The Definitive Guide to Guest Posting Like a Pro
Guest blogging has been an integral part of the SEO Process from the get-go. It’s a great way to utilize the limitless potential of the internet and all you have to do is use it properly. Sure, advertisements and the other more intricate SEO techniques are out there but guest blogging is one of the simpler techniques; it’s simple but it’s also extremely effective.
The thing about guest blogging is that before, it was seen as a lazy technique where a content creator will write a quick article, brand it with their name and release it on the internet en masse. Guest posting is now a legitimate way to become a successful SEO specialist and/or a reputable content creator on the internet. Guest posting is the ultimate opportunity creator in that if it’s done correctly, it can be used to propel you, your name and your business to greater heights.
Guest Blogging Works Better Today than Before
One of the biggest influencers on the internet, Neil Patel has stated that he writes and publishes at least 100 guest articles every year. Patel believes that people don’t need a lot of conversions to generate money from your guest post. Instead, Patel believes more in Guest Blogging’s ability to help you build your name and your brand online. Patel posts about a couple of guest posts every month and if he’s doing it, shouldn’t you be doing it too?
(Read more about Neil Patel here.)
Guest Blogging’s Shady Past – and How to Use That to Your Advantage
Like I said earlier, Guest Posting wasn’t seen as a legitimate means for content creator to gain traction online. In fact, it was seen as somewhat of an abuse of the various search engine’s on the internet. But this was back then when people were all about quantity instead of quality.
Quantity over quality does not work today and that’s benefitted guest posting by a large margin!
Content creation is now all about quality! If you can craft content that is appealing to people, extremely viral-worthy, something that inspires content creators like you on someone else’s website then you’re doing guest posting correctly.
Websites are now more choosy about which Guest Posts to accept – and rightly so. Each and every guest post pitch is a performance with you the performer and your target website the audience. This means that each and every pitch that you do is equivalent to a performance on a grand stage. What you have to do is captivate your audience with your content and if they don’t like what you have to offer then they’ll simply turn you down. The best way to build your reputation as a reputable guest blogger is to make sure that your content is written with originality and proper grammar. Otherwise, big websites that offer the most exposure will avoid you like a plague – and that’s not good.
So How Do You Get Started With Guest Posting? Easy, Find the Right Blog!
In order to avoid becoming like a guest blogger of the past who simply churned out a lot of articles sans regard for quality and relevance then you’re going to need the right blog to build a working relationship with.
Firstly, Find a Blog that’s Relevant to your Niche
It’s easy to get lost in the idea that you’ll be more reputable the more you write quality articles and spread them around the internet. While that’s not entirely wrong, the best way of going about this is by looking for the right blog to associate with your own brand. For example, if you’re writing about SEO then you wouldn’t want to feature your guest posts in a blog that mainly talks about pets, right?
There are four (4) conditions that a website must meet before you can consider them for guest blogging opportunities.
- These blogs must be of the same niche of your own brand
- These websites must have an audience that will appreciate your content or product/services
- These blogs must have a blog owner that’s an influencer or active on social media
- These blogs must have readers that have a meaningful relationship with their website
Another important thing to consider is that you must look for a blog that is highly reputable as well as having a decent amount of domain authority; being an industry leader is also a good quality. It’s in poor form to have your brand and website associated with black-hat SEO websites and trust me, that won’t do you any good in the short and long run. What I’m trying to say is that it is imperative that you find a blog that’s all these things and more importantly, they must be someone that you know that you can trust.
The best way of going about this is by looking at what the pros are doing and where they post their guest posts. Try to find an influential guest poster that you can learn from. After all, every influencer is there for a reason – to influence people. In this case, you can start with the example I gave above. Try to look for Neil Patel on the internet. A quick Google search will net you where he’s posted recently. That’s a good place to start when you’re prospecting for potential blogs to write guest posts for.
Again, it is important to keep in mind that you’re writing guest posts to improve your reputation. Never ever approach a website that don’t publish author bios for guest posts that are pitched to them. Look for a website that will publish a bio for you that contains your picture, who you are and a link to your website.
As an example, here’s what we use here at SEO Hacker. All of the people who have contributed to our website is given a bio like this. Let me reiterate what I said earlier. Even if a website is amazing, if they don’t properly give credit or at the very least give an author bio for people who contribute for them, don’t approach them for guest posting opportunities.
Some people might be happy with a “This article was written by Sean Si from SEO-Hacker.com” it doesn’t mean you have to be. Know what your content is worth and only go for websites that are willing to give you credit for your content.
Speaking of Pitching, Here’s How to Write the Perfect Pitch and Finding Where to Pitch It To
What most people get wrong with pitching is that most of them write a generic email that they think they can use for every website – but that’s the wrong way to go about this. The best way to do this is by crafting a personalized email that directly addresses your target website.
You can go about this by reading that blog’s content. Try to get to know who they are, how they write and who they write for. Check out the guest posts that they already have and see if your content has what it takes to make the cut. You can do this by comparing your content with the most popular post that they already have.
If you can see at a first glance that the website does not meet any of your needs then that website just isn’t for you. Guest posting isn’t all about reaching the most people at any given time. It’s about reaching the right people on the right platform. In short, if the website that you’re targeting is aimed towards people who might not appreciate what you have to offer, then go look for a website whose audience will.
The thing about websites is that behind them is a human being (or more) so craft your pitch in a way that will appeal to other people.
You can think of pitching as introducing yourself to another person. You have to appeal to them because people, unlike machines, have preferences and emotions. You don’t necessarily have to present yourself as someone who wants to make friends, you can instead start by stating that you wish to interact and connect with them professionally.
If you can convince the people behind your target website that you’re a real person who has quality content that fits their niche, then your chances of working with them is significantly increased. This means that they are more likely to approve and accept your pitch if they find you appealing. To do that, you have to be honest in your pitch and you have to deliver what you promise. After all, every successful working relationship is built on trust.
A great way of going about this is by crafting your pitch towards the website’s editor
Many guest bloggers will be satisfied by sending their pitch to an automated contact form – and that’s just not efficient. What you need to do is find the person that’s in-charge of all things content for that website. Some websites have an editor, others have a team managing their guest posts and most of the time, it’s simply the blog’s owner. The easiest way of going about this is by using Google! Just key in some specific keywords like “content creator”, “editor” or what have you.
The keywords that I used were “Editor, SEO-Hacker” and I immediately found my answer on the first page of the SERP. It’s that easy. In the unlikely event that you can’t find who you’re looking for, another great place to look is on social media. The most important thing here is that you get a name and you use that name to contact the website for a pitch. This makes it seem that you actually did your research which makes your pitch more credible. This is because if an editor sees his or her name on a pitch, then they will immediately know that this is targeted towards their website and is not a hopeful guest blogger’s email blast, hoping for an editor to bite.
Also, if both methods above work then the simplest place for you to find your name is in the website’s “About Us” page. It’s that easy.
The important thing here is for you to skip the automated forms and directly address your pitch to a person. Your pitch is more likely to be accepted that way.
Here’s a brief summary of what we discussed. You can use this as a checklist!
- Learn who your target blog caters to. Ask questions like will they enjoy the type of content that you make, are they professionals or beginners. Basically, if the blog is aimed towards consumers then it is best to write your content for consumers.
- Find out what kind of content your target website accepts. Do they prefer list type articles? How about infographics?
- Learn about the other guest bloggers already posting on their website. Try to understand what helps them maintain a healthy working relationship with your target website. Chances are you could learn a thing or two from them!
- IMPORTANT: Be sure to read your target website’s guidelines because most of the time, these guidelines will tell you everything that you need to know about submitting a guest post. The things that you can do, the things that you shouldn’t do and the things that you should do will definitely be listed there. In short, these websites will definitely have their own rules. It is imperative that you read and understand your target website’s rules. If you don’t, then chances are that your pitch will simply be deleted or at best, ignored.
- These websites encounter a dozen of guest post requests every day. Stand above the competition by being unique. The best way of doing that is by being yourself. Try to be fun, conversational and most importantly, be interesting. If you submit a pitch that’s generic then sure, that might be accepted. If you submit a unique pitch then that invites their curiosity. Their curiosity will lead to interest and their interest in you will lead to you working with them. At least that’s what happens in an ideal world. However, this increases your chances of your pitch being accepted.
- In conjunction with the previous point, in your pitch tell them all about your company. Let them know what you’re into, what you can offer and how you can be beneficial to their website. This gives them a unique feel for your character and this lets them know that you’re a real person and not a bot or an automated e-mail message.
Pitch Approved! What’s Next? Writing a Great Guest Post, Of Course!
That took a while but it’s worth it. Your pitch has been approved so here comes the most important step: delivering the awesome guest post that you promised. This is the main course after the entrée that was your pitch and this is where you need to shine, brighter than the rest. Seems hard right? Not at all! Here’s how you can write an awesome guest post.
- Write a Guest Post that Has Depth
The thing about guest posts is that you write them to increase your authority. You can’t do that with a five hundred (500) word article about the basics of something. Here’s where you need to go beyond the nitty-gritty details by writing an inspired, insightful piece that people can actually learn from. Basically, you need to write something that people will feel compelled to share whether to their family or their colleagues.
The type of post that you need to write must be something that fully explores what you can offer as a writer and/or as a specialist in your field. This is what will set you apart from the other hopeful guest bloggers. You also need to determine what kind of tone the website has. If you’re writing for a website who’s an authority on something then you need to assume that tone. If you’re writing for a website that’s more casual with their tone, then you can be a little casual. It helps to fit in your target website and simply changing your tone in writing will definitely be a big help for you.
Here are some pro tips for you:
- Numbers don’t lie. Whenever you write about something that needs validation, always cite statistics whenever possible. As much as possible, only cite statistics from websites have exceptional domain authority. Do note that if you’re going to cite numbers, then cite the people who made the research and not another content creator discussing the numbers. It’s best to go directly to the source when it comes to statistics.
- Never underestimate your readers. The worst way of making an impression is by assuming that the people that are going to read your content are novices. Always assume that the people that you are writing for are professionals, or at the very least are people who know the basics.
- When you present an idea in your writings, don’t be afraid to expound upon them. People are into details and it is your duty to give them the details that they want. People by nature are curious and are genuinely interested in learning. People will only read your content if they deem it competent enough to teach them. So be competent and explain your ideas properly.
2. Lists Are the Easiest Way to Convert People
I said earlier that people are into learning and they will give you their time if your content proves worthy enough but it’s also a fact that people are really busy nowadays. The best way to both deliver the full brunt of your content while respecting your readers’ time is by writing a list-style post.
This is done because lists are easier to digest than a full wall of text and let’s face it, people are just too busy to digest paragraph after paragraph of your thoughts. Writing a list style article will not make your content any less competent than it is, the secret to a list style article’s success is in breaking down the details in bite-sized snippets so people can digest them better.
It’s actually really simple to convert your blog post into a list-style post. All you have to do think about your topic then imagine breaking it up into a few pieces. Here’s how we do it here at SEO-Hacker.
- Think of a gimmick that will allow you creativity while being faithful to the topic at hand.
- Being creative means being unique. So take risks and don’t do things by the book. Do things you don’t normally do. Sometimes the payout is higher than the risk!
- When you can, add in-depth resources that you can cite. It adds more credibility to what you’re writing.
- People understand better when they know what they’re reading. Go about this by making your topic relatable with examples that people can relate to.
- Properly label your examples with numbers. This makes your article look cleaner and easier to digest.
3. Headlines: Make Yours Marketable
If your content is the show then your headline is the poster. What you want is a headline that will drive traffic into your post, not the other way around. Make your headline interesting, enticing and even tempting for people. Write your headline in a way that will tickle your reader’s curiosity. Make it irresistible for them. There are many ways to go about this by the best way for you to perfect your headline game strong is through trial and error.
Of course, there are some tools that you can use to analyze your headlines. One good example is this.
4. In this Case, Your Means Will Justify the Ends
Am I being philosophical here? Nope, this is actually a legitimate advice. When you’re writing for a website as a guest poster, then your bio is definitely something you can use to your advantage. What most people will place as a link on their bio is a link to their homepage. That’s fine and all but the thing about homepages is that they’re usually big and first time visitors might find themselves lost due to the amount of quality content that you have there. The best way to go about this is by linking potential customers to a page where you can convert them. This can be your store, your pricing page (if you’re offering a service) or even to your Client Testimonial Page.
What you’re doing is basically funneling your first-time readers into seeing what you want them to see. This is a much better alternative than simply linking them to your homepage where they are likely to get lost.
5. Communicate! Reply to Comments on Your Website!
Writing a Guest Post is a tough job. Especially if it’s a quality guest post that inspires discussions and learning. Simply submitting your guest post does not end your work, in fact that is only the beginning. The most exciting part about submitting a guest post is the opportunity to connect with your readers through the comments section. Simply put, if pitching, researching and writing the guest post is 50% of the job then the other 50% is replying to comments.
This is really important if you want to establish yourself as an authority in your field. Simply replying to comments increases your conversion rate by a significant margin so go the extra mile and reply to comments on your post!
Everything that I’ve written here is a result of years of experimentation as well as research into the most optimal way of guest posting. Here are your key takeaways:
- Go for Websites that have high domain authority as well as considerable reputation.
- Be yourself and be creative. No one likes boring people.
- Establish your brand’s reputation through your content and your actions. You build a more stable, longer-lasting reputation this way.
- When writing a guest post, write for people who know the basics but want more advanced techniques. This is the easiest way to write for both spectrums of ability with readers.
So there you go. You’re now an expert at pitching and writing guest posts. Easy right? It takes effort, sure but the return more than makes up for your investment in time, energy and effort. Questions? Keen on starting right away? Let’s discuss all of your ideas in the comments section below!