At Level343 we get a lot of guest posts. Many of them are denied. In fact, many of them are denied several times because the authors don’t want to take no for an answer.
Now, our standards may not be your target website’s standards. Keep that in mind, but the plain and simple truth is you can’t brow beat someone to take an article. It’s not like when you were a kid and you could (maybe) beg your parents enough they caved and bought you the My Little Pony or Radio Flyer you desperately wanted. Quality counts and – at least with us – sending in enough low-quality posts will get you automatically pushed to the trash pile.
8 Tips for Your Sponsored or Guest Post Submissions
How do you make sure your article gets through? Here are a few pointers.
1. Know Your Target
Never mind knowing the name of the website, the editor, or even the CEO. Know what your target talks about. Don’t – as many have done – just scan the site and make assumptions. We’ve received many a blog post that made it clear the submitter had no idea what we really do here.
Marketing is a very broad spectrum. It has hundreds, if not thousands, of areas that could be written about and have the topic be about something we don’t cover.
Stop guessing. Take the time to read a few of the articles already available on your target site. Read their service of product offerings. Learn them.
2. Draft Your Unique Email
“Hey Sara, I really enjoyed your last post at [https://level343.com/blahblahblah]. I have an article that talks about something similar, I’ve pasted it into the body of this email. Let me know when it’s up!”
We actual received an email like the above. There are so many things wrong with this.
First, we have no Sara here. You may not know the name of the editor of a place, but don’t guess – or worse, leave the name in from another submission because you have a copy/paste email. Pro tip, here: we hate copy/paste emails, and most other companies do as well.
Each site is unique; make your email unique.
3. Offer Choices, Ask Questions
Not every company enjoys getting an email like, “Can you pick one of these 5 article titles and let me know which one you’d like,” but don’t give up asking questions. There are many ways to ask what your target site is looking for. A few suggestions:
- Do you have a specific topic you’d like to have covered?
- Do you want a list of possible titles, or do you prefer to just receive a document?
- I’ve had several ideas (list ideas). Do you have a preference of article you’d like to see on your site?
4. Submit a Document
We’ve received several submissions “within the body of this email”.
Why? Why on earth would you do this?
- It’s unprofessional.
- All styling is gone most of the time.
- Not all email platforms handle styling the same way, so there’s no telling what it will look like when they receive it.
- You lose control of what your content will look like once it’s posted.
- It’s unprofessional.
Not everybody has MS Word, but whatever document creator you use can be converted to another. Please, please, put your content in a document in the way you’d want it to be viewed online – with images, with bio, with your supporting links.
For the most part, you have no idea how many people your submission will go through before it gets to the editors. If you know what an email forwarded five times looks like, you’ll understand why the document format is so important.
5. Write Unto Others…
Almost everybody has heard the saying, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” The same applies to guest posts. I can’t count how many articles have been submitted that I wouldn’t try to push on my worst enemy. If you wouldn’t put it on your own site, don’t try to put it on another.
Grammar matters. Subject matter… matters. Spelling matters. Words mean things; you can’t just shove some words onto a page and expect a quality article to spill out. If you don’t know the difference between they’re, their, or there for example, you probably should either have an editor or don’t try to guest post.
6. Check Your English
We also get a lot of articles from people who have English as a second language. I speak 13 languages, and we have several people in our wheelhouse with various languages as a first language. We understand some of the American slang words and idioms are hard to learn. No worries, but take the time to have a native English speaker read through your post before you send it in. -And if you don’t understand idioms, you can let Flula help you:
7. Brag About Your Author
How many times have you submitted an article without including an author bio? How many times have you received an article submission that didn’t have an author bio? This happens to us on a regular basis – especially on someone wanting to submit a sponsored post.
Look, a sponsored post doesn’t mean you can ignore a bio unless your specific target site will post without one. It also doesn’t mean you can write some bio that is obviously a load of drivel and shows no authority for the topic.
Whether you’re submitting a sponsored post or a regular guest post, take the time to write a strong bio. Add an image. If a social link is allowed and you have one, provide it. Not only does this give you more exposure, but it also helps your target post site with legitimacy.
8. Include Relevant Images
What do mountains have to do with an article about data encryption? I don’t know, but we had an article submission a year or so ago that included a mountain as a featured image. Maybe there was some subtle marketing message written in the mountain that we missed. Maybe. -But if you have to guess what an image has to do with an article, it’s the wrong image.
First, be polite and include at least a featured image with your article. Secondly, make sure that image (or those images) are relevant to the topic at hand. Don’t snag some stray picture just to have an image and throw it in the document. Respect your target’s readership enough to match image to content.
Don’t look at guest and sponsored posts as “one-offs”. How much easier would it be to submit an article if you’ve created a professional relationship with your target sites? By following the points above, you’re ensuring your next opportunity for submission will go more smoothly. It’s good for you, good for them, good for their readers, and good for whoever is benefiting from your post.
There is so much that can be said about creating quality guest posts, but so much should be common sense. Why are you submitting a guest post? Is it just for a link?
Even if the link is the point, the quality of the content should still make a difference. You don’t just want back links – you want back links that people follow to see your post, page or client site. And why would your target site want to accept your post if it’s low quality? With all of the Google updates that point towards quality, don’t you think your submissions should also meet those guidelines?
Ultimately, the key to acceptance is to respect your target site and their readership. The next time you start looking for a place to drop an article, pull this blog post up and treat it like a checklist. -And never forget: you have to give quality to get quality.