solo workingGuest blogging on someone else’s site can be a good way to gain exposure for yourself and your product / service, and to boost yourself and your company in search results. It is a sound business strategy for some types of businesses, especially service businesses.

I have been the editor for Business Unplugged™ for more than three years. During that time I have had the pleasure of working with many guest bloggers – some who were well known, and some who had never written a blog post. We run a meritocracy here: If you can write a great post that is of interest to our community, we will publish it.

If you know Carol at all, you know that she is a consummate professional and very detail oriented. Not surprisingly, our blog guidelines that we send to interested parties are comprehensive. I had a chuckle when someone said they were more comprehensive than the guidelines for Harvard Business Review.

Yet some would-be guest bloggers fail to read them. *sigh*

It occurred to me that some of our readers may want to use guest blogging as a promotion strategy, so here are my best suggestions for how not to piss off a blog editor so that they want to work with you.

Approaching the Editor

Approach a blog editor respectfully. Take the time to read a few recent posts. If one of them spoke to you or interested you in some way, mention it. Write a very short and targeted e-mail saying why you would like to post on the blog and what expertise you bring.

Short is the key folks! Blog editors do a lot of cat herding and don’t have time to read long, drawn-out requests.

Include 1-3 links to relevant posts you have published (not 10, and not one link to your blog). Also, send a proposed topic with a possible title and 3-5 supporting bullet points so that the editor can get a sense of what your post will be like. If you haven’t published anything relevant, you can just send the proposed title and bullets.

Following Up

If you haven’t heard anything back in a week, you can reach out again. Be professional, but don’t be a pest.

If your idea is accepted, ask if there is a deadline that the editor needs it by, and then make sure you send your post before that date.

If there is no deadline, tell the editor when you will send the draft, and then actually send it by that date. You may already be in their editorial calendar, and they may be depending on that post to cover a certain topic, or to be published on a certain day.

Submitting Your Draft

Assume that your first draft is a draft and not a final document. Ask for the editor’s feedback and offer to rework or edit, as necessary. (Even bestselling authors do this when they send posts to me.)

PLEASE make sure you carefully proofread the post. Nothing is more irritating than getting a draft filled with typos. You are wasting the editor’s valuable time, and not making yourself look very professional.

Make sure you are within the suggested word limits. And check to make sure you are sending it in the editor’s preferred format.

Example: We strongly prefer Word documents. It is annoying when someone sends a link to a Google doc or has the text of the post in the body of an e-mail. It throws off my system and I have to create the Word document.

Promoting Your Post

When you are promoting your guest post on social media, make sure to tag the blog / company. It shows that you are grateful for the opportunity, and the blog may make an extra effort to promote your post if you do that.

It’s a win-win. The blog gets some good content and maybe your followers become readers of the blog, and you get some promotion to a different community, social proof, and credibility.

As you can see, none of this is particularly difficult – but there is a process to follow. I have been a guest blogger on many other sites, and I can assure you that this process will work for you on other blogs, not just ours.

It really just boils down to being respectful and being professional. You can do this.