The best way to attract more visitors to your website is to secure authority links to your content. One proven way of doing this is through guest blogging. We happen to be experts in this field.
This guide will walk you through everything that you ought to know about guest blogging. We’ll share the proven framework we’re using to write thousands of guest posts a year for our clients. Strap in and get ready for a masterclass in content marketing.
What is Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is the practice of writing content for another website. The primary reason for guest blogging is to secure backlinks to your site to improve search rankings. Other reasons to run guest post campaigns include raising brand awareness, improving domain authority, strategic networking, and generating referral traffic.
You’re not the only one who will benefit from guest posting.
The publication you write for should also get value from your content.
The publication you are writing for also gets quality content to share with their audience. That content can help them get more traffic and generate more leads for their business.
For example, it’s easier to make content rank on an authority site. A good blog post with a clear keyword focus can rank high on a search engine like Google.
Does Guest Posting Still Work
Despite the mixed messages that Google provides, backlinks are still an important ranking factor on search engines. Securing guest post opportunities on niche relevant sites will help boost your domain authority and can help improve your search results.
Let me share two guest posting examples. The first example will highlight how you can rank a keyword guest post on search engines. In the second example, I’ll show you a piece of content that is ranking on Google for a competitive search term in part because of the backlinks they secured to the content.
Below is a screenshot of the search results for an article I wrote for CoSchedule targeting the keyword “long form sales page.” You can see this keyword guest post is ranking in position five in the search results. It’s a nice example of a case where the guest blogger and publication both benefited.
The second example I’d like to share is an article on the Mailshake blog.
It’s a well-written article, and it deserves to rank in the search results. That’s certainly part of the reason why it’s sitting in first place for its target keyword.
The other reason this post is ranking in the Google search results is because of the link building. Check out the referring domains, and you’ll see dozens of guest blog post links.
But we’re not here to talk about whether you should guest post in 2020. We’re here to talk about how to guest post in 2020. Let’s get to the fun st
So that’s the proof out of the way.
Now for the bit that you’ve been waiting for. Let’s talk about how to find sites that accept guest posts so you can start getting your brand out there and get more traffic to your site.
What is a Good Guest Post Site
You first need to set some minimum standards for the kind of sites to target. That will ensure you avoid writing for low-value sites that won’t help your search rankings, generate referral traffic, or increase brand awareness.
When guest posting, we always aim to write on sites with the following minimum metrics:
- DR 50+
- 3,000+ visitors a month
- Trust Flow 20+
- Niche relevant
As I mentioned, these are the minimum standards. You want to be guest posting on the most authoritative sites in your niche. The higher the DA, the better. For example, in the SaaS and marketing niche, you want to be a guest blogger on sites like Hubspot, CoSchedule, Zapier.
You know, sites with millions of monthly visitors that everyone looks up to.
There are certain types of sites you want to avoid when guest posting too. For example, avoid sites that have a consistent drop in traffic. It usually means they have a problem. A sudden drop can indicate a Google penalty.
If site traffic is increasing, on the other hand, that’s a good sign.
Finally, review where the site traffic is coming from. If you’re targeting the US market, you want most of the traffic to come from the US.
How to Identify Guest Posting Opportunities
There are lots of different ways you can find guest posting opportunities. The easiest strategy we’ve come up with is reviewing the backlink profile of the biggest sites in your niche.
For example, if you are operating in the marketing niche, you might look at Hubspot’s referring domains. You can do this by using a tool like Ahrefs.
Simply select referring domains, and export the file.
You’ll get a mega list of domains.
Remove sites with a domain rating of less than 50. Then filter the sites for relevancy by getting rid of sites like Facebook, etc. You can use this strategy to identify hundreds of suitable guest posting opportunities.
Now you need to find out if they accept guest posts. The easiest way to do this is to search for the guest post guidelines. You can do this on Google by using the following search parameters.
Site:website.com guest post guidelines
Replace website.com with your target URL. Check out the screenshot below.
The guest post guidelines will normally share the preferred pitching method. For example, you might need to fill out a submission form. Or, they might provide you with the email address to contact.
Some sites don’t publish guest posting guidelines but do accept blog posts. So, even if you don’t come across guidelines, it’s still worth contacting them.
The best way to do this is to check out the author bio on recent blog posts. If the same person keeps turning up, they are probably an editor or regular contributor. Find their contact information and send them a message to discover the best way to submit your pitch.
That’s the basics covered. Let’s talk about how to pitch your guest post.
How to Create a Guest Post Pitch
Editors at big sites and blog owners get flooded with email pitches asking if they accept guest posts. If you send a rubbish email, they will probably ignore your message.
The worst mistake you can make is sending an email from a generic Gmail address. I get loads of these messages and always ignore them. Most authority site editors do the same thing.
The other mistake people make is wasting time. Don’t write an essay about what an inspiration the recipient is. People aren’t stamps – don’t lick the back of them. Don’t open with an apology either. When someone tells me they’re wasting my time, I believe them.
Hi [their name],
I’m [your name] from [your blog]. Are you accepting guest posts at the moment? I’ve got a couple of solid ideas for content that you don’t seem to have covered yet.
I know you get pitched all the time, so here are a couple of recent pieces.
[2-3 portfolio pieces from high authority sites]
Let me know If you’re open to hearing my pitch. I promise my article suggestions will knock it out of the park.
Don’t and paste a template. Editors will see right through this. Create a personal template. Quickly share who you are and why they should care. If the person doesn’t respond to your guest blog post inquiry, send a follow-up email.
If you don’t reply to your second message, they’re not accepting guest posts.
How to Use LinkedIn to Pitch to Editors
Most people use email for pitching. That’s fine.
LinkedIn can be a good option too. Find the content manager, content editor, or something along these lines. Send them a request to connect. You can then pitch via LinkedIn.
I’ve found LinkedIn can be a good channel for securing guest post opportunities. You skip the editor’s inbox, which is a big plus.
How to Come Up With Guest Post Ideas
Coming up with great guest posts ideas is difficult. It’s one of the hardest things about guest blogging, in my opinion. Below are two strategies you can use to come up with suitable guest post ideas sites will accept.
Strategy 1: Find Keyword Gaps
The best way to get your guest post idea accepted is to come up with an idea for a piece of content the site hasn’t covered. There are various ways to find keyword gaps on a site. My preferred option is to use the Google Chrome extension Keywords Everywhere.
Try to think up logical ideas that might work for the site. Here’s the magic formula to find that sweet spot: High Volume Keyword + Low Competition + Not Covered = Happy Editor
Keywords Everywhere makes coming up with possible topic ideas straightforward. You can search for a phrase, see the search volume, and get a list of associated terms.
Once you have a topic that you think would work, enter the following on Google – site:website.com keyword
Replace website.com with the site you want to write for and keyword with the topic you want to cover. You can see in the example below, Hubspot has that topic covered. You need to find a keyword the site hasn’t written about before.
When nothing relevant comes up in the search results, you have a suitable guest post topic. Repeat this process until you have three ideas.
You need to come up with three great ideas.
The benefit of going down this route is that your content aligns with a keyword. That means there’s a chance of it ranking, and if it ranks, they won’t ever delete your content.
Strategy 2: The Buzzsumo Hack
Another way to find guest post ideas is using BuzzSumo. You can use Buzzsumo to identify article topics that people love.
Let’s say you’re starting a wild nature blog.
Now you can see the most popular topics in your niche.
Under the monitoring tab, you can check out the top-performing content from each of your competitors. Again, you only care about the total engagement figure on the right-hand side.
Take the five best titles from ten authority sites in your niche, and you’ve got 50 possible guest post blog ideas. It’s a quick way to come up with topics for an article.
How to Write Your Guest Post
So you’ve got your first guest post idea accepted. Great, but don’t celebrate yet.
For now, it’s time to put pen to paper. Start by reading the publication’s guest post guidelines. Once you’re familiar with the writing style, outline your article and start writing. This guide walks you through how to structure an article properly. It’s the approach we take with all our guest posts.
In terms of getting a link back to your site, make sure it is relevant. Again, you will annoy the editor if you cram in random links that don’t add value. Add one or max two links in the body of your article.
Finally, use a grammar checker to review the article before submitting the content. I use Grammarly, but here’s a list of the best Grammarly alternatives. On top of that, you can link to your site from the author bio.
On that subject, make sure you have a guest author bio, along with a decent headshot. This is going to be your calling card for future guest post pitches, after all.
What to Do After Your Content is Published
You need to follow some basic guest posting manners if you’re writing for someone’s site. First, thank the editor for taking the time to review your content and publish the article. It’s a small thing, but they’ll appreciate it.
Secondly, share the post on social media. You should also respond to comments. It’s just good manners to do these types of things.
How to Scale Your Guest Posting
Once you get your guest posting operation off the ground, you can think about scaling. In other words, once your blog is making money, you can start hiring people to do the boring parts. The trick is to systemize the whole process.
The easiest way to do this is to find a decent ghostwriter. While you could use a freelancing marketplace to find the lowest bidder, you won’t find much luck this way. It’s better to go for the best you can afford.
For instance, if you hire someone cheap, you’re likely to waste hours chasing them up about missed deadlines, sloppy writing, or misunderstood briefs. A good writer will pay for themselves, so don’t take the cheap option.
You can also easily outsource the admin side of things. For example, you can hire someone to do keyword research for you or reaching out to your target blogs. You can pay contractors based on fixed milestones or on a per-task rate.
Guest posting involves asking people for favors. As such, a little bit of networking goes a long way. Try to make a connection with the editor. Don’t just write a guest post, and never contact the person again.
An excellent way to build that relationship is to link back to your guest post and make it rank. The editor or blog owner will never forget a person who submitted a piece of content that brings a bit of extra traffic to their site.
How to Guest Post: Conclusion
Okay, let’s recap; Guest posting is essential if you want to make money blogging. As far as SEO goes, it’s non-optional as good SEO certification courses makes clear. Luckily, however, it’s not that hard. To start, you just need to create a couple of pieces of high-quality cornerstone content.
Then you identify a list of high authority target sites. Once you know who you want to reach out to, you can come up with a long list of ideas by looking at what’s already working. Finally, you reach out by communicating value – and then you deliver on that.
And once you’re up and running, you can look towards systemizing and outsourcing the whole process.