How to Guest Post on Websites
So you’re an online content writer, posting about content that interests you and that you have expertise and knowledge in. You have your own website that you operate and write on, but you find that your readership growth has somewhat stagnated and you’re not sure where to go to attract more people to your site. While a wide range of methods to attract website traffic exist, a particularly unique solution is to become a guest poster for other websites and outlets that are also in your area of expertise.
In one of my previous blog posts, I mentioned the potential of guest posting on other online websites and outlets to demonstrate your own expertise and attract visitors to your own site’s content. In truth, becoming a guest poster to other online sites and outlets may sound more straightforward and simple than it really is. The process and etiquette behind requesting to become a guest post might not be easily understood without first being explored and explained. That’s why in this article, I’ll be informing you about how to request to become a guest poster for sites, how to maximize your chances of being accepted, and how to best approach the different aspects of this process, from start to end.
Before we continue, it’s important to say that it’s never too late to start your own blog or site to establish yourself and your skills. If you’re a novice who’s looking for a user-friendly website creation experience, I’d recommend you use website.com. They offer a completely free website building experience that uses a drag-and-drop builder rather than any coding on your end, and their plans also include blog pages that you can use to start sharing content. For those with more experience under your belt, or for those who feel a bit more adventurous, you can use WordPress to build a website entirely unique to you with its expansive library of free themes and plugins that enhance your website as a whole. WordPress sites will need hosting, so I’d recommend you try hosting with Doteasy, a value-packed hosting service that includes free domain name registration in your hosting signup cost, and boasts friendly and knowledgeable in-house support that’s helped me a ton whenever I run into things I need help with.
In this article, we’ll be talking about:
Find Sites to Post To
A Need For Posts
Is There An Existing Readership Base?
How Frequently is Content Published?
Use the frequency and consistency of a website posting to their site to get an idea for whether or not this site will have an audience to appeal to. Frequent updates and new content will organically attract more people to a site, which is something you’d benefit from if you were to guest post on the site.
Is Site Engagement There?
For sites that don’t have their website engagement numbers displayed on their site pages, you could visit the social media pages they might maintain to get a similar feel for how people are engaging with their content. For example, if a website uses their social media page to post links to posts on their actual website, see how many likes, shares, and comments that social media post receives. This will give you an idea for if and how people are engaging with a site’s content.
It’s important to note that engagement numbers, both on sites themselves and their social media pages, only indicate a fraction of content’s actual engagement rate: many readers may be interested or swayed by the content they read without directly commenting or sharing it. This can be the case for a variety of reasons, from readers simply not feeling a need to add to the engagement numbers of content, to forms of engagement like commenting or sharing being locked behind membership or logins that some people don’t have the effort to go through with. So if you see a post with, for example, 30 comments and 20 shares, you can be sure that the actual number of people that this article reached was much more than just 20 or 30 people.
An example of a page that shows its engagement numbers is this post from Orbit Media Studios, showing that their post has 1500 shares across a variety of platforms. When you see numbers like this on a site’s post, you can get an idea of how much readership their article has.
Is Site Engagement Changing?
On the other hand, you might see a growth in the engagement on a site’s content over time, a promising indicator for a site you’re considering posting to. Maybe, for example, a post from 1 year ago has 5 comments and 2 shares, while a post from 1 month ago has 30 comments and 15 shares. These growths in engagement show that the readership base of this site has increased meaningfully over time, and you can assume that were you to guest post to this site, an active number of readers would see and engage with your content. This means that guest posting to this site would be much more likely to have success in attracting new readers to your own website to continue consuming content that you put out.
What Does Data Say About a Site?
Your Starting Approach
Going into requesting to become a guest poster, there are some key foundations we should lay first before we go any further.
Find the Right Contact Channels
However, other places might not make things so clear, and might completely lack a method of contacting them upon first inspection. In cases like this, you might have to get a bit more creative with how you reach them. If they allow comments on their website posts, for example, try leaving a polite and brief message on their most recent post requesting to be able to directly contact them. If they have a social media page, try sending them a direct message through these channels. Of course, some places check their website comments or direct messages more frequently than others, so don’t be too surprised if some websites or outlets take a little longer to get back to you. In the case where you don’t receive any responses from them in something like a few weeks, you could decide to either find another channel to contact them through or to simply move on to requesting at a different website or outlet.
No matter how you choose to try and reach out to a website or outlet, make sure your method of contact is a valid channel, and doesn’t risk infringing upon anyone’s privacy. Unless their public website or social media page openly links to a representative or owner’s personal social media page, for example, it would be best if you don’t track down someone’s private page just to send them a business-related message out of the blue; this might be interpreted by some as overstepping boundaries.
Polite, Humble, Respectful
Being polite, humble, and respectful to the person you’re reaching out to is the first and arguably most important step in requesting to become a guest poster. Keep this in mind throughout all your interactions with websites’ owners and representatives, even if you encounter some difficulties or are met with rejection.
How to Stand Out
In the world of sending online communications or requests, it’s not rare to see messages or content copy-pasted across different locations or usages for convenience and to save time. Online content writing isn’t excluded from this issue, which is why it’s important for you to set yourself apart from others who request to guest post to sites.
Make Yourself Stand Out
The key method to go about differentiating your request from others is to personalize each message or request you send out to sites’ owners or representatives. Preferably in your first initial contact with the site, directly mention names, dates, pieces of content, and anything else that are specific to the website or outlet that you’re requesting to be a guest poster to. This demonstrates that your message is uniquely written as a request to their site, rather than being a mass copy-pasted message that’s been sent out to dozens of other sites. In your writing, do your best to express an interest and enjoyment of their work, and remember to stay polite, humble, and respectful of the person or group that you’re communicating with.
Show Your Potential
Stay Brief and Organized
Don’t Lose Your Readers’ Interest
Length and Organization
Keep your writing on the shorter side, with clear divisions between paragraphs that cover different topics, so that whoever reads your request has an easier time and could take more of a liking to how you present yourself. After you’ve made sure your request is well-written, don’t wait a minute longer than you should: send it out to the site!
Success with Conditions
Keep an Open Mind
Unless the conditions or topics are extremely beyond what you’re capable of or used to doing, to the point where you feel uncomfortable completing this content or know your quality of content will be far below what you and/or the owner expect of you, don’t act on any gut desires to reject the offer. You’ve already gotten further with this website than you may have gotten with other sites or outlets: you want to post to this site, and they want you to post to their site, so you’re both on the same page, and this is undoubtedly an opportunity for mutual cooperation and growth. This is their site, after all, so them wanting you to follow some of their expectations isn’t surprising, since they should know what sort of content or writing style will more cater to their site’s visitors. Additionally, you were the one to initiate asking to become a guest poster, which they took the courtesy of responding to and accepting; to suddenly reject this offer because of conditions would be a negative demonstration of your character as someone who doesn’t commit to what you seem to want.
The key point is to not reject the guest post offer simply because of any conditions or expectations. As a content writer looking for opportunities, you should keep an open mind and not shy away from chances to prove yourself. You should have what it takes to write what’s most needed from you, and if it’s a bit different from what you’re used to, that shouldn’t be something that stops you from giving your all regardless. So take the offer you get, and turn it into a learning experience, or a chance to strengthen and broaden your own writing abilities, both in the short-term and long-term.
If At First You Don’t Succeed
Try and Try Again
Being rejected from one website, or not receiving a reply from an outlet, is just part of the process to eventually find success and be accepted as a guest poster for another. As long as you’ve tried your hardest and given it your all, you can take a rejection or failure knowing that there are always more chances on the horizon, and that every experience, regardless of if you succeed, is a chance to learn and grow.