The Do’s and Don’ts of Guest Posting for Major Blogs

By Guest Author

What do Mashable.com, BusinessInsider.com and Huffington Post all have in common? For one, each blog captures thousands of unique visitors and tens of thousands of page views in a single day. Second, they all accept contributions from guest authors, creating the potential to drive massive amounts of traffic to your website with just a single guest post.

But there’s got to be a catch. You’ve probably got to be a big name blogger with a huge audience like ProBlogger.com’s Darren Rowse to be eligible for publication on major blogs like that… Right?

No Name? No Audience? No Problem.

Believe it or not, you need neither name nor audience to get published. I used to think you did until I began to look more critically at the bylines of the writers listed on authority websites like BusinessInsider.com, currently listed in the top 500 most popular websites on the internet according to Alexa.

What did I discover upon closer examination? BusinessInsider.com publishes a lot of content from guest authors, most of which is from unkown writers you would not know, don’t have audience or fancy qualifications like an advanced degree from a prestigious school.

Best of all, these websites need a lot of regular outside contributions from guest writers. How much? Enough to dedicate a category
of the website just to content exclusively provided by writers/bloggers referred to as “Contributors”. None of the writer’s listed here are on the BusinessInsider.com payroll.

So if you don’t need a big name or any specific qualifications to contribute to these major blogs, what’s preventing you or me from getting our content published on behemoth blogs like this? That’s the question I posed to three regular contributors of BusinessInsider.com–Frank Gullo of RavenWeb.net, Hillel Fuld of TechnMarketing.com, and Sudy Bharadwaj of JackalopeJobs.com–to get a sense of what the average blogger/marketer should do to be considered for publication on a major blog.

While you’re probably not familiar with the writing or names of the writers I interviewed for this piece, collectively these three have been published on the biggest blogs with names you do know including the Huffington Post, Mashable and Gigom in addition to BusinessInsider.com.

What separates these guys from the rest of us?

I emailed each of these gentlemen to pick their brains and get advice on how they were each able to be featured on these blogs. Fortunately, for me (and you) they were generous with their expertise and provided a simple outline of do’s and don’ts that if followed greatly increases your odds of getting published on these sites.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, each of the blogger’s I interviewed shared creepily similar recommendations for getting content published. There do’s and don’ts have been summarized below and edited slightly for readability purposes:

When submitting guest content to major blogs, do the following:

Read and Follow Submission Guidelines to the Letter: Big blogs have much stricter requirements for what they can and can’t publish. Make sure the content you submit to these blogs aligns with posts that are regularly published by the blog both in content and style. Many of these blogs provide information about how to submit guest posts or contributions on a contact or contributor page.

In the case of becoming a contributor to BusinessInsider.com, all you need to do is to submit an email (contributor@businessinsider.com)
stating that you’re interested in writing for them.

Respect the Editor’s Time: When you submit guest posts to major blogs, they’ll need to be reviewed by an editor or writer before they can be published. Again, make sure you have formatted your posts correctly, do not have any spelling errors, and provided a high-quality piece of content that can be published. The more time an editor must spend rewriting your post, the less likely it is to be published.

Keep Communication Short: This related to the previous point. Don’t write long emails explaining your story ideas to editors or your career highlights. Keep pitches concise and to the point.

Be Persistent: The folks that work at these blogs are extremely busy and being emailed, Tweeted, and instant messaged by people just like you all day, every day. As a result, it’s typical that at some point your message could be forgotten about or looked over. If an editor doesn’t respond to your request after 5 – 7 days feel free to send them a reminder. If you still don’t get a response, move on and try contacting a different blog or editor.

When submitting content to major blogs, don’t do the following:

Don’t miss a Deadline: This is a deal breaker for most editors. If you say you’re going to get an article out
to them by January, 17th, stick to it. Miss one deadline and you won’t get a second chance with many editors.

Don’t complain if you’re article is rejected: Believe it or not, even strong writers have their content rejected from time to time. If you’re article is rejected, simply ask how you can improve it or suggest writing a new article on a different topic. If you believe the rejected article is valuable, you can always submit it somewhere else later.

Don’t Pester Editors: While you need to be consistent and occasionally send followup emails regarding the status of a post, don’t be a pain. Do not contact editors via social media daily much less hourly. A good rule of thumb is to provide at least 5 – 7 business days of breathing room between messages to an editor.

While you may not need a big name to contribute to today’s most popular websites, you will need to closely follow the editorial guidelines of each particular website and stick to the do’s and don’ts outlined in this article to get published on the biggest blogs.

Brett Lindenberg does a lot of guest writing in his own right. Read more of his stuff at 500aMonth.com and be sure to download his routine for building an email list when you sign up for his email list.




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20 Responses to “The Do’s and Don’ts of Guest Posting for Major Blogs”

  • Chris G

    Thanks for an excellent post.

    Its reassuring to see that you don’t necessarily have to be a perceived expert in the niche for guest posts to be accepted by larger sites.

    I think the majority of the rules highlighted would apply when targeting most site owners in general.

    Kind regards,

    Chris

  • Monisima

    Very useful information. I didn’t know that these huge online publications accepted contributions. Would you know how much they get paid?

  • Rohit Sharma

    Hi Bett,

    I thank you for writing such an inspiring post for hesitant guest posters, most of the bloggers have already provided with the submission guidelines on their respective blogs but still the fellow guest posters keep on shooting mails asking questions which have been already addressed in the guidelines. This makes the editor crazy.

    Though some people are trying their hands on postrunner.com

    btw the best shot which I liked was :

    You need neither name nor audience to get published

    Keep it up 🙂

  • Brett

    @Monisima – The guest posters would not be paid anything. Regular writers to these blogs are on the pay roll, however. You can check for this in the byline of a post.

    Thanks @Rohit. We should be friends on G+.

  • Kumar Gauraw

    This is incredibly useful article. Thank you for sharing these tips. However, there must be a luck factor involved as well.

    I submitted an article to DumbLittleMan after asking their permission and after 4 weeks of my submission, I didn’t even here anything from them. Not even a rejection. Sometimes you’ve no idea how they work though I don’t have any experience with Mashable and Copyblogger like blogs. I will try some of them this year.

  • Anthony Chatfield

    Great post – I love reading anything that reminds people how nearly anyone has a chance to be read on the Internet. You don’t need a name brand or a heavy by-line to get on the big name blogs. Just persistence, a good idea and quality writing.

    This has been on my to do list for far too long – one of my big goals for 2013 is to start connecting with and creating relationships with some of these bigger blogs – maybe not the super big ones at first, but in time I’m hoping.

  • Rinkesh

    Great tips for any blogger. I didn’t know that sites like BusinessInsider and Mashtable also accept guest posts. The most craziest thing that I have seen from people who do guest post is that they never even bother to see the guidelines laid down by the editor.

  • Mike

    Really nice tips Brett! I have been looking for a way to promote RoundNews on big news sites like Mashable or Huffington Post for a while now. I didn’t know about this opportunity until now.

    Thanks a lot!

  • Brett

    @KumarGauraw I’ve had a similar experience from some blogs I try to contribute to. Kikolani.com specifically has been one website that I haven’t been able to get a response from after numerous submissions. In fact, I’m still trying to find a way in there.

    One of the nice things about writing content for one blog is that you can often re-submit the same post to another blog if it doesn’t get approved to your first choice. I’ve done this a lot.

    In my opinion, it helps to pitch numerous blogs all at once. You should get responses from good quality blogs if you’re able to offer up quality content. Don’t give up on DumbLittleMan.com!

  • Kaktus

    Thanks for the post, very informative. You always write interesting.

    I wish you success in 2013!

  • Inside my Rocket

    Wow – sounds like a great opportunity. I guess guest blogs like Mashable and Copyblogger could give your blog a serious SEO boost as well as actual eyeballs.

    I’ve been thinking about doing some guest posting for quite a while but never thought the big name publishers would ever even consider the little guys contribution.

    Well – English being my second language I better have someone proof read my stuff before submitting.

  • Lakhyajyoti

    Great tips for a new blogger like me. Planning to submit few guest posts on some major blogs. Hope your article will help me to get approved easily.

  • Praverb Dot Net

    Lovely post, I am a hip-hop blogger and I am always interested in submitting content to various blogs.

    Do not get discouraged if your guest submission is rejected. Remember if all else fails at all you have content that you can post on your website.

  • Jonathan Feist

    “Don’t pester editors.”

    What a nice turn of phrase. I want the bumper sticker!

    –Jonathan

  • Danny

    Very helpful post, Brett.

    It does give you some inspiration knowing that large sites are willing to accept lesser known authors….

    For those wishing to break into the writing medium, this could open up a few doors that lead to further success further down the road….

    The “no payment” side of it, could become an issue, especially if the guest contributors start to build a busy publishing schedule….

    Unless the opportunity for those guest Authors arises whereby, a pay role position became available, or another option offering “payment per piece(post) were proposed…..

    Or, perhaps some form of assistance were granted to help expand the guest writers(contributors) name throughout that particular niche…

  • Clare

    Thanks for the great post Brett.

    Guest blogging is going to be one of the many things I will be doing more of this year – so this post was very timely for me.

    I had one guest post published last year and not only did it bring is a burst of traffic in the days following it’s publication but still brings a trickle of traffic now.

    I believe guest blogging should not only be done for back links but for gaining loyal readers.

    Clare

  • Vikas

    Very informative article about guest posting.

  • Cindy Buccieri

    Hi Daniel, Thanks for the great post. Guest blogging is a great way to not only increase traffic to your blog but also improve your search engine optimization. This is especially true with the new upgrade to Google. I know as a blogger myself, I am always open to guest posts. It’s a great way to add variety to your blog and introduce your blog to a whole new set of readers.

  • Curt

    I think the key to becoming a guest blogger is creating content that is relevant to the moment. That is how you get the editors attention. Sometime editors are under the gun with getting the next article out, and they have to make decisions that is in the interest of the organization.

    As they say timing is key.

  • Andrew Richard

    Very effective tips for guest posting,can you tell where to find contributors for my video blog.

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