How To Build Rapport With Editors And Get Guest Content Published

Guest writing for industry publications is a great way to establish yourself as a thought leader and even earn trusted backlinks. However, being in a relationship with our editors is easier said than done.

Writing for industry publications, be it magazines, magazines, blogs or news websites, has an undeniable return on investment.

Not only does it establish the writer or brand as a thought leader, but it also creates an opportunity to engage a new audience and attract new customers.

From an SEO perspective, guest writing is also a valuable and organic way to gain authoritative backlinks and drive traffic to your website.

Basically, it’s a win-win situation. Industry publications receive well-researched and well-written content, and in return, you get the chance to pitch your ideas to a relevant audience.

However, guest writing presents a lot of challenges, especially when editors and content creators cringe just by reading the words, “guest post.”

This aversion isn’t entirely unjustified, either. Editors and content creators across the board have faced missed expectations and a breakdown in trust when it comes to sharing content.

Writing challenges for industry editors

Guest writing for post editors is a challenge because “guest publishing” or “guest blogging” gets a bad rap, and for good reason.

In May 2017, Google issued a warning About accepting guest articles from large-scale link campaigns, as it was seeing a spike in spam links embedded in these articles.

In that same warning, though, it was clear that Google does not discourage guest articles that “inform users, educate another site’s audience, or bring awareness to your cause or company.”

Unfortunately, the number one guest writing challenge, whether it’s establishing thought leadership or gaining credible backlinks, is overcoming some of that poor PR.

Another challenge in writing for industry editors is simply overcoming heuristics or cognitive biases.

Editors are constantly bombarded with contributor suggestions. They receive poorly written, irrelevant, or spam content daily, which makes their decisions quick and short impressions.

And some have already created writers, content calendars, and entire schedules.

After considering these challenges, becoming a guest contributor may seem a long way off, but fear not! There are three simple steps you can take when working with editors to build rapport from your first article to becoming a regular contributor.

1. Set the tone from the start

In every contact with an editor, whether it’s for networking or submitting your first article, it’s crucial to set the tone in your interview letters.

Although they may seem basic, these letters can determine how the editor perceives your writing ability and competence long before they read your first paragraph.

Here are some practical ideas for setting the tone and making a good first impression:

Be a professional in tone.

Avoid language that may sound informal or too formal, and instead make it clear that you are interested in partnering with the editor to publish an article.

Be brief in language.

Editors are constantly in touch with others and will appreciate direct questions and communications that are easy to navigate visually.

Be human in approach.

Although it may be tempting to focus on professionalism in your messages, it is important to demonstrate that you are human. Find ways to personalize your messages, or sympathize with editors who are full of work.

Practice reciprocity in communications.

Make it clear that you value what the editor does for you by reviewing and publishing your work and making sure you are providing quality content for them.

Clarify expectations when needed.

If an essay is rejected, ask for more light on the editor’s requirements or expectations and where you may have missed the mark.

Follow through schedules.

Regardless of whether there is a straightforward deadline or an agreed-upon timeframe, editors don’t like having to wonder where or track a piece of content is.

In all of your communications, you must ensure that your messages are error-free. After all, there is no better way to make an editor anxious than by sending poorly written emails.

2. Know the stage of the relationship

This is perhaps the most overlooked step in building a relationship with editors.

Not all relationships with publication editors are the same, nor should they be treated as such. Some require more time, attention to detail, and communication than others.

Editors can usually be divided into these three categories based on where the relationship is located, what can be expected from the relationship, and how the editor’s expectations are best met:


The shaping phase is the submission of the first article to a new editor. It is a critical stage that requires the greatest amount of time and attention.

At this point, be sure to find or spell out the writer’s instructions.

Some editors will have several pages of instructions and a specific word count that they want you to follow. Others will simply say, “Submit the article.”

In the latter case, it pays not to press too hard for guidance because the editor may not have any details, and pressing them might lead them to think you’ll be a needy writer, which can be a turn off.

It’s also a good idea when you submit your first article to offer to make any edits if needed. This can make editors more inclined to work with you even if your article needs some edits rather than rejecting it outright.


The progression stage occurs after your first article has been accepted and published. It represents your relationship with an editor in the first two articles.

Once one article has been published, it is important to approach the next without assuming that the editor automatically wants to receive more content.

One way to do this is to wait a week, thank the editor for publishing your first article, and ask if he would be interested in receiving another. Introducing new topics in these correspondences can help ease concerns if the editor is particularly reluctant.

As you start submitting more articles, be sure to keep notes about your editor’s preferences.

If the editor has any concerns about formatting, a particular type of resource, or topic angles, take note and adapt your content to match.


The foundation stage is becoming a regular contributor to a publication. At this point, you should be aware of your editor’s preferences and content standards.

In turn, the editor usually becomes more familiar with you and your writing style. While this stage requires the least amount of time and communication of the three, a simple “thank you” goes a long way.

Thank the editors when your articles are published because after all they are not required to publish your content and this action establishes mutual respect and appreciation.

At this point, if an essay is rejected or if you encounter disagreements over resources or writing nuances, be sure to choose your battles wisely and avoid unnecessary response.

Essentially, your priorities should be to continue to send consistent, high-quality content and to maintain the integrity of your relationship.

3. Provide undeniable value

When it comes to building rapport with editors at any point in the relationship, value delivery cannot be overemphasized.

As a guest writer, you are invited to post content on someone else’s post or site. This act of trust should always be met with a piece of quality content that it guarantees.

To do this, be sure to keep the publishing audience on the cutting edge of the topic idea. It can be easy, after a while of writing for a post, to become complacent and lose sight of its original audience.

Also, be sure to stay up to date on industry trends and news. We live in a dynamic world, and editors are more likely to accept and appreciate a piece of content that talks about issues relevant to the day rather than an overly saturated and ingrained topic.

Finally, be reliable. Editors have a lot on their plates, and if you establish yourself as a thought leader who delivers consistent, well-written content, you will be greatly appreciated by a variety of Post Editors.

To sum it up, building a relationship with post editors is not an easy task.

It takes a lot of experimentation to exceed an editor’s expectations and transcend any biases they may have.

However, when done well, building relationships with various industry publications and providing quality content has a high return on investment.

It can establish you or your brand as a thought leader in your industry, showcase your expertise in front of a relevant audience, win organic backlinks to your website, lead to networking opportunities and more.

So when it comes to building trust and relationships with your editors, don’t overlook these three steps.

More resources:

  • Google offers 5 content creation tips for success
  • The Ultimate SEO Content Creation Guide
  • Top 20 tools that will help you create better content

Featured image: Shutterstock / fizkes

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