Essential Marketers Guide to Successful Guest Blogging

Essential Marketers Guide to Guest Blogging for Success

Why would anyone spend lots of time and effort just to write great content to be published on someone else’s website? It doesn’t make sense right? Wrong! A successful guest blogging approach can grow your audience, position you as an expert and importantly, improve your website SEO. Not only that, a guest post can bring more traffic back to your blog, which can lead to more enquiries and business.

Does that sound good? Absolutely! In this guide, I will explain how to get started in the world of guest blogging, what to look out for, and set you up with all the knowledge you need to get a great head start.

Given that this is a fairly detailed guide to guest blogging, I’ve put together a quick menu below. This allows you to click on the headings to jump straight to that section, or continue to scroll down to read it in full (recommended).

So let’s get into it!

What is guest blogging?

The concept of guest blogging is not new. Guest blogging is simply writing a piece of content to be published on someone else’s website. Typically the upside of this approach is that the publishing website gives me a backlink to my website and this also brings me new traffic and a larger audience.

The guest blog publisher gets the benefit of well written content for absolutely free, and in exchange, you get the benefit of being featured on another website. This in turn broadens your opportunities to build a larger audience and more backlinks, which improves your own blog or website SEO.

The best part of guest blogging is that you don’t need any paid tools or technical skills; you just need a passion to write and a decent blog of your own. Read a guide to guest blogging, watch a video or two, and you’ll be full bottle in no time.

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Why guest blogging is great for your marketing

Any worthwhile guide to guest blogging should cover the benefits you can gain as well. Successful guest blogging can bring a number of personal and business benefits to you. These benefits include;

Exposure to new audience

If you’ve just written a fantastic article on a specific topic, and include your own link at the bottom, with your personal bio, there’s a good chance that readers are going to click through, to find more of your writing.

Increases your authority

I never forget the time I wrote for a fairly well known brand, and didn’t think much of it, until I had clients and friends mention it, as if it were really important. At that point, I realised that writing for other blogs and websites positions you as an expert, which really can help build your personal brand and profile.

Builds your backlinks

This is a benefit that many people go after, to the detriment of the other benefits. The old backlink can really help with your target website SEO metrics. For example, some sites I know spend an extraordinary amount of effort every month to get 10 or more guest posts published, so they are always building their backlinks.

Grows your personal brand

I know, the phrase personal brand may sound contrite, but not at all! It is important to build up your personal brand for a number of reasons, such as your own career advancement and potentially if you are freelancing or starting your own business too.

Having your name in a byline on well written guest posts is a great way to reaffirm your own personal brand, whilst also enjoying the process of guest blogging.

Generates qualified leads

Some of the best business leads I have had are the result of an article I penned for another website or media outlet. Sure, some will come as a result of your own blog, however what people often forget is that a guest post may have been the catalyst for that person to find your blog or website.

Grows your social media audience

Where possible, you should always be including your main social media accounts in your writers bio. This is a great way to build your social media connections further, and that helps when it comes time to share the guest posts and other writing that you have done, or will do in the future.

A great writer over time will build quite a following on social media. I’ve seen this happen a number of times over the years.

Improves your writing

They say the way to perfect something is to regularly practice it. A guest post is a fantastic opportunity for you to hone the craft of writing that little bit further.

If anything, I tend to be more critical and take more care in the writing I do for other websites than my own. With my personal blog or business websites, I don’t need to impress an editor or get feedback from fellow writers, yet when I submit a guest post, I often do.

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Steps to best guest blogging workflow
Steps to best guest blogging workflow

Proven steps for successful guest blogging

The first step to using guest blogging aka guest blogging to bring more traffic back to your blog is to write a number of fantastic articles on your own blog. I’m talking about a number of great articles, at least one or two exhaustive articles as well. That sort of content that helps your readers do something they really need to do or answers their important questions.

The more people that are looking for an answer to the question your articles are answering, the better. You want to aim for lots of people looking for your posts. In the end, we’re going to be utilising the guest blogging strategies to help boost your own articles on Google’s search results.

Let’s say you have written an awesome article that answers the question “Where to blog”. Now those words alone could be the title. Those are the key words for the post and you’ll find them in the title, in the permalink and also several times throughout the post.

Your new post should be long. It should explain several ways to answer that question “where to blog”. Where possible, the guest post should include links to other resources, on your blog, on other people’s blogs and around the web. It should be like this guide to guest blogging, really. Your post should have just the right amount of content – however not so much to bore people – and then it should also include other sorts of media, like videos and images.

The point of all this effort and time that you are spending on this one single blog post is to write a piece of cornerstone content that will drive interest and traffic for a long time to come. It has to be better than any other blog posts on the same topic.

Let’s say you are blogging about something like indoor gardening. You should try to pick a question or an issue within indoor gardening that’s really heavily searched and people really want an answer to. However, if you’re blogging about something broader and popular like fitness, then you should try to pick an area of fitness that people have burning questions for, maybe like something specific within the fitness topic.

Once you have written this cornerstone piece of content, you can basically forget about it for a little bit because you’re going to be writing articles for other blogs in the meantime.

You’ll want to pick your own keyword phrase – maybe a long tail keyword of 3-6 words – that’s important to your niche. When someone searches for this phrase, you want them to find this blog post you have written.

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Create your guest blogging plan

Before you just start sending out hundreds of emails asking for a guest post, you need to start with a plan. I don’t mean dozens of pages of SWOT or marketing fluff, I mean a simple plan of what you are trying to achieve.

This is literally a reflection of that old saying “Fail to plan, and you plan to fail”. Start by working out what you are trying to achieve – more backlinks, build personal brand, etc and then dot point out some goals. Write 5 guest posts this quarter, get a guest post published on XYZ, etc. The goal setting component is pretty self explanatory, and I don’t feel I need to spell it out for you.

Choosing the right topics

You should really try to focus on writing guest posts in similar topics to what your blog typically covers. I mean would you want to write about gardening as a guest post topic, if your blog is all about entrepreneurship? I mean the SEO benefit is one thing, however the audience won’t find anything to connect with you, if it is that disparate to your usual topics.

While people may enjoy your content, and it is great there was interest, they aren’t likely to visit your blog and become a regular reader, if your topics aren’t in line. If the guest post audience enjoys your writing, they will come visit your blog because they’re already interested in that topic.

Finding quality guest blogging websites

Finding the right guest blogging opportunities is trickier than just hitting Google and searching for ‘guest authors wanted’. Ideally, you have access to one of the professional SEO software tools out there, such as Ahrefs or Moz.

I mean that’s the main purpose of my guest blogging database. All the data and research behind those listings allows you to save time in researching places to guest post.

I mean, sure you can search on a number of phrases, which I outline in their own section below, however you’ll also get a lot of websites that have been created purely for the purpose of taking money off people so they can get a guest post published there.

Pitching your guest blogging

I personally receive at least 20-30 emails a week, pitching guest posts. I know that many of them are totally insincere, and the senders are just after a backlink for SEO purposes. They don’t care who I am, or what I am doing on my various websites.

They are just trying to say something that comes across as really genuine, so they can catch my interest and get me to say yes. I’m more likely to respond I’m not saying this is the perfect strategy or that I’ve got it down perfectly however it’s worked well enough for me to bring me lasting traffic overtime

Create a fantastic guest post

You should always provide some sort of short bio and a call to action at the end of every guest post that you write. The call to action ideally ties in with the subject of the guest post, and could be some form of subscriber incentive that you will be offering.

The writer or author bio is obviously important because sometimes I will read a blog post and then not realise it was a guest post. There may be like just one little line in the footer that says that it’s a guest post, and the author is XYZ.

Having that short little “About the Author” bio can be really great coverage for you and they might go back to your website.

Tracking your results

Your job with guest blogging isn’t done when it is published. It has just started! There’s four tasks you should ensure that you do straight away.

  • Send a big thanks email to the publisher
  • Share the link across your social media accounts
  • Let any people or brands you mentioned in the guest post know about it
  • Track the referrer traffic

Send a big thanks email to the publisher

They may have scored some free content for their website, but you’ve also benefitted in the exchange here. Sending a nice thank you email to the publisher means they are more likely to remember you, and possibly engage you for future guest blogging later.

Share the link across your social media accounts

Just like you would promote your own blog posts across your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media accounts. Where you can, you should also tag in the website or publisher that your guest post was published on. That way, they can see that you are being proactive in promoting this post, which will bring traffic to their website.

Let any people or brands you mentioned in the guest post know about it

This is an important step. If you mention any brands or people in your guest post, or any blog posts, you should make a small effort to let them know about it. If you don’t have a direct email address for them, or in the case of a brand, anyone there, try hitting them up via Twitter or their social accounts.

Track the referrer traffic

You need to use Google Analytics to get an idea on the visits that come as a result of your guest post. It’s easy to find what websites are directing traffic your way.

Acquisition report in Google Analytics
Acquisition report in Google Analytics

You can find this under Acquisition and then channels.

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Phrases to find guest blogging opportunities

If you’ve looked through the database here and now want to try your own research at finding guest blogging opportunities, there are a number of google phrases you can use to help find the right sites.

For example, here’s a list of some of the phrases you could try searching for;

  • Send a guest post
  • Become a contributor
  • Submit a guest post
  • Write for us
  • Submit an article
  • Become an author
  • Submit post
  • Submit blog post
  • Add blog post
  • Write a guest post
  • Suggest a guest post
  • Guest bloggers wanted
  • Contribute to our site
  • Become guest writer

Now, if you want a specific niche or topic, you can combine them within quotes, to get more specific.

Guest blogging search operators
Guest blogging search operators

Advanced Google search operators

The phrase above “digital marketing” +”write a guest post” means that you only want pages that feature both of those phrases.

Another trick is to use title:”submit a guest post”. That title: denotes look in the page titles only for the phrase in quotes.

Another very handy search operator is inurl:”guest post”. The inurl: tells Google to search for pages where the URL contains the words in quotes.

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Tips to succeed at pitching guest posts

Pitching guest posts is actually harder than it sounds. Any worthwhile guide to guest blogging should explain that, and give you some forewarning. As someone who has received hundreds of pitches over time, I can assure you that the best pitches take a while to research then write, and are definitely not some canned email sent to hundreds of sites..

Be genuine

My first tip is to be genuine. Don’t write “I have been reading all your blog posts for the last X years”, because I know you haven’t. Don’t give fake platitudes or compliments, they look fake and all they do is offend.

The most effective method is to read their recent posts and take a snippet you like, and show them you read it. Something like “I was just looking over some of your recent posts. I really liked the bit where you state “Always choose the right person to write for you”; I agree!

By making actual genuine connections with people, you are more likely to be warmly received.

Write well

The next tip should be pretty obvious, however deserves a mention; you must write well. The pitch emails that really stand out to me, are the ones that are friendly but professional. Absolutely everything has been spelled correctly and there are no grammar errors.

These are the little things that really matter to me, because if you’re asking to post on my blog – where all of my readers are going to see it – I want to know that you’ll write a well written article. Use Hemingway or other tools if you want that extra confidence.

Pitch useful topics

My next tip cannot be overstated. I run a blog which is all about human resources and leadership. The amount of times I get pitches with topics about completely random subjects not at all related to what we publish is crazy. What a waste of their time and mine.

Always think about the target blog’s readers, and what topics the blog publishes, not what you want to write about. Sure, you may be trying to sell Vacuum Cleaners, but I’m not going to publish an article on that. I could possibly publish an article on leadership and there’s a quote from your vacuum cleaner company CEO or something.

Show gratitude

To me it’s just good manners that you should always thank the recipient for their time reading your email pitch. If I am going to look for a writer later, to guest post, then I’m more likely to reach out to those who are friendly and polite.

I’m not saying you need to beg or sound super humble, just be polite. It costs nothing to say “thank you for reading”, however it leaves a good impression.

Be responsive

I often get emails that sound urgent, yet when I reply it then takes weeks for a response. Don’t be that person. If you want the guest post opportunity, don’t come across as slow and unresponsive.

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After your guest post is published

You’d think a guide to guest blogging would stop after you hit publish, but that’s not true. The first task once your guest post has been published, is to genuinely thank your hosts for the opportunity. Think about it, they’ve been generous enough to open their blog home to you, and they’re giving you a little space in there.

From there, the next step should be for you to promote your latest guest post on your own social media channels, and ensure that you tag the publisher in those tweets and mentions. Obviously, by doing so you’re driving a website to somebody else’s blog. However, they’re doing you a favour by letting you guest post on their website to begin with. Always ensure to promote these articles you’ve written on all of your social media channels. Just the same way that you would for any of your own blog posts.

If they accept comments on that blog, make sure you spend some time and effort to respond to any comments that your guest post may attract. If the publisher has time to respond to the comments, they can. However, if not then at least you’ve got it covered too.

This is really great for you as well because you’re interacting with a new audience. This could also be really great coverage for your website and other platforms as well.

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To your success in guest blogging

So that’s my complete guide to guest blogging. I hope you found value in the methods you can use today to start building a successful guest blogging process and folio. Over time, you’ll be making lots of great contacts and building an audience that looks out for your byline.

We’ve covered a fair bit in this guide to guest blogging. If you need to jump back up to a specific section, here are those links again;

All the best in building up a regular habit of successful guest blogging, and getting a name for yourself in publishing circles. Good luck and happy blogging!

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