Guest blogging is considered to be one of the best link building and inbound marketing strategy. Guest blogging has also changed the fate of many new businesses.
Many blogs accept guest blog posts if the posts are in depth , detailed and helpful for its target audience. As a matter of fact it is almost impossible to make it to the top strata of blogging without guest blogging.
In this post I shall reveal to you some of the secrets about guest blogging and how you can leverage it to build your traffic. 62.96% of people believe that blogs with multiple authors are more credible.
Guest blogging is very helpful to a startup or a beginner blogger. It can generate a ton of traffic for the new kid on the block and is good for brand recognition. Picking the blog where you apply for guest blogging is tricky and should be done with utmost caution. If you can not find the right target blog then you will be wasting a lot of time for no apparent benefit to you.
1. How to find a good blog for guest posting
The first and the foremost trick is to google. Now the question comes how to google for authority blogs to guest post on?
Searching for relevance : Suppose you have a blog on parenting so you can google “best parenting blogs” of course without the quotes. Google is quick in finding the best blogs in your niche. Study the first 10 results and visit those sites. Check if there are blog posts from other bloggers or not. If there are then it is a clear signal that it allows guest posts.
Then try to find the link from where you can apply. Mostly you will find a link which says “write for us” or “contribute” or “blog post submission”. Mostly popular blogs accept guest posts because it keeps the blog fresh and it helps the owner who is challenged with publishing new and fresh content everyday.
Before submitting any content for publication in this authority blog, spend some time to study their publishing guidelines. The blogs that accept guest post do generally have the following guidelines :-
- Guideline on article length
- Formatting guidelines
- Link guidelines
Guest blogging is a win win situation for both. The authority blog gets new and fresh content and the newbie author gets exposure, link and hence traffic.
While selecting a blog also take a look at the following factors :-
- Niche (should be in your niche)
- Update frequency
- Social engagement
- Social followers
- Post engagement (comments and discussions)
- Domain authority
You might wonder what if there was a site on the internet that listed the best blogs by their niche. Well the good news is there is one. It is www.alltop.com
If you put in your keyword you will get a list of sites arranged by niches.
Another source of valuable information about a blog is alexa.com. Alexa ranking can show you a graph of the traffic a site is getting against time. It shows a historical result and hence you can analyze the trend from there. Alexa also shows a list of sites linking in to the blog in question. Alexa shows a pretty decent result including rank, bounce rate, number of daily page views and average time spent on the site. If the graph is on a rise it is a good sign.
Your ultimate goal is to get maximum ROI on your post so these factors are pretty good indicator of the quality of the blog. These factors are vital because if your post gets published and is tweeted out by the blog owner who has 20,000 twitter followers then imagine the impact it will create and the amount of traffic you will get from that post.
2. Write the best articles you can while guest posting
There are many bloggers who get feeble results from guest posting though they know fully well that guest posting works. They sometimes get no result at all.
This is because bloggers do not write guest posts to the best of their ability. They think that guest posting is a way to just get traffic to their own blogs or to get a link. So they write half baked articles which are not great to read.
What happens actually is they harm their own brand. When a user reads an average or below average article and sees your name as the writer they do not care to visit your blog. They think that your blog will be full of half baked articles which does not provide great value.
So you are actually harming your own brand and the outcome will not be what you aimed for.
But if you write awesome, informative and well researched articles the reader will feel intrigued and try to find out who the writer is. The reader will actually visit your blog and bookmark it. They will also share your article in social media.
So writing average article is not the answer. You have to provide value and get noticed in order to get traffic.
3. Follow other guest bloggers in your niche
Suppose you have a blog on online marketing and you want to publish a guest post in a blog of the same niche. Now how to find the blog and how to find the opportunity to guest blog is a big question.
The best starting point is to find what other prolific bloggers in your niche are doing. Find out where they are blogging. Once you find them you can use their name to google all the blogs they are posting in. Some bloggers also write about the blogs they have written for. This is a very good resource to find where they are blogging.
Another trick to find where a particular blogger is blogging is by using google image search. Every guest blogger has a headshot image with a small bio after or before every guest blog post he writes.
If you can do an image search in google with his headshot image then you can find other blogs where he writes guest posts.
You can also do a search in Twitter and Google+ and get a list of interesting results. Since the data of twitter are fresher you can find sites that that are currently looking for guest bloggers.
There is another way to find the places bloggers in your niche are posting at. This is by backlink analysis. If you study the backlinks of a competitor then you shall get a result with all the places they are guest posting at. There is a tool called Open Site Explorer which can examine the backlinks of your competitors. You can also use google to find backlinks. You have to google link:domain.com
Once you find out where they are blogging you can approach those sites to publish your post in.
4. How to apply for writing a guest post
You have to contact the blog owner or the concerned person who is responsible for screening guest posts. But you have to do a bit of homework before you actually write the application.
First and foremost you have to study the target blog thoroughly, get to know its content well. By studying the content of the blog you will be able to make out its complexity or who is it written for. You will find out about its readers. Are they beginners, intermediate or advanced in that niche.
You will also find out if their target is other business or the general population en masse.
Do they write detailed in-depth how to articles or just general conceptual articles etc.
You have to read other guest posts in the blog and find out their level and what posts do well in that blog. By doing well I mean engagement. You will have to check if the guest posts are getting enough engagement as the posts of the blog owner. If you see that only the posts by owner of the blog are getting a lot of engagement then you would not want to waste your time on that blog.
Also check to see what kind of bloggers is the owner accepting for writing on his blog. Check their author bios to find out about them. Are they business owners, online marketers, make money online experts etc. This will help you to write a pitch mail when you introduce yourself to that blog owner. This will get you more success on your outreach emails to them.
I have already told you that you need to write articles that do well in a particular blog. Now the question is how to find what articles do well! To get an idea of which articles do well you can use a few web tools. I will list a few for you :-
Topsy : This site will give you the number of times a particular post has been tweeted. It also gives you who has tweeted about it. Type the following in your browser address bar :- http://topsy.com/s?q=domain.com
Replace domain.com with the url of the blog you are targeting.
If you want to check the results for Google+ then your address bar query string would be like this :-
Delicious : If you want to find out the number of times a particular blog post have been saved on delicious then you have to put the following in your address bar :-
Digg : If you want to find out which posts have received most number of digg votes then type the following in the address bar :-
Be familiar with the blog owner : Take a week or two to become familiar with the blog owner. Read his recent posts and make meaningful conversations with him via his blog comments section. If you really make some good points about his posts then he will be sure to notice you. You will also get noticed if you tweet or share his posts.
You might also think of doing a blog post about him in your blog and give him credit for the excellent content he puts up.
Best times to ask for a guest post : There are some times which are suitable for a blogger to ask for a guest posting opportunity. One such opportunity is when the blogger responds to any of your comments on his post. Second is when they advertise that they are accepting guest posts. Also if you see them publishing another guest post you can approach them to write one.
Pay attention to the posting guidelines : The final step is to study the guest posting guidelines closely before you pitch the blog owner. Pay close attention to what the blog owner wants. Does he want you to pitch your idea or does he want you to send him your full post. Some blogs will create an account in their wordpress admin panel for you to post and format the content. All these things are mentioned in the posting guidelines and you need to read them properly before applying for a guest post.
How to write your outreach email : Every authority blog receives tons of emails every day and many of them are guest post pitches. So never be very formal in your approach. Avoid starting your email with Dear Sir, Dear Madam or Dear Blog Owner. I would make it informal and simply say Hi. Withing the body try using the blog owner’s name to personalize it. You can find his or her name in the About page or in the Social Media pages of the blog. Find it and use it.
Tell the owner who you are : I have already discussed before that every blog wants guest post from one particular kind of person. This depends on what kind of audience the blog caters to. If you find that most guest bloggers in your target site have their own blogs then you would have to write your outreach email introducing yourself as a blogger. Do not forget to mention the URL of your blog.
Tell him why you are his best choice : It is your job to convince your target blog owner why you are his best choice. Show him a few links of posts you have written on other blogs and some of your own blog posts. Here again show him the posts which have good social engagement. Pick posts that the blog owner likes. This will be enough to prove your potential to your prospect.
5. Making a great guest post submission
Now here comes the biggest dilemma that every guest blogger faces. Whether to use the best posts for your own blog or for guest posting. This depends a lot on the blog you are posting in. If that blog you are posting in has 500 word articles on an average then you can write such posts. If you find that the blog has in depth articles of 3000 words then you have to follow that style.
Also remember not to advertise your blog, products or services too much. Your blog post is not your advertisement. You can advertise your blog or business briefly in your author bio. If you have a relevant blog post that can support a point you are writing about then you can occasionally link to it. But do not overdo it.
You will have to take care about formatting your article as well. The formatting should look similar to other articles posted on the blog. Does the blog use a lot of italics, bold texts, quotes and images? If yes that you need to format your articles in a similar fashion.
A great way to prove to the blog owner that you have read their blog is to include some relevant internal links to their own blog posts in your article. You don’t have to read the entire blog to do this. You can just take the help of google. Use the site:domain.com intitle:keyword in your search.
Asking for comments : At the end of your guest post ask your readers to comment and express their views on your article. This is often called the call to action. This goes a long way in user engagement.
6. Writing an awesome Bio
As far as you are concerned the most important thing in your guest post will be your bio. This is your only chance of self promotion and including a link back to your blog, product or service. Writing the bio will depend on what your guest blogging goal is.
If you want backlinks then you should include a link back to your site or blog in the bio section. You should use the target anchor text intelligently.
You can also send traffic to a specific landing page. In that landing page you could offer a free e-book in lieu of their email addresses. In this way you can track conversion.
If your blog post was about something specific you could also send the traffic to a specific page in your website where you sell some product or service as well.
You can also increase your social followers by adding a link to your Facebook or twitter account and asking them to Like/Follow you.
7. How to be a good guest poster?
By guest posting you build up a relationship with the blog owner. So it is better if you nurture your relationship after writing the guest post. Maybe you will want to write several guest posts in the same blog. So keeping good terms with the owner will help. The big question is how to do this! The tricks are very simple.
Blog about the guest post in your own blog or just carry a link to the guest post in your own blog. This gives the blog owner some link juice and he will like it.
Remember to tweet about the guest post and send traffic that way.
Share the guest post in facebook and linkedIn.
Remember to thank the blog owner by a tweet or facebook post.
Lastly, stick around and take time to answer to the comments posted in your guest post.
These things may sound very simple yet they go a long way in your favour. Try them and you will see the difference it makes in the long run.
To sum up
So that is pretty much it. If you liked this post then please do leave a comment below. It would be even better if you share your insights about guest blogging.
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