The 101 Guide to Guest Posting for Bloggers

You don’t remember when the last time you got a full night’s sleep was, but you did it – you launched your blog. Congratulations!

I don’t want to be a negative Nancy here, but the hard part is yet to come. Starting your business will feel like a breeze when compared to the struggle of getting people’s attention and making them care about your products or services.

You’re new to the market and, to make things worse, you don’t have a platform where you can communicate your message, engage with prospects, and ultimately grow.

guest posting for bloggers

That needs to change. Fast!

Enter guest blogging.

Guest blogging, the practice of leveraging someone else’s popularity to promote your business/blog, is controversial, to say the least. Some say guest blogging is dead and you should completely forget about it while others claim the effort is just not worth it. The truth of the matter is that guest posting is still one of the most effective link building strategies.

Unfortunately, a lot of small business owners shy away from it, afraid that they don’t have the right tools to create guest posts that will attract the attention of popular webmasters.

In this article, I’m going to teach you everything you need to know for a successful guest posting campaign. Sure, it will take some time to learn the ropes, and you’ll probably make some mistakes along the way, but with perseverance and practice, you will manage to master the art of guest posting.

Determine Your Goals

The first thing you need to determine is what you want to achieve from your guest posting campaign. Embarking on this road without a clear goal in mind is a surefire way to waste a lot of time and energy.

Some of the most common guest blogging goals include:

  • Getting Traffic to Your Site: If you’re new to the market and your audience is practically zero, guest blogging can be an excellent way to increase your exposure and put your name on the map.
  • Positioning Yourself as an Expert: If your platform is not big enough, you can leverage some else’s popularity to showcase your expertise in your industry. In this day and age, when people are bombarded with information, establishing yourself as a thought leader can help you stand out.
  • Build Backlinks to Your Site: A few years back, Matt Cutts from Google serenaded the death of guest posting. After creating an uproar among marketers and SEO professionals, he later said that he was referring to guest blogging as an aggressive link building technique. So, what’s the truth? The truth is that guest posting can help you with your SEO efforts as long as you get backlinks only from high-authority sites in your niche. So, be very careful when searching for guest blogging sites.

That brings us to…

Find Guest Posting Opportunities

This is probably one of the most difficult parts: deciding which blogs to target. To make the most of your efforts, take your goals into account.

Blogs within your industry are an excellent way to establish yourself as an authority in the niche, but they’re not very effective if you’re trying to get your brand’s name out there.

Blogs in related niches, however, will give you access to a larger audience pool, meaning that they are perfect for driving traffic to your website and building your email list.

Here are the steps you should follow if you want to find the right guest posting opportunities:

  • Do a Google Search

Google can be one of the best places to look for guest posting opportunities – if you know how to use it. By using certain Google query commands, you can ensure that the search engine only returns relevant results.

One trick is to use the inanchor command to find blogs and websites that use your keyword as the anchor text for links. To ensure that the results you’re getting allow for guest posting, add keyphrases, such as “guest post,” “contributed by,” or “article written by” after the inanchor command.

Example: inanchor:”keyword” “guest post.”

Just replace “keyword” with actual keywords from your industry.

Example: inanchor:web design accepting guest post

guest blogging

  • Reach Out to Prolific Guest Bloggers

If you are reading blogs related to your industry, which I’m sure you do, then you already know who has a large audience and can help you grow your startup. For example, in the online marketing space, the list includes names like Neil Patel, Gregory Ciotti or Jeff Bullas.

If you don’t know for sure who the most prolific bloggers in your niche are, then you can do a Google search with the name of your industry followed by the key phrase “guest posts by. “

  • Study Your Competitors’ Backlinks

If you’re just starting out and don’t have a backlink analysis of your competitors you can, once again, turn to Google for help. All you have to do is go to the homepage and do a search for link:domain.com –domain.com guest post, where you replace “domain.com” with your competitor’s domain. This trick should reveal the sites your competitor has written for in the past.

If you want to make this part easier, you can just purchase a few great tools that can help you find potential target blogs:

Come Up with a Fresh, Creative Guest Post Idea

You’ve narrowed down the list of websites that can help you accomplish your goals. The hard work isn’t over yet.

Prolific bloggers get tons of guest posting requests every day. To maximize your chances of getting your post published, you need to pitch an idea that is creative, original and adds value to their audience. Simply rehashing the same boring topics that people have already read about a million times won’t help you make the cut.

Use tools like BuzzSumo to look for the most shared posts for each of your target blogs. Ask yourself, can you approach these top stories from a different angle and improve the original story? Can you provide new insights that can add value to an old post?

guide to guest blogging

Before you put effort into creating your post, make sure that your idea is truly unique. You want your blog post to say something new about the topic and help the audience find a solution to a problem they’re having.

Prepare Your Pitch

There are a few things you should do before you reach out to bloggers and pitch your ideas. First of all, you need to get yourself familiarized with your target blog’s content. Of course, you know the blog is related to your niche, but you need to ask yourself what level their audience is (beginners, intermediate, advanced,) what type of audience are they writing for (B2B or B2C,) and what type of content do they usually publish?

Then, you need to take a look at past guest posts and see how they performed. Did they get as many shares and comments as regular posts? Does the audience seem interested in this type of content?

Lastly, you need to become a familiar face in the blog community before reaching out and pitching your ideas. The blog owner will be more likely to accept your guest post if you’ve been an active user on their site and social media channels. Take the time to read and comment on their latest post and engage with them on social media. That way, when you pitch your guest post idea, you won’t be a complete stranger.

You should also make sure that you spend enough time crafting your guest blogging proposal. Here are a few best practices you should keep in mind.

  • Read the Guidelines

The first thing you need to do before sending your proposal is to read the guidelines (if applicable, of course,) and follow them closely. As I mentioned before, prolific bloggers receive a lot of requests, so if you can’t even bother to read and follow these basic guidelines, they will assume that you’re not a professional, and they’ll ignore your pitch.

  • Write a Professional Subject Line

The email subject line can determine whether your email will get opened and read or sent directly to spammy. clickbait subject lines, such as “Check My Amazing Blog Post!” or “I am a successful blogger. HIRE ME!” will make you look unprofessional.

Instead, you should write a subject line that is clear and straightforward.

Example: Guest Post Submission: 10 Creative Ways to Use Snapchat for Business

  • Personalize Your Email

As someone who has made a career from guest blogging, I can tell you that nothing annoys a blogger more than receiving a generic email that starts with “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam.”

Find the recipient’s name and use it. Write your email in a professional yet friendly tone, and don’t waste too much of their time with irrelevant details.

  • Tell Them Who You Are and Why They Should Care

Start your email by presenting yourself. You can also add a link to your LinkedIn profile, Twitter account or other social media networks to prove that you are, in fact, a real person.

Be sure to explain why they should consider you as a guest blogger. Provide a few links to posts you’ve published in the past (including your blog) and tell them about your current project. Don’t be modest. Even if you are not a big deal yet, try to sound like one.

What Next?

You’ve managed to score a few guest posts on important blogs in your niche. Now, it’s time to kick back and relax.

Not so fast!

You still have some work to do.

The next step you need to take to ensure a prolific guest posting campaign is to promote your article both on your blog and social media channels.

In the end, don’t forget to measure the results of your campaign:

  • How much traffic each guest post sends to your website?
  • Check the number of comments and shares each post receives.
  • Are your guest blog posts generating any leads?

Look at all these metrics to determine how effective your guest posts were and what you can do in the future to improve them.

Conclusion

I’m not going to lie: Guest posting takes a lot of time, hard work, and trials and errors. It’s not a once-and-done tactic, but one that takes the effort to implement and generate results. But, the efforts are well worth it in the long run.

Kostas Chiotis is the founder of IrisSignals.com and a content marketing and blogger outreach specialist. When he’s not working with different businesses to help them increase their sales and traffic, he loves to read about entrepreneurship.Connect with him on Linkedin, Twitter @IrisSignals, and Facebook

Comments

  1. says

    Good tips Kostas.

    I love going in warm. I comment on a blog for a few weeks or months. I may tweet the blogger’s posts. In many cases I get invited to guest post. Or just ask who needs a guest post on Facebook and Twitter and get 20 responses like yesterday 😉 Either way, when you make friends with a ton of bloggers, many invite you to guest post.

    If I do pitch a friend, most of the time I place the post. Because friends who have skilled blogging buddies accept guesties much of the time.

    In some cases though you will need to really match the brand voice for world famous blogs to get placed. I placed a guest post on Positively Positive last week with its 80,000 member email list and 2.5 million Facebook Fan community. I had to read posts for weeks to get a feel for the brand voice because million member readerships cling to blogs with a set tone, a clear, distinctive voice mirrored by all guest and regular contributors. I got it down and placed that sucker LOL.

    Fabulous tips here! Thanks for sharing.

    Ryan
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted…BFP Podcast Episode 20: 1 Easy Way to Spot Your Most Damaging Blogging MistakesMy Profile

  2. says

    I definitely hear what you’re saying about guest blogging. Neil Patel was an inspiring blogger and shared valuable insight on building a blog from scratch with blogging. Unfortunately today, he’s possibly hard to get in contact with for potential guest posting opportunities. But needless to say, Matt Cutts did mention a while back about the article marketing and guest blog posting thingy. That was around the time Google started hitting article directories kind of hard, so my guess is they wanted him to say that in a YouTube video.

    Fortunately today, article marketing “Medium.com,” and guest blogging along with YouTube video marketing with a lengthy video content description with a link or 2 in the header and center will surely help SEO and natural backlinks back to your blog or website for years to come.
    DNN recently posted…#FailureisNotanOption: Stay the Course With God and #NeverGiveUpMy Profile

  3. says

    Hi Kostas,

    I’ve just recently started guest posting and it is scary to reach out to other bloggers. It takes time to build the relationship, but that’s what seems to work for me.

    I totally agree with you about creating a personalized email. I always write a new email whenever I email someone asking them if I can guest post on their blog. You never want it to sound robotic. Also, be sure that you take the time to find the blog owners name and use it.

    I hadn’t thought about using Buzzsumo to help me come up with some great blog topics. I am going to definitely use that before I reach out for another guest posting opportunity in the future.

    I actually just had another guest post published yesterday. One of the the things that I did that I think may have helped me get approved quickly, is I sent them the score from CoSchedule Headline Analyzer.

    Before I sent the email proposal, I took the time to create a catchy headline. It took a while, but I wanted to make sure that it got a good score from the Headline analyzer. I think it was a 73.

    Next, I took a screenshot of the score and the headline and then I sent it inside of the email. The blog owner responded very quickly and my guest post was approved.

    So I am not really sure if that made a difference in the approval or not. However, I tend to believe it did. I mean when the blog owner saw that I had already taken the time to come up with a great high scoring headline, I would think that would show that I cared enough to do it, Right?

    Thanks for these tips, I am going to see if I can improve my guest posting strategy. As you said, it’s one of the easiest ways to tap into an already proven audience.

    Have a great day 🙂

    Susan

  4. says

    Thank you for the great article. I’m getting back into guest blogging so this was a great starting point. BuzzSumo comes up yet again as a great tool to use. I’ll have to create an account soon 🙂

  5. says

    Thanks for this useful post. This topic has obviously been covered many times but you do a very good job of clearly stating the important points one needs to know and includes details often missed by others.

    Targeting blogs that fit what you want to write about and your tone (business formal, casual…) is important. You have to think about how the readers of that blog will respond to your guest post. A great post on the wrong blog will usually fall flat.
    John recently posted…6 Tips To Help You Achieve A Better RetirementMy Profile

  6. says

    Hi Kostas,

    Every time I do a guest post I do get so many people not only coming to my blog, but also signing up to my email list. Yay!
    I get so many requests from people to guest post on my blog but refuse if I never heard of that person. They are jumping around from niche to nice to ride coat tails. On the other hand, I welcome bloggers I know and trust to be a guest on my blog.
    So bloggers, follow these tips and it will get you far.
    -Donna
    Donna Merrill recently posted…What Bloggers Can Do To Stand Out In A CrowdMy Profile

  7. says

    Hey Kostas!

    Great tips on guest blogging!

    I have done a little bit of guest posting myself – to promote my internet marketing blog. But I will be dead honest, it is not really in my promotion strategies.

    Guest posting – to promote your blog – is very effective but as you mentioned it does take a lot of time and effort to do it right and reap all the right benefits!

    The tips you are giving here are spot on. I highly recommend new bloggers – who are very interesting in guest posting for blog promotion – to use these tips.

    Thank you for sharing this value!

    Cheers! 🙂

  8. says

    Hi Kostas,

    I mus say your guide is really something which can actually help every blogger to understand how to gain more opportunities to get publish on other popular blogs. There is no doubt that the motive of a guest post should be clear.

    A blogger should understand the professional behavior when writing emails to other bloggers about guest post publishing. This is the very first impression.

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. says

    Thank you for the article.
    I support marc,s point.
    BuzzSumo is a great tool for using.

  10. says

    Kostas,

    This post was incredible. Quite a tour de force. Guest blogging on sites that receive more traffic than yours is no doubt a very important way to drive traffic to your site. Thank you for taking the reader through the entire process from researching topics all the way through emailing influencers and tracking analytics once your post goes live. Probably one of the best articles I’ve read on this subject. Great job!
    RDB Design recently posted…3 Reasons Why You Might Need to Redesign Your WebsiteMy Profile

  11. says

    I totally agree with you about creating a personalized email. I always write a new email whenever I email someone asking them if I can guest post on their blog. You never want it to sound robotic. Also, be sure that you take the time to find the blog owners name and use it.

    BuzzSumo is an execelent tool for using.

    Thank You!

  12. says

    Thank you for the great article. I’m getting back into guest blogging so this was a great starting point. BuzzSumo comes up yet again as a great tool to use. I’ll have to create an account soon ?
    thank you!

  13. says

    Yes guest blogging is very good.Guest blogging is good to get link for site.But some say that guest blogging is not more.One of my friends say that guest blogging is still live and working good.Recently I also write a guest post on one of my friends blog.After reading your article I get all knowledge about guest post thank for this explanation.
    Khan Saab recently posted…Sarahah Facebook – How to Link Sarahah to FacebookMy Profile

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