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How to Write a Viral Guest Post for an A-List Blog

By:     Topics: Blogging

Back in October, my guest blogging career took a huge jump. I wrote a guest post for chrisbrogan.com that went massively viral.

106 Excuses That Prevent You From Ever Becoming Great at the time of this writing has been shared over 11,000 times, has received hundreds of comments, and remains one of the most trafficked posts on Chris Brogan’s blog since October.

This article will teach you how I did it.

But before we begin, I must make one thing perfectly clear.

It took time.

So much of what we crave in the make money online space is instant success.

The trip to get this guest post was not a short one. In fact it took nearly two years.

Two years of professional networking, listening intently, and making small investments into the social equity bank.

Hopefully, it doesn’t take you that long, but it entirely depends on you. And if it does, know that it’s totally worth it.

No tips, tricks, or tactics article you read will make you more successful.

Your action is the only thing that will get you there.

I only hope what I share with you will help you along your journey.

Know who you’re writing for and make sure they know you

Popular bloggers are bombarded by hundreds, sometimes thousands of people every day.

If they don’t know you, you’re getting ignored, it’s as simple as that.

When you’re a big name, you have to cut out unnecessary excess to focus on your work.

Email from unknown senders is excess.

If you want your guest post pitch to get opened, you have to know the blogger.

“Stalk” them on Social Networks

“Knowing” doesn’t just mean you’re familiar with their work, but also their likes, dislikes, wants, needs, and interests as a human being.

In my tweetdeck dashboard, I have a special list created for “A-List” bloggers. On Google+ I have a circle titled “A-Listers” On Facebook, I have a custom list for, you guessed it, “A-list bloggers”

Doing this filters out other social network noise to see only what A Listers are sharing.

I look for three different types of things in my A-List filters:

  • Smaller communities they hang out in.
  • Music, movies, and other general interest things they share.
  • Live webinar’s with Q&A at the end.

Smaller Communities

I built my relationship with Chris through the “Third Tribe Marketing” forum, which he tweeted about nearly two years ago.

It was here I was able to directly and indirectly and demonstrate my knowledge.

If you’re paying attention, you can pick up on the smaller communities a popular blogger might frequent.

It could be a special forum, the comments on another blogger’s site, or a #hashtag chat on Twitter…

The point is, to stand out to an A-Lister, you need to be in a less crowded space.

Watch their various social streams to see what they’re sharing. If they’re active, join the conversation.

But Remember: The A-List Blogger is not the only community member.

Help as many people as possible and become a valuable resource to everyone. Don’t suck up.

Become a part of the community.

If you’re helpful, they’ll notice, and will be more receptive to you in the future.

Music, Movies, and Other Interests

It’s not all business all the time.

Quite the contrary actually, many A-Listers share their musical interests, cool gadgets they’d like, movies they want to see, and many of the same asinine things the rest of us share on social.

Your attention to the asinine details show you’re not just another self promoting jerk when pitching a guest post.

When you process all of their information, you understand how they function as a person, not just a platform that could potentially give you massive exposure.

Not only that, it also gives you something real to talk about.

If the thought of “pitching” a popular blogger makes you nervous, you haven’t interacted with them enough.

Attend Webinar’s & Make Them Look Smart

Technically, this could go under “smaller communities” but it really deserves it’s own mention.

More and more, popular bloggers will hold webinars with other bloggers or companies as a way to generate leads for product launch.

Keeping that in mind, the end of the webinar is usually opened up for Q&A to help attendees overcome any lingering objections they might have about buying.

If you help them out by asking questions you know they’ll give a really good answer to, it’ll lead to more sales.

Helping someone make money is always a great way to get their attention.

Read Their Stuff

Of course, you’re probably already familiar with their work.

But now that you have the blogger’s attention you have a better chance of getting published.

Before you make a proposal for your guest post, you need to know the blogger’s work as well as they do.

You need to know how to whip their readers into a commenting frenzy.

And the only way to do that is through meticulous, detailed, research.

Here’s your checklist before you consider pitching a popular blogger:

  • Read ALL the “Most Popular” posts,
  • Read 20 – 30 of their most recent posts,
  • Read as many comment threads as your brain can handle.

It’s a lot of work, and here’s why - “Most popular” posts are always featured because of the high number of comments, shares, and attention the post received.

Reading it all ingrains the “high bar” caliber your guest post must be to go viral.

The “Most Popular” section is your blueprint.

The writing style, sentence structure, and headline formatting you need are all right there, laying the groundwork for a successful guest post.  Also pay careful attention to how they open the article, how they close it, and how each line leads into the next.

Upon closer inspection of a viral post, you’ll find each sentence can not exist without the line before or after it.

This “sweater knit” copy is what compels your reader to read line by line,  invoking their need to comment.

Commenter questions are ripe topics for viral guest post topics.In the comments of the “Most Popular” posts, look for gaps in the readers knowledge, specifically where they’re asking for more detail.

Also reading the last 20-30 most recent articles show’s you where the A-List blogger’s mind is lately.

For a popular blogger, few things are more annoying than an off topic pitch.

It’s a waste of their time and shows you haven’t done your research.

This is preventable. Read the recent stuff.

Craft a Compelling Pitch

At this point, you’re on the blogger’s radar and have an idea of what will go over well. It’s time to pitch.

Keep your pitch email simple.

A subject line like “Guest Post” or “Guest Post for [their website] is all you need to get your point across.

This is the exact email I sent to Chris to pitch the 106 excuses article.

Hey Chris,
How are you? I know you’re a busy dude, so I’ll keep this brief.

I have an article that I wanted to run by you and see if you’d be interested in accepting it as a guest post.

It’s 106 Excuses That Prevent You From Ever Being Great. Jon Morrow has said that he really liked it, and I think it would work perfect for what you write about.

Hope all is well, and hope to hear from you soon :-)

There are a few things going on in this email, so let’s break it down and see why it worked.

First – The opening line acknowledges he’s busy, and that I respect his time.

Popular bloggers are often sent long email pitches that are both irrelevant and time consuming to read.

Recognizing he’s busy, let him know right away I’m not another person who thinks his time is disposable.

Second – Straight to the point. “I have an article I wanted to run by you and see if you’d be interested in accepting it as a guest post.”

Because Chris, like other popular bloggers is very busy so I didn’t want to dance around the subject. By saying “see if you’d be interested…” also gave him an out, and indicated that I would accept “No” as an answer.

Third –  I got to the subject of the article, and let him know that I thought it would be perfect for his audience.

Believe it or not, many people will pitch the idea of guest posting, without actually proposing a subject for their post. They say something like “I want to write for you, just tell me what I should write…”

But, if a popular blogger wants something written, they’ll write it themselves.

Having a solid idea of what you want to showcase and why, let’s them know you’ve done your research and doesn’t require them to think beyond “Yes this is good for my audience.” or “No, that’s not a good fit.”

Fourth – A friendly close.

By saying , “Hope everything’s going well, look forward to hearing from you”

A. Show’s I care about what was going on and…

B. the :-) reinforces I’d be ok with his decision either way.

It’s funny, right after I wrote this, I checked Chris’s Google+ account, and he posted this video.

Also Remember: If you don’t hear back from a popular blogger right away, it’s because they’re busier than you.

Follow up in a week, if you still don’t hear back, try one more time, then move on.

When Your Guest Post Gets Accepted…

It’s time to bring your “A-Game.”

Don’t just write content. Write Epic Shit.

Your work is about to be read by potentially thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people.

If now is not your time to level up, I don’t know when is.

With the 106 excuses article, I spent three days compiling a master list of excuses, and three 12 hour days writing it.

Writing it wasn’t easy. Then again, leveling up seldom is.

If you get a guest post for a popular blog, spend at least 12-14 hours writing.

It’s not about the action of putting words on the screen.

It’s about choosing words that move people, that inspire people, and hold their attention for

Every.

Single.

Line.

It’s about giving your article everything you have, and then some.

Then editing the shit out of it so only the best remains.

When you’re done, read it out loud, and edit it again.

I’m not joking.

In a follow up post, Chris wrote

I don’t do guest posts on [chrisbrogan.com] for a bunch of reasons.

  1. Most people used to complain that they came to read me and that they didn’t want other people’s posts.
  2. People offering guest posts didn’t write anything of value (my opinion).
  3. People offering guest posts sent them horribly formatted and I’d spend 20 minutes fixing syntax errors.

Of these, #3 was probably the most annoying, and so I stopped bothering.

If you can’t stand reading your own work 100 times, how can you expect someone else to?

It’s that, or risk wasting a great opportunity that you might not get again.

What to Do the Day Your Guest Post Goes Live

  1. Promote It
  2. Write A Thank You Post On Your Own Blog
  3. Respond To Comments

1. Promote It-

You’re on a popular blog, you shouldn’t have to promote, right?

Wrong. Just because they have a bigger audience than you doesn’t mean you don’t promote the work.

In fact, when you don’t promote, it looks downright ungrateful.

Something I’ve noticed too is some popular bloggers won’t share articles through social media if doesn’t receive early buzz.

Makes sense. If their Rss and email readers aren’t sharing it, why should they?

Your audience’s comments and tweets jump start the conversation, which eases strangers other commenters into leaving their thoughts and opinions too.

2. Write A Thank You Post-

Most popular bloggers keep track of their incoming links.

Write a post that publicly thanks them for the opportunity and what you’ve learned since.

Here’s the Thank You post I wrote after the 106 excuses post went live.

Not only does it thank the popular blogger, it gives their readers something else to read when they undoubtedly come over to your site.

Also, and this isn’t going to be the norm, but every now and again a popular blogger will publicly acknowledge you, and say they were happy to take a chance.

3. Respond To Comments

Responding to comments does two things.

1. You build relationships with new people. 

2. It increases the comment count on the article. 

You don’t have to respond to every comment, but you have to move the conversation forward.

When you start a discussion in the comment thread, it increases the comment count (obviously) and the perceived value of the overall post.

Also conversation in the comments gives you excellent topics for future guest posts.

Rinse, Lather, Repeat

Once you’ve guest posted on one A-List Blog, it’ll be much easier to get a post on the next one.

It’s even likely that other bloggers, A-list or otherwise, will invite you to write for them.

Follow up with them, and keep the ball rolling.

But remember, just because your foot’s in the door, doesn’t mean you skimp on the research.

In the end, your familiarity with  the blogger, and their audience is what determines whether or not your article will go viral.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you…

I really appreciate you taking the time to read this and I really hope it helps.

Guest Posting for popular blogs has changed my career, and if you do your due diligence, I know it can do the same for you.

Like I said in the beginning, it can take time. But it’s time well spent.

Because of guest posting, I’ve been able to grow my own network, and get some pretty incredible gigs that never would have been possible had I tried to do it all on my own.

I also have to admit, I never would have been able to share any of this with you without Jon Morrow’s GuestBlogging.com course that covers a lot of the basic principals covered here, and so much more.

If you liked this article, I encourage you to share it on Twitter and/or Facebook.

And please, if you have anything you’d like to add, or you have a question, please ask in the comments, I’ll be sure to answer everything to the best of my ability.

Thanks so much for reading :-)

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