Once you’ve got your site up and running, with plenty of great content for readers to explore, one of the most effective strategies you can add to your marketing plan is guest posting.
As the name suggests, this involves writing content for other people’s blogs and websites. Though it may sound counterintuitive to create all this wonderful content and then not put it on your own site, there are powerful benefits to guest posting.
In fact, let’s kick off this guest posting guide by exploring all the benefits the strategy will bring you.
What are the benefits of guest posting?
- Expand your audience – By getting your name and your message out on multiple platforms, you’re able to reach more people and develop a large following quicker.
- Develop your skills – Your writing skills will naturally improve with the extra practice you get from guest posting. On top of this, you’ll also hone your pitching and networking skills as you approach fellow bloggers and industry giants, pitch your ideas, and learn from every moment of failure and success.
- Create valuable backlinks – By adding links to your blog in every guest post you make, you’re creating a network of channels that lead back to your content. In addition to the potential for clickthroughs, these links tell the search engine algorithms that your site is an industry authority, thus boosting your rank.
- Get quality traffic – As you’ll come to learn as you analyze your site’s metrics, not all web traffic is created equal. High bounce rate traffic doesn’t do you any good. But the wonderful thing about guest posting is that the viewers you get from it are far more likely to stay longer and engage with your content.
- Establish trust and credibility – When you write a guest post on a website, it works as a form of endorsement. Regular readers of that site will trust you and your content because it’s been recommended to them by a brand they already know and trust.
- Become an influencer – As your brand starts popping up all over the web, your name will become familiar to those who have an interest in your niche. And on the internet, familiarity breeds credibility which leads to influencer status. Establishing yourself as an influencer in your industry will open up a plethora of profitable opportunities for you.
How do I find sites that accept guest posts?
The answer to this question will be different for every niche, so we can’t provide you with a list. However, we can give you the search terms that will get you the results you’re looking for. Try any of the following to find sites to guest post for:
- [your niche] + “guest post” (for example: light aircraft pilot + “guest post”)
- [keyword or phrase] + “become a contributor” (for example: “learn to fly a helicopter + “become a contributor”)
- [keyword or phrase] + “write for us” (for example: light aircraft safety + “write for us”
ProTip: Use http://www.google.com/blogsearch to narrow your search down to just blogs.
Another approach is to make a dream list of any websites, blogs, and online magazines you’d love to write articles for and then approach them with a pitch. You may get more rejections this way, but each one will help you perfect your approach. And every success will be extra meaningful, both for you personally and for your website.
Finally, if you’re able to be flexible with the subject matter you write about to suit specific submission requirements, then the following two sites will be invaluable tools:
- Submittable – Here you will find everything from writing competitions to professional journals and industry websites seeking content. You can filter to suit your niche and then submit to your heart’s content.
- My Blog Guest – The same deal as Submittable but tailored to blogs. Website owners post requests for guest posts which you can snap up.
How to write the perfect guest post pitch
Once you’ve got a list of sites you’d like to write for, it’s time to perfect your pitch. Stick to the following rules and you’ll be golden:
- Use a professional email address – This simple step will make a surprisingly big impact. Sending pitches from firstname.lastname@example.org instantly drains you of authority.
- Find out the site owner’s name and address them personally.
- Keep your pitch short and to-the-point – Assume the person you’re writing to is busy and doesn’t have time sift through long emails.
- Introduce yourself and include your credentials, experience, and website details.
- Tailor your tone to suit the publication – You can be far more informal when pitching to a website like Vice or Buzzfeed than something like Forbes or a serious industry journal.
- Make sure it doesn’t read like a template you’re mailing out en masse. A great way to achieve this is by including a brief mention of something you love about the website you’re submitting to. Bonus points if you mention a specific article that had an impact on you. Avoid vague platitudes like “I’m a long-time fan” or “I’m an avid reader” as they tend to result in rejections.
- If there are submission guidelines, stick to them – Failing to do so will almost always result in a rejection.
- Come up with an attention-grabbing title for your proposed post and include it in the email (you may even wish to use it as your subject line – Guest Post Pitch: “Your Title Idea”).
- Provide a summary of what you intend to write and keep it as short as possible (one or two lines would be ideal).
- Explain why this content will be of benefit to the site owner and their readers.
- Offer a specific timeline in which you can have the content ready (for example, I can have this ready for you within the week). Make sure you follow the “underpromise and overdeliver” principle.
- Show your personality and don’t be too salesy – Pitches that sound like marketing hype have a high rate of rejection.
- Ensure your grammar, spelling, and punctuation are flawless (if this is an issue for you, consider installing Grammarly).
- Politely follow up – If you don’t hear back, don’t immediately assume it’s a rejection. You don’t want to hound people every day for a response, but do feel free to send out reasonably-timed follow-up emails until you hear back.
How to write a brilliant guest post
Getting past the pitching stage will feel like the hard part of guest posting… until you’ve done it and it comes time to sit down and create the article! To ensure you offer brilliant content that will drive traffic back to your website and build strong relationships with your new industry contacts, keep the following advice in mind:
- Offer something unique – Even if you take your inspiration from content you found useful, it’s essential that you add something no-one else is offering. What extra insight can you bring to the subject matter? This could come in the form of a personal story that demonstrates a point, a new take on an old debate, or if you’re really on fire, a way to revolutionize a process or solve a problem that plagues people in the industry. Of course, your insight doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, it just has to be novel.
- Be an SEO superstar – Follow all the same SEO practices you would use on your own website. In addition to ensuring your article gets seen by as many people as possible, it will also help you make a good impression on the owner of the site you’re guest posting on.
- Make your content actionable – Where possible, give people something they can implement right away to improve their lives in some way. Whether it’s a new technique, a motivational tip, or an improvement on old advice, giving people something they can put into action is a powerful way to engage them. It also makes your content far more likely to be shared socially.
- Always backlink to your own site – Select a relevant keyword and add a link back to content on your blog. For the best impact, add your backlinks in as early as you can in the article.
The final step in the guest posting process – promote!
Once your post is up, celebrate your success by promoting it on social media. Share it far and wide as the more traffic it gets, the more likely you are to continue receiving guest posting opportunities in the future.
On top of this, the more success your guest post enjoys, the more pronounced all the benefits listed above will be.
As you progress through your guest blogging adventures, be sure to keep a log of every post you make. This portfolio will be useful in helping you pitch to bigger publications as it offers proof of your quality, authority, and influence.
If you have any questions about the guest posting process, please feel free to comment below and we will get back to you.