Are you an author trying to expand your online presence? Or perhaps you're new to leveraging guest blogging as a marketing strategy for your book.
Do you want to write guest posts but aren't sure how to pitch your ideas to influencers and persuade them of the benefits?
I've been there. When I first started helping authors with guest blogging, I faced the same challenges.
I used to struggle with:
- Identifying the right websites for author guest blogging
- Convincing influencers of the benefits of hosting an author's guest post
- Preparing before approaching influencers with a guest post pitch
- Conducting necessary research and preparation before pitching
- Presenting the author's post as the perfect fit for the influencer's platform (even when the author was new, had no readers, credentials, or previous guest posts, and their book had few reviews!)
Then one day, it realized...
All my problems boiled down to one thing:
Not knowing how to pitch my author client's guest posts to influencers as a natural fit.
I wanted to avoid coming across as a pushy salesperson or a manipulative hustler.
Instead, I aimed to get influencers genuinely excited about the guest post right from the start, making them see the value it would bring to them and their audience.
Once I mastered the art of pitching guest posts for authors, I've had guest appearances on major places like:
I have since guest posted at:
- Adweek even though at the time I had just started my site and didn’t have any other guest posts
- Well-known sites like VentureBeat, NavidMoazzez.com, and byRegina.com
- Ryan Levesque’s Ask Method community which led to the invitation to speak at their 1000-person ASKLive conference
Pitching guest posts became a breeze, and my success rate skyrocketed.
I've had guest appearances on major platforms and secured numerous niche-focused opportunities, such as
- 10K-strong Facebook groups,
- 100K+ subscriber YouTube channels,
- and popular industry podcasts like Agents of Change.
Now, I rarely need to pitch guest posts because the ones I do pitch get accepted.
Even with high-traffic websites, I consistently get 4 out of every 5 guest posts accepted.
Would you like to achieve a similar success rate with your guest posts?
Here's what readers and influencers said about the last version of this guide
And I know this version is 100X better!
So what do you say?
Are you ready?
How to Pitch Engaging Guest Blog Posts as an Author
[Hint it’s more than just building relationships]
A common piece of advice for guest blogging is to approach influencers after building relationships with them.
As a result, many authors invest months nurturing these "relationships," only to face rejection or be completely ignored when they finally pitch their guest post.
While building relationships is essential for ensuring your guest post is a natural fit, it's not the only factor to consider.
Even though building relationships is important to selling your #guestpost as a natural fit, pitching #guestposts takes more than relationships. Check out this free guide to learn what they are!
You also need to demonstrate to influencers that your guest post is suitable for their audience.
Typically, this involves:
- Your online presence
- Pre-pitch research
- The pitch itself
In the following sections, we'll discuss common misconceptions about each aspect and what you should do instead.
Optimizing Your Online Presence Before Pitching Guest Blogs
Recently, I had a chat with my friend Tim, a fitness coach looking to boost sales of his online programs.
Knowing that guest blogging is an effective way to build a converting email list, I asked Tim if he had started guest blogging.
Tim hesitated, asking,
"Don't I need more content on my blog before pitching guest posts?"
I responded, "Why do you think you need content on your site first?"
"Well, having enough content would show influencers that my work is valuable to their audiences," Tim explained.
Although Tim's logic is understandable, it's based on the misconception that influencers evaluate your guest post potential by thoroughly reading your blog.
Most influencers will never read your blog
Imagine yourself as a busy influencer.
Would you have the time to read every blog from people pitching guest posts?
Most likely not.
In reality, influencers assess guest post suitability based on the pitch itself. If they do visit your site, they typically only look at your home or about page.
Before refining those pages, understand the four key areas influencers assess on those pages to know what needs improvement.
What should you do when your online headquarters is not a website? What if it is a podcast, YouTube channel, Facebook page, or group? Apply the ideas coming up to the description sections of the online headquarters you do have. For example, for a business Facebook page, these would be your cover image, about section, story, etc.
What Influencers Look for in Your Online Presence
When visiting your online platform, influencers evaluate your compatibility in four areas.
① Target Audience
The first thing most influencers assess is who you help. They want to see if your audience aligns with theirs or at least shares some commonalities.
Questions to Answer to Define Your Target Audience:
② Problems You Solve
Influencers also want to know the problems you help your audience address.
Questions to Answer to Define the Problems You Solve:
③ How You Help Your Audience
The third factor influencers consider is how you assist your audience.
Questions to Answer to Define How You Help:
For example, my guest posts often focus on growing email lists through guest blogging. Since most influencers I pitch to don't usually cover guest blogging, the fit is typically apparent. However, it can fall apart if you don't align with the next and final criterion.
④ Your Values
Lastly, influencers assess your values.
They want to ensure that you don't have any deal breakers.
For instance, one influencer I guest posted with recently had this deal breaker:
Before you start pitching guest posts, make sure your values align with the influencers.
This particular influencer will not accept guest posts from those who prioritize money over everything else. If this describes you, don't waste time pitching to them.
Clarifying Your Values with These Questions
Answer the following questions to ensure that your values are evident to influencers when they visit your platform:
Action Steps for Demonstrating Value Alignment
Influencers may only spend a few seconds on your online headquarters to assess fit.
You wouldn’t want to lose a guest post opportunity simply because the possible fit wasn’t immediately clear to them, would you? So take a few minutes to make sure it is.
Want my FREE Guest Post Like a Pro Checklist to help remind you of the specific actions to take to get your online headquarters ready?
Identifying the Right Sites for Guest Blogging as an Author
If you're pitching guest posts and not receiving responses, it's not because people dislike you. You're likely pitching to the wrong people.
I recently spoke with Priya, an author who had been trying for months to secure guest post opportunities.
Despite contacting over 20 bloggers, they faced mostly silence, leading to self-doubt about their writing skills.
I've reviewed Priya's content and know it's solid, so the problem was most likely targeting the wrong sites.
When asked about the most crucial factor for finding a guest blogging site, Priya said, "finding a site where your guest post can add value to the audience."
While important, this should not be the only criterion for selecting the right sites for guest blogging as an author.
While finding sites where your #guestpost can add value is certainly important, it should NEVER be your only criteria for finding the right sites for guest posting! #contentmarketing #influencermarketing
It's essential to find the right guest blogging opportunities to maximize your author exposure.
Here are three key factors to consider when screening potential sites for guest blogging:
① The site may not have your ideal audience
As an author looking to guest blog, it's essential to find a site that caters to your ideal audience.
While you may have valuable insights to share through your guest post, it won't be effective if the site's visitors aren't your target audience.
Consider the story of Leila, one of my students.
Leila specializes in assisting stay-at-home moms in rejoining the workforce by connecting them with remote work opportunities.
She recently pitched an influencer in the career advice niche, just like herself.
However, this particular influencer's website focused on helping young professionals already employed to secure promotions or raises.
While Leila's expertise in finding remote, flexible work could have provided value to the blog, the young professional audience was not her target demographic.
As a result, this guest blogging opportunity wasn't the right fit for her.
Unfortunately, both Leila and the influencer realized this mismatch only after going through three drafts and numerous disagreements.
To avoid wasting time and energy like Leila, it's crucial to carefully screen potential host sites before pitching your guest post.
By targeting your ideal audience through guest blogging for authors, you'll maximize the impact and reach of your content.
② The guest blogging site’s audience problems might be different than those of your ideal audience
As an author engaging in guest blogging, it's crucial not only to find a site catering to your ideal audience but also to ensure you can address the specific problems that audience faces.
Let's revisit the example of Leila.
Although both stay-at-home moms and young professionals may be interested in remote work opportunities, the challenges they encounter in finding such opportunities differ significantly.
Stay-at-home moms often grapple with doubts about the existence of profitable remote work options, while young professionals might be worried about the potential negative effects remote work could have on their career advancement.
If Leila were to guest blog on a site catering to young professionals, she would need to invest considerable time and effort tailoring her solutions to suit an entirely new audience.
Moreover, even if she succeeds in helping them and attracting them to her platform, retaining them may prove difficult.
They would likely realize that her work is primarily geared towards a demographic they don't belong to and eventually lose interest.
For authors pursuing guest blogging opportunities, it's essential to find sites that not only target the right audience but also address their specific concerns.
This way, you can offer meaningful solutions that resonate with your readers and build a lasting relationship with them.
③ You may not get enough people joining your email list
When participating in guest blogging for authors, it's essential to choose sites with audiences whose problems align with your expertise. Otherwise, your guest post may not help you attract many subscribers to your email list.
Let's refer to Leila's example one final time. Suppose her guest post had been published on the site targeting young professionals. Would her story and advice have resonated with that audience?
Most likely not.
Mothers identify with Leila because they see in her another mom who has already faced the doubt and rejection they currently experience. She represents someone who, despite these challenges, discovered how to make remote jobs work for her.
Would a young professional resonate with Leila's story in the same way?
Unlikely. As a result, Leila would not have gained many email subscribers from that guest post.
You may be wondering, "So, what should I look for when searching for guest posting opportunities?" I'm glad you asked! Here's what you should consider.
Key Factors to Consider When Searching for Guest Posting Opportunities
When considering guest blogging opportunities, authors should evaluate potential host sites based on four key factors. By ensuring these factors align with your goals, you can maximize the effectiveness of your guest posts.
① Audience Fit
Spend a few minutes understanding who the site is focused on helping, and make sure it includes your ideal audience.
Don't limit yourself to sites that cater exclusively to your exact audience. By doing so, you may miss out on perfectly suitable sites, significantly reducing your potential guest posting opportunities. For example, if your target audience is introverted entrepreneurs, you should consider not only sites specifically for introverted entrepreneurs but also 1) sites for introverts that attract entrepreneurs and 2) sites for entrepreneurs that attract introverts.
② Values Fit
Take some time to ensure that you agree with the influencer's most passionately held core values. It is not only unethical to guest post with an influencer whose values you disagree with, but you're also unlikely to see the list-building returns you desire.
If you disagreed with an influencer's core values but still managed to guest post on their site, your content might not resonate with their audience, resulting in few email list sign-ups. And even if people did join, they would likely unsubscribe upon realizing your values don't align.
③ Strong Audience Relationship
Verify that the influencer has a strong relationship with their audience.
A strong relationship means the influencer's audience views your guest post as an endorsement of your work, which can inspire them to join your email list.
If the influencer doesn't have a strong connection with their audience, your guest post may not attract many subscribers.
One of the best indicators of a strong relationship is the level of engagement with the influencer's content. However, engagement should not be measured solely by comments.
When I say engagement I do not mean comments. I’ve written about why looking at comments for engagement is a bad idea (+ what you should look at instead here).
④ Evidence of Promotion
Ensure that the site promotes the author's work or giveaway gift.
If not, you might end up with a guest post that does little for your business, like Sam's experience:
Some sites don't promote your work or giveaway because they assume your primary goal for guest posting is credibility, not list-building. To avoid this issue, look for evidence of promotion and steer clear of sites that don't prioritize guest post promotion.
By evaluating potential host sites based on these four factors, you can increase the success of your guest blogging efforts as an author.
When it comes to guest posting for list building, choosing the wrong site to guest post on can be a time-consuming mistake. To ensure success, take the time to find the right site before pitching your guest post.
One Common Mistake to Avoid When Pitching Guest Posts
Recently I was doing a Pitch Perfect session for my student Logan. Pitch Perfect a chance for students to work one-on-one with me on their guest post pitch emails.
Logan signed up because she felt she wasn't selling herself well enough in her guest post pitch emails, believing her lack of impressive credentials was the issue.
To compensate, Logan packed her pitch with as many credentials as possible, hoping to convince influencers of her expertise and secure guest post opportunities.
However, her pitches received no response, a result that didn't surprise me.
Credential-packed pitches often indicate a failed approach. Let's discuss why such guest post pitch emails are ineffective.
Why Credential-Packing Your Guest Post Pitch Emails Does NOT Work
Most people assume that loading a guest post pitch email with credentials is the best way to convince influencers of their value. However, this approach rarely works.
Before an influencer can assess your pitch logically, their emotional brain needs to approve it first. Unless the credentials you've included in your guest post pitch email hold personal meaning for the influencer, their emotional brain is unlikely to give the green light.
A busy influencer's emotional brain may perceive your credential-packed pitch as a distraction from their goals. Distractions can trigger a fight, flight, or freeze response, resulting in your guest post pitch being harshly rejected, silently ignored, or placed in a deal-with-it-later pile.
By avoiding this common mistake and carefully selecting the right site to pitch, guest blogging for authors can be a successful strategy for building your email list and expanding your reach.
Recap + Next Guest Blogging Steps for Writers
In previous sections, we've explored how to begin pitching guest posts as an author, even for those new to the process. We've covered essential pre-work aspects, such as:
- Enhancing your author website
- Investigating potential influencers
- Identifying what to exclude from your pitch
Remember that these insights will only prove beneficial if you actively apply them. To facilitate this, I've prepared two special gifts for you.
First, I've compiled a PDF version of this post for you to print, allowing you to note your most valuable takeaways and ideas.
Second, I've devised a guest posting checklist with specific action steps you need to take to successfully get your guest posts accepted. Click here to get it.
- About the author
- related Posts
Guest posting since 2009, Sana’s posts have been seen on places like Adweek, VentureBeat, byRegina.com and many others. She is on a mission to help online entrepreneurs like you grow their brands, credibility, and email lists by getting their guest posts published. When she isn't writing posts like this one you will find her meditating somewhere beautiful or pondering the meaning of life over a cup of tea.