfront about what you’re asking for and what you have to offer, you don’t have to feel weird about asking to write a guest post.

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