#lemlist Guest Post, written by Georgios Chasiotis, Marketing and SEO hustler who's job is to drive organic growth for tech companies

Wanna feature your work on our blog? Drop your pitch at vuk@lemlist.com... make it count. 😉

Many people are doing guest post outreach as a way to build authority, create links or drive traffic to their website.

Here, you’ll find the most common mistakes I see people falling for with their guest posting outreach efforts.

If you’re thinking to start guest posting on various websites, you’ll need to know these 7 mistakes in order to avoid them.

Let’s dive right in.

Mistake #1: Not Enough Research

Research is a critical part of every guest posting campaign.

It’s also one of the parts that people seem to ignore the most.

When doing guest post outreach, it’s important to do research about the following:

  • The website/ blog you want to get featured on
  • The content that’s already published on the blog
  • Other writers who have been featured on the blog
  • The editor/ content marketing manager who runs the blog

To begin with, you need to know if the company that you want to publish your guest post accepts guest posts in the first place.

Let’s say you want to reach out to lemlist and publish a guest post on their blog.

The first thing you need to do is search for something like “lemlist + guest post” on Google.

Author’s Note: you can also use words and phrases like “write for us”, “contributor,” “contribution” or “guest author.” Alternatively, you can check the company’s website directly.

The second result seems to be from a guest author.

If you click on that, you’ll notice that lemlist does in fact accept guest posts and will also find the email of the person to whom you need to reach out.

Of course, this process is not easy, and nor it is the same for all websites.

However, it’s definitely a starting point.

Once you know that the website you want to reach out to does accept guest posts, you can research what kind of content is published on the company’s website (more on that later).

You might also want to check the background and writing style of other writers who have been featured on that blog.

If the blog or publication you are trying to reach is particularly large, I suggest that you connect with some of the writers on LinkedIn and ask them about the submission process or what to pay attention to.

In my experience, most people are willing to help.

In the mistakes that follow, you’ll find information on how to do research specifically for guest posting.

For now, just keep in mind that research is one of the most important steps of the process, and that skipping this is unfortunately one of the most common mistakes I see people doing when undertaking guest posting outreach.

Mistake #2: Irrelevant (or Already Covered) Topic

Here’s another very common mistake.

One of the first things I do when I want to reach out to a new website or blog is to see what kind of topics this blog usually covers or has covered in the past.

Two questions arise here:

  1. Why is this important?
  2. How can you do that?

The reason why this is important is pretty obvious.

You can’t pitch an idea without knowing what topics the blog has covered in the past.

This brings us to the second question: how can you see what a blog has previously covered?

This may not be necessary if you’re reaching out to a website with a couple of hundred pages.

However, if you decide to reach out to a website like HubSpot that has thousands of pages, you definitely need to do your research.

You can see what a website or blog has published in the past (or publishing in general) in three simple ways:

  1. Navigate to the website’s blog or resources section
  2. Use Ahrefs to find top pages and popular content pieces
  3. Use Screaming Frog to discover topics that haven’t yet been covered

Let’s take a quick look at each of these three methods.

1) Navigate to the website’s blog or resources section

This is the first thing I do every time I decide to reach out to someone for a guest post.

For example, to pitch an idea to lemlist, I visited the website’s homepage and from there the blog section:

In the blog section, I tried to understand what kind of pieces lemlist usually publishes:

By taking a quick look, I saw that lemlist mainly publishes content related to cold emailing—which seems obvious enough, since it’s a cold email tool.

The second thing you can do is use Ahrefs to discover the website’s or blog’s top pages.

To do that, you first need to visit Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and insert the domain or subdomain you want to check:

Author’s Note: in this case, since lemlist’s blog lives under the subdomain “blog.lemlist.com,” you can use this subdomain for your research. However, in most cases, you might want to insert the root domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

There, you simply have to visit the Top Pages report that you’ll find in the menu on the left and see the top pages for lemlist’s blog:

What’s more, you can filter out pages based on the idea you want to pitch:

If you think about it, pitching ideas based on popularity for the website or blog you’re trying to reach makes perfect sense.

Chances are that the content or marketing team knows what pieces are driving more traffic, and it’s only natural that they want to feature similar pieces on their blog.

3) Use Screaming Frog to discover topics that haven’t been covered yet

Even though the second method I described can be really helpful, it has a main drawback:

It shows us only pages that are popular based on search traffic, while we want a complete list of that website’s pages.

To do that, you can use a tool like Screaming Frog (unless the website you’re trying to reach has an on-site search function, in which case another tool is unnecessary).

The process is fairly simple.

First, open Screaming Frog and insert the domain or subdomain you want to check.

Give Screaming Frog’s spiders a couple of minutes to crawl the website or blog you’re researching and then type words that are related to your idea into the search box:

When you’ve made sure that the topic you’re going to pitch hasn’t been covered yet, you’re good to go.

Before reaching out to a website or blog for guest posting, keep this in mind:

The more relevant the idea or ideas you’re going to pitch, the higher the chances of your pitch getting accepted.

Mistake #3: No Samples of Already Published Guest Posts

I used to believe that showcasing work you’ve done in the past is like bragging.

I was wrong.

Especially when it comes to guest posting, you should always showcase guest posts you’ve previously written for other blogs or publications.

Even if they don’t ask for it, you should do this.

Don’t think of this as bragging—view it as a way to earn the trust of the person you’re trying to reach.

What a better way to earn the trust of that person than by pointing out some other people who have trusted you before?

Especially if you are reaching out to a large publication, sending relevant samples can help to earn the trust of the editor.

Keep in mind that many editors nowadays receive hundreds if not thousands of submissions every month.

By mentioning previous publications you’ve published your work at, you’re therefore actually helping them to shortlist you.

Here’s how I did this for a blog I was trying to get featured on:

I included five different pieces—some of them guides, other opinion-based articles.

This really helped move the conversation forward.

Another way you can do so is by using dynamic images in a tool like lemlist.

In the personalization field, instead of the names of your prospects (which is also very cool), you can include the names or logos of the publications you’ve been featured on.

Cool, right?

Be sure to give it a try!

Let’s move on to the next mistake.

Mistake #4: Lack of Personalization

This is one of the biggest mistakes when it comes to guest posting outreach.

The reason why this mistake is so common is because most people aren’t willing to do research for their guest posting prospects.

In other words, they just want to send a generic outreach message to everyone and hit the send button.

However, in my experience, adding personalization elements can significantly increase your chances of receiving a positive response.

It’s not just me—the following stats show that personalization really does matter:

  • 41% open rate increase when a personalized subject line is used (source: MarketingSherpa)
  • 33% of marketers believe that email personalization will be most important in the future (source: Adage)
  • 74% of marketers say that targeted personalization increases customer engagement (source: eConsultancy)

The question is, what do you need to do to personalize your message?

The answer: it depends on the reason you’re reaching out to someone.

If you’re doing so in order to get your guest post published on their blog, you have to pay attention to things like:

  • Showing that you know what their blog is all about
  • Mentioning any common connections or references you have
  • Showing that you’ve done your research on what topics are popular for their blog
  • Mentioning a content piece that the person you’re reaching out to has published

One of the elements that most people think of when they hear the word personalization is the subject line.

Subject line personalization is of course important, and can have great results for reasons like reaching out to potential customers…

… However, when reaching out for guest posting, most publishers require you to write a specific subject line.

This is a bit restricting, but it’s also a good thing because you at least know that your message will be read.

One of the things I do when doing guest posting outreach is to do some quick research on the person I’m going to reach, read 1-2 of their articles, and mention something about it in my initial email or message.

For example, let’s say I want to reach out to StartupBros, a website that I know accepts guest posts:

Image Source: StartupBros

I’ll visit the website’s blog and find successful post written by the person I’m trying to reach.

For instance, I could read the how to sell on Amazon post, which seems to be one of their most successful posts in terms of search traffic:

Image Source: StartupBros

… And I’ll mention that same post on my outreach message.

For this particular example, you could say something like:

Hey Will,

I was reading your post on how to sell on Amazon the other day, and realized {something that you’ve realized or learned}.

That’s really interesting, since I always believed that…

By taking the time to actually read the content piece and write something about it, you show that you actually care about the website’s content and could therefore make a great contribution yourself.

Let’s move on to guest post outreach mistake #5.

Mistake #5: Mixed or Wrong Intent Behind the Topic

I have to admit that I’ve made this mistake myself.

In fact, I did it quite recently.

Let me explain what happened.

I reached out to a respected SEO SaaS company that accepted guest posts on their blog.

I wanted to write something about updating content and how this can impact the rankings and overall visibility of the piece.

I sent my pitch and waited for a response.

When the response came, I realized how wrong I was in my target keyword, which was “content update.”

If you take a look at the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) for the term “content update”, you’ll see various results:

Author’s Note: results may vary based on your exact location, browsing history and browser preferences. My location is set to be the United Kingdom.

I was surprised (and disappointed) to see that the top 10 results had to do with online games.

As you can imagine, when reaching out to an SEO tool, chances are they’re interested in search traffic (a lot).

In other words, my pitch was off-topic.

Of course, after that I submitted a second pitch and the guys were kind enough to accept my submission.

Thus, one of the first and more important things to do when pitching an idea is to identify search intent behind the topic/keyword that you want to cover.

Rest assured that everyone nowadays is paying attention to organic traffic, and thus targeting the right keyword is extremely important.

Your idea has to be crystal clear.

To achieve that, aside from a suggested title, you can also send an outline that highlights the areas you’re planning to cover with your guest post.

Let’s move on to mistake #6.

You don’t need me to tell you that most people use guest posting as a way to build links.

This creates two problems:

  1. They’re trying to scale the process and thus submit (and publish) poor quality content
  2. They’re limiting their choices to only blogs that allow (or give back) a dofollow link

See where I’m going with this?

Guest posting solely for building links is a poor reason to do so.

Thus, when doing guest post outreach, you should always stress that links are NOT important to you.
In my experience, if you’re truly trying to add value to that blog, website, magazine or publication, you’ll get the link without having to ask for it.

This is how we consistently manage to get links from websites with DR 90…

… Or above 70 for our clients.

I’ve noticed that most editors or content managers are surprised when you submit something of high quality.

This may be because the standards are low, or maybe because editors themselves have seen so much that they have few expectations at all.

No matter the reason, if you do a great job with your guest post, you won’t have to worry about links.

Author’s Tip: read these resources to learn how to get backlinks and what link building mistakes you should try to avoid.

Something that I found to be very useful is mentioning somewhere in my guest post outreach email that links are not a priority to me, and that I’m instead doing so to build authority.

When mentioning something that the person you’re trying to reach already have in their minds, you’re earning their trust.

In fact, here’s how I replied when the content manager of a quite popular SaaS told me that they don’t allow links in their content anymore:

As you can see, I show that I don’t care about the link, but that I may have to link back to pieces I’ve published in another blog when it makes sense to do so.

By being honest about your intentions, you earn the trust of the person you’re talking to, thereby  moving one step closer to getting your guest post reviewed and published.

Let’s move on to the final mistake.

Mistake #7: Pushing Things & Trying to Scale the Process

Not too long ago, I missed a chance to publish a guest post on one of the best publications in the marketing industry.

So what happened?

I wanted it so much that I couldn’t see that I was pushing too hard.

Even though I got a reply to my pitch, the outreach process fell apart when I submitted my second idea.

In this publication—which gets hundreds of guest post outreach emails per week—the title and outline is everything...

… But mainly the tile.

The title was good and forced the editor to open the email.

The outline was good too, and the juxtaposition was also great.

There was one problem though: the topic was not (strictly speaking) relevant to what the editor wanted.

I was therefore asked to submit a second idea, as they really liked the title and outline in my first one.

And this was my mistake:

In an effort to “close the deal” fast, I came up with a new topic and outline, and replied to the editor’s email within the next 10 minutes.

Wrong.

This helped me to see that guest posting outreach is not a numbers game.

You have to be thoughtful with everything you do.

You also need to accept that guest posting is not as easy to scale like other processes.

This is exactly what I try to explain to my SaaS clients who want to get traction from content as fast as possible.

Thus, when it comes to guest posting, you always have to take a step back and allow yourself to think before you act.

Let’s wrap this up.

Wrapping Up

By now, you know that despite how industry experts may present the process, guest posting isn’t easy.

As you can see, there are many things you need to pay attention to when doing outreach for guest posting.

This means there are also many mistakes you may make along the way.

However, you know what the most important mistakes are and how to avoid them.

Just make sure to come back to this short guide to refresh yourself on the topic every time you’re about to launch a new guest posting campaign.