Someone offered you the chance to write a guest post.
It’s a bit like being invited into someone’s home.
If you’re a good guest, the host invites you back.
If you’re a bad guest, the host doesn’t extend another invitation.
How do you end up in the good guest category?
You turn in your best work ― a well-written post that caters to the blog audience. And you make it easy for the editor.
As a previous editor of the Constant Contact blog, I’ve seen that contributors submit posts in one of these states:
- Posts that hit the mark and require little editing, if any.
- Posts that need a bit of editing or clarification.
- Posts that miss the mark and need an overhaul.
The first scenario is ideal.
The second situation is fine, as it’s minor edits.
Note: It becomes a problem when future posts arrive to the editor with the same issues.
Your mission: Avoid the third situation.
Posts needing a lot of work drain the editor’s resources. It makes it unlikely that you’ll get more of your work published.
This post acts as a guide for creating posts your editor loves.
What should you do before you start writing?
Ask the editor for any post guidelines or requirements. Adhere to them.
These requirements exist because the editorial team understands its audience. Your content must cater to this audience.
How much time should you put into writing your blog post?
It’s less about time. More about effort. Time varies depending on how often you write, whether or not you have a system for your writing, and how much research your topic requires.
Follow the steps below to create a killer post that makes your editor’s day.
1. Decide on a post topic.
What will you write about? Discuss your topic with the editor before you write it. A discussion beforehand saves you from writing in the wrong direction.
Narrow your topic to one word. This keeps your outline focused which prevents other topics from creeping in, bloating your post.
Example topic: self-editing.
2. Outline the topic.
Example outline for self-editing:
- Intro: Never turn in your first draft.
- What’s the definition of self-editing?
- Why is self-editing important?
- How should you self-edit?
- When should you self-edit your blog post?
- Example: before and after of self-edit process.
- Takeaway:You must self-edit to write better. You make your editor happy too.
Consider sharing your outline with the editor before you start writing. A review of the outline can reveal potential problems, saving you from having to rewrite your post.
3. Research the topic.
In most cases, you’ll be sharing your expertise. You may not need to do much research. But, it’s good to support your point with stories, examples, or data.
4. Draft the post.
Now write. Don’t think too much about it. Get the words out. Don’t worry about what it looks like. It doesn’t matter. Build momentum. Write ”blah blah blah” to keep going. Fill your outline with words. Jot down any new thoughts (if they fit with your topic).
5. Step away.
Give yourself some space from the draft. Ideally, give yourself a day away. Go do something else for half an hour at least. Look at your post with fresh eyes.
Okay, time to make some sense of the mess you’ve made in your draft. Make a point, be concise, and lively. Delete whatever doesn’t serve what you’re trying to say. Move things into their proper places. Say it better and in fewer words. Get rid of all that passive voice.
7. Read your post out loud.
Some writing sounds great in your head. Some writing looks good on the page. What happens when you read those words out loud? Do you trip over any sections? Does something sound weird? Reading your post out loud helps you identify problem areas to fix.
8. Get feedback from someone. (Optional)
Let someone, whose opinion you trust, read your post. They’ll tell you whether you’re making any sense.
Nice work. It’s time to turn in your post.
Find out how the editor prefers to receive your post: Word doc, html, stone tablet.
Remember, you want to make it easy for the editor.
After you’ve turned in your post:
You may receive feedback about your post. Hopefully, it’s “This is great!” But, even when you’ve done your job, some minor things may need changing.
Make note of these changes. When you write future posts, you’ll want to carry that feedback over. Editors hate giving the same feedback.
If an edit changes the meaning of what you were trying to say, clarify any confusion with the editor.
Congrats! Your post is ready to publish.
When the post goes live, promote it. Do your part to drive some views.
Keep your editor happy.
Use this process to make sure the editor views your post as a welcome addition rather than a pain in the neck.
Bookmark this post to have it handy when you work on your next guest contribution.
Did I miss anything? Do you have other suggestions? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading!