By: Marilyn L. Davis
Rejected Because …
“Have you ever written a guest post that got rejected and booted out? Accept it, it makes you feel dejected and embarrassed to see your guest posts going straight to the recycle bin for reasons you weren’t aware of in the first place. Definitely, if you were aware of those reasons, you probably would have made the necessary changes before the post was submitted and (Oh God, I don’t know) the post might have been accepted and published.” Don Caprio
Do You Know What the Editor Wants?
A writer needs to know who they are writing for, the website’s main emphasis, and when submitting guest blogs, which sites would be the best forum for their topics. The perfect pitch or guest submission for Two Drops of Ink needs to be:
- Something that the other monthly contributors or I can’t write
- A fresh perspective on the topic
- A post that is relevant to the times and followers on each site
How Can You Find a Site that Works for You?
“The first thing you will want to do is find guest post opportunities. When looking for places to guest post, your main goal is to find sites relevant to your niche or industry.” Neil Patel
Writing a guest post isn’t just for back links to your site, books, or to get something published elsewhere. It’s about creating interest in your words, style, and tone to connect you to additional readers, who will then research your site, books, or other writing platforms. So how do you find a site that will benefit you? You’ll want to consider:
1. Does the website have a niche?
In general terms, a niche is specialization in a particular topic. For instance, Two Drops of Ink is a literary blog.
Even with that single descriptor, there is a lot of freedom to explore various literature and writing aspects. Emphasis on these keywords in a guest post, either with the title or throughout the content, is what we’re looking for in submissions.
- Author Interviews
- Creative Nonfiction
- Guest writers wanted
- Problem-solving for writers and bloggers
- Short Memoir
- Writer’s Block and Glut
- Writing Prompts
- Writing tips for bloggers
I also know when a guest blogger has paid attention to the site beyond keywords. Within their post, they graciously link to informative posts already published on Two Drops of Ink. These link sharing additions enhance their guest post with value-added references.
2. What Keywords are Associated with this Website?
Keywords represent the ideas, topics, and subjects that define a website. For a reader, they are the words they would use to search for a website. To attract organic traffic, or people searching for a website that includes those words, keywords are essential so that the site ranks well on the search engine result page (SERPs). For Two Drops of Ink, some common keywords are:
- Author Interviews
- Guest writers wanted
- Writer’s Block and Glut
When I’m writing for the site, or reviewing a guest post, I determine if the post includes multiple uses of Two Drops of Ink’s common words.
However, make sure you know the logical keywords for a website where you want to submit, but use them appropriately and don’t overload your content with them. Subheadings are an excellent way to use keywords without using them repeatedly in the content.
3. Domain Rating and Authority
Domain Rating is usually a number between zero and one hundred that measures a website’s authority based on backlinks, and is critical because it shows how likely searches are to list a site. When you submit a guest post, you want a website with a higher Domain Rating. To measure a site you’re considering for a guest post, use this link. Domain Authority is an SEO term that rates whether a site is credible, offers expert content, or shows up as a backlink on other website’s posts.
Research – Done: Site Selected
So, you’ve done your homework, found sites that are well-suited to your niche, use the same keywords, and scored well on Domain Rating. What’s next?
The obvious? Write a guest post. No.
Before you start scribbling a random post or submit a pitch with several clever titles to the editor, you’ll need to make sure that your guest post follows the particular website’s guidelines.
Use the Guest Post Guidelines
1. Is your topic compatible with the web site
As the Editor-in-chief at Two Drops of Ink and From Addict 2 Advocate, I see many submissions. One of the most frustrating aspects of being an editor-in-chief is that some guest posts, while written well, have absolutely nothing to do with literature or recovery. Some of these had a compelling message – if either of the sites were about home decorating, real estate, or party planning. But they aren’t about those topics, and that creates a problem.
I will sometimes write back stating that the writing was good, just not a good topic for either site.
2. Did you meet the word count?
Other than poetry on Two Drops of Ink, both sites have word counts. Why?
Shorter posts only keep a reader on the website for a few minutes, even if the content is engaging and well-written. Also, a quick-read guest post can adversely affect the bounce rate for the web site unless the reader was attracted to an internal link in your guest post and stays on the web site but reads another post.
Longer posts keep your readers engaged. However, TLDR (or TL;DR) is a common internet acronym for “Too Long; Didn’t Read.” Blog posts of 750-1000 words are ideal for both Two Drops of Ink and From Addict 2 Advocate.
You should always try to meet the word count expectations when you write or review other posts on the website to see if yours aligns.
3. How’s your Grammar, Syntax, Spelling, and Punctuation?
A poorly written guest post is full of errors. Many editors will immediately reject a poorly written guest post without looking for a compelling message that would benefit readers with some edits. Don’t let that happen to you. Before you submit, edit, or revise your guest post and pay attention to these writing conventions:
Grammar dictates the ways you use words, especially parts of speech. For example, do the noun and verb tense agree?
Syntax is a Greek word meaning “arranging together,” including the parts of the sentence like subject, predicate, object, direct object, phrases, clauses, and sentence structure.
Spelling is looking up the “hard words”, finding the common spelling errors, and then correcting them before you submit.
Punctuation includes periods, commas, and parentheses, used in writing to separate sentences and their elements and to clarify meaning.
4. Reinforce your post with images
Give proper attribution when submitting photos as well as citing statistics, quotes, or references. Provide an accurate citation in the article and hyperlink to the verifiable source.
5. Use your bio information strategically
Most websites allow a brief bio.A well-crafted bio can bring you additional subscribers from one guest post, so spending some time writing a funny, engaging, informative bio is as essential as your content. Ensure that your bio has a backlink to your landing page or a post that you want to promote.
At Two Drops of Ink, we want readers to know as much about you as possible in a limited format, so what information is likely to get readers to click on your other websites, buy your books, or hire you?
- Validate your authority or expertise with “award-winning,” cited by, or name-drop your other publications without using a direct competitor of the guest post’s website.
- Include a professional head shot for most guest posts; however, you may want to reinforce the content with a more whimsical shot if you’re writing humor.
- Let the readers know where to find you on social media. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram each have an audience. Which is your preferred and then give readers a link to your information.
Guest Post Accepted: What Next?
1. Promote It
After the website publishes your post, you have to promote it, too. All your work to submit a great guest post, don’t let it just sit there!
At Two Drops of Ink, I know when a writer is promoting their guest post through numbers. Two of the monthly contributors at Two Drops of Ink are Shahnaz Radjy, who lives in Portugal, and Anwer Ghani is in Iraq, so I see a spike in those countries’ readership when they post.
It’s due to their linking and promoting that this happens. So, you want to link to the guest post through your social media outlets.
2. Reply to comments
Don’t overlook or remain silent if you get comments on your post. One, it isn’t polite; two, you’re missing another opportunity to build relationships.
If a writer takes the time to respond to a comment, it’s another hidden opportunity to backlink to their site. How?
A reader comments, and you know you have a post that elaborates on their comments/topic/question. At Two Drops of Ink, you could then reference another of your posts – regardless of the website. So, see how comments are advantageous beyond having a readers say, “Great post.”