Guest Posting 101: How To Pitch and Secure Your Next Guest Blog Spot

For good reason, guest posting has become a buzzword in digital marketing.

It’s an influential marketing hack bloggers and businesses use to reach new audiences, share expertise, and boost their online presence.

Here are just a couple of examples to prove our point. Elna Cain used guest posting to make a full-time income from freelance writing. And Buffer used guest posting to attract 100,000 customers.

As the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) points out, guest blogging is an essential part of your marketing funnel, providing offsite expert content:

Note: Throughout this article, the terms ‘guest posting’ and ‘guest blogging’ are used interchangeably, as they convey the same meaning.

If you’ve ever wondered how guest posting can benefit you or how to get started, you’re in the right place.

This blog will dive deep into the ins and outs of guest posting, offering tips and insights for startups and established businesses.

What is Guest Posting?

Guest posting, also known as guest blogging, refers to the practice of writing and publishing an article on someone else’s website or blog. It’s a way to share your expertise and insights with a new audience and can offer several benefits for both the guest blogger and the host site.

What is a Guest Post?

A guest post is an article or piece of content written by someone who is not a regular contributor to a website or blog. Instead, the content is contributed by an external writer, often aiming to promote a particular message or brand.

Benefits of Guest Blogging

Now, let’s look at some more benefits of guest blogging:

Referral Traffic:
Boost referral traffic and content marketing ROI by driving traffic from other reputable sites.

Brand Awareness:
Introduce your brand to new audiences through content on other sites.

Lead Generation:
Attract new subscribers and improve lead generation as new readers may visit your site or landing page.

Social Proof:
Gain credibility when trusted, authoritative sites publish your content.
Regular guest posting can position you as an industry expert.

SEO Link Building:
Obtain backlinks from high-quality sites, a key SEO ranking factor.
Quality backlinks are seen as signals by ranking algorithms, improving your site’s position on Google search engine results pages.

Content Marketing:
Guest posting helps website owners meet their content needs, addressing a major content marketing challenge.

Remember, the success of guest posting largely depends on the quality and relevance of the content, as well as the reputation of both the guest blogger and the host site.

Related Content Ultimate List of Blogging Statistics and Facts

How To Do Guest Posting Successfully

Here’s the step-by-step tutorial you need to follow to do guest posting successfully:

Know Your Goals
Find Guest Posting Opportunities
Guest Post Outreach
Choose a Winning Guest Post Idea
Submit Your Pitch
Write Great Content
Work That Bio
Be Responsive
Promote Your Content
Write More Guest Posts
Track Success

Step 1. Know Your Goals

Like every other marketing strategy, a successful guest blogging strategy starts with knowing your goals. After all, you have to know where you’re headed if you ever expect to get there.

The typical goals for a guest blogging strategy align with the benefits described earlier. They include:

Driving traffic to a specific landing page (or to your site in general) to get more leads and sales
Building awareness of your brand, products, and services
Improving SEO by attracting inbound links
Positioning yourself as an expert so you can be cited more often and get speaking engagements
Increasing email subscriber numbers or your social media audience

It’s essential to have a goal in mind so you can frame your bio appropriately and ensure the resource people see when they arrive delivers what you promise. It’s the best way to build trust with the new audience you’re attracting.

Step 2. Find Guest Posting Opportunities

Before you write a guest blog, you’ll have to find a site that accepts guest authors and is actively looking for content. Beyond that, you’ll need to ensure that posting on the site will help you meet your goals.

How to Find a Site That Accepts Guest Posts

There are lots of ways to find sites that are happy to accept guest posts.

For example, you can use Google to find sites that accept guest posts on the topics you want to write about. Some sample search queries include:

[topic keyword phrase] + “write for us”
[topic keyword phrase] + “guest article”
[topic keyword phrase] + “become a contributor”

These queries should direct you to a blog’s guest post guidelines page, guest post submission page, or actual guest pieces from other contributors.

See this list of search queries from Optimize Smart for even more suggestions.

You can also use similar queries on Twitter. Just type “guest post” or “guest article” into the search box, and you’ll see a list of tweets showing guest posts.

Whether you’re using Google, Twitter or another search source, make a note of the guest blogging sites. You’ll need those later when it’s time to see if the opportunity is right for you.

You can also find guest posting opportunities by checking out where your competitors are guest posting. Since most people share their guest posts to enhance their reputation, you can find this out by following your competitors on social media or subscribing to their email newsletter.

Another way to find this information is to see where their inbound links are coming from. To do this, login to SEMRush (Ahrefs is also a good alternative), and go to Domain Analytics » Backlinks.

Type the URL of the site you want to check into the search box. When you get the report, you’ll be able to see the actual backlinks, the anchor text, the referring domains, and more.

This information will help you find more sites that accept guest posts. For example, in the screenshot below, we’ve clicked on one of the anchors to find the sites that include that phrase.

Other places to find guest posting opportunities for your guest blogging strategy include:

Alltop, which lists the top guest posting sites in almost every niche
Lists of sites that accept guest posts, like this one
Checking out where the most prolific bloggers in your niche are guest posting

How to Assess Guest Blogging Opportunities

Finding the sites is only one part of the equation. You also have to figure out if those sites are worth your while, will help you meet your goals, and, most importantly, aren’t spammy. Publishing on spammy sites can hurt your guest blogging SEO.

Here are some areas to assess. Pick one of the sites you identified above to get started.

First, use Moz’s Open Site Explorer to check the domain authority for the site you’re considering. This tells you if the site is well regarded online, and whether it will provide good value in terms of links, and possibly referral traffic if you guest post there. Here’s a domain authority report for the Content Marketing Institute as an example.

The higher the number (it’s on a scale of 0 to 100), the better. Moz doesn’t say what counts as a good domain authority figure, but SmartInsights has created a useful chart of the average domain authority in different industries.

Check for email subscriber and social follower numbers. Most site owners publish these if they’re big enough, and it’ll give you an idea of the size of the potential audience you could reach.

If social follower numbers aren’t on the site, check out their social media profiles yourself and see if the website owners have an audience, and whether they actively promote all content published on their site (including guest content). Look back over a month’s worth of content and you should be able to work this out.

Use Alexa to check site traffic over the last couple of months. You can simply type the URL into the on-screen box on the home page, and you’ll get a quick overview of key traffic metrics.

This will tell you how many people could see your guest blog, and where most of the site’s audience is located. If most of the site’s traffic comes from the UK, and you’re looking to reach prospects in the US, it’s likely not a good fit for your guest posting strategy.

Next, look at the posts themselves. See if the content published is a match for the topics you want to write about. Don’t worry if comment numbers are low; that’s true of many sites these days. And even if the number of social shares isn’t impressive, a site that reaches your ideal target audience can still help you meet your goals.

Check out the author bios at the end of guest posts, to make sure you’ll be able to get appropriate credit and send readers back to your site, as in the example below from the OptinMonster blog.

We’ll look at how to create a great guest posting bio later in this guide.

Step 3. Guest Post Outreach

Before you approach site owners to suggest a guest post (known as “pitching”), you’ll need to form a connection with them.

Don’t be fooled by all these guest post pitch templates you see online; for most site owners cold pitches won’t work unless the content is stellar.

In fact, many website owners are so tired of irrelevant pitches and poor quality content that they’ll only take guest content from people they already know, like and trust. Here’s how you can become one of those people.

First, get to know their site and the type of content they publish by following them on Twitter, where many people share their content, or by subscribing to their site in Feedly, so you get updated whenever there’s something new.

Read the content consistently for a few weeks, or longer, so you understand what matters to them and their audience. If they list their top-performing or featured content on their site, check that out, too. For example, anyone visiting WPBeginner can easily see what kind of content is most popular by looking at the sidebar:

Connect with site owners on social media, so you can tag them when you share their site content. Share anything you really love and include a comment so it’s not just a plain link.

Comment on their blogs, sign up for their email marketing newsletter and respond to their emails.

The point is to build relationship with the site owner. Don’t fake it; they’ll figure it out and then you won’t achieve your goals.

Step 4. Choose a Winning Guest Post Idea

Once you have a good understanding of your target site, and what matters to the site owner, it’s time to find a topic to pitch.

You should already know what’s popular on the site. Now, think about how you can add value by:

Responding to what’s on the site
Providing additional information on a popular topic
Writing something new on a topic that’s likely to be popular with the audience

When you’re ready to narrow your choice, Buzzsumo is a great tool to use. First of all, it can help you find content that’s already popular on the site you’re planning to pitch. This has two advantages:

It helps you create a related topic that’s likely to be popular
It stops you from annoying the site owner by pitching an guest post idea they’ve already published

To find popular content with Buzzsumo, type the site’s URL into the search box and you’ll see the most shared content.

You can do the same thing with a topic, by typing the topic keyword phrase into the search box.

If you find a topic that’s widely shared, and relevant to a site, but hasn’t yet been published on your target site, that’s a good topic to kick off your guest blogging strategy.

Looking for an edge when choosing your topic? The research shows that in-depth content, posts that use proprietary research and posts that share experiences and life hacks tend to be popular.

One last thing: if the site has guest post guidelines for pitching and writing, read them. If you don’t, website owners might just reject your pitch before even reading it.

Step 5. Submit Your Pitch

For a successful guest blogging strategy, it’s important to avoid generic guest posting pitches. If you’ve done your homework as we suggested earlier, you’ll be able to craft a winning pitch that’s personal to each site owner with very little effort.

The first rule is to keep the pitch short and to the point. Site owners, especially those with authoritative sites, get a LOT of pitches, so don’t waste their time.

Second, use their name – most site owners won’t read pitches from people who can’t be bothered to research this basic contact detail.

Third, include the post title. In fact, some successful pitches use this in the email subject line and as a secondary heading within the body of the email.

The information you got from Buzzsumo when choosing a topic also gives you a snapshot of popular headlines. Use this as a starting point for coming up with your own, and nail the right headline with this list of headline tools. If the person you’re pitching loves your title, you’re halfway to a successful pitch.

Next, describe the post briefly. Say what it will cover in a couple of sentences or a few bullet points.

Say how this piece of content will help their readers. Since by now you’re familiar with their existing content, this will be easy to do.

Finally, show why you’re the right person to write the post. Note, this isn’t a resume; just hit a couple of high points.

Here’s one example of how this would work.

Remember, this is not a guest posting template. Craft your own unique pitch for the site you want to reach, using your own natural tone and language.

Step 6. Write Great Content

If your pitch is accepted, the next thing to do is write your guest post. Especially if it’s the first time you’re writing for a site, you want to make it better than your best.

Craft a Stellar Headline

Start by taking a look at the headline in your pitch again. Even if the site owner loved it, it won’t hurt to come up with some alternatives. Some of the best headlines:

Include the benefit for the reader
Use action words
Tap into emotion

We use headlines like those on the OptinMonster blog, and our readers love them! Here’s a guide to writing great headlines to help you nail yours.

Research Keyword Phrases

Website owners will love it if your guest content ranks well in search engines and drives organic traffic to their site. So, just like you’d do for your own content, carry out some keyword research to find a couple of core phrases you can use to optimize it.

Good keyword usage (not stuffing) shows search engines that content is relevant, which helps searchers find it – and you. Read our full keyword research guide for help with this.

Link Appropriately

Ideally, your guest post will have a great link profile, which helps with SEO and building authority. That means you should include relevant internal and external links in the guest post you’re writing.

Within the content, link to great content from the site you’re writing for, and useful resources on external sites. This helps give the content a good link profile, which is also good for SEO and building authority.

Make sure you follow any linking guidelines set out by site owners. As you’ll see when we get to the bio section, some limit links.

Include Images

Finding images can be a hassle, so unless site owners prefer to do this themselves, help them out by including or suggesting relevant images for your guest post. These will underline your main points and break up the text to make it easier for readers to scan. For help with getting high-quality images for your guest blogging strategy, use our guide to free image sites.

Format the Post Correctly

Finally, format the post so it matches others on the site. Make a note of how they use subheadings, capitalization, bold text, lists, etc. The less work you leave for site owners to do, the more popular you’ll be. Some sites provide guest post guidelines for guest post writers, in which case, all you need to do is follow them.

Step 7. Work That Bio

The bio is the payoff for the hard work you’ve invested in your guest blogging strategy. That’s because it’s where you get to link back to your own site and resources. Options commonly offered include:

A single link to your home page
A link to any page/resource on your site
A link to your site plus a social media link
A couple of web and social media links

There are even a few site owners who put no restrictions on links in the bio, though that’s not very common. In most cases, you’ll be able to link to a URL of your choice plus a social link.

How to Use Your Bio for Lead Generation

If you get the choice, then consider improving lead generation by linking to a landing page with a lead magnet, so you get signups from people who already like the content you’ve written, and want to learn more. Here’s an example of that guest blogging strategy from Adam Connell on Blog Boost Traffic:

OptinMonster’s a great way to deliver your lead magnet. Follow our guide to creating your first campaign, then visit the Success tab in the OptinMonster campaign builder. You can deliver the lead magnet immediately via a success theme or a link, and can also send it by email.

Whether you’re linking to a landing page or not, include a clear call to action (CTA) so readers know what to do next. A typical guest posting CTA can ask readers to:

Visit your site
Download a free resource
Follow you on social media

OptinMonster’s Referrer Detection feature is another useful way to capitalize on traffic resulting from your guest blogging strategy. It allows you to show specific campaigns to people coming from a particular site, without needing to create a whole landing page.

Follow our instructions for creating your first campaign, then go to Display Rules » Current URL path » exactly matches. Add the URL of your guest post.

You’ll be able to track the success of your campaign in OptinMonster’s conversion analytics dashboard.

Another approach to the bio is to define your target audience. Say who you work with and how you can help them, as in the example from Cate Scolnik below:

If you can, add UTM parameters so you can check the success of each guest blog in Google Analytics. That’ll tell you which sites are really working to meet your goals. To see this data in Google Analytics, go to Acquisition » Campaigns, and you’ll see the different sources that have sent traffic to your site.

Finally, there’s no rule that your guest posting bio has to be identical on every site. Don’t be afraid to change your bio depending on your goals. Here’s one bio for a travel site:

And here it is customized for a productivity site:

Step 8. Be Responsive

We’re going to keep this next guest blogging strategy tip short and sweet: keep an eye on the comment section and respond to comments and mentions of your post.

Why? Not just because it’s good manners, though that’s a good reason. But because being responsive is how you make connections with your new audience, which can help you meet some of your strategic goals.

Blog owners will also be happy if you’re responsive, making it more likely they’ll be receptive to new pitches, or will suggest ways you can contribute further. This moves you even closer to achieving your goals for your guest blogging strategy.

If the blog owner allows it, subscribe to comments on your guest post, so you’ll get an email alert when anyone comments. You can also track mentions and shares of the post via a Google alert.

Step 9. Promote Your Content

Content promotion is a key part of your guest blogging strategy so more people read your content and follow it back to your site. The site owner will be happy to benefit from increased traffic, too.

You can promote guest posting content via the same channels you use to promote your own content. For example, you can let subscribers know about it in your email marketing newsletter and share guest posts on social media. Encourage your subscribers and followers to visit, comment and share. Some will be happy to oblige.

If you’re promoting content via Buffer, add those posts to your queue. And you can also run a drip marketing campaign by adding your guest post to Missinglettr if you’ve got the right plan.

To do that, log in to your account, and click the Add blog post button.

Enter the URL of the post and press Next.

The site will offer to create a drip campaign. Your guest post will be shared at intervals over the next year.

Finally, link to and mention your guest blog content whenever it makes sense, both in posts on your own blog and on other guest posts, which brings us to the next point…

Step 10. Write More Guest Posts

While one guest post will help you achieve your aims, for real success you need to write many. With a good guest blogging strategy, more is more, as long as you can maintain high quality guest articles.

The more posts you write, the more online presence you have, and the more people think of you as an authority. That leads to more invitations to write and participate in events, more organic traffic to your site, and more leads and sales.

Of course, if you’re writing a lot of guest posts, you’ll need a way to keep track of them. That’s why it makes sense to have a guest posting calendar.

An easy way to do this is to create a new calendar in Google Calendar and add the titles and due dates of any guest posting commitments.

If you’re writing for a few publications regularly, use color-coding to have an easy visual guide to what’s coming up for whom. You can even make a note of when posts are scheduled to be live (adding them in a different color, of course) so you can kick social media promotion into high gear.

Other tools for tracking your blogging commitments include Asana and CoSchedule.

Step 11. Track Success

If you want to know if your guest blogging strategy is working, you’ll need to measure success. This means using some of the tools mentioned earlier in this guide.

For example, if you want to see if your content is bringing in more leads, track traffic to your landing page with Google Analytics, and use OptinMonster’s conversion analytics to assess the success of your marketing campaigns.

Search Buzzsumo as described earlier to see if your guest content is being shared on social media. Buzzsumo also lets you set up an author search so you can track all your guest content from one place. To do this use author: [your author name] in the search box.

Use SEMRush as described earlier to see how your guest content ranks for target keywords and if you’re getting new inbound links and related traffic from your guest posts.

Lastly, remember to follow up with the blog owner or editor. Thank them for the chance to contribute and ask if they have any feedback or potential opportunities for future collaborations.

That’s it. By following this guide, you can start doing guest posting successfully.

Guest posting stands out as a tried-and-true strategy to boost brand visibility, establish authority, and foster meaningful industry connections. But remember, the success of your guest posting efforts is often tied to the tools you use to convert that newfound traffic into loyal subscribers or customers.

If you’re looking to supercharge these conversions, consider OptinMonster.

With its intuitive design and powerful features, it’s no wonder many successful bloggers and marketers trust OptinMonster to optimize their guest blog returns.

As you venture into the world of guest blogging, ensure you’re equipped with the best tools to maximize your efforts. Happy blogging!

Get started with OptinMonster today!

The post Guest Posting 101: How To Pitch and Secure Your Next Guest Blog Spot appeared first on OptinMonster.

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