I have been writing guest posts for a number of years. By writing high-quality content for authoritative sites within my niche, I achieve a number of key objectives:
- Driving traffic to my site via the host sites I write for
- Establishing myself as an authority in my industry...
- ...which also improves my Google E-A-T
Each of these is a good reason to get into guest blogging. Writing for other sites is one of the most powerful strategies there is for building your brand and growing your business. There is also another great benefit to this strategy that I’ve discovered in the years I’ve been a content marketer: it helps me network in my niche.
When people think of professional networking, they most often think of LinkedIn, the professional social media platform. However, I realized a long time ago that LinkedIn by itself is not enough. Effective networking requires a more active and a more ongoing approach. Building an extensive and scalable guest blogging strategy has allowed me to expand my network and build a vast base of valuable contacts.
My approach to doing guest posts has evolved since that epiphany. Now, instead of simply sending outreach emails to firstname.lastname@example.org inboxes, I take a far more strategic approach.
Here are three advanced guest posting strategies that have helped me build my business networks, make contacts in my niche, and open the doors to more and better opportunities.
1. The LinkedIn + email finder hack
LinkedIn is a great platform with many advantages. If you want to write for a specific website but cannot find the appropriate person’s contact information on the site, chances are high that they have a presence on LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows you to find people by company name and job title, which is useful if you don’t know an individual post-holder’s name.
However, I don’t recommend using LinkedIn’s InMail function to do your guest post outreach. It is relatively costly compared to email (around $10 for 100 InMail credits), and cannot easily be automated. It also has a much lower response rate than email outreach.
Instead, I follow a simple process to find the appropriate person to contact on LinkedIn, and then locate their email address and reach out to them. Here’s how I do it:
First, enter the name of the company or website in the search bar in the top left-hand corner of your LinkedIn homepage:
Next, click on the company name, and you’ll see its LinkedIn profile and how many of its employees have a presence on the platform:
Click on that “see all X employees on LinkedIn” button, and you’ll see a list of everyone who works there and has a LinkedIn account. Then all you have to do is go through the list of employees until you find the person with the appropriate job title. Since your goal is to write a guest post for the site, you’ll want to look for roles like “Editor”, “Content Manager”, and so on:
Some people post their email address on LinkedIn, but most do not. A good email finder can find an email address using just the prospect’s name and their company domain.
Once you find the right contact information, you can email the person right away or add them to a mailing list that you will later use to automate your outreach. Most email finder tools allow you to do bulk searches using the same input fields, so this strategy scales very easily.
This is my favorite time-saving hack for contact prospecting and email marketing. By bypassing website contact forms and generic inboxes, you significantly increase your chances of getting a response.
When you send your emails, make sure you use email tracking software to monitor which emails have been opened, read, and replied to. This ensures you never miss an opportunity to follow up at the appropriate time.
2. The “I can do you a favor” strategy
When you contact people for your guest post campaign, you need to give them a reason to want to work with you. The best way to do that? Offer them something of value. Editors and site owners are busy people, so you only have a few moments to capture their attention and persuade them to write back.
Open your email with a brief introduction to you and what you do. If possible, mention some of the websites that you’ve written for in the past. This helps prove your credibility and that you can deliver on what you promise. Then ask if they’d be open to receiving some guest post pitches. Don’t pitch specific topics yet - you’ll do that later, after you’ve received a favorable response to your initial email.
Next, you can make your email stand out by offering a favor. This could take the form of introducing them to key people in your network, or helping them build backlinks to their site through a long-term partnership. Here’s how I did it recently, to great success:
They may or may not take you up on it, but they’ll appreciate that you’ve taken the time to offer them something of value. Remember: the more you give, the more you’ll get. Offering a favor upfront proves that you’re truly seeking a collaborative partnership, not just for them to do something for you.
3. The “Could you introduce me?” method
If you play your cards right, providing a great guest post can provide you with opportunities to expand your network beyond just the editors you’re working with.
If you’re writing for a recognized site in your niche, chances are they know other editors and content managers at similar companies. Why not ask them to make an introduction for you? The best time to do this is soon after they’ve published your guest post.
When your post goes live, you should always email the editor, thanking them for the opportunity to write for them. This email is your best opportunity to ask the site owner for another favor - specifically, introductions to other relevant editors. After all, you’re no longer a stranger to them -- you’ve proved yourself by providing great content that meets their editorial guidelines and is likely boosting their traffic as well.
Site owners and editors are more likely to trust someone they already know than someone who sends them a cold email. Think of it like a reference or a letter of recommendation.
How do you do it? Here’s an example of an email I wrote recently that worked:
Thanks again for the opportunity to write for [SITE] recently, I enjoyed working on it and it was great to see the piece go live.
I’m actively looking for other guest posting opportunities in the [NICHE] space and I wondered if you know any other editors or site owners you could refer me to? If so, I’d really appreciate a quick introductory email.
Thanks again and talk to you soon,
You’ll get a positive response more often than you think. Many of my best guest posting opportunities come from referrals. Before you know it, you’ll be building your network and getting those referrals will get easier and easier.
In the US alone, there are over 31 million active bloggers (“active” defined as posting at least once per month) in every niche you can imagine. While not all blogs are created equal, you might be surprised just how many sites there are in your niche that would consider allowing you to guest post for them.
Cold outreach is a great place to start, but it’s not where your guest posting strategy should end. Try these advanced strategies to gain new opportunities, drive traffic to your site, and establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry. They will also enable you to make connections with key players in your niche.
The three best ways to level up your guest posting strategy are:
- Use a combination of LinkedIn and an email finder tool to find the people in charge of content for your target websites. This bypasses “Contact Us” forms and generic email inboxes.
- Reach out to editors with the offer of a favor, such as introducing them to other relevant people or creating an ongoing link-building partnership.
- Asking editors you’ve worked with to refer you to other content managers and site owners they know.
Remember that whatever strategies you use, the most important thing is to consistently create brilliant content. Pitch relevant topics, deliver your post on time and in keeping with the site’s guidelines, and ensure that everything you write provides valuable information and actionable insights.
Content marketing is no longer just about building links. It has the potential to build connections and prepare your site, your business, and your brand for further growth. As you write more guest posts, you’ll grow your reputation and build your network. This network, in turn, will open the door to more opportunities - and more prestigious ones - in the future. It really is a virtuous cycle.