Thanks for your interest in guest blogging for Off the Beaten Shelf!
I've put together a few notes about how to make the most of your guest blogging experience that will help you here, as well as anywhere else you're considering contributing content. All these tips are based on my six years experience as a freelance writer, and my hope is that you'll put these tips to use here and in all your freelance writing adventures. If you're a seasoned writer, scroll to the bottom of the page for specific info on guest blogging for OTBS.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people don't have a good grasp of what a publication covers before pitching a story. Despite how thoroughly I've branded this site as a book blog, I still get pitches for wedding dresses. Read through a couple of posts to see what topics the publication covers, as well as the tone in which it's written. If you have a piece in mind, use the search bar to see if it's been done already. If you're pitching something that doesn't align in an obvious way with what the site covers, look for ways you can make it relevant. If someone pitched me a post on literary-themed weddings, I'd be much more likely to accept that than a regular old post on wedding dresses.
If you're pitching a time-sensitive post, you'll want to check the publication schedule of the website. For example, I publish posts every Monday and Wednesday, so if there's a holiday on Tuesday and you want to submit a holiday-themed post, in order to edit and schedule the post, I'd need it by Sunday at latest.
If you're pitching to a publication that's mostly text-based (such as this one) but you're more talented in the visual department, do what is going to make you look best. I doubt anyone would turn down a post that's really well done just because it doesn't look or sound like the site owner created it. (I know I wouldn't.) People want guest bloggers because they're looking for new voices and different perspectives, so show off your strengths. You want to make sure your content fits within the overall picture of the publication while still highlighting what you have to offer.
Contributing a guest post is a lot like being a guest at someone else's house---you want to make sure you're invited back. Turn in clean copy that's been proofread beforehand. Share your post on social media, preferably multiple times. Respond to readers' comments on the post. If you can drive traffic to the post, you're more likely to be asked to contribute again and more likely to be paid well for your work.
Editing turns good writing into great writing, so if the site owner changes something or requests that a part be rewritten, it's not because they don't like what you submitted. It's because they believe in you and want to make it even better. Trust me, it's a compliment and they're doing you a favor. Every writer needs an editor.
A few quick notes: