Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Earning a spot on a popular blog is a great way to gain exposure, extend your reach, and establish yourself as an industry expert. But it’s not always easy to become a guest blogger.

Here’s how to get started:

1. First Things First: Find Out Who to Email

You want to be sure that your great ideas wind up in the right hands (or in this case, in front of the right eyes). Spend some time finding out who is in charge of reviewing and accepting guest pitches — there may be one or multiple editors on the job.

If you don’t know anyone from the company personally, check the About page or the company’s social accounts for more information about the team. Many editors also produce content for their publication, so check the author bios of previously published content if you’re coming up dry.

2. Stick to the Guidelines

Explore the company’s website, inside and out. Look for a section that highlights what they’re looking for in a guest writer. This will give you valuable insights into what types of content you should pitch.

If you can’t find specific guidelines, spend some time reading guest posts that have already been published and well-received. Take note of the subject matter, style, and any unique elements that really stand out. Think about how you can mold your ideas in a similar fashion while still making them your own.

3. Pitch Ideas, Not Pre-Written Content

Now is not the time to show off your stellar writing skills. While the technical aspect of writing can always be taught, raw creativity is much harder to come by. It’s better to pitch ideas — and not just one. Stick to five solid ideas that showcase your creative side.

4. Pitch Original Ideas

Don’t suggest topics that have already been written to death on the internet. Editors are looking for new and different ideas, not the same old, same old. Do a site search to see if your topic has already been published on the site. It’s okay to cover similar information, as long as you choose a unique angle or find a more compelling way to tell the same story.

5. Include Writing Samples

If you’re just starting out, you may not have any content published on other blogs yet. Start your own publication to showcase your work. If you’re a good writer with creative ideas, an editor will be able to tell, even if the topics may not cover material that is specific to their industry.

6. It’s Not About You

Tell the editor why you want to write for their publication, but don’t make it about you. Sure, you want to gain the experience and build out your portfolio, but they want to hear how your content will contribute to their goals, not yours.

Take some time to think about who their target audience is, and what need the publication aims to address. Demonstrate how you can help them connect with their consumers in a way that hasn’t been done before.

7. Remember: Quality is Key!

Get several people to read through your pitch to make sure there are no careless grammatical errors. One small error might be ok, but if you have multiple issues, chance are you won’t even get a reply.

8. Show Your Support

Be sure to share their blog content on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. to show your support. If an editor checks out your social profiles, you want them to see that you’re a longtime fan of their publication. While this alone won’t seal the deal, if they’re on the fence about whether to choose you or the next hopeful writer, your interest in their brand could help you come out on top.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer thought leadership services to turn your company executives’ opinions and insights into authoritative content that starts meaningful sales conversations. Learn more about thought leadership here.

Author Adela Fine

After graduating from Wesleyan University with a BA in psychology, Adela ​joins L&T​ as the newest member of our​ social team. She has previously ​worked at startups in San Francisco and New York Cit​y, specializing​ in social media management and content generation. In her free time​,​ she enjoys exploring New York and is currently on a quest to find the best donut in all five boroughs.

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