If you are thinking of starting guest posting but don’t know where to start, then this guide is for you.
What is Guest blogging?
Guest blogging is contribution of content on others’ websites or blog. The guest normally have an opportunity to include a byline/bio as well as a link back to their website/ landing page
Many content creators are adopting guest blogging as their integral part of their strategy. This is because guest posting has rippled benefits, even though it’s a time consuming process.
There are many benefits of guest blogging for writers:
- Builds high quality backlinks
- Improves search engine ranking
- Improves brand awareness
- Fosters business relationships
- Boosts authority of the guest blogger
- Reaches new audiences and markets
- Important in list building
- Grows social media following
- Drives quality traffic to their website
- Builds backlinks that boost site SEO
How to Start Guest Blogging in 8 Actionable Steps
An effective guest blogging strategy involves several steps, each being a critical to the overall content marketing goal.
These steps include the following:
- Determine your guest blogging goals
- Build your content portfolio
- Research niche websites to target
- Qualify guest posting sites
- Develop blog post topics/ideas
- Create the perfect pitch
- Write a unique and valuable guest post
- Promote your work
Determine Your Guest Blogging Goals
You want to set the pace and direction for your blog. This way, you will know exactly what every facet of your website aims to achieve. There are several marketing objectives that guest blogging can achieve. You want to narrow down to the ones that can help you achieve the main goal of your overall digital marketing strategy.
Your guest blogging goals will determine the direction and extent that your guest posting should take. Some of the guest blogging goals include:
- Boost search engine rankings
- Attract targeted traffic to your website
- Generate more leads
- Reach wider audiences
- Introduce your products and services
- Penetrate new market segments
- Build authority around your industry
- Increasing brand awareness.
Now, setting your goal will help you tailor your guest posting accordingly by re-examining your guest posting opportunities. For instance, if your goal is to improve search rankings, then you want more quality links from authoritative sites under your niche. On the other hand, if your main goal is generate tailored traffic, then you want to target websites that have wider social reach, bigger email lists and that generally receive tones of organic traffic.
Build Your Content Portfolio
When you send a pitch to a potential guest post host, you want to include a link to your best work. If you haven’t been published before, then it’s hard to convince someone that you are any good.
By determining your goal in the step above, you also got to re-examine your niche as this will be a very important element when searching for sites to guest post for. To have social proof, the easiest way is to grab your own domain, purchase hosting and build a niche website.
The next thing is to set up a blog and post two or three high quality articles that discuss the topic in detail. These will be the articles that you will use as your portfolio before you get accepted for big publications.
Research Niche Websites to Target
When looking for guest posting opportunities, it is tempting to want to rush to larger publications such as HuffingtonPost, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Cnn, abc.com, etc. While these sites can get you tons of traffic, it is very difficult to get through
Focus on medium niche websites that are in the same industry as yours. Relevancy is important especially if your main goal of guest posting is to improve your search engine rankings through quality links.
The best way to find websites that accept guest posts is to use Google search Strings. Search your keyword as you would normally with Google, but include special phrases such as write for us, contribution guidelines, submit post etc. in quotations.
- Keyword “guest post”
- Keyword “become a guest blogger”
- Keyword “guest blogger”
- Keyword “submit an article”
- Keyword “submit article”
- Keyword “contributor guidelines”
- Keyword “guest author”
- Keyword “write for us”
- Keyword “contributing writer”
- Keyword “submit post”
- Keyword “submit your content”
- Keyword “guest article”
- Keyword “submission guidelines”
- Keyword “guest post opportunities”
Qualify Guest Blogging Sites
By going through the step above, you now have a list of potential guest blogging sites. Now, it’s time to start qualifying them. Look for sites that will help you achieve your guest blogging goals that you set up in step 1.
What types of websites should you consider to pitch for?
You want to consider websites that are:
- Relatively larger than yours, but not ridiculously large
- On the same niche as yours
- Associated with authoritative content
- Have a strong authority in search
- Allows do-follow links and offers author bio
- Offers do-follow link and author acknowledgement
You can use tools such as Alexa site info, Moz and Ubbersuggest to find information about the sites you have extracted. Add your list of qualified guest blogging sites onto a spreadsheet or any other tool that you use to manage your lists.
Develop Blog Post Ideas
This is perhaps the most challenging step of your pitching path. Knowing exactly the topic ideas that will be valuable to the readers of the website that you are guest posting for is not as easy as it might seem.
Pitching a wrong topic halts your far-fetched guest posting path towards a website. So, you want to do it right. Stop pitching general topic ideas.
Guest posts that do well/get accepted are those that takes the reader through a journey of problem encountering to the problem solving. Share a secret that worked for you. Tell a story of overcoming while remaining relevant and captivating.
To research topic ideas, go to the particular website, skim through the popular content and note the following details about them:
- The tone of writing
- Headlines formatting
- Blog post types e.g. Listicle, how-to, tutorial etc.
- Average word count
Craft the Perfect Guest Blogging Pitch
Coming up with the right post ideas is only one piece of the puzzle. To get published, you need to get the attention of the publisher.
Since this is purely a cold email, unless you have interacted with the editor before, you want to ensure that your pitch is comprehensive, intriguing but short and precise.
You need to:
- Contact the right person. If it’s a single author blog, then it shouldn’t be a problem finding the owners contact information so that you can reach them directly. In some cases, you need to follow their submission path, which usually involves a submission form
- Personalize your pitch. Though you have crafted the perfect pitch template for your guest blogging requests, you need to make the host feel as if you know them personally. Give honest compliments where necessary. Mention their websites, most popular article etc. Address them by their first names.
- Follow the blog’s submission guidelines. Most websites that openly accept guest posts usually have a dedicated landing page that outlines their guest posting guidelines. Pitch ideas that fall under their recommended categories. Skim through their best guest posts to see what types of content they are publishing
- Craft a Compelling headline. You want your email to be opened. Interesting subject lines that are more specific tend to have better open rates than the generic ones
- Get to the point as fast as possible. Tell the publisher about your guest post idea and why you feel that this post will suit their audience. Point to links of your published work then sign off. Do not educate them on the importance of guest posting. They know that already, that’s why they are accepting guest posts
- Add proof of your quality and value. Include links to other guest posts you’ve written, your own articles on your website, your social reach, etc. The power of social proof can never be overestimated.
Write a Guest Post That is 5 Times Better
…than your normal content.
You’re writing for a big authoritative publication. The goal is not only to have it published, but to also wow their audience so that they can perceive you as an expert in your niche.
Apart from following your publisher’s guest posting guidelines, you need to take time to create content that adds value, brings new ideas and explores industry content gaps.
When linking to your website, make it natural as much as you can so that your content doesn’t sound promotional. If it does, it might never see the light of day. It will end up in the publisher’s trash. You don’t want that.
What to Do after Your Guest Blog Post Goes Live
Woo! It’s live. You just received an email that your guest post was published on popularblog.com!
You can’t hide the excitement and you’re good to work on your next blog post. Not so quick. After you have your guest post published, you need to ensure that it gets the exposure that it deserves
Things to do:
- Share your blog post on your social networks. Schedule to re-share after a few days or weeks.
- Reply to every comment. If you guest posted on a site that has so much engagement, chances are it will receive dozens of comments. Reply to every comment that readers leave on your guest post. Provide in-depth value instead of the generic, ‘thank’ you for your comment’
- Link it on your website. You can do so either by updating a relevant post on your blog, adding your Media Coverage directory, or writing a new post that summarizes the guest post and includes a link to it.
You’ve learnt how to start guest blogging. Now it’s time to implement these strategies. Follow these eight actionable steps and let us know how it goes by coming back and leaving a comment on this post or by contacting us