After having published quite a few guest blog posts, I’ve figured out a thing or two about editors.
While there are certain elements they love to see in a submission, there are also a number of factors that will land you a spot on their list of people they'd rather not work with. Knowing the difference between the two will make it easier for you to earn a spot on their blog.
So if you want to experience the power of guest blogging, here’s what you need to know about working with editors.
12 Things Guest Bloggers Should Know About Editors
1) They’re in a hurry.
Most people are in a rush, but it seems like editors are especially so. This isn’t to say that they do sloppy work. After all, an editor’s job demands that they be meticulous and detailed.
In spite of their hawk-eye attention for the tiniest things, they sure can plow through things. They know when brevity is necessary, and they use it.
2) They want to trust you.
Most editors want to get into a trusting relationship with you. Why? Because reliable writers are hard to come by. It’s pretty easy to find someone who writes good copy. But to find someone who writes good copy and can produce on a consistent basis is very difficult.
If you’ve gotten an editor’s attention with a well-written piece of content, then you can be fairly certain that the editor wants to trust you to produce more.
3) They know their audience really well.
If there’s one thing that editors know really well, it’s their audience. A good editor can tell at glance if an article will be helpful for the site’s readers or a dud.
If you’re invited to produce more articles for a site, ask the editors if they have any advice about the kinds of content that their audience wants. Chances are, they’ll be happy to give you some insight and recommendations.
4) They don’t mind rejecting articles.
If your article gets rejected, don’t be offended. It’s all in a day’s work for an editor. Editors of prestigious websites may receive dozens of submissions a day. They simply can’t publish all of them.
Good editors must decide quickly whether they’re going to accept or reject an article. Often times, by necessity, they have to reject most new submissions.
5) They can spot weak articles in a flash.
I don’t have any official numbers, but I'd bet that an editor can tell if an article will work or not in ten seconds or less. Here's what they might consider:
- A great article starts with a killer headline. If the headline is no good, then the article is gone.
- After the headline, the editor will read the lead sentence or paragraph. If the article doesn’t grab one’s attention from the very start, it’s a no-go.
- Finally, the editor might skim the outline. Many times, a shaky outline means a weak article, and the article is a goner.
If you have a strong title, cogent opening sentence, and solid outline, then your article merits the editor’s attention.
6) They might check your article for plagiarism.
How can an editor tell if your article is copied or an original work? They can run it through a plagiarism checker such as Copyscape.
A Copyscape analysis determines if your content has been published elsewhere on the web.
If you are stealing content, you will get nailed.
7) They aren’t afraid to ask for massive revisions.
Editors have a tough job. They have to please their audience, serve their writers, and adhere to a set of editorial guidelines.
If your article doesn’t 1) meet the audience’s need, or 2) match the editorial standards, then the editor may ask you to revise it. Hopefully, these will just be quick and easy revisions. Sometimes, however, the revisions are extensive, involving removing or adding huge sections of your article.
8) They will ask you for more if your content is good enough.
If you deliver up a great article, then editors will ask you for more. Remember, they’re constantly looking for good, reliable writers.
Editors are tired of having to chase down good writers, respond to inane inquiries, and field poorly-written articles. They want to get the best of the best producing content on their site. A good first article will get you noticed and producing in no time.
9) They have to respond to a lot of people.
It may take time to get a response from an editor. They get a lot of emails, and may not be able to respond to you right away.
10) They might ignore you.
Don’t take it personally. With the massive amount of content that editors are receiving, they simply can’t respond to everyone’s inquiries or submissions.
The editor isn’t ignoring you, as much as she is managing workflow strategically. The job of an editor involves selectively responding to the emails and submissions that will be best for the site.
If you don’t hear back from an editor in a week or two, it’s okay to be persistent. Just recognize that they’ve got a tough job that makes it difficult for them to email you back.
11) They’re going to hunt down and root out link building.
If you think that guest posting is a quick way to build links, think again. Editors don’t play that game.
Thousands of would-be guest bloggers have been blacklisted from writing for certain websites. Why? Because they tried to make a buck selling links or gaming the system for some easy backlinks to their website.
Editors are trained to sniff it down and cut it out. After all, their jobs are on the line. Besides, they are trying to protect the legitimacy of their brand.
12) They don't want to proofread your articles.
Some bigger websites have full-time proofreaders. Their job is to hunt down typos and fix them.
Other websites just have an editor. This person is typically responsible for getting the best content published at the right time, coordinating teams of writers, and ensuring that it all gets pulled off without a hitch. (Typically, such an editor will have the title “managing editor.”)
Because this is true, they want to see grammatically impeccable and stylistically flawless articles. Don’t send your articles in, expecting them to be copyedited and proofread. Sure, editors have the know-how to correct your silly spelling mistakes, but that’s your job ... not theirs.
That said, go the extra mile and proofread your own work before you submit it to a publication. The editors will respect you for it.
The best way to work with someone is to understand where they’re coming from. It's helpful for you to try to see their challenges and understand their role.
Editors are a critical part of the web publishing process. The best way to become a guest blogger is to create great content and become a helpful partner to the editors you work with.
Are you an editor? What’s your perspective on guest blogging and working with contributors?