Content marketing is a significant part of any holistic digital marketing strategy. This has prompted more and more companies to start their own blogs as part of their inbound marketing strategy. However, starting a blog and establishing an audience for that blog are two very different things.
No matter how awesome your blog is, it’s not going to be very valuable if no one reads it. That’s why getting the word out about your blog is equally (if not more) important than blogging itself. And one of the best ways to get yourself out there and gain some traction in your industry is through guest posting.
Guest posting is a high-effort endeavor that requires a well-thought-out strategy to harness most of its benefits. When done incorrectly, it may result in wasting valuable time and resources, but when executedly correctly, can put your brand in front of your ideal audience. If you’re a marketer looking for more information regarding the concept, let this article serve as your complete guide to successful guess posting.
What Are Guest Posts?
Guest posting, otherwise known as guest blogging, is a content marketing technique wherein you write for another company’s website, blog, or publication.
Marketers use guest posts primarily to boost their site’s domain authority, increase traffic, and aid in SEO efforts. Additionally, it creates and increases brand credibility and awareness, helping you build valuable connections with professionals in your industry.
Guest posting fits within the overall digital marketing strategy, as publishers want to deliver consistently fresh and high-quality content to their audience, which guest writers can provide. This method bodes well for both parties, as the host gets quality content for free, and the author has a place to reach a new audience, promote their own website, and showcase their expertise.
Now that we’ve defined what guest posts are, here are brief explanations of the benefits, process, and how to generate ideas for guest posting.
The Tangible and Intangible Benefits of Guest Posting
Here are the ways that a great guest post strategy benefits your brand:
Builds high-quality backlinks
Search engines use the quality of backlinks to determine your website’s ranking. Guest posting helps your link-building efforts by connecting you with authoritative publishers to earn natural backlinks.
Boosts referral traffic
Traffic is essential for your website to grow and be identified by search engines as a reliable source. By creating guest posts for other companies, your website can experience a boost in referral traffic that are mostly similar to the audience you’d want for your own blog.
Increases your audience reach
Guest posting allows you to reach a wider audience, connecting with potential customers beyond your current reach. While not every guest post immediately impacts your bottom line, it’s a great tool to start building a positive reputation within certain circles.
Increases brand awareness and trust
Creating content for credible sources provides a gateway for new audiences to be exposed to your website. Being featured on a popular site establishes brand recognition with their pre-existing audience, leading to them looking at your brand more favorably.
It makes you an authority in the industry
Creating quality content is just one part of the digital marketing strategy. With guest posts, you can establish your brand’s voice as an authority in the industry. This improves how your audience perceives your brand’s content as a whole.
Builds your network
Companies who allow you to guest post on their websites deem you as a reliable working partner. This leads to forming new and fruitful businesses partnerships.
An Overview of the Guest Posting Process
Thinking of great topics
The first step in the guest posting process is generating ideas readers will be compelled to consume. You can do extensive research by using a keyword planner and other content marketing tools.
Searching for relevant blogs
Once you’ve secured topics, search for relevant blogging websites to create a guest post for. You can use blogger outreach tools or tap social media to find the ideal website.
Reaching out to bloggers and editors
After choosing relevant blogs or websites, start sending emails of your ideas to bloggers and websites. You can often find their contact information on the “contact us” section or their social media accounts.
Writing the article
Upon getting positive responses from the bloggers or editors, you will begin the drafting process of the article. Editors often send out content structure, aesthetic, and writing style guidelines.
Promoting the feature
Finally, once the article is edited and has gone through an extensive quality check, you can start promoting the feature. You can share the piece through your social media accounts to help spread the word.
This is only a brief overview of the process. If you want to learn more about how to do each step of this process more effectively, read on below!
Generating Blog Post Ideas
Do some keyword research
Keyword research is essential as it provides vital information regarding what keywords people are searching for and their competitiveness. You can do extensive keyword research using tools like Ahrefs and Google Keyword Planner or inputting your keyword to search engine sites like Google and analyze the auto-fills on the search bar.
Use relevant content marketing tools
Content marketing tools like the cloud platform-based BuzzSumo can help you generate ideas easier. Just input your topic keywords and it generate a list of relevant articles and their performance metrics, which you can use as inspiration to create your own content.
Take ideas from other relevant blogs
One effective way to develop ideas is to read and analyze other creators’ work. Collect relevant pieces and use them as the foundation for your draft. However, ensure that you’re not just taking these pieces and calling them your own. Use the blog topic and provide new and unique insights, adding more relevant information for a unique or better version.
Get in on trending topics
You can scour social media platforms and relevant forums to learn about the latest trending topics. Leveraging current trends in your content creation will help you attract traffic to your website more effectively.
How to Find Guest Posting Opportunities
The internet boasts a lot of guest writing opportunities. However, you want to secure a website that fits your writing style and is also a credible source. Here’s how:
Find relevant blogs
Search for blogs that are deemed authoritative and credible sources in your specific niche. The first 200 search results that search engines like Google generates are typically high-quality sites that provide unique and top-performing content.
Additionally, to ensure that the guest posting opportunity is of high quality, you may refer to the site’s referring domains (RD) and domain rating (DR). Referring domains are external websites that direct traffic to your website; the quality and quantity of a site’s referring domain play a considerable role in SEO.
Meanwhile, domain rating provides valuable metrics on the relative strength of a site’s backlink catalog. The higher the DR, the better target it is for guest posting as backlinks from high DR sites are more favored by Google as it deems these sources as highly trusted. These metrics are helpful when making SEO-related decisions.
Search for well-known guest bloggers
An easy way to gain access to guest posting opportunities is to identify prominent guest bloggers in your chosen niche.
Once you’ve identified these bloggers, check their social media accounts for past and current published works they have promoted. This is your opportunity to reach out to those same publishers to build high-quality connections.
Do some advanced Google searching
if you want an easier way to find websites, consider utilizing the advanced searching function of Google. Here are some advanced Google search commands that will let you more efficiently search for guest blogging opportunities:
- keyword intitle:”write for us”
- keyword “guest post by”
- keyword “guest author”
- keyword inurl:/guest-post/
An advanced Google search provides you with a more detailed method to find information on Google. The functionality uses special commands and characters, known as advanced operators, to go beyond a typical Google search.
Analyze competitor backlinks
A competitor backlink analysis is a process where you analyze a competitor’s collection of backlinks in-depth. You can start this process by first identifying top competitors. Pinpoint their strengths and compare your backlink profiles to see how they stack up.
From the analysis results, find backlink opportunities, preferably use backlinks that boast the highest domain and page authority.
Join social network groups in your industry
Joining a community of marketers gains you access to current and future guest posting opportunities. These platforms have members who share content they’ve written for guest posting sites or even a comprehensive list of websites that allow guest posting.
To build credibility in these forums, actively participate in discussions and provide resources. Being an active member allows you to build trust and establish rapport with other members.
Better Ways to Conduct Blog Outreach
Make a list of relevant bloggers to reach out to
Begin by developing a criteria regarding bloggers you want your links to come from. The requirements could include work quality, social media activity, and content relevance. Once you’re done creating your list, start narrowing down the field.
It’s ideal to reach out to influential bloggers you’ve mentioned in past articles, as it can easily break the ice, opening a dialogue. Alternatively, scout your niche for bloggers who write about the same content. It’s easier to connect with people who share similar areas of expertise.
Write a great pitch
Some marketers make the mistake of using a template when writing their pitches; websites and influencers typically see right through this strategy. Templates are useful. However, they come off as disingenuous, making it a good idea to be more personal when writing your pitch.
Write a pitch that’s honest, friendly, relevant, and straightforward. Your pitch should include only your best content, the reason for reaching out, and state the benefits of working together. Creating a highly-personalized pitch for each prospect increases your chances of getting a positive response.
Emphasize your USP
Guest posting sites tend to receive a lot of submissions and emails from writers wanting to provide content for them. With the sheer volume of writers wishing to work with the same website, you should be able to distinguish yourself from the rest of the field.
Emphasize your unique selling point when sending your pitches. Highlight your strengths, achievements, and other relevant details that make you the ideal content creator. Most of these sites tend to not linger on one applicant, making it crucial for you to catch their eye right off the bat.
Don’t be afraid to follow up – and move on
If you noticed that a significant amount of time has passed and you’ve received no feedback, send them an email and ask for a follow-up. Some of these popular sites and bloggers receive many messages, leading to an unintentional oversight. A follow-up could also bode well for you as it further exhibits your interest in working with them.
However, if the follow-up gets no response, be prepared to continue your search, and move on. There are several reasons your pitch was not accepted, like differences in writing style or ideals. Do not get discouraged and quickly move on to other prospects.
6 Tips in Writing a Great Guest Post
Assuming you have found the perfect blogger or website to guest post for, it’s time to learn how to write a great guest post in six easy steps.
Choose the right format
Keep in mind the appropriate format when writing a guest post. If you’re writing a piece with a more light and casual approach, consider choosing a listicle format as it is easier to consume. For educational guest posts that are information-heavy, infographics and resource articles are appropriate.
The most significant difference between the two is that infographics are more of a visual learning tool. At the same time, resource articles are more text-heavy because they act as comprehensive guide to a specific topic.
Follow the host’s guest posting guidelines
Guest posting sites typically provide specific guidelines to guest writers; ensure that you abide by them. Following a procedure provides a tailored reference point for anyone editing the draft. Communication will be more fluid if every guest writer writes the same way.
Your main goal as a guest writer is to create a win-win-win situation for you, the host, and the audience. This entails being respectful and consistent with your contributions by listening to the host.
Write with the host’s audience in mind
When creating a guest post, keep in mind the host’s specific audience, message, and expertise. Great guest posts should align with the host’s brand, helping them keep their message consistent and appealing to their audience.
Always consider how you’ll present yourself, retaining your individuality while maintaining the tone and messaging of the website you’re providing content for.
Seek to add value
Ensure that you’re writing relevant, engaging, and educational content when guest posting for another blog. The key to a great guest post shouldn’t solely be about marketing yourself but also providing valuable and actionable content.
While guest posting is a great way to market and establish yourself in the industry, being a credible source of information goes a long way to building stronger relationships in your niche.
Include an enticing call to action
At the end of every guest post, there should be an engaging call to action. Having an enticing CTA allows you to maximize the retention of guest post visitors and turn your casual readers into loyal followers.
Assuming that you’ve made a good impression with your content, ensure that you include links to where readers can find you so that they can stay updated about your content.
Create an awesome author bio
The written content is the center of any excellent guest post. However, audiences are also curious about who wrote the piece. Creating a good author bio helps you establish deeper connections with your audience, boosting your credibility.
Including a short but effective bio, photos, and links to your social media accounts can help you build trust with your target market. It gives an identity to the author, rather than just a faceless generic writer. This can help you establish yourself as a credible source of information.
Turning on the Megaphone: How to Promote Your Guest Blog Feature
If you want to take your guest post promotions to the next level and maxmize your exposure, you can capitalize on the following strategies.
Email your contacts and subscribers
Email contacts and subscribers on your mailing list with which you have a pre-existing rapport. These are known as “warm contacts” and are more likely to interact with your guest blog post. Encourage them to check your content, comment, and share it.
Put it in your newsletter
If you have contacts subscribed to your email marketing newsletter, capitalize on this, include links to your guest post, and encourage them to share it on their social media accounts. Not all will fulfill the request. However, some will as they’re subscribed to your newsletter due to expressing interest in the past.
Share it on your socials
Sharing your feature on social media is one of the easiest methods to promote it. Popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram give you a broad audience of readers to promote to for free.
Ensure that you’re sharing your content on accounts with many followers. This increases the chances of people engaging with and sharing your content.
Track, monitor, and analyze!
A big part of promotions is analyzing, monitoring, and tracking how well your feature is doing on different platforms and if your implemented strategy is working.
If you want insight on how well your guest post is performing on social media, tools like BuzzSumo creates an author search for you to track all guest post content in one source. While applications like SEMRush give insight into your guest content ranking for target keywords, new inbound links, and related traffic.
Getting Your Foot in the Door
Guest posting allows marketers to establish a footing in otherwise unfamiliar markets. This marketing strategy might take more time and effort than other methods, but it provides significant benefits that make it worth pursuing.
Marketers looking for an entry point to guest posting should keep all these things in mind as they make connections and establish themselves as excellent content creators.
If you’re a marketer looking for a reliable digital marketing agency to work with, look no further than Spiralytics. As one of the country’s top marketing agencies, Spiralytics’ mission is to bridge the gap between engineering and empathy on its way to helping businesses grow.
To learn more about our online PR services, contact us today.