Blogging or content marketing is one of the sure ways to grow your website. Producing helpful and entertaining content consistently over a period will prop your website to the top of Google searches.
Blogging for your business is great but what I want to introduce is blogging for other business. Why would you spend time blogging for other sites while you would want to grow your own? That is a good question, and I am here to answer you.
First let us define Guest blogging or Guest posting.
What is Guest Blogging
Guest blogging put simply is writing on other peoples’ blogs. There are more complicated explanations like the process of writing articles for other websites to achieve certain goals like expertise or branding.
The main reasons people Guest blog is to:
- Building domain authority
- Getting valuable backlinks
- Get traffic back to your site
- Creating Blogger relationships
- Show people that you are an expert
Let us get to understand these points much better.
Why is guest blogging important?
Here is a better explanation on why guest blogging is important:
1. Building Your Domain Authority
Domain authority (DA), Domaine ranking, and Google page rank are all arbitrary figures that companies have come up with to show which website is better than the other. Other than Page Rank, which Google might or might not be using, none of them are official in the eyes of Google.
Although many search engine marketers use these figures to determine which site is better than the other and which one can be used to get links from. Although they are not accurate, they are a good assumption.
Guest posting provides you the backlinks that you require to build your DA. This in advertently grows your site.
Domain authority is built by having many sites linking to yours. The issue is not the number of sites but the quality of the site. If a site has a high DA, it is preferred over having many low DA sites.
When other bloggers see your site has a higher DA than theirs or others, they would take this opportunity to link to your content for free. They also want to be seen as linking to experts.
2. Getting Valuable Backlinks
For any site to grow or be seen on page one of Google, it needs a sizeable number of quality backlinks. It is hard to get backlinks from other sites because web owners are very particular and do not want to link to other sites. They are afraid if they do this, Google will lower their page rankings.
The only other way to get backlinks to your site is by guest blogging on excellent quality sites.
Backlinks, or do follow links or inbound links are links that point to your site from other sites. These links are like votes of confidence telling Google that you are a credible website, and you deserve to be higher in the search rankings.
In your guest posts you can include a contextual backlink to your site or at the author section and Google will pick it up.
3. Generating Referral Traffic
If you are to guest post in a big enough blog, you are abound to get referral traffic. Assuming you have well researched which blogs you are going to write for, you already know the audience size. When the readers read your blog, they will be curious to what you do and go to your website.
This will bring in referral traffic from your guest posts. This referral traffic could end up being potential business for you.
When picking a blog or website, you want to look for a site that has a lot of readers but also a lot of people who comment on the blog posts. There are some sites that have millions of followers, but they don’t comment or engage with the posts. You could be tempted by the traffic size, but they should be avoided.
You want a website where the users are engaged and when they see something they like, they comment, like and share. This will bring in more traffic to your website and also it shows Google that what you have written is worth being indexed.
4. Creating new relationships
Guest posting is some form of relationship building. You will have to reach to several bigger blog owners to let you post on their blogs. There are bloggers with whom who readily accept submissions on their site but with others you need to have a relationship with them.
When they see that the relationship is of value to them then they will let you guest post on the blog. After they approve your posts, you will always have to check with them to see how the post is performing, getting feedback on how to write better and hopefully clients.
As they are already bigger than you in the industry, they could also introduce you to other opportunities with other bloggers. These bloggers would let you guest post on their blogs. This could go on making you well known with the industry leaders.
The key to make these relationships last is to respond quickly and kindly; be prompt with your work; create amazing content; and be open to criticism.
I should mention there are people who will refuse outrightly to be your friend but that should not be taken personally as it has nothing to do with you but mostly with them.
On your own website you are the full authority on whatever you chose to write. People who come to your site will have to take your expertise at face value. Some of them could be sceptical but they will still agree.
On the other hand, when you write for bigger sites and you come out as an expert more people will be inclined to view you as an expert or an authority on the subject. This is because you already have brand endorsement by the blogger who is giving you an opportunity on their blog.
Also, when you are seen in a couple of reputable blogs people will naturally assume that you know what you are talking about.
This has an ancillary benefit in the eyes of Google as well. Google will notice your expertise as well and improve rankings of your website.
Your blog has a limited number of people who read it or who look at it. When you want to grow the audience size you can either pay for readers using pay per click campaigns or grow your website. As both take time and money the quickest way to increase your reach is by guest blogging.
Guest blogging introduces you to the other bloggers audience. Depending on the size you could be looking at hundreds to thousands of new eyeballs. These same people could share the same article to their friends which would significantly increase your reach.
This would have never been possible by just blogging on your own. Even if you chose to guest post on a smaller blog, you would still have new people looking at your content. The number might not be as large, but these are still new opportunities.
Before you guest post
Before you start guest posting you need to define your “why” clearly. Your why would be your goals. Before you start typing out 1000+ words you need to know why you are guest posting. What goals are you trying to achieve?
Its impressive to see your name on a certain site giving you some recognition but at the end of the day you are running a business and everything you do has to have a profitable purpose.
Your goals should also not be generic, they should be S.M.A.R.T goals. In that they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and Timely. Your goals shouldn’t just be increasing the number of readers but should be increase the number of reader by a certain amount by a certain time period.
The goals will help you come up with the right content strategy while at the same time the right blogs to pick in order to achieve them. For example, if you are trying to build backlinks you have to look for blogs that are in your industry and write for them. On the other hand, if you are trying to generate brand awareness then you would look for blogs that are not necessarily in your industry but close to it.
You can have more than one goal for your guest blogging strategy, but the main point is that you should be objective in trying to achieve the same goals.
Here are some goal examples that you would like to have:
- Increase the x number of backlinks in a certain period
- Increase referral traffic by a certain percentage
- Increase number of leads by X amount
- Show up on page 1 in a few months
How to find Guest Posting Opportunities
Finding a guest posting opportunity isn’t as easy as it seems, and it requires a lot of elbow grease. You should know from the start that there is a lot of rejection coupled with a low reply rate. There is a good reason for this.
- They already have a content calendar prepared and want to stick with it
- They are tired of being pitched by SEO professionals who only want a backlink and they provide very spammy articles
- It has taken them a while to be where they are now, and they are very protective of their audience.
- They simply don’t have time to go through every email pitch that is sent to them.
Identifying Prospective Blogs
If you like being organized like the way I do, you will want to prepare a spread sheet. With this spreadsheet you will have five columns namely
- Email address
Ideally, if you are starting out you would want to look for blogs that aren’t well known. The reason being the larger blogs won’t respond to your requests and after a while it becomes very discouraging.
- When selecting the sites to post on, you would want to look at:
- Sites that have a decent domain authority
- A good number of monthly visitors. It is hard to tell how many site visits they normally have, so you will have to use the assumed numbers that websites like Ahrefs gives you.
- Blogs that have some of engagements
- An audience you would be interested in
- You can write topics that you are passionate about
- Has a good amount of social media followers
How to find guest blogs
Popular Guest bloggers
In every industry there are people who are already well known. These are the guys who have a huge following and are known to write plenty of articles in various other blogs other than their own. In fact, they are even celebrated when they post about something.
One way of finding guest blogging opportunities it to look for these industry leaders and find out where they have blogged. Once you have found the list of websites in which they have been featured you can safely assume that the site owners are open to guest posts.
To do this you would search for their name + guest post by on Google and the search engine will provide you a list of sites where their work has been featured. E.g.
Name + “Guest post by”
Google is your friend. You can use various Google Search strings to find out various guest blogging opportunities. All you need to do is put your industry first and then a search string like “submit guest post”
Here are examples of various search strings:
- site:domain_name.com “submit guest post”
- site:domain_name.com “guest post by”
- site:domain_name.com “submit your post”
- site:domain_name.com “become a contributor”
- site:domain_name.com “guest author”
- “guest author” “keyword”
- “guest post” “keyword”
- “keyword” inurl:contributors
- “keyword” inurl:authors
- intitle:”guest post” “keyword”
- inurl:”keyword” “contributor”
- Your Keyword “guest post”
- Your Keyword “write for us”
- Your Keyword “guest article”
- Your Keyword “guest post opportunities”
- Your Keyword “this is a guest post by”
- Your Keyword “contributing writer”
- Your Keyword “want to write for”
- Your Keyword “submit blog post”
- Your Keyword “contribute to our site”
- Your Keyword “guest column”
- Your Keyword “submit content”
- Your Keyword “submit your content”
- Your Keyword “submit post”
- Your Keyword “This post was written by”
- Your Keyword “guest post courtesy of ”
- Your Keyword “guest posting guidelines”
- Your Keyword “suggest a post”
- Your Keyword “submit an article”
- Your Keyword “contributor guidelines”
- Your Keyword “contributing writer”
- Your Keyword “submit news”
- Your Keyword “become a guest blogger
- “Your Keyword “guest blogger”
- Your Keyword “guest posts wanted”
- Your Keyword “looking for guest posts”
- Your Keyword “guest posts wanted”
- Your Keyword “guest poster wanted”
- Your Keyword “accepting guest posts”
- Your Keyword “writers wanted”
- Your Keyword “articles wanted”
- Your Keyword “become an author”
- Your Keyword “become guest writer”
- Your Keyword “become a contributor”
- Your Keyword “submit guest post”
- Your Keyword “submit an article”
- Your Keyword “submit article”
- Your Keyword “guest author”
- Your Keyword “send a tip”
- Your Keyword inurl: “guest blogger”
- Your Keyword inurl: “guest post”
- allintitle: Your Keyword + guest post
Another way of using Google is by searching for lists of websites that accept guest posting posts. There are tremendous resources out there that have been divided according to industry or vertical. From here you can pick the sites that you would like to write for.
This is my favourite way of looking for guest blogging opportunities. This works mostly on twitter and Instagram because it is easier to search through different tweets. All you need to do is search the following words “guest post” (you have to use quotation marks) you will get a ton of handles that have posted or have been featured on posts. You can add your industry before the “guest post”
This is common sense because anyone who guest posts is bound to share it on their social media handles. The best part of twitter over Google is that twitter indexes things much faster than Google and you can get a ton more opportunities to guest post on.
Another advantage Twitter has over Google is you can easily create a relationship with the person who has shared and learn about the guest posting guidelines.
Lastly, one other way of getting guest posting opportunities is by looking at what your competition is doing. Since you are trying to beat your competition, you must look at which sites are linking to them so that they have a higher ranking than you.
You will find that they have guest posted. With this information you can approach the same blogs or websites and see if they are also open to let you post on their site.
There are plenty of tools out there that can help you check the backlinks of your competition.
Now you are ready to approach these bloggers or site owners for an opportunity to post for them. By now you could be thinking all the backlinks you will be getting, or all the referral traffic but you have to consider one thing first.
You must consider what value you are going to give to these bloggers. There is a good chance you are pitching to people who have had their blogs for a while, and they treasure it dearly. So, they would quality material from anyone who is going to guest blog.
Before you pitch them, you should consider the following:
- How useful your expertise will be?
- Your writing style – does it match the host
- Is there a topic that you know well, and they haven’t written about?
- What is the audience level, are they beginners, intermediate or advanced?
- Are you writing for other businesses or customers?
- The type of content that is normally written. Are they how tos? Tutorial etc
- If there other guest posts on the site you can see how well they perform. You would be looking for things like engagement, likes and shares.
- Also from the previous point, look at the type of people they invite to write for them.
With this information you will know how to pitch your prospects to ensure a more positive result.
There are blogs out there that have done all the hard work for you. They understand the value of guest posting and have an editorial page that provides guest posting outlines for you to follow. Being the astute person that you are, you will go through what they are looking for in posts and craft your posts to their liking.
Personalize Your Email
It ok to assume that the person you are writing to has received the same request 100 times already or even that day. And this is where guesting becomes tricky because you have to rise above the other 100 requests.
When you are writing your guest post pitch you will be required to do some research. You should know who manages the blog so that you can avoid writing “Dear sir” or “madam” and lastly “website owners”. If you can’t find out who you will be writing to on the website, you can hop on to LinkedIn or Facebook to see who does the posting.
Facebook is a better bet because they are more motivated to respond quickly. This is because FB keeps a counter on how long someone takes to respond to posts. This means people want to seem as responsive as possible.
LinkedIn is also great, but you have to jump through hoops. You have to connect with the person and sometimes people aren’t active over there and might miss your connection request.
When writing your cold email, try to follow these following tips
- Keep your email short
- Provide value in the first three sentences
- Introduce yourself
- Showcase your previous work
- Show them why you are the best person to write for them
- Or ask them to pitch 3 ideas for you to write.
Pitch multiple sites at once
There is a certain fact that many sites will either ignore you or flat out say no. even with the perfect pitch the success rate is normally low at around 5 to 10%. With that information it means that you must pitch a good number of sites before you get a positive response.
Even when the blogger agrees to let you write for him or her, s/he might take his time to get back to you. It could be weeks or months before they approve your post and make it go live on their end. This means you need to reach out to as many guest blogging opportunities as ever.
You do not have to come up with a new article for every time you are pitching a new prospect. You can use the same one repeatedly. If by any chance that you pitched to someone and they take his or her time and later approve it when you have already sent it to someone else, you can apologize and tell him or her that the opportunity has passed. Although you can produce another article for them.
The only drawback to this is when you get experience, you will find that multiple sites have given you the green light at the same time and you have to address this. You can either ask for more time to produce new content or apologize to them telling them that you had approached other bloggers.
Honesty is the best policy. It’s also a benefit to have many options as opposed to none.
Writing quality guest blogs
Everyone says that you have to write quality guest blog posts. The problem comes in how people describe quality. I am obviously assuming that you will not be copy other people’s work or producing really poorly written content.
There are distinct types of blog posts out there so defining quality is not as easy as we would like it to be. Although it is universally understood that your blog must show your expertise and knowledge. The readers of your guest blog would like to come out from reading it by saying they have learned something new.
Also, it should be noted that your blog should follow the writing principles in that:
- It has good grammar
- And it has been meticulously organized
When it comes to the content itself the articles should:
- Provide answers to questions
- Define terms
- Create trust
- Examine and explain pain points
- Provide solutions that haven’t been presented by other posts outs there.
- How to avoid potential pitfalls.
How to get better content
This is a term coined by SEO legend Brian Dean of Backlinko. He told us to look for the top content in the industry from various blogs and find ways to improve it. The best blogs out there have not covered all the topics exhaustively and this gives you a chance to add on to what has been written.
Also due to rapid change in digital marketing or any field the techniques that are being proposed in the best blogs are now outdated. So you would want to provide new solutions that would help people today.
Step by Step posts
The best way to help people out is by coming up with a how to guide or a step-by-step post. This is where readers can follow what you did and get the same results you had gotten in the past. Actionable content like this is what Google also prefers and sets you up to be an expert in the field.
Breaking down lengthy articles
There are times you will find yourself writing an article that is well researched and you end up having 4000 to 5000 words in your post. As you know all the information that you have provided is good but you might not want send the website owner such a massive article.
The solution to this would be to breakdown the article into various chapters which will eventually become standalone articles. For example, if you wrote about a certain topic you would have the following structure:
- Benefit of topic
- How to do topic
- Challenges faced by topic doers
With this example you can have 3 separate articles that you send out, i.e., the benefits, how to and challenges faced by topic. There is also an added benefit because when you breakdown the articles to sub articles it will take a much shorter time to write and present.
SEO friendly guest posts
You should ensure that your posts are SEO friendly. This is whole another topic to write about, but I will keep it brief. You would like the post that you write to rank on Google as well as being seen on the guest blog. This will benefit you and the website owner.
The simple things you can do is:
- Ensure there are H1, H2, H3
- Properly structured articles
- Include images
- Include article schema
- As much as you would be writing for an audience pay attention to what Google would prefer.
One of the main reasons you would be guest posting is to get backlinks. Backlinks that would link to your website to improve its ranking. Most people who let you guest blog on their blogs will let you have two contextual backlinks in the body of the articles and one in your author bio.
You can go the extra mile by including backlinks to the owners blog post. This shows the owner that you have done your research and you would like to improve his or her ranking as well as yours.
The backlinks that you have on your post need to be relevant to the content as well where they are pointing to. They should also provide more useful information to the reader. Try to point the backlinks to one of your blog posts than to your homepage.
How to scale Guest Blogging
Writing blogs takes a lot of time and energy to do it. On average it takes three and half hours to produce great content. You might not have the three hours in your schedule and if you do you can’t do it consistently.
This is where you would need to hire a write to help you churn out 3 or 4 articles per week. It is much easier and faster to edit an article than to write one from scratch. This will free your time to look for guest blogging opportunities. Making it easier to scale and grow your site.
Guest post Bio
Most of the demanding work has been done by now. We just need to make our efforts get rewarded and we do this by using the guest post bio. The guest bio is where we provide information about ourselves and qualify that we are experts.
It is also the place where we are allowed to put up self-promotional material about ourselves, websites, and products. A guest post should include:
- Backlink to your website -This can be your homepage or any other blogpost.
- Landing page link – if you are looking for people to subscribe to a service.
- Social profiles – this is especially useful growing your social media presence.
Rather than having a boring Author Bio, try to spice it up by including a joke or talking about one of the hobbies you have. This would encourage people to click on your links to go to your bio. After all we are only human.
Ensure live links
After you have written your guest blog post and submitted it, its time to wait for it to be posted. When the article is finally live you might find out that there are no live links pointing to you site and that might be a bit disappointing.
You will find that the owner of the blog has not linked back to your site for several reasons. S/he is lazy; is afraid of linking to a lower quality site and getting penalized by Google; and s/he might remove the links after some time. This puts you in the back foot as you do not know what to do next.
Luckily you aren’t the only person who would have faced this and there are ways to increase the likelihood that they will link to you:
Link to other properties
Don’t link to your website but to other guest posts that you have written. If the owner is not aware it is a guest post he might let it slide. When you link to one of your previous guest post, link juice is transferred from his or her site to the guest post and from the guest post to yours.
Share on social media
If you tell the site owner that you will be sharing the article with your social media following s/he will be more inclined to keep your links. If the person knows that it could mean more traffic to his site he will be more than willing to keep your links for a while.
Monitor the content
After posting the guest post, keep in touch with the blog owner. Thank them for giving the opportunity while at the same time be available to respond to any comments that are on the blog posts. The owner will be impressed to see that you have taken the time to answer and that indeed you are a true partner. They will also be looking out for more content from you.
Everything should be measured to see how well your guest posting is doing. Hopefully by now you have gotten a couple of guest blogging opportunities and you are ready to see the results.
To see these results, depending on the goals set up earlier, you will have to find a way of tracking. Tracking can be done using free tools like Google analytics and other paid services e.g. Ahrefs.
Using Google analytics you can go to the Acquisitions and then to source and look up referring domains. From here you can see how the traffic is behaving on your site. You could notice a spike in traffic and how it is browsing your site.
Paid tools like Ahrefs helps to show you the number of backlinks, referring domains and the anchor keywords used to link to your website.
After a blog post has gone live there is a possibility that someone may comment on your post. It is up to you not the site owner to go back and respond to every comment. The owner will be pleased that you are taking time to respond to the comments.
Another advantage of following up is that you could ask the people who commented for an opportunity to let you guest blog on their site. Often they are in the same industry you are writing about. This will incredibly increase your guest blogging outreach.
Lastly you should send a thank you note to the website owner. This will create a favourable relationship between you and the owner. When in the future they are looking for further guest blogging opportunities he or she will be more than happy to let you do it.
Guest blogging like most things require a lot of time to succeed. You will not make it by having one post in a bigger website. You require a strategy and plenty of guest posts out there to bring in the results you are looking for.
There is an internet influencer who was able to do eighty guest blogs and was able to go from 0 to 300,000 monthly visitors by just guest blogging. He was also able to get plenty of backlinks and moved to page one of Google on certain topics.
This is something most of us would drool for, but it requires time and a lot of effort to do. The potential results are what we want, and they last for an exceptionally long time.