I get it — you have a flashy website that you’d like to show off to your audience.
But sometimes, the best way to reach them is by writing articles for other sites.
In this post, we’ll discuss all things guest blogging and how to use it to your advantage.
Let’s get into it.
What is Guest Blogging?
Put simply, guest blogging is the practice of submitting content to other websites.
It may seem counterintuitive since you want readers to come to your site, not someone else’s. However, there are several reasons why it deserves to be in your list of priorities.
Guest blogging has numerous benefits for those who can execute it well:
1. Supercharge Organic Traffic to Your Website
First and foremost, guest blogging is a great way to extend your online presence and draw in more traffic to your website.
All legitimate websites that accept guest posts allow bloggers to create their own author account.
In addition to basic information, this may also contain links to the blogger’s social media profiles.
If you manage to submit a stunning guest post, engaged readers who are interested in more of your content will inevitably check out your author account — thus, leading them back to your website.
They should check out your social media pages and look at the content you’re sharing.
Furthermore, some websites allow guest posts to have at least one backlink to the author’s website within the content’s body. It’s basically like DIY link building, which leads us to the next point.
2. Get Even More Traffic with Higher Search Rankings
Guest blogging is the bread and butter of modern link building for SEO.
Rather than waiting for blogs and news sites to cover your brand, you take matters into your own hands and submit the article with your backlinks yourself.
If you’re curious about how Google views guest blogging as an SEO practice, you can check out the Q&A video below hosted by Matt Cutts:
Remember that search engines like Google uses the number of quality backlinks as an important ranking factor.
The more links that point to a website, the more popular and relevant it is in the eyes of search engines.
I wrote a guest post on RankWatch some time ago and made sure to insert a backlink to my site for better search engine rankings. Of course, it also enabled some readers to discover my site.
3. Become an Authority in Your Niche
What do you think readers will say if they see you being featured as a guest blogger on an authoritative website?
“Hey — this guy must be the real deal. Let me check out what else he’s offering!”
Alright, that particular quote may be non-verbatim, but that’s more or less what the audience may think. In turn, it will be easier for them to trust your brand and your value propositions.
If you manage to reel readers into your landing pages, they also have a higher chance of converting to subscribers or even paying customers.
Just remember that your value propositions shine on your landing page and are relevant to your guest post’s target audience. I’ve been hard at work building a great landing page that does these on my website — you might’ve already seen it:
4. Connect With Influencers and Other Authoritative Sites
Lastly, guest blogging is a great networking strategy that will help you connect with the other authoritative brands in your niche.
The website that will publish your guest post is a given. Other influential brands, be it a news site or another blogger, may also be impressed with your guest blog posts.
This will expose you to more guest blogging opportunities as well as partnerships.
I can’t predict exactly how a big professional network will pan out for you, but I guarantee that it will be amazing.
For me, getting featured in a lot of interviews, like this post on BloggersPassion, really helped me build my authority. It can happen to you as well:
How to Make Money Guest Blogging?
If you think the traffic, authority, and higher search engine rankings are awesome, you’ll love the fact that guest blogging can also be monetized.
That’s one more reason for you to get into guest blogging.
Without further ado, here are two ways to earn money guest blogging:
1. Start with Websites that Pay for Guest Posts
Believe it or not, there are truckloads of websites out there who’ll pay guest bloggers to make a contribution. The pay is pretty good as well — from smaller sites that spend $50 per article to publications like EatingWell that pays $1 per word.
The nitty-gritty of this method depends on the website you’re considering. Unfortunately, most of the sites that pay for guest bloggers won’t allow them to insert links within their post.
Hey — at least you can get your name out there as an author. It can still help you build your brand authority and expand your online reach.
2. Funnel Traffic to Your Sales Page
If you pick the right websites for your guest posts, you should be able to draw in high-quality leads who are interested in whatever product or service you offer.
A crucial step here is to find popular websites in your niche that get tons of engaged readers.
Take a look at existing posts and see if they get a lot of comments or shares on social media. Those are clear indications that their readers are likely to read content from start to finish.
Be careful, though — some websites don’t allow guest posts with “promotional” links that blatantly try to sell a product or service. In which case, you need to link to another useful resource on your website that presents users to your value offerings in an inconspicuous way.
Also, try to avoid anchor texts like “click here” or “check out this post,” which is a red flag that you’re trying to promote something. Instead, use an informative, long-tail keyword that describes what your content is about.
How to Find Guest Blogging Sites?
Now that you’re well aware of the benefits of guest blogging, one question remains:
How do you start?
The first thing you need to do is look for websites in your niche that accept guest posts.
Step 1: Using Google to Uncover Prospect Websites Fast
A simple trick that I use is to fire up Google and search with the keywords “guest post” or “guest post by” in my query — quotations included. I also use the operator ‘inurl:’ before my target seed keyword to make sure the sites I find are completely relevant, but this is optional.
Here’s what your search query may look like:
What you just did is use a guest blogging footprint — the most reliable way to find websites that accept guest contributions.
Guest blogging footprints are a combination of a target keyword and terms like “write for us,” “bloggers wanted,” and so on.
Since you don’t want your guest blogging campaign to be limited to only sites with the term “guest post by,” you’d want to use as many footprints as you can.
Here are several more ideas:
- Keyword + “add blog post”
- Keyword + “articles wanted”
- Keyword + “submit news”
- Keyword + “submit content”
- Keyword + “contributor guidelines”
- Keyword + “guest post guidelines”
- Keyword + “submit an article”
- Keyword + “become a contributor”
- Keyword + “become a guest blogger”
- Keyword + “suggest a post”
- Keyword + “send your post”
- Keyword + “submit guest post”
Whichever footprint you use, you should be able to find websites that accept guest posts.
Here’s another trick I picked up a few years back when looking for guest blogging sites.
If I want to find where a specific blogger submits guest posts, I’d use his or her author bio as the footprint.
For example, Ann Smarty is a marketing blogger that contributes to loads of websites on a regular basis.
On Search Engine Journal, her author bio reads something like this:
What I like to do is copy the first line of her bio, plug it into Google, and BOOM — I got more guest blogging sites.
Step 2: Vet Your Prospect Sites with the Link Research SEO Toolbar
Next, you need to pick your guest blogging prospects carefully to make sure you’re not wasting time and effort on guest posts that no one will see.
With a tool like the Link Research SEO Toolbar, you can quickly review important metrics that relate to a website’s popularity, such as their domain rating, number of backlinks, and reader impact.
The Link Research SEO Toolbar also uses a unique metric called Link Velocity Trend or LVT, which measures the growth rate of backlinks to a page.
To use the toolbar, click on the browser extension icon from the search engine results page. The metrics should automatically appear below each website.
You can also play around with the filters on the left to sort the results according to metrics that matter. For example, if I want to find websites that generate a ton of reader engagement, I’d sort the results according to “Impact.”
Notice that the metrics presented by the Link Research SEO Toolbar are all relative. The more engagement the page gets, the higher its domain trust and backlink count also tend to be.
That’s why you should try sorting the results using other metrics to diversify your list of target sites.
While you’re at it, review the website’s blogroll to see if their content tone and preferences match yours — making it easier to write the actual guest post later.
Step 3: Look at Your Competitors’ Backlink Sources
Another way to find sites that accept guest posts is to study the backlink profile of your top competitor.
Chances are, they have an active link-building campaign where they regularly submit guest posts to other sites.
From the ‘Domain Analytics’ section, head to the ‘Backlinks’ page and enter the website URL of your competitor.
Here’s a tip: try to assess the backlink profile of a competitor’s cornerstone content.
This pertains to a long, comprehensive article that receives the bulk of a website’s content promotion efforts — from their social media pages to their newsletter.
Brian Dean’s Skyscraper Technique post, for example, is an example of cornerstone content. So, let’s see what its backlink profile looks like.
In most cases, marketers use cornerstone content as the focus of their link building — not their homepage. It’s also more likely to earn natural links since it actually contains information that other content creators may mention.
If, however, your competitor hired an SEO agency or professional, they’re most likely using multiple author accounts to build the links. It’s still technically guest blogging, so you should still be able to target their link sources when planning your strategy.
There’s also a chance that your competitor’s link source doesn’t expressly state that they’re accepting guest posts.
Jamie Turner’s The 60 Second Marketer site, for example, doesn’t have a visible link to his guest posting guidelines page — you’ll have to dig up the direct URL for that page yourself.
Take note of these websites’ contact information for now. They can still be included in your email outreach, which we’ll discuss later.
The next step is to review any writing guidelines that the site provides for guest bloggers. Some may mention a minimum word count requirement, while others specify a writing tone or a comprehensive style guide.
It all depends on the webmaster, really.
Step 4: Writing a Killer Guest Blogging Pitch
As a general prerequisite, you need to have a good amount of quality content in your own blog. If you have an impressive library of informational, relevant articles in your site, it should be hard for them to turn down your offer — they’re the ones getting free content, anyway.
Feel free to check out this post where I discuss a step-by-step guide on writing high-quality content.
What’s that? You already know how to write top-notch content?
Then, let’s talk about crafting your guest posting pitch.
In some websites, guest bloggers are given specific instructions on how to apply.
Craft Your Content, for example, requires them to answer a short questionnaire, which streamlines the application process and makes it easier for them to handpick their guest bloggers.
In case the website only provides an email address for those who are interested in submitting a guest post, then you’ll have to be a little more strategic in your approach.
Producing the right email is the key to a successful guest blogging campaign. You need to be direct, honest, and definitely value-oriented.
A lot of marketers depend on a customizable email template to send out guest blogging pitches at scale. Here’s what it could look like:
With email outreach templates, sending guest blogging pitches can become a “fill-in-the-blanks” deal real quick.
Just see to it that you personalize your email at every turn.
If you’re targeting a high-profile website that gets a decent volume of traffic, they presumably get several guest blogging pitches on a daily basis. This means they can probably tell if an email is heavily theme-based from a mile away.
To make sure I get their attention, I’d build a relationship with the webmaster early through simple blog interactions. I’d leave comments on their posts, share their content on social media, and occasionally share my feedback through email.
If you’re on a tight schedule, you can also write a personalized introduction that mentions how you found their site. Something along the lines of “I just read your post the other day and I think it’s great” or “I’ve been following your blog for marketing tips for a while” could work.
As for the email’s subject line, there are a number of strategies to make your email stand out in your prospect’s inbox. A neat technique I learned is to use the “RE:” keyword followed by the title of the post I’m referring to in the email.
If possible, try to insert anything related to time and urgency to increase the email’s open rate.
According to a study conducted by HubSpot in 2014, email subject lines with the word “Tomorrow” had a 10 percent higher open rate.
Don’t worry — as long as you target the right site and be direct about your proposition, your emails should generally have positive results. In fact, I bet you can use a subject line like “Guest Post Pitch” and still manage to get some responses from your prospects.
Besides, you can always try again and use a different subject line with a more straightforward approach.
To cap off your guest blogging pitch email, just try to express your appreciation for your prospect’s time. They do, after all, get several emails a day and they somehow chose to read yours.
A down-to-earth sentence like “Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon” should be enough to put you under your prospect’s good graces.
That’s about it. I think you now know enough to start writing guest blogging emails that can get results.
Suppose you do get the spot and got assigned a guest post to work on.
I’ll tell you what — let’s go over a few tips on how to make your guest post shine.
How to Get Your Guest Post Approved
When creating a guest post, keep in mind that every word you write represents your brand’s ideals.
Your content will not only be exposed to high-quality leads, it will also serve as a way for influencers and potential partners to gauge your expertise.
To increase your guest post approval rate, the first thing you should do is check out their blog and learn more about their content style. If you can reproduce the tone and other quirks that make their content desirable to their readers, you and your prospect will have a fruitful, professional relationship for a long time.
Of course, that’s not all you should do if you want to submit guest posts. Below are some additional ways to make your guest post sparkle with quality:
1. Maximize Engagement with Visual Content
I often dish out this advice, but I’ll say it again because it’s just that good.
A surefire way to improve the quality of your content and improve guest post approval is to incorporate well-made, custom visuals.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a screenshot, an infographic, a short animation, or even a meme. As long as it helps readers absorb your key points, they should appreciate any form of visual content you have in store for them.
I stay true to this advice and take every opportunity I can get to sneak in an image into my post. Just take a look at one of my recent posts on long-tail keywords:
Below is a short list of tools you can use for your visual content needs:
- Canva: Infographics, blog headers, social media posts, and so on
- Snagit and Evernote Skitch: Screenshots with annotations
- Pixabay and Pexels: Stock photos (Although I won’t rely on them as much — unless I modify the image with Canva)
- Fiverr: Hire freelance graphic designers on the cheap
2. Polish Your Content with Proofreading Tools
What would readers think about your brand if you can’t get your spelling and grammar right?
I know — some of you are probably non-native English speakers. But that’s no excuse to settle for anything less than perfect.
For those with funds, hiring a native English editor or proofreader is a solid option. Otherwise, you can use free proofreading tools like Grammarly to detect all inconsistencies in your piece.
To use Grammarly, you just need to upload a copy of your content into the tool.
It shouldn’t take long for Grammarly to spot the possible improvements to your content. Similar to a spell checker in word processing applications, it underlines mistakes to make it easy for you to find them.
Premium Grammarly users can also find writing issues, other than grammar and spelling errors, that could affect the readability and quality of your post. This includes the use of a passive writing voice, wordiness, and other style mistakes.
Perhaps the only thing I’d let slide here is the use of colloquial phrases, which — in my opinion — could elevate the overall “feel” of the article.
Rather than being uptight about your writing style, sometimes a little casual language could brighten up the experience. Just be sure the website you’re submitting the guest post to allows not-so-formal pieces on their blog.
By the way, if you’re interested in Grammarly, don’t forget to check out this page for a 25 percent discount on the premium subscription. Cheers!
3. Spread Traffic Throughout Your Website with Internal Links
Websites that accept guest posts care about their SEO, too.
As such, they’d surely appreciate it if you can weave internal links into your guest post.
If you don’t know what an internal link is, it’s basically a hyperlink to another piece of content within the same website.
Internal links cause readers to stick around longer and find more useful content. It’s also one of the established on-page SEO factors that can improve a website’s rankings in search engines.
The only rule you need to remember is to never force internal links if you can’t find anything relevant to your guest post.
To look for internal linking opportunities, you can utilize an internal search feature or run a Google search with the ‘inurl:’ operator followed by the site’s URL and a couple of keywords.
How to Promote Your Guest Post
So — you’ve made it this far.
You should have enough information now to submit kickass guest posts that will also benefit your site.
There’s just one more thing you need to do if you want to reap the full benefits of guest blogging.
You probably saw this coming, but you also need to promote your guest post like crazy to give it some traction in terms of traffic and engagement.
Let’s just dive in.
1. Your Email Subscribers Get First Dibs
Broadcasting your guest post to your email subscribers is a way to get guaranteed traffic.
You do have an active mailing list for content marketing purposes, right?
If you answered “yes,” then you also probably use an email marketing platform to manage your subscribers, design your newsletters, and schedule your broadcasts. If not, then I suggest you start small with a free platform like MailChimp.
In addition to helping you capture leads and manage different mailing lists, MailChimp is also equipped with tools for building visually appealing newsletters. Their collection of pre-made layouts, in particular, is a great help for those who’ve no experience in email marketing.
2. Impress Your Audience with a Portfolio of Guest Posts
Other than your mailing list, you can also leverage existing traffic on your website to promote your guest posts.
A typical strategy is to create a “portfolio” section of your submissions to other blogs. You just need to create a simple page that describes your experience and contains links to your guest submissions.
Freelance writers do this all the time to showcase their skills to prospects.
To give you an idea of what to build, take a look at the example below from Elna Cain’s website:
Your guest post portfolio will also be beneficial as you try to attract bigger, more influential guest blogging sites in the future. Work your way from smaller sites to bolster your portfolio and establish a presence first — soon, your blogging credentials should be irresistible to the top publications in your niche!
3. Your Guest Posts Deserve Some Links Too
Want to hear something cool?
You can also use link building to drive traffic to your guest posts.
It works because the traffic that gets diverted to your guest post via a link may also be funneled to your website through another link. You also help boost the rankings of your guest post in search engines, which, in turn, further increases its traffic potential.
Call it “link-ception,” if you will. But professionals in the SEO landscape actually call it “Tiered Link Building.”
In other words, links that point to your guest posts are called “second-tier links.” You may go even deeper with tier three or even four links.
For easy ways to build backlinks to your guest post, check out this post.
4. Stir Up Some Social Media Buzz
If there are people who care about your submissions to other blogs, they could either be your newsletter subscribers or your social media followers.
Distributing new content across social media channels is a proven way to generate traffic. It also doesn’t involve any special step to do — just copy the link to your newly-published guest post and share it on your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account.
It also helps to ask for your followers’ feedback in order to stir up feedback. Anything that sounds genuine and respectful should do.
5. Respond to Comments
If you decide to share your post on social media, you should expect a wave of comments to pour in.
Most of them may not require any response from your end. But if your followers ask a question or share something insightful, be prepared to address their concerns in a meaningful and authentic way — it will serve your public brand image well.
Think you don’t have enough time to respond to your audience’s comments? Just bear in mind that even big-name thought leaders like Neil Patel engage in conversations with their audience whenever they can.
Guest Blogging Dos and Don’ts
To wrap up this guide, let’s go over the dos and don’ts of guest blogging one more time.
- Do: Insert backlinks to your site when they add value to the reader’s experience.
- Don’t: Force backlinks even if they don’t make sense to the guest post’s topic.
Making Money with Guest Blogging
- Do: Look for sites that pay for guest posts or funnel organic traffic to your sales page.
- Don’t: Sell backlinks on guest posts to other brands.
Looking for Prospect Sites
- Do: Find websites that garner the right kind of traffic.
- Don’t: Pick a website that doesn’t generate any traffic at all.
- Do: Personalize your outreach emails and focus on relationship-building.
- Don’t: Send the same, template-based email to all your guest blogging prospects.
Writing Your Guest Post
- Do: Match the preferences of the site’s readers and follow the guidelines.
- Don’t: Submit poor-quality content.
Promoting Your Guest Post
- Do: Interact with your followers, subscribers, and the website’s audience.
- Don’t: Leave the promotion of your guest post in the hands of the publishing website.
Repeat after me:
“I will start guest blogging from now on.”
Let’s face it, there’s a good chance you already thought about submitting content to other sites. But at the end of the day, you either lacked the confidence to take the leap or the know-how of running a successful guest blogging campaign.
Hopefully, the guide above gave you that much-needed push into taking action.
Good luck and don’t hesitate to share your results in the comments below!