Guest blogging is a fantastic opportunity for you to share your industry knowledge as well as establish yourself as an authority figure in the field that you specialise in.
Gust blogging done properly can also drive a lot of traffic to your website as well as the site you are guesting on. When choosing your prospects ensure that all of the sites fit your target audience profiles too so any traffic generated as a result will be worth the effort you make to produce an amazing article.
The primary focus for guest blogging should be traffic generation but it is obviously a great way to build links too and for this reason, it just so happens to be featured in our old school link-building tactics round up.
We feature it our other article as an old school tactic as guest blogging has been around for a long time and over the years has been abused and our old school techniques article sets the record straight on it.
Despite being a great opportunity for links and traffic those who are open to guest submissions will receive countless submissions on a daily basis. In this article, I will summarise the ways you can stand out amongst other guest bloggers and finally get published! Obtaining quality guest locations is not easy but by following the steps below you will stand the best possible chance of succeeding
Audience analysis is incredibly important in the guest blogging process as getting your audience right from the beginning will highlight your industry knowledge and show the potential website owner you know yours and their audience well. Ensuring there is a synergy between the two audiences will also ensure that your efforts are maximised in terms of return for yourself and them. Here are some factors that you should note:
Knowledge Level: Is your targeted blog intended for beginners looking for how to guides or experts looking to share information and join in with debates? To better understand an audience’s level of knowledge you can refer to previous posts on the site.
Audience nationality: Understanding where the majority of the audience are based can help you to tailor the language you use accordingly. The UK and US have different spelling variations and although they tend to be minor adapting your language will save the Webmaster editing time. This should also improve your chances of becoming a regular contributor.
Relevance: In short, keeping relevant and properly researching the site you want to contribute to will keep you from looking like an absolute twit. If you make a pitch to an influencer and what you’re offering is completely irrelevant to their audience then you might as well send off your pitch with the subject line “SPAM”. The only way your guest blog stands a chance of being successful is if your content fits in with theirs.
My bad, that’s the better type of spam.
FIND GUEST POSTING OPPORTUNITIES
Unless you’re gifted with a photographic memory you won’t remember all of the sites that you have found. Making a list that you can keep going back to will keep your efforts in check and ensure you are not contacting the same site more than once. This is part of the process you need to get right as you do not want to guest blog on any old site you need to make sure you are reaching out to quality blogs with quality content. Take your time in doing this and get it right.
- Domain authority: DA was created by MOZ and can be used to determine what site has the best link profile. This is done by checking the Spam Score combined with the page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) the lower the spam score the better and the higher the PA and DA the better. I normally aim for a Spam score of 0 or 1 a PA of 20 or above and the same for Domain Authority
- Trust flow: Trust Flow is an alternative tool to Moz and was created by Majestic SEO. Essentially it analyses the quality and trustworthiness of a site’s backlinks. Similar to Moz teh higher the numbers the better the link target. We aim for a Trust Flow of 15 or over and Citation flow of the same.
For my lists, I check the strength of the site by recording both the DA and the trust flow. This combined score will help me to determine the following.
Segment 1: the sites that I will spend a lot of time engaging with and the articles that will be researched thoroughly.
Segment 2: sites that I would still love to be featured on, however, I may not be able to justify as much research as I completed for segment 1.
Of course, the TF and DA aren’t the only factors I take into consideration when segmenting my list. But, indicators such as these are definitely a good starting point if you’re looking at a site as a whole.
Using search operators will help you find sites that are relevant to you.
Is one thing saying you are going to find a list of suitable gust blog locations but the practicality of finding good locations isn’t as straight forward as you think. Performing standard search like keyword + blogs would produce results but you would spend a lot of time going through them as a lot of the results would not be suitable or would be low value. The key when putting your list together is find the best locations for guest posts. Using search operators is the best way to do this.
Here are a few variations that I have found effective for finding quality guest posting locations:
- Your Keyword “become a contributor”
- Your Keyword “submit guest post”
- Your Keyword “send a tip”
- Your Keyword inurl: “guest”
- Your Keyword inurl: “guest po
- Allintitle: Your Keyword + guest post
- Your Keyword “contributing writer”
- Your Keyword “contribute to our site”
- Your Keyword “guest column”
- Your Keyword “writers wanted”
- Your Keyword “become an author”
- Your Keyword “become guest writer”
- Your Keyword “guest author”
- Your Keyword “contributor guidelines”
- Your Keyword “want to write for”
- Your Keyword “This post was written by”
- Your Keyword “guest post courtesy of ”
- [Industry] inurl: contributor
- [Industry] write for us
These search operators will enable you to find more and better results than what you would have obtained from the standard “keyword + “write for us” operator.
So you now have your initial list of quality locations for gust posting. Now is the time to analyse these locations for suitability as blogs are not always what they seem. Go down your list and follow the below to ensure you end up with the best possible locations.
Avoid free for all websites in favour of sites that focus on a singular topic. What I mean by this is don’t go for a site that allows posts on totally unrelated topics for example gardening, law, industry. A site that tries to cover all of these subjects is probably an old directory that has reinvented itself or at the very least a guest blog site that exists only for the search engines. Going back to a previous point relevancy of site ties nicely into the audience the site is trying to target. If the site is covering vastly different areas than your audience would be interested in its probably best to avoid.
Unfortunately there are still a lot of sites out there accepting guest posts that are in fact re skinned article directories. They are not that easy to spot but as a general rule if they offer guest blogging freely (i.e with very little in the way of editorial guidelines) on an array of unrelated subjects they probably only exist for SEO purposes so avoid at all costs.
TIP: An easy way to be 100% certain if the site in question is an old directory would be to run it through the Way Back Machine. Using this tool you can see what site looked like throughout its history.
If I were starting a blog of my own I would be starting it because the subject matter means something to me and would blog regularly myself. If the site only produces guest posts then chances are it’s for SEO purposes only. So unless its an awesome site that ticks every other box its probably worth leaving alone.
An exception to the above point would be YouMoz. YouMoz is the user-generated blog by Moz. This is OK as although it only produces content from guest posters it is backed up by the fact it is on a quality domain that is well respected and is supplemented by their main blog where the staff members also post. Look out for curve balls like this when making a decision and be sure not to go completely of metrics as sometimes gut feeling will need to come into play.
Relationships are the key that brings everything together. Building long term great relationships with top bloggers will benefit you no end. It is worth investing time in this area as you will find that you get much better results if you take a genuine interest in the person you are trying to gust post for.
Bloggers receive hundreds if not thousands of gust blog pitches so in order to get published you need to stand out from the crowd. The best way to do this is to take the time to genuinely interact with them. If you have followed the steps above correctly this stage will not be that difficult as all of the sites you have chosen will have some sort of synergy with your audience.
Start following the sites on social media and be sure to actively take part in discussions with them. In doing this when you finally reach out to the site owners if done properly they will already know who you are which makes the likelihood of a response much higher.
MAKING THE PITCH
Once you have taken the time to interact with the person you’re reaching out to you can prepare your pitch.
A guest blogging common mistake is to completely write a piece of content before sending a pitch. When you reach out try listing a few titles that you could write. In doing this, you will be giving the person you are reaching out to the freedom to choose their preference. Not to mention you’re saving time for both parties.
A lot of sites have a variety of content but some posts on the site will probably have been received better than others. If you have been conversing with the site owner you will probably already be familiar with the posts so view previous posts and note the volume of comments and shares as well as note down the ones you enjoyed the most. Use this as a base for your topic ideas then add your own spin to make it more unique and appealing.
Below are 3 pitch templates that each put forward very different messages:
In this email, the writer is displaying they have done a bit of background digging before reaching out. The recipient’s name has also been added indicating that this isn’t just a spammy mail shot. Remember that it is always useful to generate a comment that a spam bot couldn’t generate. A touch of humour or referring to a specific aspect their blog is always good!
This email isn’t too bad. However, it is very vague and shows zero personality. It also doesn’t really stand out from any other messages that the site owner will have received. If you stick to a conventional email formula you are risking being ignored or mistaken for spam.
There are lots of information gaps in this email not to mention grammar mistakes. This is a sure-fire way to earn a bad reputation. This email tells the recipient that you have put minimal effort into the pitch and so you will probably maintain this standard when you actually write the piece.
Now, the purpose of this isn’t to show you how to write an email. In fact, my two-year-old cousin could probably do that considering she has already mastered the art of a selfie. The point I am trying to make is that the language you use matters.
Think about these points when you reach out:
Personalisation: this means you have taken the time to actually find out what their name is and to learn a bit about what they do. Another tip would be to add their name in the subject line. Many bloggers or website owners do not have time for spammy emails and this shows that the content of your email isn’t generic. After all, I am sure everyone will want to give those baity subject lines a miss.
The right intentions: we all know that guest blogging is an excellent way to obtain links. However, chasing links should not be the only reason why you are guest blogging. The person you are reaching out to won’t care about whether your site gains a link or not. They will be focusing on what your content can bring to their site.
Confidence: make sure you showcase how your content can benefit them. Do you have an awesome idea? Don’t be afraid to show it! If you come across as confident in your own ideas then they will be more likely to think the same. No open-ended questions. Keep it clean and to the point.
When offering your ideas it is best to keep things professional, short and sweet. However, when I say sweet I do not mean sickly sweet. Make sure you present substance rather than over the top flattery.
PAID GUEST BLOGS
Some sites that appear to accept guest blogs do not request payment initially. Instead, they will tell you as soon as you have either sent over the post or reached out. Beware of the sites that do this as more often than not they are only in it for the money as opposed to actually caring about their blog or site. Google will also be able to find these sites and if your not careful you could be slapped with a lovely Penguin Penalty.
HOW TO WRITE BLOGS
If you have made a confident and informative pitch then getting the go-ahead from the person you have reached out to could be on the cards. Once you have confirmed a title send over a complete piece of content. No rushed drafts allowed. Most sites offering guest blog opportunities shouldn’t have to do anything other than minor tweaks. You will need to make it your priority to create content that they can’t turn down.
I have trained myself to ask myself 5 basic questions before writing an article:
- Does the blog post highlight a keyword that will benefit the host of the site and my own?
- Is it unique enough to enhance my presence in the targeted niche?
- Does it offer the potential to build relationships with the site host and their audience?
- Can it create a discussion elsewhere such as on social media networks?
- Would I be proud to have it on my own site?
Above all, when you’re preparing to write content for a site you need to know that you can deliver what they are looking for. It is imperative that if there are writing guidelines available to you that you make full use of them. They weren’t put up there for fun and they save all parties from any hassle or confusion.
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get a response straight away. Understand that influencers and site owners are busy and therefore silence doesn’t always mean no. Sometimes the person you are contacting may not have seen the email at all. A follow-up email will simply act as a reminder. Just forward the initial email and keep the rest simple.
With a mix of great preparation, research, strong content, a well-written pitch and a lot of effort you will stand in good stead for getting published. By following the steps above even if the person you have contacted can’t currently work with you, they may show an interest in working with you in the future!
We have been guest blogging for a long time now and would love to hear the ways you have gotten your guest post published. Check out our SEO services for information on how you can boost your online presence.