Lisa’s Note: This is a very solid article by Ann, so I hope you take the time to absorb her information. Her strategy for guest blogging is superb, and it’s why she’s been featured on so many high-profile blogs.
If you’ve been submitting guest posts and having no success with publication, this article will shed some light and help you get more exposure.
Guest blogging has become a hot topic recently. In fact, it is turning into a mainstream tactic. On the flip side, however, more and more people are abusing the concept.
This post is meant to outline the “quality” approach to guest blogging where:
- Linking (and keywords in the links) is not the most important thing
- What matters is networking with niche bloggers and influencers as well as building a positive brand image
So read on if you are serious about guest blogging…
1. Make a Plan and Get Organized
Guest posting takes plenty of time and many people shy away from it because of lack of time and failure to organize themselves. Guest blogging is unpaid and unscheduled – this is why it is easy to put off your plans for a later date again and again.
Guest posting works best when done regularly. People start hearing your name now and then, they start reading your posts across a number of blogs (within one niche) and ultimately they start recognizing you as the expert and a person worth following.
Therefore if you are willing to succeed in building your brand via guest posting, the first thing you need to do is to plan your future strategy:
a) Make one day of the week the “guest blogging day”. This is when you will be looking for blogs to guest for, discuss your posts with the blog owners and create the content. Having a separate day for that makes it easier to commit.
b) Plan your time in advance. You should be ready as this is going to be your long-term commitment.
2. Search for Blogs to Guest Post For
The next huge step in planning your strategy is creating the list of blogs you plan to approach with your guest post. I recommend doing the following (in this particular order):
a) Start With Blogs You Know and Read.
You are probably subscribed to dozens of blogs in the area of your expertise. Many of them are likely to accept guest posts from contributors. It will be easier for you to start with the blogs you read: you are familiar with the style and the readership, so you’ll feel at home.
Actionable advice: Start with the blogs that explicitly welcome guest contributions – this will make your pitch more targeted and increase your chances of being accepted. Look for obvious signs:
* A separate category or tag called “Guest posts”, “Guest blogging” and the like;
* “Write for us” link in the sidebar or in the main menus;
* Regular guest posts featured on the blog
See screenshot below…
b) Try MyBlogGuest
My Blog Guest is the forum connecting guest bloggers to blog owners looking for contributions. It saves your time writing unsolicited email pitches because there you can connect to bloggers who are willing to publish your article.
It does take time (like any social media community it requires commitment to turn successful), so only join if you plan a solid guest blogging strategy.
c) Use Google Search
Being the most obvious way to find guest blogging opportunities, this one may not be your first alternative because it takes plenty of time: searching and emailing back and forth is really time-consuming.
Actionable advice: Use the following search queries to make your search really relative:
* “Submit a guest post” / “Submit post” / “Submit blog post”
* “Submit an article”
* “Suggest a guest post”
* “Write for us”
* “Become an author”
* “Guest bloggers wanted”
* “Contribute to our site”
* “Become a contributor” / “Become guest writer”
3. Brainstorm a Cool Topic Idea
Your post idea is crucial. It is going to grab the blogger’s attention, interest and prompt him/her to get back to you to discuss the post. A post idea will also get the readers’ attention and will make them remember you and your project (or blog). Thus you want the post idea:
* To be catchy and unique (something not really covered yet at the blog or looking at some other perspective of what has already been mentioned);
* To be relevant to the blog topic (to make sure you target the audience well).
Actionable advice: Here’s how I usually come up with the post idea: I browse the blog to get an idea of its main topic and then add my area of expertise.
This usually results in a really cool post that grabs the attention of both the blog owner and his readers. For example, for a personal finance-related blog, I might suggest the topic: “Advanced Google Hacks to Search for Deals and Special Offers.” (This would include some advanced but useful Google search operations to help readers find the best deals.)
This way the post looks fresh and interesting to the blog readers, and at the same time, allows me to share my expertise.
Actionable advice: Try searching [site:blogdomain.com guest post OR guest posts] – this will bring up tons of guest posts previously published at the site.
This way you will be able to see what other guest authors blogged about, how their content was received (commented, tweeted, etc) and what they did to grab the readers’ attention.
See a screenshot below of a search done for guest post info on Lisa’s blog…
4. Contact the Blog Owner
Many people would first write a post, then contact the blog owner. I recommend making sure your post will be appreciated first. The reason is that I usually target each post specifically to the blog I’m writing for. In case it is rejected, I’d have hard time finding a new home for it.
Actionable advice: Here’s a helpful check list that helps me make the most of each guest posting email pitch:
* Find the blogger’s name and used it in the guest posting pitch (bloggers hate impersonalized emails; besides, this way your email has higher chances to by-pass the spam filter);
* Mention the suggested post topic (to grab the blogger’s attention);
* Include a few samples of your previous posts (for the blogger to evaluate your writing skills and style and know what to expect);
Lisa’s Note: This is huge! When Ann submitted this article to me, she included some of her sample work along with the names of blogs she had been featured on. Your approach and professionalism is very important if you want to gain the attention of busy bloggers!
* Only include a few links (don’t link to all your sites and social media profiles – many URLs inside the message body may get your email right into the spam box where it will remain unnoticed).
* Make sure the email is short and to-the point (famous bloggers are busy, make their life easier by only letting them read a few sentences that express everything you need).
5. Write the Post – Get Appreciated
To make sure your post is accepted, make the blogger appreciate your effort. Besides the obvious (writing a great article), make sure you style and format the post to target the blog. Be sure to learn the blog guest posting policy / rules (if there are any) and follow each point religiously.
Actionable advice: Here are a few tricks that have always worked for me:
* Copy the target blog formatting (H2/H3 tags for subheadings, the use of bold and italics, etc);
* Copy the target blog style of using images.
Many blogs use images to grab users’ attention: most of the time there’s an introductory image either aligned to the right/left or centered. There can also be images for each major subheading.
Remember, if you do not provide the images, the blogger will have to look for them – thus it will take longer for him to publish your post. Besides that, don’t forget to credit the images properly;
* Personalize the screenshots (if you have to visualize your information using screenshots, make sure to use the target blog in them).
6. Engage Yourself!
Now that your post goes live, your job is not done yet. Spread the word, subscribe to comments and reply to each one.
Remember, the more you participate, the more people will remember your name and the more valuable connection you make. Soon after that you will see people cite you and refer to you. Getting noticed and recognized via guest posting is hard work but it is well worth it!
Do you guest post? Do you have any tricks for getting your guest post approved? Please share them in the comments!