As mentioned several times before on this site and others, guest posting is a wonderful way to engage in a genuine and effective link-building strategy. Still, not many who first embark on the guest blogging process completely understand how it works. Here are a few additional tips that will enhance the likelihood of you snagging a guest post spot on highly ranked site.

1. Email etiquette is more important than you think.

Many beginning guest post writers approach prospective bloggers with a “you-owe-me” kind of attitude. When sending an email to a blogger, be sure to be as polite and genuinely interested in their blog as possible (assuming that you are interested, which is the sacred rule of good guest post practices). Check your spelling and grammar, and approach the initial email in a formal, but not too contrived style. Think of it as a dynamic conservation, neither as a formal proposal nor as a “hey-what’s-up” casual note.

2. Go beyond reading a few articles on the blog when gauging the audience and subject matter.

Just as with magazine freelancing, reading a blog thorough in order to understand the subject matter and audience is extremely important. While many traditional magazine journalists take this process seriously, beginning guest bloggers often do not. Don’t just read a few articles and assume that you “get” the blog. Become a regular reader of the blog, check out the “about”section, and try running a Google search on the blogger to find out any other information that may be helpful in getting into his (and his audience’s) head.

3. Start with smaller blogs to have something to show for when approaching better ones.

Unless you are a well known industry expert, approaching very highly ranked blogs to offer a guest post is pretty tough. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, however. It just means that you should understand that well-known blogs have much higher standards, both in content and in style. As such, it’s better to start with smaller blogs, and show the A-list blogger that you’ve written really great stuff before. Share links of previously published guest posts, don’t just say that you’re a great guest poster.

4. Always respond thoughtfully to reader comments.

Responding to reader comments is one of the most important aspects of good guest post practices. Many guest posters forget to do this bit, simply thinking that because they got the link, their responsibilities are finished. Remember that the blogger who published your work did so because he invited you to be a guest in his community, not just to write some content for him. As such, always check back on published posts and engage your readers in a thoughtful conversation about your piece.

5. Don’t ever shamelessly self-promote.

Guest blogging is one of my favorite link-building strategies because of its genuineness. Its promotion that doesn’t really bill itself as promotion, which makes the process so enjoyable for bloggers and internet marketers alike. However, some guest bloggers in different corners of the Internet exploit the strategy, forgetting its community-based, friendly roots. Of course, bloggers understand that you are doing guest blogging to promote your blog or brand, but keep things clean and always look at promotion as secondary to the act of sharing your knowledge with others.

These are a few simple ways to improve your guest blogging strategy, but that’s surely not all there is to it. The more guest blogging you do, the more interesting and complex it gets. Just as with all things, practice makes perfect, so go out there and start guest blogging!