Ramit Sethi: I Will Teach You To Guest Post (In 5 Steps)

Michael Alexis
I’m Michael Alexis and I video interview the world’s top bloggers at WriterViews. Check out this ProBlogger article from when I interviewed Ramit Sethi.
Michael Alexis
Michael Alexis

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Michael Alexis
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Ramit Sethi, iwillteachyoutoberich.com

Ramit Sethi: I Will Teach You To Be Rich

In 2004, Ramit Sethi launched his personal finance blog I Will Teach You To Be Rich (IWTYTBR). Every month, Ramit’s blog welcomes hundreds of thousands of readers, and he’s used it to launch courses, products and his New York Times best selling book. When I did this audio interview with Ramit, he told me, “guest posts have been one of my best strategies for growing my blog,… and I continue to do guest posts today”. So, Ramit, how do you write blog posts that not only are going to be featured on other blogs but are also going to bring you traffic?

The Importance of Small Steps Like Cutting Back on Lattes:

Just the other day, Ramit got an email from a guy wanting to guest post about cutting back on lattes. Sounds pretty typical for a personal finance blog, right? Not IWTYTBR, as Ramit points out, “anyone who has ever read my site knows that I ridicule people who cut back on lattes because it’s a totally pointless task”. Oops.

Spend a lot of time doing research. Ramit remembers when he launched his site, “there were about 12 big personal finance blogs… and I basically studied them carefully, I learned what each of them stood for”. Part of your research is also finding out whether a blog’s audience is totally different than yours. Ramit learned this from making the mistake of spending 15-20 hours writing posts for blogs that just seem similar, and says “you don’t want to be putting yourself in front of even a million people, who are just not like you”.

Take Away: Once you’ve spent the time to learn about a site, its style, topics and voice, then you can contribute to them and make friends with the owners. Better yet, you will be able to write articles that resonate with readers, and drive more traffic to your site.

Build Relationships Through Comments:

If you send Tim Ferriss an email, you’ll get this instant and automatic response: “Thank you for your email, sadly it will be deleted”. So, how do you get through to Tim? Ramit remembers being at a conference where Tim told someone: “Honestly the best way to get in touch with me is to leave a comment on my blog. I read every one of those”.

The Blog of Tim Ferriss gets 100+ comments on every post, so to get noticed you need to make comments that are on topic and add value to the conversation. Apply that same thoughtfulness when commenting on every blog you read, and you can build a rapport with the writer. When you eventually pitch your guest post topics, you won’t be just another anonymous person filling up their inbox.

Example: “Hey Michael, this is the best guest post I’ve read about guest posting in a long time. One suggestion I have is to always make your comments three sentences in length, here’s an article about it”.

Get Personal With an Email:

Ramit’s next step is to send this quick little email:

I really loved that article on weight lifting or whatever it is, you did a

great job. I especially liked, blah, blah, blah. I think there was one thing that you might have overlooked. Have you seen the new research from XYZ? Take a look, it might actually inform some of your future blog posts.

Flattery works, and with an email like this “you’ve acknowledged that they’re great, you’ve taken the time to read their stuff, and then you’ve also added value to them”. Ramit says the key to the relationship building power of this email is that “everyone’s really looking for someone who is looking out for them”. So, who are you looking out for?

Take Away: Helping busy people is an awfully good way to get to know them. The next time you can add value to one of your favorite writers, send them a quick email and let them know about it!

Pitch Your Post:

Four steps in and we are finally ready to start talking guest posts. Ramit says a good way to follow up on your helpful emails is to send a note saying: “Curious if I might be able to send some guest posts your way. Would you be open to that?”. When the blogger says yes, Ramit has a draft email ready to fire off. There are four parts to this email:

  1. Why: I am writing to submit guest post ideas to Problogger.net.
  2. Who: I’m Michael, and I interview top bloggers for WriterViews. I’ve written for XYZ, here’s an example.
  3. What: Here are three bullet-pointed ideas I thought might be really interesting. Of course I’d be open to doing any other ideas if you have them.
  4. How: If this is cool, I will send over the entire post, fully written and ready to be dropped into WordPress.

Ramit says “a lot of people come to me with one idea, they’re married to this idea, and the idea either it’s just not good, or it’s not good for my audience. I would much rather they come with three ideas”. It is also important to pitch ideas before sending your full post. It’s “just like publishers don’t want you to write a book before you go to them, they want you to have a book proposal”.

Take Away: Once you’ve built a relationship with a blogger, pitch them three interesting ideas for their blog. By sending three ideas, the blogger will have a harder time turning you down.

Make Your Guest Post Absolutely Incredible:

So, your favorite blogger wants you to write a guest post, congratulations! Ramit’s says “your number 1 goal is to make it absolutely incredible. Make it so good that the site owner is like ‘I love it. You can guest post here any time you want'”. Incredible posts take a ton of time, and Ramit spends “12 to 15 hours writing each guest post… they are more comprehensive than even most of the posts you will find on the host’s site”. Ramit adds that for your first guest post self promotion is a secondary goal.

Want to write a guest post that is stellar? Ramit says if someone is writing a guest post for IWTYTBR, “when they link to a book they would actually do the research to include my Amazon affiliate code. What does that do? Number one, it shows me that they are thinking of me, not themselves, and number two, it’s just that level of detail. That shows me that this person is probably going to be terrific to work with”. FYI, Ramit’s Amazon affiliate code is IWTYTBR-20.

Take Away: Write guest posts that are so good you get an open invitation to write again. This is an opportunity to build a relationship with not just the blogger, but also with their readers.

Final Thoughts:

Guest posting is just one of the many strategies Ramit and I chatted about in our interview. Now I’m acting on that advice. So, how’d I do? 


  1. Hi Michael! Thank you for a great post. The pitch was the most interesting part in my opinion. The only draw of guest posting is that it takes time.
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