Our eight-step strategy to successful guest blogging
How often do you write guest blogs? Find out why they are an important marketing and SEO tool, and get our eight-step strategy to successful guest blogging.
What’s the easiest way to reach a new audience of your ideal customers, gain traffic to your website, build your reputation with your existing customers AND boost your SEO in one fell swoop? Easy: guest blogging!
Guest blogging is basically getting your content published on someone else’s blog or website. This much overlooked content marketing strategy can deliver so many quick and long term wins for small businesses, and yet so few do it properly, if at all.
To rectify this, we have put together an eight-step guide to guest blogging for you. Simply follow our guide, and start regularly and successfully publishing your content on other blogs and websites – and reap the rewards.
So let’s get started!
1) Make a list of potential websites
There’s one key element you need in every successful guest blogging strategy, and that is websites to publish your guest blogs on. So how can you find them?
The first place to start is your subject matter – what it is that you do or sell. What kind of websites or blogs are your ideal customers reading? Think about what it is that you do, and what is connected to that.
For example, if you are a personal stylist then your ideal customer may well be reading fashion blogs and websites. But they’ll also be on other sites, so don’t limit yourself to just fashion sites.
So if you are a fashion stylist, you may consider placing your content on blogs and websites connected with:
- Psychology and wellbeing
- Women’s interests
- Money and finances
- Career and business
You know your ideal customer visits these types of site, and you can easily create content that connects fashion to these subjects.
2) Find websites that accept guest blogs
Your next step is to find blogs and websites in these categories that accept guest blogs. And there is an easy way to do this. All you need is access to Google.
Open up Google Search and type the following in:
- Your subject [write for us]
So if you are looking to write for fashion sites, search for: Fashion [write for us]. If you are looking for parenting sites, search for: Parenting [write for us]. You get the idea!
You can also try similar searches for websites that use different terminology, for example:
- Your subject [guest blogs]
- Your subject [guest post guidelines]
Another tip is to search for guest blogs written by people who are well known in your industry. When you find them, check the site to see if they accept submissions.
3) Check the domain authority of websites that accept guest blogs
When you search, click on the sites and check that you like the look and sound of the site and would be happy for your content to appear on it. You also need to check two more important things:
- Their publishing criteria: Check that they allow do follow links (these are important for SEO) and what their minimum word count is. (As example, here is our guest post publishing criteria.)
- Their domain authority: Check what SEO value you will get from any link from their site.
The latter is important as your motivation for guest posting is threefold:
- To hopefully gain traffic back to your own website via a link.
- To get noticed by people who already know you and build your know, like, trust factor.
- To gain SEO ‘points’ for your own website via a link back to it.
To check the authority of a website, use a free tool like Ahrefs and enter the URL of the site you want to write a guest blog for. You’ll see a result like this:
The domain rating runs from 1-100, and the higher it is the better for SEO. And according to Ahrefs, the best way to determine if a domain rating is good or not is to compare it to similar sites. The site with the higher rating will give you more SEO value.
4) Create a spreadsheet with your results
When compiling your research we recommend creating a spreadsheet to keep track of your results. Here are the fields we include in ours:
- URL of the website
- Subject of the website
- Minimum word count
- Domain rating
- Any other notes, such as whether they allow do follow links
Once you have finished your research – we usually spend a couple of hours compiling our spreadsheet – you can rank each site in order of priority. For us this is based on highest domain rating and lowest word count.
5) Brainstorm content ideas
When you have your hit list of blogs and websites you want to approach for guest blogging, it is time to brainstorm content ideas for them. Some sites invite you to submit finished content, while others ask you to suggest content ideas first.
Either way, you need to know what you are going to write about. So look at each site in turn and the kind of content they tend to publish. Also if there are any indicators of what gets the most engagement, such as views or social shares, make a note of these too.
Then think of content ideas for each site. Consider:
- What kind of content the website tends to post/does well on the site
- What kind of content your ideal customer cares about, that is related to what you do
In your spreadsheet add another field for each site with your content ideas.
6) Approach the websites and pitch your guest blog
Now it is time to approach your chosen websites and pitch your guest blogs. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you read their submission guidelines carefully. The chances are they receive many pitches a day, and you want to make it as easy as possible for them to publish yours.
So before contacting them, re-read their submission page and check what they need you to do, and follow this to the letter. If you don’t you may not hear back from them, and your effort will go to waste.
Check things like:
- The email address to contact them on
- Whether they want pitches of blog ideas or blog drafts
- Your idea fits their subject matter
- If your blog is written, check it meets their word count guidelines
- You have added any links as per their guidelines
- You have included all the information they need
In your submission it’s a good idea to include a brief biography of you, so they can see you have the authority to share this content, plus a link to your own website or social profile.
If you are submitting a pre-written guest blog, make sure you follow the formatting of their blogs. Look out for things like:
- Whether they include an intro and the length of it
- How they style and the frequency of their subheads
- Whether they include links to authority sources
- The length and style of the author bio
Basically you want to make it as easy as possible for the site to accept and publish your guest blog.
Once you submit, add the submission date to your spreadsheet and make a note of how long they take to respond, if this is mentioned on their site. If they don’t let you know how long they will take to come back to you, make a note on your spreadsheet to contact them in seven days.
7) Chase up your submission
If you haven’t heard back from the website by their stated response time, or within seven days of submitting your blog or blog idea, send them a polite reminder. We suggest something like this:
On [date] I sent you a guest blog/guest blog idea for [website name]. The blog/idea was [title/idea(s)].
I appreciate you are probably very busy, but I was wondering whether the blog/idea was of interest.
If so, please could you let me know in the next [timeframe, such as 48 hours] as I have other websites ready to place the blog/idea with if it’s not a good fit for yours.
If you don’t hear back from them within this timeframe, you can offer your blog to another site.
8) Make a note of your publish date and share
If the website does accept your guest blog, ask them when it will go live, and make a note of the publish date on your spreadsheet. On that date, check their site for your blog and share it.
Our suggestion is to share it on your social media, tagging the blog or website’s accounts. You can also share it with your mailing list in a newsletter to help boost your credibility with them, and link to it in blogs on your website.
Make sure you guest blog regularly
We hope you have found this guide to guest blogging helpful. Guest blogging is an important part of any marketing strategy. It gets you in front of a new audience, and shows people who already know you that you are a trusted authority, as your knowledge is being shared on another website.
It also gives you valuable backlinks for SEO, something you should be looking to acquire continually. So make sure you give guest blogging the weight it deserves in your marketing activity and follow our eight-step strategy to successfully build your guest blog portfolio.
Photo by Terrillo Walls