If you've never considered writing content for other blogs, now's definitely the time to start. The advantages of guest blogging are numerous, and when done right, guest blogging is a publicity gold mine.
Think of it this way: writing content on a popular blog is like an amazing quid pro quo. A little bit of content goes a long way, and a solid guest post on a popular blog will increase your exposure.
So, how does one land a one-off (or regular) gig at a prominent blog? Check out these steps to pick up that great, prestigious guest spot.
Get your own house in order
At the very start, get your own blog in tip-top shape. Look at your content. Does it deserve real estate on another blog? Without top-notch content on your own site, how can you expect other bloggers to get pumped about you writing for them?
If you take inventory and your blog content is less than dazzling, it's time to kick things up a notch. Fill your front page with clean, crisp and interesting posts. Show your potential host that you're not just a great writer, but you're responsible enough to write on a regular basis.
As a deal-closer, razor-sharp content and frequent posting is paramount. If you can show potential host bloggers that you're the real deal, they'll feel comfortable-and optimistic-about you writing for them.
Do your homework
There are a baffling number blogs out there, and the blogosphere is expanding by the day. To find the best spot, where do you even begin? Take a page out of Father William of Ockhams notebook: the simplest solution is often the best one.
The most basic way to start is to do a Google search that combines the topic you want to write about, plus the words guest blogger or guest post. For instance, if you love comic books and want to write about them, your Google search would be: comic books blog guest post. See what comes up and go from there.
Another idea is to scope out blogs you already like or read on a regular basis. Bloggers are just like anyone else: they go on vacation, attend to sick family members, and take time off to work on other things. If your favorite blogger says they're going to be AFK for a while, offer to share the load. Bloggers are a busy breed by nature, and most would not mind some time off.
To show your interest in that prized blog you want to write for, comment positively on the sites posts. Tweet up the blogs content. Like it on Facebook, Stumble it, or do other things to show your love. Don't be creepy about it, just show you're paying attention.
Diving head first into your target blogs community is also a great way to glean important info. In other words, before you ask for a guest spot, know who you're talking to, who their audience is, and where you fit in the grand scheme of things.
Write as if you've landed the gig
Even if your regular retweets and witty comments have caught the attention of a blogger, don't assume you're guaranteed a guest spot. If it were that easy, you wouldn't need this tips sheet to guide your quest.
A great way to prove that you're a pro and not just a crazy person who wants to rant is to write a post meant for your target blog. Once you've written something that follows the blog's tone, style and substance, send an email with the copy asking the blogger if they'd like publish it as a guest post. Make sure you include links to your own blog in the email.
Even though crafting a post takes time, the old saying a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush applies in this situation. Bloggers are far more likely to quickly read an article and decide to publish it on the spot than engage in an email back-and-forth discussing potential stories or a list of pitches.
In the end, keep in mind that guest blogging is a great way to build your online cred, but getting published isn't the end of your work. Promote your guest post, link back to your own blog and show you can write good stuff, and you'll gain traffic, visibility, and higher status in the blogosphere.
Daniel Cassady is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to an Email Marketing Blog run by Benchmark Email.