How to Get Awesome Guest Blogging Gigs With CPR

Carol Tice

Freelance writer shakes with a new bogging clientBy Daryl Rothman

Have you ever had a great idea for a guest post and wish it could be featured on one of the top blogs for writers?

It can be.

I found a great list on Write to Done’s Top 10 Sites for Writers, but I had a huge problem when it came to pitching them my guest blog ideas.

I was a nobody.

Not as a person, but I had next to no publications to my name. Plus, the guidelines and submission formats — while crucial to adhere to — seemed so distant and impersonal. What would distinguish my random pitch from the plethora of inquiries these sites received?

I decided I needed to do something different: perform CPR.

No, my dreams were not dead, and neither are yours. But mine needed a revival, a jolt.

The Power of Relationships

When I say CPR, I don’t mean resuscitating a stopped heart. In marketing, CPR refers to Cultivating Positive Relationships.

After being published on several of the Top 10 blogs, with more scheduled, I can tell you, CPR was the key. Getting published on top blogs can be a huge boost to your own blog’s visibility, too.

Do relationships matter? Just today I sent a quick note to a top-ranked author and inquired how she was doing. “Thanks for asking!” she replied. “No one ever asks anymore.” Writers are people, too — a little basic human kindness can go a long way.

Reach Out

I’ve always been a people-person. That’s not necessarily synonymous with being a social butterfly. Some of the boldest writers are the most reserved people.

But I’ve always been more successful when I’m able to connect with someone at least a little bit, to say hello, get to know them a little, let them get to know me.

Be Authentic

Robert Steven Kaplan of Harvard Business School has spoken of the importance of giving something of yourself when building relationships. Tell them briefly about your writing and why you’ve contacted them. Demonstrate you’ve read their blog and sample posts and explain you have an idea for a fresh angle on a subject you think will interest their readers.

This hypothetical interaction is not the same as the pitch itself, so you don’t want to run long or unveil the entire pitch unless the author has asked you to do so.


Really. Listen in the same way you need to listen to the guidelines: they say, you do. (Or, don’t do. If they say they aren’t open to pitches, don’t pitch them) It’s knowing not only what to do, but what not to do.

If you get to submit a post, follow the guidelines, read sample posts, and submit the best draft you can. If the author asks you to revise it, listen meticulously to the feedback.


The top-ranked blogger who publishes your guest post is conferring something of great benefit upon you. You get exposure to their vast readership, association with an esteemed author/blog, and myriad opportunities to connect with others through the comments.

I always offer what I can. I’ve offered to beta-read, and to link their work. I understand their following dwarfs mine, but the more positive buzz the better, right?

I offer this even if they have rejected my request to pitch. It never feels good to be told “no,” but I try to reframe back into CPR mode, rather than pouting.

Follow Up

If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If they grant permission to pitch, do so promptly.

Maybe the author asked you to read a few more posts and get back in touch. If so, be strategic and organized. Maintain a tracking system. The last thing you want is to generate interest and start building relationship with a great author, only to come off disrespectful and amateur by neglecting basic courtesies and follow up.

How has Cultivating Positive Relationships paid off for you? Tell us in the comments below.

Daryl Rothman writes novels, short stories, flash fiction, serial fiction and articles. He has guest-posted for KM Weiland, CS Lakin, Joanna Penn, and Firepole Marketing.

How to be a Well-Paid Freelance Blogger


  1. Naomi

    A great post. I think you are spot on, especially about being authentic that’s what gets writers to stand out – that genuine interest in another person’s work is what helps build a strong relationship.

    • daryl rothman

      Thanks Naomi. Yeah, I agree–authenticity is essential. I reckon some are adept at faking it but even then I think that comes around to bite you in the end. Best wishes. 🙂

  2. Ivy

    Daryl, just what I needed to read! I have not pitched any guest posts yet, but consider myself in CPR mode at the moment. I have been following a lot of writer’s blogs and just shooting them emails letting them know I appreciate their work (and I really do!) When I am ready to pitch to them, I hope they remember me!

    • daryl rothman

      Ivy I think that’s great. Some will remember you…and for any who don’t it’s apt to be simply because of how much correspondence they get, etc., not anything you’ve done wrong. I think it’s great to reach out and express your appreciation for their work. I will predict it can only help you when you DO decide to pitch–assuming you’ve got a good pitch/article, which I’m sure you will–and even in instances it doesn’t lead to publication, you’ll have had some nice interactions, hopefully cultivated a positive relationship, and conducted yourself with courtesy and professionalism.

      Good luck and thanks!

  3. Kathy

    Such great advice! Add a dash of patience to the mix and brace yourself – good things will come, especially the all important opportunity to guest post. I didn’t focus on writer’s sites with this goal in mind, I researched “autism” – web sites/blogs, twitter profiles and Facebook fan pages – reached out to support the sites that I felt would be a good fit for my material – and when it was time, I pitched. And got the opportunity to guest post. It’s amazing when all of the pieces come together. All of it starts with CPR – thanks for that handy acronym, Daryl.

    • daryl rothman

      Thanks Kathy & congrats on your successes…I think you have a good strategy. And yes….patience is key. 🙂

      Best wishes!

  4. Patricia

    Great tips, Carol! I like that acronym, works well in all aspects of life!

  5. Marcie

    Daryl, I like this acronym, too. Many times you will make great strides just from initiating the connection. But you will go even further when you reciprocate “just because”

    • daryl rothman

      Thanks Marcie I concur….there is often benefit from initiating the connection. I’ve admittedly learned that not everyone is amendable or the right match…you do have to read the tea leaves and be flexible and realize that sometimes it’s not best to push it further and that sometimes you have to proceed in a way that the author/other person is comfortable with–but overall, yes, I agree that contact in and of itself has worth.

  6. M. J. Kelley

    Thanks for this great post Daryl. It seems like networking is key. Also, the common advice out there is that guest blogging helps bring an audience to your own blog. Have you experienced this increase in traffic and participation?

    Thanks again.

    • daryl rothman

      Thanks MJ! I agree re networking. Yes-my guest posts have increased traffic to my own blog…now, as for participation, there has been variance…good comments on the site where my article appeared, not always as much participation on my own site, though, some. I know Carol and others have offered great advice on this area–and indeed, seems some o fthe keys to participation revolve around, naturally, compelling content, how the post is structured, whether there is a “call to action,” opportunities/incentives to subscribe…what are your experiences/thoughts?

      Thanks again!

      • M. J. Kelley

        I’m a long time fiction writer, but I’m a newbie to blogging (just started mine in February). So I’m checking out all the advice and seeing what works for people.

        I’m in the processing of setting up a campaign for guest blogging, but apart from writing advice, I’m trying to think of ways to bring readers to my fiction. I’m not sure how guest blogging fits into that, yet.

        • Carol Tice

          I’d be finding the blogs that talk about your genre to attract readers who’d like what you’re writing, MJ.

  7. Daryl Rothman

    MJ I’m primarily fiction too, and started my blog similar time as you. I think guest-posting can attract people to your site, which then must of course further pique their interest. While some of my posts have been on, well, posting– and writing, and relationship-building, and more–I’ve done some on fiction-writing specifically…so…I’d say guest-posting overall is great for relationship-building and audience-building, but I would indeed research sites tailored to your interests/genre, and pitch to some of them. Then, if you get published there, the audience you’ll hopefully attract will be congruent with your niche. Best wishes!

    • M. J. Kelley

      Great advice. Thank you both.

  8. Nadia McDonald

    I absolutely agree with this article. In addition to marketing and traffic to ensue a successful freelancing or blogging career, writers have to tap into Cultivating Positive Relationships. I recently learnt that it does not matter the content of the article, it greatly depends on who you know in your social circles. Definitely writers should embark on excellent communication skills with their editors and fellow publishers. Some writers and introvert and others are extrovert. Nevertheless, interpersonal relationships are very pertinent in establishing confidence and long-term relationships!

  9. Daryl Rothman

    Thanks Nadia, some good points but let me respectfully suggest the content does matter. I did not previously know any of the top authors whose sites I’ve posted on. And while I have indeed cultivated positive relationships and built professional/collegial acquaintances, I cannot claim to be part of their social circles. I maintain there are two main factors: CPR, AND writing a good piece. These authors didn’t know me, so they were not about to publish bad work just because I was cultivating the relationship. In fact , behind the scenes, a few really blasted some of my early drafts–and rightly so. Their main concern was rightly getting a piece which would be of value and interest to their readers.

    So, good content IS essential…but I have found that CPR has given me that extra boost–perhaps helping me better learn what and when and how to submit–a little dialogue with the author can help narrow down what they want. Sometimes it’s just building that relationship to perhaps have a better chance to have your work read/considered. But make no mistake: in the end, the piece better be good.

    But I appreciate your points, thanks for commenting and best wishes!

    • Carol Tice

      Totally agree, Daryl — turning in a weak post could undo all the work you’ve done building the relationship! And nobody is going to publish a post they think won’t serve their readers.

  10. Elke Feuer

    Great post! A whole lot of civility goes a long way. We sometimes forget that when connecting with people online.

  11. Esther

    Hi everyone! Happy Thursday!

    I did enjoy reading your post as well, but I have an interesting dilemma. I decided to approach an editor of a magazine and let her know how much I enjoyed it. Surprisingly, she emailed me back and she took me out to coffee. I pitched a few ideas to her, and she had me write a few articles, which she published in the magazine. I was shocked and happy, and have been writing articles monthly. Now, since my first writing happened to be in a magazine (a big job), I don’t want to go and get small jobs, but I am not sure what to do to get more money for my writing. I don’t want to go to content mills, since I am in a national magazine, but one article a month doesn’t make enough to pay all my bills (although it is a very nice amount). Thanks.

    • Carol Tice

      My pleasure, Daryl.

      Esther, you’re smart to realize that one decent client does not a freelance writing business make. Now that you have published clips in a national magazine, use them to break into more national magazines! Once you’re in one, it’s so much easier to write queries to the next one and get a “yes” from an editor.

      You can also approach businesses that want articles on their websites, which can be a very lucrative niche. I find business owners are very impressed by national magazine clips!

      Hope this helps.

  12. Daryl Rothman

    Hi Esther, thanks. I’ve a few thoughts but Carol may I defer to you here, as this is up your alley, dealing with the “make a living writing” aspect?

  13. Kostas

    Great post Daryl. I’ve always said that building up a relationship with other bloggers is one of the keys to securing guest posting opportunities. I think it helps to build up credibility too rather than just throwing a pitch at people without even introducing yourself.

  14. Joseph E Rathjen

    Someone I know who is a Human Resources Director, gave me a very good piece of advice recently. She said, “When you write a letter, proposal, query, etc., make believe that the person you are contacting is physically in front of you or even on the phone. When we convey a more personal, respectful, and admiring approach to the accomplishments of others they respond more favorably to the contact. Making them aware that you appreciate their contributions (even as an outsider) sets you apart from the bland, business-like contact.”

    I find that the “opening-human-approach,” followed with the pertinent, business details always garners a second and more attentive look from your target.

    Self-centered, behavior will get you nowhere in business, for a query or anything else in life.

    Great post! 🙂

  15. Daryl Rothman

    Thanks Joseph, and that’s great advice. The impersonal medium(email, online form etc) should not induce from us entirely impersonal approaches. I think a dose of humanity is in order , followed by, as you said , a focus on the business at hand.

Related Posts

A Look Inside Den 2x Success Stories

The Freelance Writers Den is the online community where freelance writers learn how to grow their income -- fast. Inside the community, there are two levels: The Freelance Writers Den is for freelancers who are just getting started, learning the basics, and giving...