​​​​Guest Post Submissions

As a blogger with a respectable amount of traffic, I get a lot of inquiries from writers about submitting a guest post. Typically, they read like this:

Hello! My name is [name here] and I'm looking for guest posts with "Law" related Sites and blogs.

I recently came across your blog and found it very interesting.

The article that I have is related to your website (legalofficeguru.com) and will be appreciated by your readers.

I guarantee you that the article will be 100% unique, top quality and Copyscape protected and will not be shared with any other site.

Please let me know if this sounds good to you so that we can send the article to you for review.

Hope to have a positive response.

Thanks,

[name here]

I have always refused such offers outright (but politely).

Why?

Because your inquiry is a boilerplate email. You've made no attempt whatsoever to study who my readers are or what my blog's about, so you can't propose an article that would interest my readers. (Even those inquirers who propose a specific article are invariably so far off base as to stun the imagination. Why would a blog about Microsoft Office publish an article on how to choose a DUI attorney?) You're just "reaching out" with a generic pitch to every blogger you can find.

In short, you're taking a "quantity over quality" approach.

Let me be blunt: You will not be successful with this approach. Absolutely not on my blog, and arguably not on anyone else's.

A little tough love

Look, I've been in your shoes. Several years ago, when I was first starting out, I too reached out to several blogs for guest posting opportunities.

But I did it a lot differently than the above example.

  • I studied blogs in a niche I actually knew something about. On this blog, I write about a very, very specific topic: how to best use Microsoft Office in a legal practice environment. So I found a handful of blogs (and it really only takes a few to get started) that spoke to my prospective audience, then I studied their articles to determine their most popular topics, their preferred writing style, etc.
  • I had a portfolio I could point editors to. A portfolio is the writer's resume. I already had articles on my own site (and eventually on others' blogs) I could link to so editors could see whether I could actually write. (They tend to want to know that, up front.) Some were past projects for clients, but others were posts on my own blog. You don't have to be "published" to have a portfolio. You can use demo pieces until you get established.
  • I approached blog editors with specific article ideas. After (and only after) I felt I had a good understanding of what those editors would want, I sent an email with at least two (and usually three) article proposals. Not just titles, mind you, but full descriptions of what problem I'm solving for their audience. Those descriptions usually read a lot like the post's opening paragraph, and in a lot of cases, I copied and tweaked that proposal paragraph to be the opening paragraph of the final post. (By the way, attaching a completed article to an email is a rookie move. Attachments from strangers are inherently suspicious, and writing an article before getting an editor's approval is usually a waste of time.)

I did it differently because someone had taught me to. I'd taken journalism classes in college years before and attended seminars taught by successful freelance writers. 

Success leaves clues. Wise people study them.

Want better results? Learn to pitch better

My pitches worked. (One editor remarked it was the best pitch he'd ever gotten.) I scored several posts in rapid succession on blogs such as LegalPracticePro (now defunct), Lawyerist, TechnoLawyer (behind a paywall) and Attorney at Work. Those early guest posts contributed to significant traffic growth for Legal Office Guru ... 

What *intelligent* guest posting did for me. For a blog just starting out without any other marketing, that's impressive.

... and I maintained good relationships with those editors for quite some time (some have moved on, others I still write for).

Want a "yes" in response to your inquiries? Study the art of pitching. Linda Formichelli's From Pitch to Published [https://www.amazon.com/Pitch-Published-Sell-Ideas-Magazines-ebook/dp/B06XXD7VFZ/] is a good place to start, even though it's written for magazine writers. It's such an inexpensive book that even a struggling freelancer can afford it.

Her definition of a "query letter" (or email) is worth quoting:

Query letters are essentially sales letters writers sent to editors. In a query letter, you present your article idea as enticingly as you can and ask the editor for an assignment to write about it.

Maybe you got a link to this page from me in response to your generic "are you accepting guest posts" email. Or maybe you followed the "guest post submissions" link from my site.

In either case, before you submit your next guest post proposal to me, read the above carefully, take a nickel's worth of free advice, and pitch your guest post better than all those other people who send me "are you accepting guest posts" emails.

I can't guarantee I'll accept your offer. But you'll have a much better shot.

Good luck to you, regardless.