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5 steps to do great guest posting

If you’re wondering how to guest post, follow our guide on how to do guest posting the right way. Our guest blogging strategy will help you land high-quality blogs.

November 6, 2020 by Cyn Meyer

If you’re still missing the traffic levels that content marketing promises, don’t fret. 

While I won’t tell you there’s a magic wand for instantly steering loads of visitors to your site, I will tell you that you can drive traffic to your site. 

And that your great content will work to grow your business.

Enter . . . the magic of guest posting.

Landing guest blog posts like Copyhackers, CoSchedule, and Kindlepreneur has helped us in more ways than one, and it can do the same for your own site.

Today, we bring you a detailed 5-step guide for doing guest blogging successfully. Whether you’re starting an online business or expanding a thriving small business, if you follow our tips, you’ll grow your target audience reach.    

But first, let’s quickly cover why guest blogging is even worth it.

Why should I do guest posting?

Among the many reasons why you should do guest posting, there’s one overarching reason that makes it worthwhile -- to grow your email subscribers.

Why do email subscribers, out of all the other metrics, matter so much? 

Because the more email subscribers you have, the more chances you get to earn sales -- and grow your business. 

But let’s back up a bit. 

To get to those email subscribers, you first need to boost your SEO, which is where guest blogging comes in.

Guest blogging is an effective way to get quality backlinks to your own site, especially if you publish on guest blogs with a larger target audience and higher domain authority than yours. 

Basically, if you want to rank high on search engines, you need a lot of backlinks coming from diverse high-quality sites. That’s the correlation with Google rankings, anyway.

When you publish great content on a guest blog, with more domain authority and a bigger target audience, you enjoy these benefits of guest blogging (among others):

  • Increase backlinks (links pointing to your own site)
  • Improve domain authority (a search engine ranking score)
  • Drive traffic to your own site 
  • Boost your branding

And these guest posting benefits help you build an email list with more subscribers. 

If you’re wondering if guest blogging actually works, the simple answer is yes. 

Pro digital marketer Gregory Ciotti used guest blogging to grow his email list to 36,733 subscribers, for example.

The caveat is: you need to commit to guest posting regularly. Occasional and sporadic guest posting doesn’t do much to lift your search engine ranking or visibility online. 

To land in the top positions on search engine results pages, you need hundreds of referring domains (which are domains that backlinks come from, in case you’re unfamiliar).

But, if you do guest blogging right, you’ll grow your subscriber list and business.

All in all: 

Adding guest posting to your marketing strategy is a powerful way to boost your SEO, establish solid link building, and drive traffic to your brand -- all of which will help grow your list of email subscribers and business.

Now that you’re (hopefully) convinced a guest blogging strategy is worth your time, let’s head into the steps for guest posting. 

5 steps for landing high-quality guest blogging opportunities

#1. Research and target guest blogging opportunities

Your first step is to hunt down guest blogging opportunities that align with growing your brand and target audience. 

To do this, you’ll want to leverage handy SEO tools, like Ahrefs, SEMRush, Moz, or SEOQuake, to help you find sites with a high domain authority. 

In case you’re unfamiliar, the higher the domain authority rating, the more likely a website is to rank on search engine results pages. So, shoot for guest blogging opportunities with high domain authority ratings. 

Just type in a site’s domain into your SEO tool to find out the domain authority score. 

Or, if you install a browser extension like SEOQuake, you simply head to a site, and the domain authority ratings pop up at the top of your browser window, just like this for Kindlepreneur.

Pretty convenient, right?

Another key is to search for guest blogs with a larger target audience that complements yours, so both audiences (and, of course, both sites) can benefit from your published guest blog post. 

For instance, let’s say you’re an entrepreneur or solopreneur in the wedding photography industry.  

SLR Lounge might be a good guest blog to target since there’s probably some shared interest that runs across both audiences -- SLR Lounge’s target audience being more general for photographers. 

Plus, they have a domain rating of 75, which makes it a high-quality blog with high domain authority. Guest posting on this guest blog should drive traffic to your own site and serve as a great backlink.

While finding ideal guest blogs may be a time-consuming task, there are a few sites that will cut down your research hours (by a lot) and help you work more productively

Check out these conglomerate sites that list hundreds of blogs accepting guest posts:

They’re organized by category, so you can figure out if each guest blog is relevant to your niche and target audience.

Another convenient thing about these links to guest blogging opportunities is they direct you to pages that explain how the blog owner wants you to submit your piece of content. 

And in most cases, you’ll also find guest posting guidelines and other details on what the guest blog wants from guest authors. 

Just like SLR Lounge’s page, which lists what the guest blog is looking for and what it isn’t looking for.  

Take it from someone who’s spent hours manually searching for guest posting opportunities -- digging through target guest blog sites for this info can be a time-consuming event. 

But OK. Once you’ve put together a list of quality blogs that align with your target audience, it’s time to do one more bit of research before reaching out to guest blogs -- figure out topic ideas for each guest post pitch.

Unlike gathering a list of high-quality guest blogs, though, there’s no shortcutting here. (Not to worry -- the guest posting opportunities are still worth it in high-quality backlinks.)

The best way to figure out topic ideas for your guest post pitches is to comb through your target guest blog’s articles. 

Find out which topic ideas are already covered and where there’s an opportunity for you to fill in the gaps with your own high-quality content. 

While there’s no shorthand way to peruse guest blog articles, you can save some time and effort by repurposing your own content

Of course, tailor your own content so it fits your guest blog’s guidelines. This will also help make your content unique, which is likely what any guest blog wants and requires.  

Sidenote: Repurposing content is something that only a third of leading marketers have a systematic process for, so be sure to organize everything carefully from the start. 

In a nutshell:

Do your due diligence and take the time to find the right guest posting opportunities that are right for your brand and target audience. 

Once you’ve taken the time to drum up a list of guest blogs accepting guest posts and unique topic ideas, it’s time to reach out.

#2. Do outreach and send your guest post pitches

Your next step is to do your outreach and contact your targeted list of high-quality blogs accepting guest posts. 

Depending on each guest blog’s preference, guest post pitch processes vary. 

For instance, the Succeed As Your Own Boss blog wants guest bloggers to submit a written draft of their guest blog post to an online form. 

CoSchedule also prefers guest bloggers to submit pitches to an online form, but only one pitch idea and three samples of articles.

And HubSpot prefers guest post pitches are emailed to them with “Guest Pitch: [Tentative Title of Post]” as the subject line. 

If you do find that your target guest blog wants to receive guest post pitches through email, be sure to include these components:

  • A compliment about their blog content -- It not only flatters them, but it also tells them you’ve done your research. (Protip: Be sincere. Experienced editors can spot generic a mile away.)
  • Links to your most impressive published articles -- A great way to reassure blog owners that you’ll submit high-quality content is by sharing examples of your own content. 
  • Your topic ideas  -- Provide new ideas after researching the guest blog’s content, of course.
  • An open-worthy subject line -- After all, 35% of recipients open an email based on the subject line alone.

Looking for a template to follow for writing your guest post pitch? We’ve got you covered. 

Try this one:

Subject line: Guest post ideas for [target guest blog]

Hi [first name], 

I’m a huge fan of the great content you put out on [target guest blog], especially the [category] that [specific benefits to audience].

I’d love to contribute to your blog with high-quality content that your audience will find helpful. 

But first, you can check out the high-quality in these published articles that I’ve written: [example link], [example link], and [example link].

Here are three topic ideas that I think will benefit your audience:

  • Topic idea 1
  • Topic idea 2
  • Topic idea 3

Of course, I’d be happy to share the article with my audience as well. 

Let me know what you think!

Best, 

[your name]

Feel free to add your own personal flavor to our template, of course, but if you generally follow the format, it can work wonders.

The main takeaway here is:

Each guest blog has its own set of guest post guidelines and preferred ways of accepting guest post pitches. Just follow each guest blog’s preferences to a tee.

For email guest post pitches, include a compliment about their great content, links to your own content, a few unique topic ideas, and a clear subject line.

If you don’t hear back from them -- and/or are unsure about whether your topic ideas are accepted or rejected -- follow our next step.

#3. Follow up with your target guest blogs

This step is short and sweet, but important nonetheless. Follow up with your submitted guest post ideas. 

It goes without saying that the people who accept guest posts are likely busy, especially if they’re digital marketers juggling several tasks beyond managing blog content. 

In fact, these days, 33% of digital marketers work 9-12 hours daily, and another 15% of digital marketing pros work nearly every waking hour. 

Plus, your guest blog contact may be inundated with other guest blog post requests and submissions.

HubSpot, for instance, has a notice on their guest posting guidelines page that openly states they receive so many guest post requests that you may not hear back from them at all. 

And Startup Grind simply lets guest bloggers know that if you don’t hear back from them within seven days, then your piece of content hasn’t been accepted.

So, if you’re afraid of coming off as spammy by sending too many emails, don’t be. Chances are, your guest blog contact is busy.

Plus, generally speaking, it’s typical to have to follow up just to get through to someone during the workday.

Particularly if it’s sales-related. It takes eight follow-up calls to reach a prospect, and about 80% of sales require five follow-up calls after a meeting.

Not that scoring a guest blog post is a sale, per se, but you get the gist -- follow-up is important for getting your guest blog post and topic ideas accepted. 

And once accepted, you get to move on to our next step.

#4. Write (and finetune) your guest post submission

Now comes the fun part -- writing your guest blog post and contributing your great content. 

Before you do any writing, review the guest posting guidelines. 

Familiarize yourself with everything the guest blog requires -- from formatting to brand voice details -- so your article fits the guest posting guidelines right from the get-go. 

For instance, if you take screenshots and include images in your guest blog post, be sure to follow guest posting guidelines on how to reference images. 

ActiveCampaign prefers crediting images as “Image source” anchor text as a caption, for example.

Paying attention to these details will help you avoid time-consuming editing later on -- and at least shrink your back-and-forth time with the guest blog editor, anyway.

Then, just as you would for your own site’s blog, write a high-quality piece of content that benefits the guest blog’s target audience. 

You generally can’t go wrong with a how-to. Ranked against the most popular blog formats, how-to articles come in at the top with 77%.

Regardless of the format -- whether it’s a how-to article, ultimate guide, or detailed listicle -- simply focus on writing a great guest blog post, and treat the guest blog’s content marketing effort like it’s your own. 

Why? To build a win-win relationship, of course. 

By contributing an excellent piece of content that boosts the guest blog’s SEO, you’ll build a great relationship with the guest blog owner and drive traffic to your own site via the backlink boost, too -- a win-win, which is the whole point of guest blogging, right?

It’s also worth mentioning that if you include anchor text linking to your own content, don’t be overly promotional and make sure it fits naturally into context.

Unfortunately, most guest bloggers overdo it, with 79% of editors claiming that guest content is too promotional. 

So, you’ll be ahead of the game if you stick to simply writing great content that closely follows guest posting guidelines.

Pro tip: An effective way to avoid being too promotional is to include anchor text that links to articles in the guest blog. Any editor or guest blog owner will appreciate the cross-link building.  

And before sending off your guest post submission, be sure to include an author bio.

Your author bio is a brief description about you, the guest author. Most blog owners will let you include a link to your own blog or homepage, too. Here’s my author bio from a Jeff Bullas guest blog post, for instance.

To sum it up:

Review guest posting guidelines before writing your article, follow guest blog requirements as closely as possible, and don’t be overly promotional. These tips will strengthen a relationship with the guest blog owner that benefits you both.

With a solid guest blog post draft in hand, it’s time to send it off to the guest blog editor.

#5. Submit your guest blog post, and continue to build relationships

Your final step is to submit your guest blog post. Naturally, the blog owner party will review your piece of content and send it back for any editing requirements. 

To strengthen your working relationship with your guest blog contact, be sure to work with them in editing and updating your guest blog post as many times as you need -- basically, until they see it as a high-quality piece of content that meets their guest post guidelines. 

After your rounds of back-and-forth editing are complete -- congrats, you’ve officially published your guest blog post.

Now for just a few more things to take care of in this final step.

Once your guest blog post is published, be sure to share the link on your own social media channels to give the post extra exposure and referral traffic. 

Here’s our social media post sharing a guest blog post published on Copyhackers' blog.

Another way to drive traffic to your guest blog post is to do some more outreach. 

Contact any influencers you may have mentioned in your post. Share your excitement about including them in your published guest blog post and ask for social shares to their networks.

Even if you simply refer to influencers as stellar examples to mimic, it’s worth the outreach. 

After all, a major 67% of marketing professionals engage with influencers to promote content. 

It usually makes the influencer’s day, too.

The gist is that whatever you can do to drive traffic to your freshly published guest blog post helps build your relationship with the guest blog. 

If your guest blog post boosts the blog owner’s SEO, the guest blog party will probably want to work with you again in publishing another piece of content.

It’s also worth your effort to build relationships with your new readers, too.

If your published guest blog post receives some comments, be sure to comment back. Here’s an example of a few back-and-forth comments on the Copyhackers guest blog post.

The same goes for any comments you receive on social media.  

Basically, continue to edit your guest blog post until it meets the editor’s standards. Once your article is live, share the article with as many people as possible, and continue building relationships with both the guest blog party and your new readers. 

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Here’s to your guest blogging success

If you have the bandwidth, add guest posting to your marketing strategy. 

The benefits of boosting your SEO, link building, and brand awareness will grow your list of email subscribers, and ultimately, your business.

Just follow our five guest blogging steps:

  • #1. Research guest posting opportunities that will grow your target audience and align with your brand. 
  • #2. Submit your guest post pitches and topic ideas by following each guest blog’s preferences. For blogs accepting guest posts through email, use our email template for submitting guest post pitches.
  • #3. Follow up with your guest post pitches, even if it means multiple times.
  • #4. Before writing your article, review guest posting guidelines. Focus on building relationships with the guest blog and new readers, and avoid being overly promotional.
  • #5. Edit your guest blog post until it meets the guest blog standards and then share the published article after it’s live. 

Ready to tackle the world of guest posting? Great -- you have what it takes. 

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