Guest blogging is receiving a lot of internet marketing buzz at the moment. Pro bloggers are regularly publishing new articles giving guest blogging advice. However this doesn't necessarily make the newbie's job easier as the information is scattered around the web. Worse, at least 80% of posts you read just share how great it is and why you need to try as well.
I am an active blogger and guest blogger: I know how hard it is to find really useful actionable advice online. So I created this post to gather into one place everything you need to know to start guest blogging. This is not a huge all-in-one guide that takes you nowhere. Here you'll find only commonsense tips you'll want to put into practice.
Define your priorities
The main reason people decide to guest blog is to build backlinks to their websites. Yes, links are not easy to build, especially for ecommerce platforms where backlinks seldom come naturally. And guest blogging can be an efficient way to get some backlinks from powerful blogs.
However if you start guest blogging for links alone, you are doing it wrong from the very start. This may sound harsh, but it is true: the moment you start focusing on getting backlinks alone, the quality of your content starts getting poorer. Don't get it wrong from the very start: aim higher to get better results.
As well as link building, consider other long term benefits of guest blogging like networking and branding. Don't just think about the one or two links that each guest post directly brings. Also think how guest blogging makes you closer to influencers and how it makes your personal voice stronger and your brand more powerful.
Read more about the right attitude to guest blogging in What Guest Blogging Is Not: Getting it Right
Do your homework###__Case studies__
Following are a couple of open case studies to show how other people use guest blogging to promote their projects:
How I used Guest Blogging For My Startup: Note the three types of guest posts mentioned in the post.
Guest Blogging - A Real Life Case Study: A very old but very interesting piece sharing the results from a guest post.### Guest blogging guidelines and etiquette
Guest Post Guidelines (menwithPens.ca): Please note the quality requirements here. They are very well outlined: be creative, innovative and unique. (Also, I can't help but proudly note that these guidelines were created after I had submitted a guest post on creating guest posting policies.)
Create a plan
One of the hardest things you'll have to learn to implement a successful guest blogging strategy is to get organized. The thing is, guest blogging is optional, so it is easy to neglect it and move your next guest post to a later date.
You may have your own tricks to get organized. My way is to make promises. Until I promise a guest post to someone, I find it hard to start writing it. Once I promise to write a guest post, I feel obliged to, so I'll write it within a day or two.
So my way to be a productive and organized guest blogger is to send as many guest posting pitches as I can and promise a guest post to everyone who replies.
Look for blogs to guest blog for### Consider the blogs you read and know
The easiest and the most natural way to start guest blogging is to contribute to blogs you read regularly. You already know their style and can probably imagine what appeals to their readers. So go ahead, open your feed reader and get in touch with bloggers you know and appreciate.
Pay more attention to bloggers who:
• Announce they are sick or are going on vacation and "might keep silent for a while"
• Have stopped updating blogging as often as they used to (perhaps they are too busy to blog and your guest post will come in quite handy).### Search Google
While contributing to familiar blogs is a great start, guest blogging is a powerful way to enter new communities. Google is a strong research tool that will help you get a better feel for neighboring niches and blogging hubs.
Here's a cheat sheet of various search tips to find guest blogging opportunities on Google to get you inspired (and busy). Let us know if you have any other ideas and I'll add your search tips to the spreadsheet.
Use Wordtracker Link Builder
Wordtracker's Link Builder tool automates finding relevant blogs and other categories of link prospects. With Link Builder:
• you can enter a keyword relevant to your own site (eg, bbq if you have a site selling barbecue equipment)
• Link Builder will return the inbound links to the top 10 ranking URLs (and their domains) on Google for that keyword
• Link Builder will then prioritize these link prospects and categorize them into different types of sites, including blogs, trusted sites, directories, social media and more.
I just tried this bbq search on Link Builder and with one click and in less than a minute it suggested 415 blogs for me to consider (out of 7,296 different link prospects). Try Link Builder free for 7 days here.
Mark Nunney, Editor
Joining the (guest) blogging communities like My Blog Guest can help increase your productivity because:
• Bloggers only join the community if they are actively looking for guest contributions
• This means a much better response rate and much faster turnaround
Don't expect too many A-listers looking for guest bloggers there as busy professional bloggers have no time to network. Instead, you can enter numerous niche communities of bloggers happy to accept a guest post from you and eager to help promote it.
Wrapping up the three most efficient ways to find guest blogging opportunities, here's a handy comparison table (please mind, I don't think you should choose one method. I myself use all of them. The table should be used to learn what to expect from each of the methods, not to choose one).
|Blogs You Know||Random Blogs You Find on Google||My Blog Guest|
|Entering new communities||No||Yes||Yes|
|Variety of blogs||Low||Highest||High|
Brainstorm guest post ideas
Once you have the initial list of blogs you'd like to guest post for, it's time to start brainstorming guest post ideas. To make sure each of my guest posts is unique and useful, I use the following formula when brainstorming a guest post idea:
My personal style + The topic I am knowledgeable about and/or interested in + General topic of the target blog
The best way to get all your guest posts approved is to provide value with every post. Make the most of each post and you will keep the rejection rate to a minimum.
Using the 'site:' Google search operator is a great way to browse through previous guest posts published by the target blog and see how they were received.
• [site:blog.com guest post]
• [site:blog.com guest blogger]
• [site:blog.com guest author], etc.
Write a good guest blogging pitch
Now that you have a great post idea, it's time to write a pitch. A guest posting pitch is no different from your general blogger outreach strategy. So nothing new here, I guess:
• Always make sure to personalize. Spend as much time as you need to find the blogger's name. Mentioning some cute little personal detail inline with your guest post pitch always shows you do care about this community and opportunity.
• Follow up using social media. Twitter makes flattery easy but don't overdo.
• Include the post or describe your guest post idea (which you have created specifically for this blog).
The cheat sheet
Here's a little handy cheat sheet to make sure you remember all the steps:1) Find a blog you want to guest post for.
2) Research who guest posted for it before and how these guest posts were received (use [site:blog.com guest post] Google search command).
3) Brainstorm an interesting guest post idea and write your best post.
4) Find the "Guest posting guidelines" and follow each step religiously. Find out how many links you are allowed to include. Learn the required image width and post length, etc). If there are no public guest posting guidelines, see what other approved guest bloggers were doing before you (see point 2).
5) Write a good personalized guest posting pitch.
6) Wait at least a week and then follow up (try following up using public Twitter @ message).
7) Wait for your guest post to go live and participate in the further discussion (reply to comments, track tweets and likes, etc).
8) Find more blogs and repeat steps 1-7.
Good luck with your guest blogging.
About Ann Smarty
Ann Smarty is a search marketing blogger at SEOsmarty.com and editor at Search Engine Journal. She is known for discovering and reviewing various SEO tools. Ann is owner of MyBlogGuest.com, the free platform where bloggers and marketers can join to exchange guest posts for mutual benefit. If you are planning to start guest blogging, join MyBlogGuest and get involved!