I don’t know a whole lot right now about guest blogging or guest posting. Since I have a blog and have been writing, I have some opinions though!
What I do know is that I could benefit and my clients could benefit from guest posting, so I did some research. I’ve included lots of links to resources if you want to get a more in-depth education on guest posting, but this article will give you the basics.
Just what is guest blogging?
Guest blogging is simply writing an article which is then posted on another person’s or company’s blog. That’s it.
Blog owners constantly feel the pressure of content production. And writers are constantly looking for people to read their work. Audiences are looking to consume more and more content. Generally, guest posting is a win-win-win.
Guest blogging is different though from ghost writing or white-label content production, however. When you write a guest post, you’re writing as yourself, even though the publishing platform isn’t yours. You get a by-line, and very often a short bio. Sometimes you’re allowed to link back to your website or blog.
Why bother with guest posting?
I can imagine what you’re thinking because I’m thinking the same – it’s hard enough to get your own blog’s writing done, why on earth would you take the time to write for someone else’s blog?
Jeff Goins talks through 3 reasons in his article, 3 Ways Guest Posting Can Help Grow Your Online Audience, and I add one more below.
Grow your audience
Right now, this is my focus, and this article is written with the intent of building your audience.
If you’re writing great stuff, but no one sees it, it might as well not be out there on the web. Publishing on someone else’s blog is a great way to get your ideas in front of a whole new set of people. And the idea is that if your ideas resonate, some of the new audience will start following you too.
Just like creating content on your own platforms and social media, creating content on other blogs boosts your authority. Because of course, who else would go through the work of writing for someone else’s blog if they weren’t an expert? As you’re exposed to more people, and more people start listening to you, your perceived authority increases.
Search Engine Optimization
Guest blogging can be helpful for SEO by creating backlinks to your site. And this too can help build your audience. This isn’t my focus here, but know that it helps. If you want to read more about the benefits of guest posting and SEO, read Quicksprout’s guide.
Build collaborations and networks
Don’t overlook the benefit of building a network of colleagues in your industry or niche. A community can be a social outlet, especially for freelancers or very small business owners. You might also find referral partners, joint venture collaborators, or mentors through guest posting.
Researching to find places to submit a guest post
Like I wrote above, Quicksprout focuses on SEO, but has a very comprehensive guide to guest posting.
The biggest question you have to think through is, “Who has readers who would benefit from what I share?” Because if you can write an article that helps a blogger’s readers, they will get credit for helping their audience, you will get some new followers, and the audience will be better off because of reading.
The Quicksprout article goes through how to search on Google to find likely candidates. It also talks about a resource called, MGB – My Guest Blog, where you can find blogs who accept guest posts.
If you like writing list posts, there are websites out there who publish nothing but list posts from writers who submit them. Quicksprout lists a few, but the list seems outdated, as half are no longer there. Instead, I’d use Google to search out some of these sites.
Pin this to your Pinterest blogging board so you can get back to it when you’re ready to guest post!
Don’t forget to research the blogs you want to submit articles to
Neil Patel had an excellent article walking you through this research. This is a lot more that just checking the Google rankings. In my opinion, that’s the least important bit of research.
First, you need to make sure your topics would work on the blog you’re targeting. Read lots of articles on the blog. Try to find what’s the most popular type of article so that your article would fit right in.
See if you can figure out the blogger’s audience to be sure that you want that audience too. It wouldn’t do much good to write for a group of people who would not make good customers for you, even if you could help them.
Try to figure out who else is guest posting on that site, and whether those articles are read, are popular, or are ignored.
How to ask for a guest blog spot
A few of these articles have scripts you can use, but I don’t think it’s the script that matters.
Primarily, be personal. Meaning, know who you’re writing to and make sure you know what their blog is all about. This is like a mini job interview.
Be brief! Just like you, these site owners are busy and so you need to get to the point quickly. Tell them how you can help them, and how you can help their audience.
Help them say yes. Put the ask at the top of the email so that you save time. Next, list benefits and what you can do for them. And finally, towards the bottom, include a link or two to relevant content you’ve written. Don’t make them wade through your life story or article samples before they get to the main point. Because no one has that kind of time.
What the hosting blogger wants
Copyblogger has an article on guest posting best practices that makes for a great read.
The best way to figure out though, what the hosting blogger would want, is to imaging someone coming to you, asking you for a guest posting spot.
Figure out what does well on a site and write something that will fit in and benefit the site owner, but hasn’t yet been covered.
If the hosting blogger provides guidelines, by all means, follow them. If you don’t, you really don’t even rate a response.
When you do write a guest article, be sure to Include images that are legal to use and your bio with one link to your contact information – your website or email or social media profile.
Be sure to promote your post in the same way you promote posts on your own site. Some bloggers will provide tools or graphics to use for promotion. If they do, please use them!
Watch for and respond to comments. Since you’re the writer, you’ll need to respond to comments rather than the blog owner, so be sure to check for comments.
Don’t do these things please
This is a pretty basic list, but they’re worth saying. If you’re going to put in the work, be sure to avoid the following “don’ts.”
- Don’t write something that already exists on the site.
- Don’t send 100s of impersonal requests.
- Don’t stuff your article with links to your website. Your link is in your bio, that’s it.
- Don’t submit something published elsewhere. If the topic is the same, re-write it with a new focus – the audience of the hosting blog, the current news, or a fresh perspective.
- Don’t take rejection personally. Unless it’s spelled out, you don’t know why you weren’t offered a guest post spot.
Here are some more articles that helped me write this and that you will find helpful if you’re looking for more information:
Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash