56 Guest Posts and Counting: How to Keep On Top Of It All?

This post is by Timo Kiander.

Leo BabautaBamidele OnibalusiDanny InyHenri Junttila.

These guys, and many others, have proved that guest posting works and that it’s a great way to build your blog’s audience, your e-mail list and to be able to spread your name on the blogosphere.

Although we can easily understand the power of guest posting (thanks to them) and that we need to do lots of it, how can we stay on top of it all?

This was exactly the question I started to ponder about myself.

The more guest posts I wrote, the more issues I started to have with the disorganized manner in which I handled my them.

Somehow I knew that there had to be a way to be on top of my posts. Specifically, knowing which blog they are published on and when they were published (or going to be published).

Otherwise, this disorganized way of doing things would waste my already limited time and energy and I wouldn’t be getting the maximum results of the posts I had written.

In this post I’ll lay out the exact system I use to stay on top of the 56+ guest posts I’ve written.

Disorganization Slows You Down

Without paying close attention to your working habits, managing your guest posts becomes very difficult.

You might have posts floating around on your hard drive, but you have only a vague clue of the posts you have written or where they are stored.

Also, the follow-up becomes very hard.

For instance, do you know the exact date when the post went live or when you submitted the post for the blog’s author review?

And, if you haven’t got any reply back from the blog’s owner after the submission, do you know when it’s appropriate to ask for a status update about your post?

Finally, do you start writing the post without any planning in advance? Because if this is the case, you are probably losing valuable minutes (or even hours) this way.

No System = No Success

I used to just write a guest post every once in a while, but my efforts weren’t really consistent.

The real problem for this inconsistency and randomness was the lack of a system. More specifically I didn’t have a system for:

  • Planning and scheduling the posts in advance
  • Writing the posts
  • Managing the submitted posts
  • Finding the optimum time to write the posts

Without any system in place, I didn’t know what the actual the “status of my guest posts” were.

Also, without a proper system I was losing valuable time and that was the last thing that I wanted to happen.

Taking the More Organized Route

One day I sat down and started thinking about my situation – and especially about my working methods.

I knew that I had to bring some structure to my guest posting, so that things would go as systematically and smoothly as possible.

Like I mentioned earlier, I identified four areas which needed my attention: planning and scheduling, writing the posts, managing the stuff I had written and finding the right time for writing.

So here are the changes I implemented in each of these areas:

First, I started planning my posts in advance. In practice this meant writing the outlines of the posts before actually writing the posts.

This helped me to speed up the actual writing phase. Since I had the structure ready and I pretty much knew what I wanted to write about, I didn’t have to ponder these questions when starting the actual writing part.

Second, I found a standard way of writing posts. Doing this really helped me with my writing and I was happy that someone had figured out this system already.

In addition, I ditched my Word 2010 client and started writing all my posts in the cloud.

Third, I started to keep track of the posts I had written.

This simple tracking helped me realize when to send additional requests for those blog owners who hadn’t replied back to me after my submission (i.e. was the post accepted or not).

Fourth, I started to write my posts early in the morning. This helped me to achieve the most important task of my day with full focus – before my family woke up and before I went to work.

How to Stay on Top of Your Guest Posts

With the steps below, I’m able to write 3-6 guest posts per week, in a systematized manner:

1. Outline your posts

I outline the next week’s posts on Sundays. This way, when I eventually start writing the posts, I’m able to do it right away and without any extra pondering about the topic or the structure.

However, there is another benefit of outlining your posts in advance.

When the outlining is done, my brain is still processing the stuff on the background and I might find new ideas or angles to my posts – something I didn’t figure out in the outlining phase.

2. Have a system for writing

Fortunately I didn’t have to create this writing system on my own – it was already developed by someone else.

With this system, I’m able to produce posts quickly, without compromising the value I offer to my readers.

In addition to implementing this new way of writing, I decided to ditch my Word 2010 client and start writing my posts in the cloud (in Google Docs).

That way I had a centralized way of storing my posts and I could access the posts from any device with Internet access.

3. Keep track

I have created a spreadsheet, which keeps track of all my guest posts.

This Google Docs based spreadsheet was basically divided into the following tabs:

  • Published: The posts that are already published. This tab contains the columns Post Name, Name of the Blog, Publishing Date and URL.
  • Pending: The posts which are submitted to various blogs that are either accepted (not yet published) or are still pending for some reason (for instance, the author of the blog hasn’t confirmed if the post is accepted or not). This tab contains the columns Post Name, Name of the Blog, Status (Pending | To be Published on <date>), Proofread (Yes|No) and Sent to Blog (the date when the post was submitted).
  • GPs for the next week: The posts that I’m about to write next week and what is my target blog. This tab includes the columns Post Name, Blog Name, Post Type (Blogging Productivity | Time Management |  Personal Development), Writing Date (when I’m about to write the post).
  • Guest posting sites: This tab contains all the possible places where I can submit my posts to.
  • Ideas: List of ideas for future guest posts.
  • Byline: The bio boxes I’m currently using. My bio box may vary, depending on which blogs I submit my posts to.

This spreadsheet is really the center of my guest posting, as I’m able to very quickly see the status of all my posts, what was published where, and what posts are waiting to be published.

4. Follow-up on your posts

Unfortunately, sometimes it takes quite a bit of time until you know if your post is going to be published or not.

That’s why it’s important to find a proper way to follow-up on your submitted posts and what their current status is.

I give two weeks to the author to reply to me, until I contact him/her and kindly ask about the status of the post.

If I haven’t got a reply to my first request, I’ll send another kind request about the status approximately 7-10 days after my first request.

Even if the second request doesn’t yield any results, I’ll send my third mail and in that message I set a deadline for the reply.

I’ll let the author know that if he/she hasn’t replied to me by a certain date then I’ll submit my post somewhere else.

5. Work when it’s quiet

My preferred time for writing posts is very early in the morning.

I wake up around 5 AM every morning (weekends and vacations included) and this ensures that I have a quiet time to write a post.

Also, writing without distraction helps me to focus on my writing much better.

I might also listen to some music while writing (mostly instrumental, uplifting music). I have noticed that it really puts me into a great mood and I become more productive that way.

The System is the Linchpin

Currently, I have 56 published guest posts under my belt and the figure is growing all the time.

With the current strategies, I’m able to write 3-6 posts per week, in addition of having a day job and a family life.

Having a system will help you to become not only organized but also very effective in your efforts.

Now that you see the system I’m following, you can take it as is and implement it in your own life or modify it according to your own needs.

Over to You

Do you have a standard way of handling your guest posts? How do you keep on top of all the posts you have written?

Let us know in the comments below this post.

Timo Kiander, a.k.a. Productive Superdad, teaches WAHD superdad productivity for work at home dads. If you want to improve your blogging productivity, grab his free e-book, 61 Ways for Supercharging Blogging Productivity.

68 thoughts on “56 Guest Posts and Counting: How to Keep On Top Of It All?”

  1. I’ve been getting a few requests for guest posts lately and didn’t think to organize them in any fashion. They are all just sitting in my inbox, I think I’m going to make an Excel file that tracks these requests and any submissions I make.

    Do you organize your submissions to carnivals in the same manner and would it be worth the extra time and effort? My carnival submissions have been rather haphazard, I don’t know for sure which posts have been submitted and published or which ones haven’t.

    1. Hi Jonathan!

      Yes, you should definitely create an Excel file for tracking purposes (or use Google Docs).

      Unfortunately, I don’t have any experiences about blog carnivals, but I’d assume that if the number of guest posts is growing, it makes sense to keep things organized with my system.


  2. Really like this post. I do a personal experiment every month, and I’m thinking about doing something like this for 30 days to see what impact it has. If I do that, I’ll let you know how it goes.

  3. I view my current state of disorganization by the number of half-written posts I have scattered around my computer, desk, notepad, whiteboard…

    When I’m organized those ideas are flying out the door. But when disorganization creeps up, the ideas start to pile up… and that’s not good.

    Great stuff Timo… Awesome to see you here buddy.


    1. Hi Ryan!

      Yep, you should definitely keep track even those posts you haven’t finished :)

      I did the same myself and now I don’t keep thinking about them anymore.


  4. Hey Timo,

    I can seriously notice your guest posts these days. Yes your system works and you’re really a superdad, given that you’re able to write 3-6 guest posts per week apart from having a family life, day job and your own blog. That’s awesome.

    Yes I too had this experience when I started out. I lost track of submissions and I even submitted the same post to two blogs (since one of them was my close friend, I was able to write to her and withdraw my post before it was published in two places).

    Being systematic with guest blogging is highly necessary since it involves other (and more importantly, popular bloggers). A little mistake can easily tamper our relationship with the blogger and/or their audience.

    I then started using Google spreadsheets for keeping track of blogs (and their details, like PR, alexa rank etc.), blog post ideas, date of submission, publish status etc.

    However for the actual blog posts I maintain a private WordPress.com blog where I write (and format) all my guest posts. Using WordPress helps me with not to worry about formatting issues when I actually submit the guest post.

    Some blogs want guest bloggers to register and submit guest posts via WordPress dash. In this case I just go to the html view of the post in my WordPress.com blog and copy paste the post. Even for .doc submissions, this works great.

    Excellent post. Thanks for revealing your system :)

    1. Hi Jane!

      Thank you very much :)

      I think that your system makes sense … are you able to make the WordPress.com blog private (so that no-one else can see your guest posts)?

      Anyway, that’s a very interesting idea … thanks for bringing it up!


  5. Hey Timo,

    Your 56 guest posts and counting is truly impressive and I’m sure you are beginning to enjoy the fruits of that labor already.

    As you know, my answer to your question is yes (so this comment is just an excuse for shameless self-promotion :) ).

    I’ve Identified, what I believe to be, the most important benefit of guest posting and created a system and a free tool to maximize the value of your guest posting efforts:

    That aside, thanks for the peak into your system (guess we’ve compared notes now, as we talked about :) ). I’ll definitely steal a few of your ideas and find a way to implement them into my system.

    1. Hi Tune!

      Yep, I think that your system is something I want to dig in deeper …

      In fact, I’d even like to combine the both if it’s possible :)


  6. Great post- I think there is a lot to be said for having a system. I’m still tweaking mine to get productivity as high as it can be. Don’t you feel slow and groggy in the morning though? I can’t imagine getting up at 5am and wanting to write.

    1. Hi Alex!

      Thank you!

      Well, it depends. Sometimes – yes, I feel groggy. However, quite soon that grogginess is swiped away – as soon as I get a glass of water and sit down to my computer.

      Sometimes I have to wake up a little later, if my son keeps me awake in the night for some reason. But for the most parts, I’m able to get to the writing mode right away.


  7. Hey Timo, wonderful tips my man!

    I particularly loved the spreadsheet idea and how you organize everything there and the follow up tip was the bomb as well.

    That eliminates that damn problem about submitting the same post to several websites…

    Instead submit each one to a specific website, then do the follow up and if it doesn’t gets approved on the suggested deadline, re submit to other website and log/update the spreadsheet with notes about the events that happened.

    Absolutely LOVED IT, thanks man!


  8. Great post, and great tips!

    This advice has come at a great time, as I near closer to doing some guest posting myself. These tips and ideals will come in very handy to keep myself organized!

    As of late, I’ve been using Google docs for the most part..

    “Give everything you do 100%, unless you’re donating blood!”
    —–Tweet this! http://clicktotweet.com/lZQX4

    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Alex!

      Yep, I switched to Google Docs some months ago and I have never looked back. It works wonderfully for my writing – although at times it has connectivity issues.


  9. Good post, Timo. I especially liked the specific details in the numbered sequence. Very clear. I did wonder about this: “I decided to ditch my Word 2010 client and start writing my posts in the cloud (in Google Docs).” Since I’m using Word 2007 I’m not familiar with ‘client’ but I do know that Google Docs allows storing of files in the cloud so you have access from wherever. So I figured out your point and it’s a good one. I think a lot of writers may still be using older versus of Word as I am. Sorry to be behind!

    1. Hello Elaine!

      Nope, no problem!

      My reasoning behind making the switch from Word to Google was just the availability: I could access my files anywhere.

      Besides, I’m making a move to Mac very soon and I decided that I want to have as few applications installed to my local computer as possible. In this scenario, Docs works great.


      PS. a client is just a fancy name for a piece of software that’s installed to your computer

    2. Just to add to Elaine’s question – I still find myself working with Word 2010 solely for its grammar check feature. I use Google Docs for archiving and sharing my work, but its word-processor application is missing a grammar check function, so I am forced to run all my work through Word 2010.

      I would love to ditch Word altogether and only work with Google Docs – any advice Timo?

    3. Hi Alex!

      Yes, that’s a strong point for using Word 2010.

      Of course, my text is checked and proofread by an external proofreader, so I don’t use the Word’s functionality that much.

      I think Google Docs can do some minimal spell checking, but definitely not as much as Google Docs.


  10. Bangin’ post Timo! I can tell by your Alexa that your work has paid off too.

    Wow I need to get back on the guest posting train. I’m only doing a couple a month. And I’m not near as busy as you!

    You’re an inspiration man.

  11. Great post Timo! Right on time for me.
    The last days I was really wondering about how should I “structure” those systems and you saved me a lot of time :)

    Keep up the good work

  12. I’m just getting in the swing of things with guest posting – but I can tell already that this is going to help a lot down the road. I’m definitely going to borrow your approach here with the spreadsheets to keep everything organized. Thanks!


  13. I have only written one guest post therefore a system is not necessary yet. I do plan on doing more in the future and this sounds like a good method to use. I never even considered the logistical issues that could come up with numerous guest posts out there but see that it could be a challenge.

    1. Hi Adam!

      Yep … at some point I realized that I had too much going on – some posts written, some posts submitted but I never knew what their real status was.

      That’s why I created the spreadsheet and it has helped me a lot.


  14. Great post Timo! Just getting started with guest posting and thank god I found your post! I think this will save me a ton of time and headache. And the post on creating compelling content is stellar! Thanks for the great resources.

  15. Thanks for the mention, Timo. I appreciate it.

    I have to second the power of outlining your blog posts before you write them. I outline my stuff 99% of the time. And it saves me oodles of frustration.

    Since becoming a father, I’ve also had to start getting my stuff done early in the morning. I get everything done usually between 8AM and noon. It’s amazing how productive we can be when we’re under a strict deadline.

    Now, I actually don’t have a standard way of handling my guest posts. I remember who I’ve sent what to, and if they don’t answer, I follow-up, and go from there.

    If something is far off in the future, I might throw a reminder for myself in my calendar or on my to-do list. I keep it simple, and it works.

    And this comes from having written hundreds of guest posts so far.

    1. Hi Henri!

      Yes, I read your guest post guide before I even started guest posting and it was a great influence to me!

      I feel that outlining the stuff in advance and early morning hours make wonders to my productivity.

      That’s actually the only way to keep pushing the posts on a weekly basis.


  16. Great post.

    It also emphasises the fact that I’ve been slacking on my guest posting efforts in the past few weeks. This post has really motivated me to give it a really good try again.


  17. While I have all of the tools (Google docs, Calender, etc) I have yet to put a system in place. Thanks for detailing your method, which I intend to emulate. Finland is one of the countries on my Bucket List so I hope to be there sometime in the next five years.

    All The Best Superdad

    1. Hi J!

      Thank you :)

      I hope that my system helps you with your guest posting efforts.

      And sure, Finland is a beautiful place to visit – especially in the summer time. You are welcome!


  18. Great tips on being organized writing guest posts, but was curious why you ditched Word in favor of “the cloud,” and which “cloud” do you mean? Word has the “SkyDrive” cloud, is that what you mean, or Google Docs…?

    Also wondering how using the cloud helped you organize better.

    1. Hi James!

      Well … I realized that I can do all my writing in Google Docs (= the cloud in this case).

      Nowadays, I don’t see any reason to use Word 2010 – even if it’s packed with features and cool things.

      Sure, Microsoft has SkyDrive, but somehow I was more comfortable of using Google Docs as my solution.

      The cloud helps me, because I can access my documents anywhere where there is an Internet connection available.


  19. Whoops! I see you mentioned Google Docs (HOW I missed it is beyond me), but still curious as to how it helps you stay organized. With GD (Google Drive they call it now), I find the latency to be a real issue, and it has fewer customizations for me…So I’m still using Word, with a local hard drive backup – but don’t want to miss the point in using the cloud, if you could explain the benefit.

  20. At the moment, I have trouble getting my own blog posts organised and published, let alone guest posts. lol.

    I am currently working out a system that I hope will help me to work better and focus more so that I can get done what I need to get done.

  21. Loved this post. Awesome thoughts and ideas. I’ve recently compiled all of my posts and ideas into Evernote and I just feel better being more organized.

    …but wow. 56 guest posts. Impressive.

  22. Hey Timo,

    I was also ready to charge around trying to GP everywhere but then I stopped. Why? Because I believe Guest Posting is like anything, it’s not about the number but the quality and also about genuinely having something to say for that audience – I don’t know about you but for me that doesn’t happen naturally every week, whereas I do naturally have something to say to my own audience every week.

    In terms of keeping track, how about just having a ‘published work’ page on your own site? That’s what I do and can easily keep track via those links, plus people can see the (few) guest posts I’ve done.

    Just my opinion of course but all of that planning, submitting without knowing if your posts will be accepted etc. sounds too much like hard work. Personally I prefer a little networking, getting to know the site owners at least a little bit first and then if you happen to have something you think will help their audience – ask them (preferably proposing the article before writing anything) and if they like the sound of it, just send it. Particularly for bigger sites I’m guessing they’d rather wait for something high quality than have something instant anyway.

    1. Hi Alan!

      Sure, those are all valid points.

      At the same time, I like to make sure that the post I have written get’s published. Why?

      Because I feel I have spent my time on writing valuable stuff and I don’t want to spend that time for nothing.

      And although it may seem like “quantity over quality”, I have a different view: I always want to provide the best content possible I can offer.

      I write valuable content for my own blog too, but since my audience is still pretty small, I see the value of getting my content in front of other people instead. That’s why my focus in on guest posting.

      Also, I want to keep things organized and besides, it’s not that much work after all. It’s all about having a habit, which comes naturally after you have done it a while.

      And finally, I do have a page on my blog which lists all the posts I have written:



  23. Hey Timo,
    Great idea – this makes so much sense!

    I frequently use spreadsheets to track a process with multiple steps, and I even tell my customers to use one when creating a scrapbook – list the type of pictures to include, group them by page, detail the journaling to be added, type of embellishment to be created for the page, tasks yet to be done, and so on. Seeing it laid out on the spreadsheet really takes away some of the panic associated with a big task.

    Your process obviously works well for you – you’re rockin’ it!


    1. Hi Carol!

      Thank you!

      Yes, keeping things organized and systematic works in blogging and it seems that keeping things organized works well with your clients as well.


  24. Great ideas Timo!!

    I have been getting few guest post request lately & while I maintained an editorial calendar for my personal blog, a spreadsheet for guest post does make lot of sense.

    Thanks for sharing!

  25. Guest posting is a very lucrative way to get more traffic to your own site, but if you are continually guest posting on someone else’s site, then doesn’t that take away time from your own blog posts?

    I have had guest posts on ProBlogger, & they have asked me for more, but I personally don’t give Darren Rowse my best content. I save that for my own site!

    But you do have to be able to pull out great content whenever you guest post on sites like this one & ProBlogger in order to get the traffic coming in.

    But your blog should be your number one concern. Not posting on everyone else’s.

    1. Hi Wade!

      I agree to a certain extent to what you are saying.

      First of all, you should always strive for valuable content for your own blog.

      At the same time, when you are just starting out with your blog, I find it inconvenient to keep on posting to your blog when no-one is yet reading it.

      Therefore, you need to have the audience to look for the posts on your blog and I have found guest posting to be perfect way to do that.

      Eventually, you can slow down as you audience gets bigger.


  26. Great post! Thanks for sharing! I am creating my Google Doc the second after I hit ‘Submit’ for this comment. I need a system in the worst way.

    Just as impressive as your GP system is that you responded to every comment on this post. That is awesome!

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