Are you looking for ways to share your two cents on a particular trend?
Are you trying to get traffic for your business website?
My guess is, “Yes.”
Yes, you have a great website in place to attract your desired audience, but the traffic you get leaves a lot to be desired. You are at a crossroads and can’t seem to figure out how to generate organic traffic to your website. You probably have written tons of articles, and the traffic spiked for a while but has stalled over the past few months.
You haven’t done anything wrong; you just haven’t assessed all the options on the table.
Having a blog on your website is an excellent idea as it helps with your on-page SEO, but you also need to improve your off-page SEO game with external links. Blogging as a traffic generation method is a delicate craft that requires hard work. So, guest blogging should be a top priority of yours if you’re serious about promoting your brand.
Guest blogging is a method of blogging often employed by bloggers to increase traffic to their sites. Guest bloggers write articles for other blogs in their industry as independent contributors. This is usually done by first pitching the content to an influential blog in your niche, getting approval from them, and then coming out with the content itself.
In exchange for providing stellar content, guest bloggers often receive backlinks to their website or any pages they want to promote. On top of that, guest blogging can also be a great way to connect with other bloggers, which can be incredibly helpful for other reasons than the backlink alone.
With that said, the main reason that most people engage in guest blogging is for the backlink; a proven way to increase a site’s domain authority.
How Guest Posting helps with your Domain Authority
Making your website accessible depends on a lot of factors. The “Domain Authority” concept encapsulates the popularity and trustworthiness of a website. Increasing the domain authority of your website should be a topmost goal.
Domain authority is a metric measuring from 1 to 100. It predicts the chances of your website getting ranked on the first page (page 1) of the search results for a particular keyword. If your domain authority is somewhere below 25, it’s going to be quite daunting for you to get to the first page for any of your chosen keywords.
One of the best methods of increasing your domain authority is to guest post often. Guest posting on other blogs serves as a form of exposure for your business/service. By guest posting on other blogs, you can get a ‘DoFollow’ backlink from the website, which will increase your domain authority over time.
Guest posting allows you to promote yourself, your services, and boost your website’s SEO score points. Guest posting helps increase traffic to your site when you earn backlinks subtly hyperlinked into the article.
Preparing the Foundation for your Guest Posting Campaign:
✔ Create Your social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.)
✔ Follow influential people in your niche
✔ Improve your social media presence (comments, repost, likes, shares)
✔ Determine the target audience you want to reach
✔ Determine the size of the audience you want to reach
✔ Work towards driving a certain amount of traffic
✔ Start building a strong authority in search
Your Guest Posting Checklist:
✔ Does your niche expertise reflect in your writing?
✔ Is your writing free of plagiarism, and grammatical errors?
✔ Do you include links to authoritative and reliable sources in your article?
✔ Was your guest post well received and appreciated by the audience? (social media shares, likes, comments are metrics to use)
Our Step-by-step Guide
1. Determine Your Guest Posting Goal
Just like most business strategies, a well-thought-out guest posting strategy starts with identifying your goals.
Understanding why you need to get into guest posting will help a long way in determining your guest posting goal. Are you trying to build a writing/blogging career? The answers to these questions will help you ascertain your guest posting goals.
As a blogger trying to gain prominence in your niche, you can become a contributor or guest author and submit unique articles to a publisher. The content you write must not belong to any other website or organization. If the publisher agrees to publish your piece, you are allowed to include a bio or link back to your site.
As a business owner trying to make more sales or improve brand awareness, your guest posting efforts will be centered around trying to write content that educates and informs an audience about your services. Writing content that blatantly advertises your product is not considered guest posting. For example, if you are a dentist, you can write an insightful piece on “How to beat Dental Anxiety.” After writing the article, the publisher may allow you to hyperlink your sales page or give you a bio space where you can advertise your services.
No matter what your goals are, guest posting will help you:
• Increase brand awareness:
Serves as a platform to introduce your project and services. Get people to know about you and your brand.
• Boost SEO points:
Bolster your off-page SEO efforts by earning high-quality backlinks for your website.
• Show audiences your unique selling point:
Let people see how your knowledge, products, or services can solve problems.
• Improve social media visibility:
Guest Posting increases social media following as more people will want to engage with you or your brand on social media.
• Build niche authority:
Write detailed guides and position yourself as an industry expert.
• Improve website traffic:
Drive more traffic to your website through referral traffic.
Managing your expectations based on what you want to see from your guest posting efforts will help you create a clear road map moving forward.
2. Find Relevant Guest Posting Platforms
There are several ways to find relevant guest posting platforms in your niche. There are several websites that have done the hard work for you to collate hundreds of blogs currently accepting guest post submissions.
We recommend you check out these lists:
If you are not satisfied with the list they compiled or are looking to do the brunt work yourself, we have highlighted three powerful methods to find websites that accept guest post applications:
a) Google Search
Google search provides answers to most of your worries, including where you can find blogs for guest posting in your niche. But, in this case, your Google search technique has to be a bit different than casual searching. By using Boolean search methods that involve the use of specific keywords and combinations peculiar to your niche, you increase your chances of finding the right platform for your article.
“write for us”
“guest post opportunities”
“this is a guest post by”
“want to write for”
“submit blog post”
“contribute to our site”
“submit your content”
“This post was written by”
“guest post courtesy of”
“guest posting guidelines”
“suggest a post”
“submit an article”
Image via SEMrush
Digital marketers use SEMrush for a plethora of reasons. SEMrush allows you to search and find guest post opportunities. The ‘Market Explorer’ tool allows you to find big market players and know if they are accepting guest posts.
You can input an inquiry with powerful search keywords like submit post” or “This post was written by.”
c) Twitter Search
Image via Backlinko
Beyond the retweets and trends, the Twitter search is a resourceful medium for discovering guest posting opportunities. Yes, Google search shows some tweets, but Twitter results are fresher than Google’s index. This means you can find publishers that are currently accepting guest posts.
Google doesn’t index some tweets immediately, especially if the tweets are not from verified (verified tick) accounts. Chief editors and publishers use twitter to disseminate key information to their audience. You can create the habit of using the twitter search button every day. Use “[keyword]” guest post to find unique and fresh guest posting openings.
3. Researching The Right Topic
Once you find the perfect website for your guest posting campaign, the next thing to do is to find the right topic. Ideally, you should go for something that’s within your wheelhouse. Take a pen and a sheet of paper or use your device’s notepad to write a few topic ideas that will help you connect better to your target audience.
You should try to avoid topics that have already been covered on the website’s blog. At the same time, you shouldn’t stray far away from what should interest the audience in that niche. Your topic should be uniquely crafted in a way that it spurs interest and offer a solution. Take your time to go around the site and prioritize topics that haven’t been covered yet.
On top of that, a good practice to ensure that you come up with a topic that will resonate with the target blog’s audience is to see how other guest posts have performed.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself when reviewing other guest posts on your target site:
1. What type of audience does the most popular content cater to?
Do your research and find out if the best guest posts are targeted at those in the B2B space or general consumers. Or, how competent does the audience have to be to get the most out of your guest post?
2. What is the preferred format for the content on your target blog?
On certain blogs, the audience expects a thorough, in-depth resource, while others might prefer an article that is broader and covers a wide range of topics on a more fundamental level.
Once you have decided on who you want to target with your content, and how you plan to format it, it’s time to conduct some topic research to get some ideas on what the topic for your content will be.
These topic research methods below include tools and tips that will help you find the most trending and interesting niche topics for your guest post:
Image via Quora
Have you ever used Quora to get answers to a question that Google couldn’t help you with? Quora allows you to start a conversation by either asking or answering a question on a particular topic.
The Quora community thrives on collective knowledge. Millions of Quora users share their knowledge on various subjects and niches. Even the most mundane questions receive nuanced answers on Quora. Now, how do you use Quora to research suitable topics for your guest posting?
Quora’s topic search feature makes it easier to source for questions and answers in a specific niche. It is a great research feature that lets you identify trending topics in any industry. You can get the best topic ideas from the most recent questions and answers. The Quora community comprises of both industry experts and newbies, so there is a lot to choose from.
b) SEMrush Topic Research
SEMrush is an online mecca for digital marketers looking for an all in one platform. You can now dig out ideas for your content creation process. Topic Research helps you to search for the right topic for your guest post with just a few clicks.
To get ideas, go to the tool and enter the desired keyword. After aggregating the data, The Topic Research will show you trendy subtopics, headlines, and questions related to your keyword. You are off to a quick start.
c) Use Alexa’s Audience Interest Tool
If you are unsure of your ideal target audience avatar, use Alexa’s buyer persona template to build a profile of your perfect customer. Alexa’s Audience Interest Tool also allows you to find what topics your audience resonates with the most and websites they visit regularly.
Input your website or a competitor’s website that attracts the kind of audience you need. Alexa’s Audience Interest Tool generates a list of categories that attracts the audience to that website (yours or your competitors).
Image via Alexa
Bloggers want to publish articles that discuss current trends because it means more traffic for them. When you use these tools to find a target area and build your topic around it, they’re much more likely to accept it.
After coming up with your list of potential guest post topic ideas, weigh them against each other with your target audience and format to see how they stack up. For example, if the target blog’s audience prefers in-depth tutorials, you might find that certain topics and better suited for this than others.
It’s important that you are absolutely sure that your content will add value to the blog you plan to guest post on before sending your pitch. Nothing puts off a blog owner more than an irrelevant guest post pitch. If you’ve done your research, it will definitely show in your pitch, and you stand a much better chance of getting a shot to land that guest post.
4. Prepare and Send Your Pitch
Now, you have your kick ass topic and everything is mapped out for the next stage; The pitching phase. It’s important to note that not all your pitches will be accepted. Your “perfect pitch” may not be what the publisher is looking for at the time. Nevertheless, if you don’t pitch, you will never know. It’s crucial to maintain the course and keep sending pitches to your desired guest post platforms.
The Ingredients of a Proper Pitch:
• Create a compelling subject email line:
You are most likely not the only one who has been accepted to guest post, which also means you aren’t the only one pitching the publisher. Your pitch has to stand out from the rest. Writing subject lines like “Guest Post Submission.” simply doesn’t cut it.
• Use a personal approach:
The copy and paste method may seem efficient in terms of the number of pitches you can send. Sending the usual “guest post submission” email pitch will sound distant and detached. Let the publisher know you read their website and let the writing tone sound like a one-to-one conversation.
• Outline the benefits:
What’s in it for the publisher? You must outline the benefits of publishing your post on their website. What does your article cover? How did you cover it? Are there new methods or angles that will benefit the publisher’s audience? By outlining the benefits of publishing your post, you have demonstrated to the publisher that you did your homework and genuinely care about their readers.
• Share your previous works:
Show the publisher some of your published works in your niche. By sharing your works and social media channels, you are creating an impression of someone who is not just starting out. You are covertly letting the publisher know what you can bring to the table once they agree to post your piece.
How a Successful Pitch Plays Out:
• The first pitch
• The publisher’s response
• The ‘thank you’ email
• The email from the publisher notifying you that the post is live and telling you they’ve just shared your post on social media.
To better illustrate this, have a look at some real examples of successful guest post pitches. Make a Living Writing has a fantastic resource on their site of such examples, and you should definitely have a look at these examples to get some insights on what a great pitch looks like.
A great pitch that stands out is one sent by another popular blogger known as Bamidele Onibalusi. It contains all the key elements of a wonderful pitch, which includes a compelling subject line, a personal approach, and outlining the benefits of doing the guest post.
Check out the pitch itself here, along with some other great pitch examples.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can also check out some bad examples of guest post pitches on Make a Living Writing here, where they show some examples of what not to do when it comes to pitching.
A common theme among the bad pitch examples is that most of the writers are using templates that make them sound like they’re written by robots. If your target blog is popular in your niche, chances are they can spot these templates from a mile away and won’t even bother replying to your pitch. Also, most of the bad pitchers don’t even bother to read the blog’s guidelines, which is a sure-fire way to turn the publisher off.
In short, make sure you put enough time into crafting your pitch! This is arguably even more important than the guest post itself because you won’t even get a chance to produce your article if you don’t get accepted in the first place.
Take the time to thoroughly read the guideline and actually type out a personalized pitch instead of relying on templates. Phrases such as ‘your audience will love this’ attached at the end of a totally irrelevant pitch are extremely annoying and show that you are just trying your luck to get a backlink.
5. Write Your Guest Post (Upon Acceptance of Your Pitch)
This is the stage that requires your attention the most. Writing the perfect article is a meticulous task. From gathering reliable sources to digesting the tidbits, writing your opening, conclusion, and proofreading the entire piece; the devil is in the details.
a) Follow the Publisher’s Guidelines
Before you start writing, you should ask for the editorial standards or guidelines. The publisher or chief editor may email you a copy, and if not, you should find the guidelines in the “write for us” section of the website. It’s very important to follow the guidelines as the chances of getting your article published relies heavily on your adherence or otherwise.
Check out the editorial guideline for Thrive Global; a health and wellness website (they accept guest posts from independent contributors).
b) Avoid Blatant Promotional Languages
This may sound counter-intuitive as the primary goal of guest posting is brand awareness. However, you must refrain from blatant advertising. The article is meant to inform and educate an audience without hard-selling them. You will get the chance to say more in the bio section or when there is a link back to one of your pages.
Proofread your final draft over and over again. The First impression matters and remember you should be pushing for the “wow” effect when you submit your article. There is no margin or error for grammatical errors or non-factual statements. Edit and proofread your work to ensure that it is crisp and professionally written. If you are not that good at proofreading yourself, then you should hire a professional editor from fiverr.com or any other top freelancing sites.
d) Remember to Include a Link Bank to Your Website
Some websites do not allow you to link back within the article, but most do. Organically Include a link to a piece of content on your website or your sales page. This helps to drive targeted traffic back to your website, which is good for both SEO and could get you some sales.
e) Send a Professional Bio
Write a professional bio that highlights your experience, values, ideals, and services. Prospects are always looking to connect with an authority figure in their niche or industry. Your bio is one of the best avenues to convince readers that you are who they should follow. Your bio should also have a call to action like “connect on LinkedIn,” “subscribe to my podcast,” and more. The goal is to drive readers to where you need them to be.
Today’s technology age has made things easier with AI enables software that helps make your job easier.
These tools will help you write faster and more efficiently:
ii) Title Capitalization
Title Capitalization is a free service that helps you automatically capitalize your titles and subtitles.
iii) Coschedule Headline Analyzer
Coschedule Headline Analyzer helps evaluate your headline based on certain metrics like word balance, headline type, length analysis, headline tip etc. With Coschedule Headline Analyzer, you can create compelling and SEO friendly blog topic ideas for your articles.
iv) Hemingway Editor
Looking to write like the legendary Ernest Hemingway? Hemingway Editor will help you polish your writing to a crisp and insightful piece. You can use this online tool to check for lexical, style, and grammar errors.
v) Follow Up
Your work isn’t over once your guest post has been published. The follow-up phase is another critical phase. You will need to maintain a good relationship with the publisher and probably pitch another topic. You will also need to promote the post on your social media channels. You are now a published writer, own it! Share your wonderfully crafted article on Twitter, Facebook, your blogs, LinkedIn, Youtube, Pinterest, etc.
Do not forget to mention the brand/website you wrote for so you could get a retweet or repost. Watch out for comments both on social media and in the comments section of the post. Comments can come in the form of positive or negative feedback. There is no need to get confrontational when you see a negative comment. If it’s an error on your part, admit and apologize for the mistake. Reach out to the publisher for a quick edit on the piece. If it’s a subjective comment, reply professionally and avoid any conversation that devolves into trolling or abusive languages.
Lastly, don’t forget to link back to your website or sales page.
Once you have done a couple of guest posts, you should start observing if there are any improvements in these areas on your website:
• Number of comments
• Changes in keyword ranking placement
• Number of new clients
• Number of brand mentions or link
• Amount of referral traffic
• Number of unique website visitors
• Number of social shares
These metrics serve as a scoreboard in determining if you have reached your guest posting goals and sites that missed the mark. Understandably, you don’t want to guest post forever, but guest posting for certain websites helps put you on the radar. Once you have identified the sites that had the most effect on your business, you should consider guest posting often for them.
Now you know how guest posting can benefit your business in terms of promotional, SEO, and revenue value. You can always come back to track your progress based on the five guidelines we outlined.
We beckon you to put this information to use and create a guest posting plan built around a solid pitch, exhaustive topic research, flawless writing, and continuous follow-ups. It’s a “rinse and repeat” process that requires focus and determination.
It’s important to review your guest posting goals regularly. You aren’t just sharing free excellent content; you are trying to build a brand: every click, referral, comment, and view matters. You should also avoid submitting poorly written content just for the sole purpose of amassing backlinks. The search engines are getting more sophisticated by the minute and can see through a flurry of poor link building.
You will get penalized if you buy backlinks or write incoherent content that doesn’t offer value. It might take some time to see the effects of guest posting on SEO or brand awareness, but when the benefits start trickling in, you will be glad you started guest posting.
Do not guest post on websites that are not in your niche or similar to your niche. It will make no sense to send a guest post on social media marketing to a pet grooming website. There is almost no benefit since your target audience, and the pet grooming’s target audience is not the same.
Lastly, you can also do a guest post exchange with another website. Your criteria for guest posting should be the same when other writers or business owners approach you with guest posting offers. A plagiarized or shabby guest post can also affect your website adversely. Good luck guest posting on a hundred sites (or a thousand).
If you have any questions about guest posting, share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Jeremy has been running several online businesses behind his laptop for the past 5 years and he has worked as a freelance web developer previously. A trained marketer by profession, he also has Ruby on Rails and web development knowledge. His forte lies in eCommerce, SEO and content marketing. He’s been featured on Vice, Thrive Global, YFS Magazine, Forbes and several other publications. He prefers to connect with people on LinkedIn.