Often times swept under the rug as a tactic that consumes too much time to be scalable.
This guide is for both the veteran and the person just starting out.
Despite what scare tactic has or is being pushed, guest posting is still well and alive. It can be incredibly powerful. These are potentially some of the best kind of backlinks you could ever hope for, all without having to pay expensive PBN fees such as hosting, buying expired domains and all the footwork that goes into making sure your PBN remains hidden.
An effective guest posting campaign can lead to huge swathes of search engine traffic for your site (whether it is a local client’s site or a personal website monetized through affiliate offers).
Not only can you get amazing backlinks from top tier sites (basically for free minus the cost of time or outsourcing the content) without the sometimes hefty costs and possibly penalties that comes with building a PBN, but you also benefit in another way.
When you guest post on a real, high quality website, you will also gain the trust of their readers. This allows you to boost a website’s organic traffic significantly if you do a guest posting campaign in the correct way regardless of where Google is ranking you at.
In addition to all of this good stuff, guest posting on high quality websites in your niche leads into a powerful branding campaign for your website. If someone is reading around in your niche and your content keeps popping up all over the place in the form of guest posting, what do you think that will do for you?
It is going to increase your brand value. All the trust those sites have built with their readership flows into your website.
To recap, some of the huge benefits from guest posting:
- Acquire some of the strongest backlinks you could possibly get in your niche that will rank your website in Google for your keywords.
- Traffic from the sites you guest post on (which are real people, not bots) will flow into your website. Possibly leading to new readers, leads and even customers. Some of these customers could become your biggest evangelists that share your brand with everyone they know.
- Increase in brand awareness and brand trust just by vicariously guest posting on these websites
- Typically the cost of guest posting is absolutely free. No PBN expired domains to purchase here, nor hours spent covering the tracks of your PBN links.
- Some extra fringe benefits such as social influencers in your niche tweeting about you or sharing your content and brand in other social media channels.
Sounds pretty awesome, right?
It is, but you better be prepared to do it the right way. Otherwise guest posting can be a huge waste of time. It could even hurt your website if you start guest posting on low quality websites that are practicing shady SEO strategies.
Also keep in mind that while we are not directly paying for links, the time and effort required is substantial and even more so to scale for your client campaigns. Acquiring the occasional guest post is one thing, but leveraging this tactic as a scalable link building solution is an entirely different monster.
Whip out a notepad, or open up a word document and start taking some notes. This is going to be a long, exhaustive, and extremely valuable guide for you.
How to Avoid Costly Mistakes with a Guest Posting Campaign
Now just because you are not having to do a bunch of secret squirrel stuff with hiding your PBN networks, doesn’t mean you can’t mess up a guest posting campaign.
Most would-be bloggers and authority site owners will just email websites haphazardly without any kind of strategy in mind at all. This could lead to all sorts of awkward moments (like emailing the same website 20 times with a guest post inquiry for 20 different keywords you are wanting to rank).
As you can imagine, most webmasters are not too excited to have you on their website after you spammed the heck out of their inbox.
We are marketers though, not dreamers and hopefuls.
We are going to use effective strategy for our campaigns to make sure they are optimized for maximum effectiveness.
Let’s go over some common mistakes that people make in these kind of marketing campaigns.
We obviously talked about the need for strategy. If your goal is to rank a particular keyword, then all of your outreach needs to be focused around that keyword. In other words, you need to make sure the guest post you are submitting is going to be an article about your keyword and also be from a website where you can get an inbound link (hopefully to your specific post on that has your targeted keyword).
If you are looking just for a good traffic boost, your outreach should be focused on highly trafficked blogs.
The inbound link you get from these highly trafficked blogs should also be pointed to the page on your website that converts the most amount of traffic into leads and sales (that also leads with value, so no straight up capture pages here). This is where a well put together content funnel is important. An authority site is not going to link to your landing pages. It offers minimal value to their audience.
Keep in mind if you want to rank a page that is not an ideal candidate to receive a link from an authority site there are some workarounds.
Firstly, you can create a few valuable posts that are thematically relevant and link from those pages to your target ranking page. Setting up outreach campaigns to these pages can get you the links you need and provide the associated seo value. This will also help funnel the traffic from the websites you got links onto your landing page.
One of the BIGGEST mistakes people make with guest blogging is not keeping an updated outreach record. The last thing you want is to ruin your credibility by reaching out to the same blogger or website owner multiple times with different requests.
Keep that record updated! It could be as simple as an excel spreadsheet that you have a VA keep updated for you.
Confused on how to find these blogs or website on which to guest posts? Don’t worry, I’m going to show you exactly how you can use Google’s powerful search engine to find an (almost) unlimited source of potential guest posting opportunities which you can utilize to get killer backlinks for your clients
When You Do Find a Guesting Posting Opportunity, Avoid Making These Mistakes
Finding the right blogs and having a strategy about which websites to reach out is just step one, the second step is actually getting your foot in the door. Unlike PBNs or other link services, just because you find a backlink opportunity does not mean you are going to get it.
There are strategies you can use to increase your conversion rate though.
First, let’s discuss some more mistakes to avoid that will save you weeks of frustration.
When you email a blogger, never begin your pitch emails with “Dear Blog Manager”.
It looks like total spam. It also shows you really do not care, that you are just going through the mechanical motions of sending a ton of emails to these “Dear Blog Managers”.
A real website with real authority is way too busy to respond to an email like that.
The better way is to first leverage your connections. Who do you know that might be able to introduce you to this blog owner?
(LinkedIn is a great tool for this by the way, because LinkedIn shows how everyone is connected.)
Of course, you might be operating in a totally new niche where you know zero people, much less influencers. In this case, research who the owner is or who the actual blog manager is if there is one. At the very least, use their name. Once you do find out who they are though, you can start building a relationship with them using tools like twitter and facebook.
Retweet a few of their posts and show an actual interest in them and their brand and they will likely reciprocate.
Obviously, during your pitch you want to have proper grammar and spelling. Most bloggers are not grammar nazis, but if you know this is a weak point with your writing you may want to pick up Elements of Style by White and Strunk. This is the penultimate book when it comes to clear writing and a healthy investment for you as a content marketer. Along with proper grammar, make sure to include your post idea to the website owner in your pitch email. That way the owner can tell you whether or not they are interested right away without a lot of back and forth.
Make sure you do some good due diligence so you know with a 100% certainty that your post idea has not already been covered by their blog.
Finally, sell yourself as someone that website owners would be envious to have writing for their competitors’ blogs. If you are a great writer, show them examples of your previous work. Maybe you are not a stellar writer but you are super good at SEO, you could tell them you know how to write for the search engines which will boost their web presence. Or maybe you have a lot of relevant followers on social media you can tweet or share the guest post to.
All of these are fantastic selling points and you are ultimately appealing to what that webmaster wants instead of what you want. The wants of a webmaster, by the way, are pretty much the same desires you have.
If you want more guest posting opportunities, appeal to them by:
- Offering high quality WOW content for their website that would make their readership love their brand more.
- Offering them a way to get new readers (more traffic) to their website.
What I mean is simply this: you don’t want to be “that guy”; the one who is always pitching the same blog over and over again, even if he’s been denied half a dozen times. Stop pitching these posts. Move on to another website; it’s going to be a far better use of your time to reach out to multiple websites rather than pursuing a site that has made it clear they don’t want to accept your content. When there are tens of thousands of new blogging websites being started every hour, it’s unlikely that you’ll have many issues finding a good guest posting opportunity.
Plus, if you don’t annoy the guy who denied your initial guest posting request, later on when you become a bigger authority you might be able to come back to that blog and do another pitch. All that new authority of yours might get you into that door – if you didn’t annoy the webmaster that is.
Following the Rules for an Epic Guest Posting Campaign
There are a few rules you should keep in mind as you launch your guest posting campaign.
For instance, you should make sure your post is actually following their guidelines. If they only allow guest posts that are a 1,000 to 2,000 words and you only give them a wimpy 150 word post… you are not going to get posted.
Most of these guidelines will be on their blog, so it should be easy to find. When you get a positive “yes” during the outreach portion of your campaign, either you or a VA should go to that site and look for the guest posting guidelines and drop that link into your outreach spreadsheet.
If they don’t have one, make sure to ask what kind of guidelines they have upfront.
The next big rule for successful guest posting is to make sure you are writing for their audience. If you are blogging about kitchen remodeling, the last thing a real estate authority blog wants is you talking about feng shui.
Instead, you could have a guest post about how to effectively (and cheaply) remodel a kitchen that will improve the property value of the home. This is something the readers of that real estate blog are going to be way more interested in, at least at the outset.
Always think who the readers of that website are. Many guest posting opportunities are out there, an almost infinite amount, when you start thinking tangentially like this instead of focusing just on your super specific niche.
Even if you are posting within the same exact specific niche, you still want to appeal to their readers.
What kind of posts do those readers expect?
Can you mimic the tone of the other content on that blog? If you can, your guest posting will be much more successful and likely to get approved. These webmasters after all see you as a way to get some free, high quality content that is completely hands off for them. The more flawless you can make your post, the more likely they are going to choose your post over another person’s post pitch.
This should go without saying, but ALWAYS make sure your blog post is higher quality than any other post on that website if at all possible.
You really want to just WOW their readers with your content.
Because you focus on wowing their readers, the webmasters understand the trade. They know you will want a link back to your website. I would suggest to have at least 2 but probably not more than 3 inbound links back to your website.
Having 1 link back to your home page (best place for this would be in your byline, signature or author box at the end of the post) and another link that is a contextual link leading to a blog post you are looking to rank on Google.
That brings me to my next point – your author box.
Keep this short. Simple and sweet wins the race here. One or two sentences at most. You can view this author box as a kind of 30 second commercial or what people call an “elevator pitch”. It should say exactly what your website or brand is, who you are for and what you do in about just two clear sentences.
Alright, now you know some of the most common mistakes people make with guest posting.
It’s time to dive deep.
Roll up your sleeves and let’s start exploring some of the advanced strategies to guest posting that are working incredibly well in today’s market.
Advanced Guest Blogging 101: Using the Sniper Approach for Guest Post Blogging Rather than the Shotgun
Now you know the immense value that guest blogging can have, it is time we talk about how we can actually go about and do this. You can know how great a strategy is, but unless you know the implementation of that strategy, you really do not know much about it.
And of course, you really do not know about a strategy if you never actually implement it once you actually find out how to implement it!
(I’m looking at you, shiny object seekers.)
A lot of people who embark on guest posting will type in “niche + blog” into Google and literally reach out to hundreds of blogs by simply clicking through each search engine page. At the outset, this is not terrible. It is certainly better than doing nothing to grow your business.
But… you could be spending your time better.
It is more powerful to send out 50 well articulated pitches to the right kind of blog than 2,000 pitches to random blogs loosely based on your niche.
Why you might ask?
Think about all those spammy link building packages you see advertised on places like Fiverr all the time. Any SEO worth their salt knows these links can be very dangerous if pointed at the wrong place, and most would never actually point those kind of links at their money sites.
The same goes with guest blogging. If you have 2,000 blogs you never checked out that you are guest posting on, many of them could end up becoming huge liabilities for your website. And this is a major disadvantage than say a negative PBN link you point to your website, because these kind of links are often harder to take down.
That is why you want to really research and only pitch quality blogs.
There are a few ways we can go about minimizing our risk while also maximizing our gain. Obviously, any website can turn into a total loss, no one can be assured 100% but there are strategies we can use to our advantage.
Are the Sites “Living” In other Places?
This is a big thing to look out for. First, go to the blog and make sure the content looks legitimate and is providing real value to the niche (a niche that should be relevant to yours). If they are providing good content and it looks like they are keeping the site up to date, all the better.
What we really want to know though is if their website is alive and well on other platforms. The difference between a dead site and a living site can usually be gauged with how active their social media is.
Obviously you want to use a bit of common sense here. If they are signed up for thirty different social media profiles, it is likely their engagement with their brand audience is pretty dismal unless they have a pretty great social media staff or software running in the background.
You want to look for high quality engagement. Are they interacting with their fans and readers? If they are, you can rest a little easier. An active social profile is not always indicative of someone just giving up on their site a few months down the road, but it does add an extra layer of trust that this web publisher actually cares about their brand and readers.
There are other signs too to look out for a swell. Such as:
- The site has been around for longer than a year (after all, older sites often give us better SEO benefits)
- The content is written by an influencer in the niche preferably (so we can gain the extra non SEO benefits, but also influencers blogs tend to have better metrics anyhow)
- While not a requirement it is nice to have if the website has an actual physical address associated with the blog or the brand.
- There are generally no more than 5 or 6 outbound links total within the post.
These are all good trust factors and will help minimize the risk of putting your link on their blog and later getting punished for it.
Links Like to Play Tough to Get
Another factor to look at is to see if the blogging site has just kind of “let itself go” in the digital sense of the word. Are they opening up to allow just anyone to contribute?
If they are a blog about diabetes and suddenly they are linking out from a guest blog post to a site about buying private jets for instance, that is probably not a good sign. If a blogger just allows anyone to post on their site it will do a few negative things.
- Erode relevancy. As we all know, relevancy is a huge thing to Google and for our purposes.
- Fill up with bad content killing the readership of the site.
- Potentially get de-indexed and passing a penalty onwards to your site.
The tougher it is to get a link, typically the stronger that link will be because the blog owner is a lot more restrictive on what he or she is going to allow on their website. That is why sometimes effective guest posting might take several months of relationship building and really “proving” to those people you are full of good content before they even consider you to guest post.
And some of these blogs, if you do this right, will let you guest post even though they allow practically no one else to guest post.
It goes without saying that the more difficult a guest post opportunity is to secure, the more valuable that link will be for your site. Guest posts absolutely crush PBN links when it comes to value, and a difficult to obtain guest post link will be that much more valuable since it will be harder for competitors to come by. Consider the type of site that you are outreaching to and how difficult it is to get in contact with them about a posting opportunity. A website that has just an open submission form on the site for guest posts might accept anything submitted, or nothing at all; it’s not a very valuable link for your brand. This isn’t the case 100% of the time, but it’s a pretty fair rule of thumb that tougher to procure links are going to be way better than links from sites that accept just about anything through a contact form.
I prefer to email my pitches too versus form submission, it seems more professional and also allows me to create headlines and format the email in a much more attractive way than what most contact forms are going to give me.
Make Your Link Live Long and Prosperous
One thing a lot of would-be guest bloggers do not think about is the structure of the website we are guest posting on. What is the layout? You might be saying you do not care about its design, you just want the powered up link.
That is fine and all but the further away your link gets from their home page and from potential readers, the less power it has. Your ideal blog site would have a recent posts, popular posts, and categories where people can browse through and find your post.
Even more ideal is if you can get that blog owner to interlink other pieces of their content back to your guest post. This is something you might be able to work out very easily by the way if you plan your content right.
You should read the blog, take into account what made the other posts so popular and mimic those posts in style while covering a new topic their audience would love. Then find a few posts of theirs that might be loosely related to your guest post and ask if they would drop a link in those related posts back to your guest posting.
This can work really well by the way if you target posts they can drop links in that are already getting some good high quality traffic.
It is like building a really strong second tier link and it keeps your link having a long and prosperous Google juice drinking life.
Too Many Ads, Too Little Content
Some blogs just go way too overboard with their monetization strategies. It is fine if they have ads, we are all in business to make money after all. But when a blog has so many ads it actually interrupts the user’s consumption of that content in order to get them to click on some ad, that is a major problem.
It is also a surefire way to kill the readership of that blog and potentially even hurt the blog’s SEO with too many affiliate links going out from it.
The other factor here is if the blog is not being updated very often. This just looks bad. No one wants to sail on a ghost ship. You want an active site that is actively building more authority for the best possible guest posting experience.
Obviously too many ads and too few pieces of content is the perfect storm for a bad blog to pitch to during your guest posting campaign.
Now… To the Metrics!
So far we have covered a lot of what might be considered the “soft” requirements for a good blog. But remember, though there are a ton of reasons to do a guest post on another’s blog, we are still primarily seeking to rank our blogs using the powers that be using solid SEO practices.
This means we need to pay attention to the metrics.
What metrics though? Here are a few metrics to gauge the possible host of your guest post:
- Majestic Trust Flow – Typically 15+ is good
- Majestic Citation Flow – Ideally you want this to be less than the Trust Flow by a little bit, and definitely not double the Trust Flow
- Moz Domain Authority – 20 to 25 and up
- Domain Age – older the better
- Good amount of backlinks coming to it with a diversified portfolio of referring domains. You can check this using either Majestic SEO or Ahrefs (in fact Moz could work for this as well)
One interesting way to get even more metrics on a site is to look at advertising packages. This is something that does not exist in every niche, but they exist in enough that it is a good rule of thumb to check to see if a possible guest blogging site has one.
The ad package is setup to lure advertisers in. That means it will often list things such as their traffic, the kind of demographics of the site visitors, and anything else notable such as where the traffic comes from and what kind of keywords they might be ranking for. Often they will also let you in on how big their email list is and what kind of response rates they get.
While not all of this is super important for you since we are slipping past advertising packages by doing a guest posting, it can give you the idea of the quality and value that their site has (especially if they actually have, you know, advertisers!)
Now, do not become so obsessed with metrics that you devalue other guest posting opportunities.
For example, there might be a litany of new blogs popping up in your niche full of high quality content but very little metrics since they just have not had the time to really “get there” yet but are well on their way of getting there.
The cool thing about approaching high quality new blogs with a guest post pitch is that they often have yet to cover all the topics they can. Not only that, but any new web publisher is excited to get high quality content on their blog for free and so they are often less closed when it comes to pitches if the pitch is going to be valuable for their audience.
That means you will get links from these “newbies” that can grow in strength and power over time as their blogs gain those coveted metrics.
Bonus Tip: When asking a blogger to link their other posts to your guest post, use a tool like Moz to find their posts that have the highest PA (Page Authority) to link to your post. Incorporate things if possible that would be related to those posts so it would make sense for them to link to your guest post. Fantastic way to make even more link juice flow to your site.
Bring It Altogether
As you can see, the sniping approach works a bit differently than the shotgun approach most guest blogging campaigns take. Ultimately, it is a lot more effective too because the links tend to be very strong and sometimes even will grow in value over time.
This process is not exactly difficult either, so do not let all of this intimidate you.
You will be able to tell pretty quickly if a blog is high quality from just a few cursory glances at the site and its functionality, especially once you do this a few dozen times.
The main point here is to make sure the blog is:
- Relevant to your niche or target audience
- That you can add value to their target market (which sometimes is slightly different than yours)
- Make sure the blog is high quality and a place you can be proud to display your link from to help minimize any potential dangers to your money site.
Writing the Actual Content
Once you find some places for guest posting (and do not worry, we are going to go into even more meticulous detail on outreach), you need to actually write the content.
Now there are several ways to do this. You can save some money and possibly produce better content if you write the content yourself. Or you can outsource it. If you do outsource it though, please take note it is going to cost you more than $5 bucks for a 500 word article.
Guest posts should be more in the 1,000+ word count wise, longer is almost always better for the SEO value of the post. Plus, people tend to share longer posts on social media which makes the argument for longer content format pretty persuasive.
It also means that you will need to hire a writer that is above just your average low cost content mill writer.
Prices for these style of writers can range from $0.04 to $0.20 per word on the highest end (the highest end is better for things like sales letters and hardcore copywriting).
I would say most guest posting with a competent writer can be accomplished closer to the $0.04 per a word level, so about $40 bucks for a solid 1,000 word guest post.
Still, make sure you actually read what these writers write to make sure that it is in line with your branding, style and obviously targeted towards the host blog’s audience. All that being said, there is a few simple things you can do and express in your blog post that will make it stand out more.
Make sure your guest blog post is:
- Educational – These style of blog posts are pretty easy to write, because you are just telling someone how to do something. Take photos or have cool graphics made up and you can create an awesome and very shareable blog post. Furthermore since you focused on educating the reader, the blog post has a higher chance of becoming a resource that visitors to that website will often use. Giving you more link juice and possible traffic from the blog itself.
- Add Links – Put links in your content to more relevant content. Preferably interlink with the actual host blog’s posts. So if you are writing about medieval armor you might link to their article on French culture during the dark ages. This builds some goodwill with the actual host of the blog, so when you ask for links from their other blog posts to yours they might be more willing to do that.
- Conversational Tone – Write like you talk. While grammar is somewhat important, it is not the pinnacle of importance when it comes to blogging. Sounding more informal, conversational and friendly is far more important. People tend to forget that blogging, just like social media (in fact, you could argue blogs were the original social media) , is a two way street. You want to use words like “you” more so than words like “I” because you want to talk to the reader. I mean, look at this paragraph alone, I mentioned “you” 4 different times not including the two times I mentioned it when I was telling you about this strategy. Whoops, there is #5.
- Readability – Did you know the majority of people (at least in the United States) have a reading level of a 7th or 8th grader on average? That means you should tailor all your posts towards this common denominator. Try to avoid gigantic words that are not used very often or words that are often confused for different meanings (like semblance, gruntled etc.) In other words, do not be a blatherskite (a person that talks at great length without making any sense).
Promoting the Actual Content
Your job as a guest poster is not over the moment after you are done writing the content. Instead, in many ways, it is just starting out!
Because you want all that effort you put into the “sniping” portion and building relationships with these bloggers to be maximized as much as possible. You want to gain a huge ROI on your efforts here and the best way to do that is to help promote the post once it is published.
There are a ton of avenues here that you can use to promote your content.
You want to go to every channel where you have an audience and let them know about the guest post. This means places like your brand’s:
- Email list
- Other social media outlets where you have a following
- A blog post on your blog mentioning the mention and thanking the blogger
One thing to note here about the thank you post, is that sometimes the other blogger will actually reach out and publicly thank you for the guest post as well. This can be really huge for you if they have a strong and massive following themselves.
A little “tweak” to the thank you guest posting is when you share the link to the new guest post, see if you can tag or mention that blogger.
This way when you tweet about the blog post to your followers, the famous bloggers followers will also see your twitter handle. You might gain a lot followers from this alone to grow your brand with. Likewise, it is often a lot easier for a big blogger to thank you in places like twitter and facebook, publicly exposing your brand even further to their audience.
Depending on the blogger, they will likely promote your guest post in a similar fashion. This can lead to some really awesome benefits for you exposure wise.
Comment Content Creation Machine
Commenting on your post and answering other peoples’ comments on the post I feel deserves a special mentioning. It is not promoting your post but it does promote you and your brand (plus possible comment link back to your blog, a good ol’ fashion link building tactic).
The cool thing about responding to all the comments people have on your guest post is it does 2 things for you:
- Builds relationships between your web brand and the reader that might become a potential new lead or even customer of your products and services.
- The questions and discussions that the commenters ask about or start can be repurposed into new full blown content posts on your blog!
This is an awesome strategy to gather new ideas for blog posts that your target market is actually asking for. It can also be another linking opportunity, for instance if they asked a question that you have answered in detail in a blog post on your blog, you can let them know and refer them to that guide to seek the answers they are looking for.
Either way, it is a fantastic way to really get the “beat” and the “pulse” of your target audience so you can serve them even better.
For the first week or so after the guest post (this goes double for a really popular or big time influencer blog in your niche), you want to be checking back on that blog post like a hawk.
While commenting is not exactly “promotion” of the blog post, adding a ton of comments by responding to other people’s comments will actually make more visitors come and see the blog. The reasoning is because comments can help increase SEO traffic.
You will be scooping up a ton of long tail keyword phrases with your blog comments in this light, and so the post will, hopefully if everything else is done right, get a steady stream of new visitors from the Big G itself (and the other search engines).
The Step by Step Formula for Successful Blogger Outreach
You know the benefits of guest blogging, you know how to write the content and even some tricks to promote this content successfully, but now let’s get into the real grind of how we can successfully reach out to these people.
If you using just one of the tips and tricks mentioned in these strategies turn an outreach campaign conversion from 10% success to 12%, you will have been well rewarded.
Because remember, these are not PBN links. These are active sites that people are building up so these links often grow in value over time, and they send real authentic quality traffic to your site that could possibly convert into customers. That is something most PBN networks are not going to do for you (though, some certainly can it is just rarer).
Step 1 – The Dating Phase
Remember all that work you did to find these blogs?
(And do not worry, towards the end of this post I will give you a TON of Google search queries that you can use to find blogs if you are still unclear on how to find them.)
Now it is time to use all of that to begin what I like to call the dating phase. This is where you are making sure there is a good chemistry between you and the other blogger. If you had a home brewing website and you were approaching other cocktail or beer related blogs, realize not all of them speak in the same manner.
You will want to speak “their” language, and do things that will appeal to them.
The first thing you should do is see if these people are active on social media like I mentioned above. Follow them on Twitter, like their Facebook page, and actually interact with them so they know you exist. Add value to them and they will “soften” up a little bit when it comes to you actually asking them for a guest blog spot.
Is the blogger writing in a sarcastic style? Or are they more about being informative? Match their voice in the pitch, especially after liking them on social media, and you will find them responding with far higher acceptance rates than a generic:
“Dear Website Owner
I have no idea who you are, your blog content I’m assuming is great, I like the metrics of your site. Please give me a chance to write a guest post.
Okay, a bit too much. Most generic pitches are probably a bit better than this, but not much better.
A better outreach message would be catering specifically to the blog owner. For example, going with our homebrewing website example we can determine a few things by looking at the site. Let us say the content on this blog is relatively short, with articles ranging between 500-1,000 words of content. Then you go to a website like SimilarWeb.com and punch in their URL.
You notice that they are only getting about 20% of their site traffic from organic search. You also find out that the person writing this highly valuable homebrew website is really into historical anecdotes. So now we got some working knowledge here of what we might say to… let’s call her Sarah.
Something like this:
I really love your blog, I think you offer some awesome insights to homebrewing. I really loved your review of this brew kit in your post here (link to that post).
I am a blogger myself. I am currently working on a long piece of content about the actual history of homebrewing, where it got its start in the culture. It is going to be in the 4,000 to 5,000 word range and I noticed that you are not getting a ton of search traffic.
I happen to be pretty good at SEO and I am looking for a home for this piece of content in an exchange for a link back to my blog (if that is cool with you).
I think your audience would love the post, you’ll get some free content and since it is such a long piece of content you will probably gain new readers from search traffic too.
Is that something you would be open to checking out?
Keep up the site, I’m loving it
See the difference here?
This could just as easily be written to a dentist directory that is always hungry for new content to show dentists as it can with any affiliate site. So whether you are doing guest outreach for a client website or for an affiliate site, the same strategies apply here.
Now depending on how busy this blogger is, you should give them about a week to even two weeks if they are an A-List blogger. It takes time to go through all the guest blogging pitches they are probably getting on a daily basis.
Just as when you are dating someone and getting to know them, you are not going to start texting and calling them twenty times a day in desperate attempts to hangout more often. Most people get turned off by that (it is kind of creepy), and the same goes for these kind of B2B guest blogging pitches.
Now if you added them on twitter and been engaging with them somewhere else other than this cold email, they should already be familiar with you somewhat. You may even mention an interaction you two had, and doing this adds more personalization and allows for a higher conversion rate for your blogging outreach campaign.
Obviously if they are not responding at all, keep reaching out to new bloggers.
You can always come up with more content if a bunch of bloggers all jump on board with letting you do a guest post. It is harder to speed up someone else’s timetable though when it comes to making them respond to you.
By the way, remember how I said you should keep a record of your outreach?
Expert OutReach Tip: There are a few totally free Chrome and Firefox plugins you can download that you can use in conjunction with your gmail. Something like Sidekick would work well for our purposes here. Basically how it works is when you send out an email to the blogger using a gmail account (this should also work for self hosted emails using the gmail platform by the way), you can see in real time who has opened your email.
This will tell you two important things in this possible “relationship”:
- When they actually opened your email so you can do effective follow up AFTER they opened your email instead of reaching out to them again a week later unknowingly when they haven’t even had the time yet to check out your pitch.
- How effective your subject headlines are. This is something worth tweaking and split testing. The higher the open rate of your headline, the bigger the winner you have because more people will see your pitch and so more people will likely say yes to your blog post.
Step 2 – The Partnership
We got them interested in us. You did effective follow up and a few of the people we emailed back have opened up our emails and replies are starting to flood back into our email with curiosity of what you got.
People have responded to us asking for us to send the post in, they will allow you to have a couple of links to specific pages back to your blog and an author bio. You got the green light.
But like many TV shows that get a Pilot episode, not many of them go on to become a blockbuster hit or get renewed for a second season (much less a first season). We want to do all we can to make sure our guest post sees the light of day by getting published on their blog.
As with most romantic partnerships (there are a few outliers out there after all), it is usually between two people. Since most bloggers are fairly savvy about SEO as well, or least know of it, they probably also know that Google hates duplicate content in almost every case.
That means you should pledge exclusivity with this article.
Will you write blog posts similar to this topic? Maybe.
You might end up writing 10 different articles about the history of homebrewing, but they all might be totally unique angles and different aspects of that history or different segments of time. So yes, technically it is 10 articles on the history of making beer in your home, but it is 10 very unique and still highly valuable articles.
If you can though, you should try to cover different topics around the subject. But do not feel like you can only do ONE guest post for each topic. You can do several. Just make each one as unique as possible and try to offer different value points so the person that does publish your blog post is not weirded out seeing another exact same rewritten blog post on the history of beer.
This could easily be done by the way. One article could be about the home brewing industry in the 1920s, another could be about what beer was culturally to the people in the Dark Ages.
Both cover history, but obviously two very different points of history.
Now that is out of the way, we want to make sure we do a few extra special things for our new partner:
- As stressed before, use proper grammar. If you are weak in this aspect, just outsource it to a writer who is competent or pick up a copy of Elements of Style.
- When you do add links, make sure these links have the proper anchor text for whatever it is you are trying to rank for but also make sure you are linking out to truly relevant resources. If you can avoid it, try not to link out to just the generic Wikipedia page like most people do. The BEST resources to mention though to win some real big brownie points with the blog owner is the resources they have already written (especially true if that page has good page authority so you can ask them to link from that page back to your post!)
- Use all the proper visual formatting that makes blog visually appealing. Avoid large blocks of text. Use headers, sub headers, bullet points and proper images that are relevant to your blog post.
Make sure to place the link to your content you want to rank for inside the content body as well. This is typically going to be the strongest place for the link. And as long as it is totally relevant to what you are talking about, this really should be no problem at all.
Of course, just like in your pitch email you want to give the blogger time to read and digest what you have written. If they have any edits they want you to make and so on, be open to that change.
They probably know their audience better than you and so they can tell you things that will resonate with their audience you may not had thought of initially writing the post.
You can use Sidekick for this too to see when they open up your email with the guest post attached. I would say a week to two weeks for A-List bloggers is a good time table to operate from the time you send out the guest post to them actually publishing the post.
You might be able to get even extra brownie points by telling them if they make you a guest account on their wordpress that you will upload the content for them and they can publish it whenever they can get around to it.
Many website owners will really appreciate this, because formatting a post to look good on the blog can sometimes be a real hassle and time suck for content creators.
Step 3 – The Art of Who You Know
Your post is alive. And you might be wondering… jeesh that was A LOT of work for just ONE link!
But hey, that link is going to be way better than most PBN links you can get and way less of a management issue to boot. And if you did your search right, you will never have to pay for getting your site penalized, you won’t have to pay any hosting fees, and you won’t have to constantly create content to keep your PBN looking natural either.
Overall, that one link is a good deal.
And if you did everything right up to this point (and make sure you engaging with the guest post that got published by answering comments), you probably have a pretty good relationship with this blogger.
One of the best things you can do is using the “Who do you know” strategy at this point.
Instead of reaching out to bloggers with cold emails or sometime awkward Twitter introductions through a series of tweets, ask the blogger if they know other bloggers that write about similar content in the space that would be open to a guest post from you.
Just be upfront.
Tell them you really enjoyed this experience with them and you are wanting to get more links to promote your blog as well. Often bloggers that are passionate about their subject will know several blogs off the top of their heads you may not had found using good ol’ Google.
Obviously, make sure the site is quality and has good metrics too before accepting the introduction.
Using this method though can greatly shorten the time it takes for an effective outreach campaign and it could even propel you to an A-List website in your niche.
Also there is another huge benefit from doing this kind of outreach. Many people today own several websites, some even own a portfolio of sites. Often these sites might be related to the overall niche too (or close enough to where you can make a guest post that would entertain that crowd while still being relevant to your website).
That portfolio of sites needs content too and guess what…
You just became the trusted writer and possibly even friend to that owner of websites who is probably hiring people to write content for their sites right now. You offer to do it for free just like before, and bam… you are in the door.
Just like this you could end up picking up 2, 3 or even 5+ guest posts from different sites that people own that need good, valuable content.
That is something else a PBN will never give you.
Those 3 steps can garner you amazing backlinks. It can help you earn winning business relationships. And… a successful guest post will make it that much easier for you to guest post on other people’s blogs because:
- That blogger might know other bloggers who would be open to a guest post.
- That blogger might have a portfolio of sites in similar niches that needs content done and would be more than happy for you to keep writing content for them for free in exchange for a few links.
- Other people in the space might see your post so when you reach out to them for a guest post they might already be familiar with you where it becomes an automatic yes when you give them a pitch.
Now that we have covered these 3 steps, we are going to get into the most interesting part of this all…
The art of finding endless opportunites coupled with my favorite subject: scaling the whole enterprise.
How to Find Hundreds of Guest Posting Opportunities and Scale It to the Moon (Almost Automated)
We are reaching the end of our guide here, and after reading all of these awesome strategies and benefits of guest blogging, you are probably shaking in your boots to actually get started.
I saved this part mostly for the end, because I want you to be excited by guest blogging and this is exactly how you can start finding practically unlimited opportunities for you to post your articles on that will win you a good link pointing back to your money site.
In this section we are going to cover the exact places to find these blogs (plus a long list of Google queries you can use), and how you can effectively do this in a way where it takes you very little time to actually execute.
8 Top Places to Hunt for Guest Posting Opportunities
1 – Alltop
Alltop.com is a pretty cool place and it happens to be one of the superior blogging directories out there. You can find blogs that are actively posting in almost every niche imaginable and since not every blog is accepted to Alltop’s directory, you know that a lot of the blogs you are going to be finding are also going to be authority blogs that will likely have good link juice potential.
2 – MyBlogGuest
Rather than a directory, MyBlogGuest takes a very cool almost crowdfunding approach to finding content for your blogs as well as a host for your guest posting. How it works is you sign up as either a blogger seeking content or a writer seeking to get your article posted on another website. The would-be blogger who wants content will search through the MyBlogGuest community (currently over 10,000 members) and when they find a completed article they like, they will reach out to the writer.
If the writer accepts, they will give the blogger a byline and set up the the time for when the post is suppose to go live.
By the way, MyBlogGuest can be a great way not just for backlinks to your money sites, but a bonafide way to snatch some awesome and free content for them as well.
3 – Technorati
Not a good resource for finding smaller blogs usually, it is a great place to find out who the big players are in any given niche. You can use these big blogs to do a couple things with though:
- Approach those big blogs for a guest post for a super awesome backlink (make sure to use all the strategies above!)
- Check out the comments portion of each of their blog posts. Often there will be other bloggers in similar niches commenting that might be open to a guest post.
4 – Google Blog Search
This is a very useful tool. Basically you just go to Google.com and use their blog search menu (usually located in the same bar as the images and video tab), and type in your keyword. You will find some pretty good stuff in here.
Lot of these blogs might not have a guest posting link but that does not mean they are not open to the idea. Find a way to get in contact with them and shoot them an email with your pitch.
5 – Other Guest Bloggers
If you are reading a lot up on your niche (and you should), you will likely see patterns of guest bloggers that appear over and over again. Often these people are great people to reach out to with a guest blog of your own. Not to mention since they are appearing on other niche relevant blogs, a good backlink for their blog could be a very strong one for your site.
6 – Mimic Their Backlinks
One of the best ways to beat out your competition is to make the entire battle ground equal and become just slightly better than them. The easiest way to do this is to get the same links that they have in their link profiles. If Google is ranking them and you acquire all of their backlinks plus a few extra, you win.
The best way to do this simply to use a tool like Majestic SEO or Ahrefs to pull up all the relevant backlinks pointing to the competitor site, click through each and see if there is anyway you can contact the website owner.
One of the great things about this strategy is sometimes you do not even need to do a guest post depending on the style of website and the website owner.
7 – Mining Social Searches
Social media is a great place to find new blogs that have guest posting opportunities. One of the best though is twitter because of the ease of use with their search function. All you do is type into twitter’s search bar with a phrase such as “Niche guest post”
Obviously replace niche with your niche.
This will show you a lot of the blogs within your niche that are proactively accepting and promoting guest posts. Prime targets for your guest posting goals.
8 – The Search Engine Google Itself
It is no secret that Google is an amazing tool for our businesses, otherwise we would not be clinically obsessed with ranking on the 1st page of it. It produces the best search results in the world. So why not use it in our hunt for endless websites that we can guest post on?
Yes. That is right. We are going to use Google to find opportunities for us to guest post on so that we can rank in Google. A bit meta, but it works incredibly well.
The only thing we have to use to make this work is some simple search operators.
Here is a HUGE list of search operators you can simply copy and paste (replacing “keyword” with whatever niche you are targeting) to find pretty much an unlimited supply of guest posting opportunities.
Google Keyword Operators for Finding Unlimited Guest Posting Opportunities
- Your Keyword “contributing writer”
- Your Keyword “want to write for”
- Your Keyword “submit blog post”
- Your Keyword “contribute to our site”
- Your Keyword “guest column”
- Your Keyword “This post was written by”
- Your Keyword “guest post courtesy of ”
- Your Keyword “guest posting guidelines”
- Your Keyword “become an author”
- Your Keyword “become guest writer”
- Your Keyword “become a contributor”
- Your Keyword “submit content”
- Your Keyword “submit your content”
- Your Keyword “submit post”
- Your Keyword “suggest a post”
- Your Keyword “submit an article”
- Your Keyword “contributor guidelines”
- Your Keyword “contributing writer”
- Your Keyword “submit news”
- Your Keyword “become a guest blogger”
- Your Keyword “guest blogger”
- Your Keyword “guest posts wanted”
- Your Keyword “looking for guest posts”
- Your Keyword “guest posts wanted”
- Your Keyword “guest poster wanted”
- Your Keyword “accepting guest posts”
- Your Keyword “writers wanted”
- Your Keyword “articles wanted”
- Your Keyword “submit guest post”
- Your Keyword “submit an article”
- Your Keyword “submit article”
- Your Keyword “guest author”
- Your Keyword “send a tip”
- Your Keyword inurl: “guest blogger”
- Your Keyword inurl: “guest post”
- allintitle: Your Keyword + guest post
All of these are pretty common things for websites to have on their site if they allow for any kind of guest posting at all. These queries will bring back potentially tens of thousands of candidates that will be niche related to your money site.
Also keep in mind that some niches and specifically micro niches are going to return far less results. This means less potential authority sites as well. Going a bit more broad to get a post on a site that is more authoritative can sometimes be worth the fact that the site is less thematically relevant than you would like.
Scaling Out Guest Posting Using Processes & People
Now everything above works fine, but if you want to scale a massive guest blogging campaign, it helps if we add some processes and people to the mix so we can automate this whole campaign.
Unlike other link building methods, it is a bit difficult to automate guest posting completely because of how much personalization is really involved with every pitch you send.
However, there are a few areas we can work with to shorten the time frame of a strong guest posting campaign. We want to use a tool like BuzzStream to get us there. What BuzzStream will do is use all these search string queries (instead of us having to enter each one manually) and it will return all of the results for you automatically.
The cool thing about BuzzStream is that they will also give you metrics telling you how much of an authority (or lackthereof) the website is, this way you do not waste time on weak sites or sites potentially harmful to your site.
You can also check a box that will tell BuzzStream to run the same search weekly, retrieving any new results it comes across to alert you of new potential blogs to reach out to.
This saves a ton of time during the research phase of guest blog outreach.
We can also create a “canned” template email.
This template email should only be modeled after a successful pitch email you did before that has earned you a guest post spot on another blog. Strip this email down from its personalization and leave the barebones.That way you can use this template again for other pitches where you can simply dump in the personalization parts alongside the standard pitch, and change the article topic you are pitching.
The next portion of semi-automating guest posting comes with the writer.
When you get a positive “Yes, please send me your post”, you can go to Upwork.com and find a high quality writer to do the guest post for you. Make sure you do not try to penny pinch here, actually pay the writer what that link is worth to you if you do not have the time to write the post.
You will reap major benefits from paying for quality on this.
If you are one of those people who want to send a full on guest post already completed to the people you are pitching, you may want to have your writer write 20-30 posts for you that way you can pitch for each one without repeating yourself. The last thing you want is to give 30 bloggers the exact same article and all 30 of them say yes to you, creating tons of duplicate content across the internet.
This is the more expensive route, but writing all these unique high quality articles will likely convert from pitch to actually getting published on their blog at a higher level.
Worse comes to worse, you can always use that content on your money site (you did make sure it was quality stuff, right?)
The next step to making this completely (okay almost completely) automated is by hiring and training an exceptionally skilled VA to handle all of your blog outreach. Teach the processes taught in this guide and hand them a checklist of what you are looking for.
Be incredibly specific, boil guest posting down to just a list of mechanical, repetitive actions as much as possible. Once you find a good VA that is able to outreach to blogs on your behalf, now you are in business.
This setup between Buzzstream, a paid outsourced writer and a paid VA is the more expensive route. So if you cannot afford it, stick with the free methods taught earlier and work your way into scaling guest posting campaigns.
Once you have all the processes and the people in place though, you will have a well oiled guest posting machine on your hands.
This coupled with a good content team and web team means you can be reaching out to blogs in all sorts of niches for all sorts of money sites if you got big enough and had the desire to do so. All while it being mostly done for you on autopilot other than you managing the team and making sure they did what they are suppose to be doing.
We have covered a TON of information here.
Hopefully you have enjoyed it all and been taking copious amounts of notes as you read through If not, please refer back to this anytime you like (it’s here for you and the community after all).
Remember, guest posting has a ton of benefits and they are not all just SEO related. Likewise, do not just spam blogs you want to post on, actually build real relationships with them or at least personalize your pitch.
When you do get a successful “yes”, blow them out of the water with incredibly in depth content (the longer the better) with good formatting. Follow up with them until they post your article and then make sure to promote it to your audience as they promote it to theirs (All the while replying to any comments you get on the post).
There are a ton of free resources out there to find guest posting opportunities in pretty much any niche you can think about.
However, if you want to scale up and do massive guest posting and become just a total guest posting machine then I would suggest using tools like Buzzstream coupled with the proper procedures to teach a few people that you hire as contractors.
It is a powerful combo.
Next time you see an SEO that says guest posting is dead, you can officially roll your eyes and point them back to here.
Because I assure you, it is very much alive and well.