I’m not going to bullshit you; guest blogging is hard.
It takes a lot of work, a good amount of effort and a sizable dose of determination if you want to succeed at it.
When I started focusing on guest blogging in my full time job as a Digital Marketing Manager, it was one of my most hated tasks. It was frustrating and thankless and there were so many dead ends; I would spend hours looking for websites to contribute to, write the best article or pitch some super creative ideas and then I wouldn’t even get so much as a response. For ever 25 websites I contacted, only five would return my emails and about two accepted my contributions. Cue head banging against wall.
However, the more I stuck at it, and chipped away, I was eventually able to pick up some hacks and figure out some short cuts to guest blog successfully and as I’m all about that sharin’ life, I’m going to do my best to pass these tricks along to you. They definitely don’t make guest blogging easy, but I guarantee they’ll take away at least some of the graft involved and make it somewhat less of a time consuming minefield.
This post is divided into three parts; 1. How to find guest posting opportunities, 2. How to craft the perfect pitch and 3. How to write a kick ass guest post. I have also written a blog post here about WHY guest blogging is so great. If you fancy it, you can go read it here.
1. How To Find Guest Post Opportunities
- Decide what you want to achieve through guest blogging.
Before setting out to find guest post opportunities you need to define your goals and objectives, as these will determine which websites you reach out to. For example, if you want to guest post for SEO and backlinks, you’ll want to secure a post on a site with a high domain authority (you can use Moz’s Toolbar to find this).
On the other hand, if you want to gain exposure and more followers and establish yourself as a thoughtleader, you’ll want to write on sites with a large or highly engaged audience and social following.
- Google Searching
As is the case with most things in life, when you want an answer to a question, ask almighty Google. When looking for sites that accept guest posts, Google should be your first port of call. Firstly, you need to have a good idea of what kind of sites you want to write for and that will form your keyword. It could be cooking websites, beauty websites, business websites or marketing websites etc, etc, etc. I like to write about social media, so ‘social media’ is my keyword.
Then try using your keyword alongside some of these strings below:
keyword guest post, keyword write for us, keyword contribute content, keyword guest blogger, keyword become a writer, keyword become an author, keyword submit content…. you get the idea. From that, you should get helpful search results. However, I would recommend checking if the website is still in date. On occasion, you’ll come across what seems like the perfect guest post opportunity, only to find that the site in question hasn’t been updated since 2013.
- Twitter Searching
Twitter’s search function is also great for finding opportunities. Like with Google, type your keyword + guest post into the search bar, select ‘live’ at the top and the results should provide recent tweets from sites promoting guest posts they have featured, alongside guest bloggers promoting their own posts.
- Competitor Backlink Analysis
This is a great tip for businesses in particular. Use a backlinking tool (there are many out there, but I like SEMRush.com) to find where your competitors are featured on the web. Among the results, you may find guest posts they’ve written on sites which you may also be able to contribute to.
- Research Other Guest Posters
Find influencers within your area of expertise and discover where they are guest posting. To find the influencers, use sites like Buzzsumo, which allows you to type in a keyword in the searchbar and find individuals, bloggers, journalists or digital influencers who hold sway within your industry. Twitter’s search function can also highlight influencers. Type keywords into the search bar like before and select ‘accounts’ to see people whose bio includes these keywords. For example, if I was to type ‘Digital Marketing Expert’ into the bar, I would find people whose bios describe them as Digital Marketing Experts
Once you have a few names, you can use a strategy which is borderline stalky, but trust me – it totally works…. Start by finding the influencer’s LinkedIn or Twitter account and save their profile picture. Then use Google’s Reverse Search function to find where else on the internet their picture is used. From that, you will hopefully discover a few websites where they have written articles and that same profile picture is used in the bio. As I said, stalky, but effective.
2. How To Pitch A Guest Post
For me, finding guest post opportunities is the most difficult part of the process, but how you go about securing them is the most important. How you pitch your idea or article can make or break the entire opportunity.
However, before you actually make contact and sell your idea, you’ll need to do some research and carry out some tasks to ensure that your pitch is perfectly crafted and your proposed content is right for the site in question:
- Read other articles on the site to get a feel for the format and tone.
- Ensure that your idea hasn’t already been taken and published on the site.
- Find out who the audience are and outline exactly how your content would benefit them.
- For God’s sake – read the site’s own Guest Post Guidelines.
Below is an example of a pitch email I have sent out and has been successful on numerous occasions. All pitched will be different, as some websites will ask you to send a completed post and others may ask you to send through a list of ideas. Tailor your pitch to suit the requirments, but the example below serves as a good framework.
I hope you’re well. My name is Lana Richardson and I’m getting in touch as I would really love to contribute some content to Socialmediastuff.com.
I’ve been following Socialmediastuff.com for a while and having read a lot of your posts, I want to write an article about Facebook Advertising, as I think your audience would be really interested in this. I know that other posts on this topic have got great engagement on your site.
The article would be about how to use Facebook’s Power Editor tool to created a really well targeted audience for Facebook ads. The article will give a list of very simple but effective tips to ensure that the readers are able to get their Facebook ads in front of a quality audience that will produce results. I will give examples in the article to make it practical and it will be written in a way that will be useful to small businesses of any kind.
As a journalist and digital marketing manager, I have a lot of writing experience. I’ve contributed to a number of various publications, so I know that I can produce content of a high standard for you.
Please let me know if this idea is of interest and I can send you through the completed content.
I look forward to hearing from you.
In the pitch you need to do the following:
- Introduce yourself and the reason for your email.
- Describe what your guest post is about, giving enough detail to intrigue the website editor.
- Tell the editor how your post would benefit the website and audience.
- Show your experience, if you have any.
- Be polite.
- Be personal.
Oh, and you’ll need a good idea too…
As you can imagine, these website editors are likely to receive a large number of guest post pitches every single day, so yours needs to stand out. To ensure this, you’ll need a really cracking idea – it’s your selling point. The rest of the information in your email pitch is irrelevant if your idea is shit. I know ‘have a good idea’ isn’t exactly a helpful tip – you either have them or you don’t, however if you’re struggling, a great piece of advice is to take a really popular classic idea and put a new spin on it. Use Buzzsumo to find popular content that you can take inspiration from. Just type a keyword into the search bar and you’ll find a list of the most popular content on the internet about that topic.
As I mentioned in the intro of the post, you could send 25 of these emails and get replies from a fifth of these. Sometimes, if thee’s a website I really want to write for and the editor has not replied to me, I will send a follow up email to the editor just checking if he/she received my original email and if he/she has any feedback for me.
TOP TIP: Install email tracking software like Sidekick by Hubspot to see if the editor has opened your email.
3. How To Write A Kick Ass Guest Post
So, you’ve found a great site to write for and your pitch has been a success. Now it’s time to create the content. No pressure – but all your time and effort hinges on the execution of this. Your idea and your writing ability will ultimately be what drives your post to succeed or flop, but by following these tips, you can take your post to the next level and help it get more views and shares:
- Make It Long – posts over 800 words have been statistically provide to get more shares and long content is better for SEO.
- Give Examples and statistics – this is especially important if you’re writing a theory based post, or something bussiness-y.
- Include internal links to other content on the site you’re writing for.
- Don’t include shitty linkbait – if you include 10 links to your own site, your post will not be accepted.
- Keep it original – make sure your post has not been published elsewhere on the internet – this is bad for SEO.
- Make it evergreen – content that is not seasonal and will always be relevant tends to be more successful.
- Aim it at beginners – a large percentage of any blog’s visitors are new to the site, so aim your content at them.
- Answer any comments – once your post has been published, stay on top of any interaction on the post to help its performance.
I really hope this super long guide has been somewhat useful and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.