Guest posting, or blogging as a guest on another’s site, has become a well-known and common method for generating buzz, increased readership and traffic for one’s own site. But before you shoot an email off to your favorite blogger begging for a chance to post on their blog, it’s important to keep these in mind these five points:

1. Select blogs that align with your goals. What results are you hoping will come from this guest blogging experience– higher traffic? publicity? A link back to your site? Choose bloggers who have a strong following and content that aligns with your specialty. If you are a travel writer, don’t ask to write on a cooking blog just because it has a large following. Instead, a blog for a well-known tourism company, an airline, or cruise company would be a better fit. The audience will be more receptive to your content when it aligns with what they’re looking for.

2. Don’t be a stranger. Give the blog owner some idea of who you are before randomly asking to guest blog on his or her site. Leave comments on their recent posts or tweet about interesting blog posts they’ve written; by the time you pitch your guest blog request, you’ll have name recognition working in your favor.

3. Know the guidelines before submitting a blog. Not taking the time to read and follow the guidelines the blog owner has set forth shows you either didn’t care about what they want, or you don’t pay close enough attention to detail– neither of which is a good trait. Determine whether the blog owner wants you to send an idea for approval, the actual blog post, or something in between. Be sure your piece is in the style and format that matches that of the blog, as well.

4. Aim to give more than you expect to get back. Create unique content that gives the audience, and the blog owner, what they want. Don’t be disappointed that you may only get light site traffic or a link back, because the goodwill generated from your hard work and unique perspective may get you asked back to guest blog, or open up other opportunities once people see what you’re capable of.

5. Converse with the commenters. Don’t just write the article and then disappear into thin air. Engage the audience by responding to their comments and questions. Show the audience you value their time and build a relationship with them so they will be encouraged to seek out and follow more of your work.

About the author

Rachel Rachel Brownlow is founder and CEO of Your Written Word LLC, a ghostwriting company that helps successful and aspiring business leaders take their ideas from conception to publication. She has written, edited, proofread, consulted and/or created publishing proposals for more than a dozen nonfiction books. She also contributes to a variety of magazines and publications, including the Austin Business Journal, Austin Monthly, NSIDE Magazine and Georgetown View Magazine. You can find more of her work at rachelbrownlow.com/portfolio.