No matter what Matt Cutts says, guest blogging remains one of the most popular ways for business owners to promote their businesses and gain backlinks in the process.

But with bloggers becoming increasingly savvy, it’s getting harder for them to say “yes” – that is unless you’re willing to pay for your guest post to be published.

Luckily, you can still get approved as a contributor on relevant and authoritative websites, and here’s how!

Hone your writing skills

There’s no point pitching ideas to websites and blogs if you don’t know how to write.

Before you even think about starting a guest blogging strategy, you should hone your writing skills.

That means writing lots of content for your own website, following websites like HubSpot and CopyBlogger, and practising again and again.

Ask for feedback from your friends and colleagues, collaborate with other writers and don’t give in until you’re confident in your skills.

Only then will you stand a strong chance of being accepted to write for other blogs.

Read more: How small business owners can become better writers

Engage with the blogger

The best way to stand out and make a positive impression is to engage with the blogger you want to write for.

That means commenting on their posts, sharing their content on social media and forging a relationship with them.

In fact, many blogs only accept guest posts from people they know, so it pays to put in the effort.

Oh, and don’t think there are no benefits of building relationships with other bloggers – networking can be a great way of growing your business, securing backlinks and making friends in the ever-lonely digital world.

Personalise your pitch

Never send the same guest blog pitch to hundreds of websites.

If you want to increase your chances of being accepted for a guest post, you should learn to personalise your pitch and write to a real person.

Mention some of their recent content or compliment them on their new web design – just do something to show that you’re a real person and not just another SEO agency looking for backlinks.

This personalised approach should help you stand out.

Follow their guidelines

If you only take one piece of advice from this article, let it be this: you must follow the guidelines of your guest blogging website if you want your content to be approved.

It only takes a couple of minutes to read through their requirements, and it ensures that the content you’re sending is up to their standards.

Some bloggers may only accept content that is over 1,000 words, some may ask for you to link back to some of their older pages and content, and others may require a particular writing style.

Don’t be lazy – read and follow their guidelines as best you can, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re confused about something.  It pays to put in the effort.

Write content that complements their content

Your blog post shouldn’t be a “one-off” or an anomaly in the blogger’s content marketing strategy – it should be a piece that fits in well with everything else they write.

Make sure that your content, subject matter and ideas complement the content already on offer – link to other parts of their site, mention their research and take the conversation to the next level with your own knowledge and expertise.

If you’re writing content that doesn’t fit with everything else they’re currently working on, then it’s likely to be rejected.

Maintain relationships

For some people, guest blogging is about securing links and moving on to the next target.

It shouldn’t be.

Make sure that you maintain relationships with the bloggers you network with – talk to them about their business and challenges, link back to them in your blog posts when it’s relevant, mention them on social media and be a good person.

Networking is important in business, and keeping an open dialogue with other bloggers will allow you to land even more guest blogs or even a regular column or piece in an industry magazine.

Wrapping up

There’s a lot to guest blogging – much more than email outreach and writing content as quickly as you can.

Make sure that you take the time and make an effort with every guest blogger, as it will pay off in the long run.

So what are you waiting for? Get started today…