Bloggers get pelted with requests for guest posts all the time, and I’ve had a string of relatively strange ones lately. They all start with something like this:

Hi, I’m Scheizenfreud McGilicutty and I love to write. I saw your website and I was wondering if you allow guests posts? Here are some samples of posts I have done on other blogs. Let me know if we can work something out.

Prepare, by Photo Monkey

Then this is followed by seemingly unrelated blog posts like “The Top 10 Ways to Check your Email” or “A Home Security System You Can’t Miss!” It’s SPAM, but targeted SPAM. It’s not quite targeted enough where someone had to type out an email specifically for me, but it isn’t obviously blasted to everyone with an email address. Regardless, my first instinct is to delete these emails.

Here’s the sad part… I actually DO like guest posts every so often! It gives me a break to work on other things and it allows another voice to convey information to you and maybe even bring a differing perspective. But not everyone can do this, and not every post is a good fit. I want something that is relevant to my audience so that you guys don’t feel like you are wasting your time. So I decided that I would pen this post so that people interested have a little guidance on a better way to get a guest post accepted.

  1. Target a blogger, or segment of bloggers, that you feel you can augment their content for their audiences.
  2. READ SEVERAL OF THEIR POSTS. This serves to both give you an idea on what they are currently writing about as well as to learn what their audience is used to. Take note if they are targeting consumers, small businesses, enterprises, government, or other areas.
  3. Begin networking with that blogger by commenting thoughtfully on his posts, or linking to his posts via social media.
  4. Write a post that you think will be valuable for their readers. (yes, write the post BEFORE you contact them). This forces you to invest in something that will be worth the bloggers time.
  5. Contact the blogger and craft your pitch using the following as a guide:
    1. Your name, affiliation
    2. Your favorite posts from the blogger and WHY you like them
    3. A request to do a guest post, with the exact title and an excerpt the article
    4. What you are asking for in return (lots of links, etc)
    5. How you will promote it
  6. Wait and see!

Remember, just because you want to do a guest post doesn’t mean that the blogger wants yours. But by following these steps, you will have a much better shot of getting published instead of being deleted. Other bloggers, do you support this guideline? Are there things you would like to see added? Add them in the comments below!

This post originally appeared on BrandenWilliams.com.