Yes, guest posting is a fantastic technique and drives awesome results. No, don’t do it like this random person who emailed me just now. This particular one is so egregious we can use it as an example of what not to do.

Before you reach out to someone, make sure to look at their content and say something relevant.

Remember a few years ago when people would hit you up for links, perhaps using an automated tool to message webmasters? Make your comment so relevant there’s no way a robot could have sent it and clearly it was meant for them.

Mass blasting your messages will actually backfire.

It’s like comment spam on your blog, which is more auto-generated nonsense.

Build up your personal profile across multiple sites.

In this case, I’m using the Gmail rapportive plug-in, plus Sidekick. Both will look up someone on LinkedIn, Twitter, and elsewhere, as you review their email. This particular person doesn’t have any profiles showing up, so they look fake.

Message people from your own domain.

Looks a lot more legit than or something random like that. When you have, people know you care enough to get your personal branding right. For young adults who don’t have their own domain, we will generate a subdomain with your name, which is almost as good.

Tweet and comment on their stuff before ever sending a naked email.

Even if you just retweet, because you might not yet know enough to say something intelligent, that’s a good first step.

Share a couple links to what you’ve done and perhaps propose a topic specifically for them.

If you look reputable, I’ll probably Google you to see what you’ve written, but might as well include this, anyway. State your intent upfront– if you shamelessly want to spam their site, truly want to further their cause, or build your brand.

Join and private groups in your area of expertise.

Not for SEO reasons, but because you want to be on top of industry trends. When something happens, you can create “stone soup” by assembling one sentence quotes from a few thought leaders. Then you have an article.

Give before you get.

The more important the person you’re trying to reach, the more you have to stand out among the masses who have hands outstretched. Genuine compliments are irresistible to most influencers and doing this is a surprisingly rare and effective tactic. That said, I welcome guest posts– anything that reinforces something I care about and adds value to the community. We’ll even spend our own money to promote these folks, since we believe in paying it forward.

One guest blog post won’t lift you to stardom.

But you might be surprised how few posts it takes to truly connect with a small circle in a tight niche. Expect 6 months to a year, or however long it takes you to craft a few dozen high quality posts on your site and others.