The Ultimate Guide To Guest Posting
Oh man, a guest post about guest posting? This is so meta. Hopefully we don’t cause a tear in the fabric of the universe with this post.
One of the easiest and FASTEST ways to get exposure online is through leveraging other people’s audiences. Be it through them e-mailing their list about you, writing a blog post about you, or, as with this post, them letting you write a guest post on their blog.
So, let’s talk about guest posting – and how you can use it to help grow your online business.
How To Find Blogs to Guest Post On
The first thing you need to do is find blogs that are A) in your niche, and B) allow or want guest posts.
The best way to find blogs to guest post on (that I have found) is Technorati. Technorati is basically a huge blog directory that you can search by topic. They have a “business” and a “blogging” section that has a lot of the top blogs – you can peruse through the list and build a list of blogs to potentially guest post on.
I went through the list of all of the blogs that were relevant to my niche, and put them all into an excel spreadsheet.
What Should You Write About?
For each blog that you’d like to post on, take a few minutes to look through their current posts. What are the most popular topics? Which topics get the most response from readers? Are there any topics that AREN’T covered, but are relevant to the audience? (i.e. Michael doesn’t really talk about SEO in his blog posts, which is why writing SEO articles was a good fit for IncomeDiary)
Take some time to look through these blogs so you can start to put together a list of post ideas that you could write about. Heck, if you’re not sure what to write, e-mail the blog owner and ask him if there’s a specific topic that he or she would love to see covered. It never hurts to ask! J
I will basically come up with a list of topics for each blog that I’m interested in, get some feedback from the blog owner via e-mail, and begin writing.
Something else to note is that the more that you interact with the blogger you’d like to guest post for, the more likely it is (unless you’re a jerk) that he will approve your post (assuming it’s well written) when he sees it come through.
As with any business relationship – the best way to connect with people is to be their friend first. So don’t approach bloggers with a “ME ME ME” attitude. Ask them how YOU can help THEM and I promise you, you will have much better results and a much higher chance of getting your blog post up on their site.
And ultimately, the more bloggers that you contact, the better chances you’ll have of getting one of your guest posts up.
10 Tips To Maximize The Value Of Your Guest Posts
- Sell Yourself: By “sell yourself”, I don’t mean selling yourself like a streetwalker. I mean in your blog post, demonstrate to your target readers that you are credible, trustworthy, and likable. Show them that you’re a cool dude — if you did something interesting that day, start off the blog post talking about it. For example: “Yesterday, while I was riding on my Jet Ski…” this sentence might seem like nothing, but you’re easily demonstrating that you are a) interesting, because interesting people jet ski, obviously, and b) are at least somewhat successful, as if you were broke you wouldn’t be able to afford a jet ski. And this is all done without saying “I’m interesting and I’m successful!”. Something to think about with ANY content you write, really, not just guest blog posts.
- Link Back To Your Stuff: It’s silly to write a blog post without sending people SOMEWHERE to learn more about you. You should always have a direct response element in your guest blog posts – and that direct response is that they go to YOUR blog. The best way to do this is to link to relevant blog posts on your blog inside of your guest post. So if I’m talking about exact match domains, I would link back to my blog post about exact match domains somewhere in my blog post. (see what I did there?)
- Capture Clickthrough Traffic: Most blogs probably won’t let you link to a squeeze page after each blog post, however, they will almost always let you link back to your blog. If you want to make sure you grab that traffic while it’s coming through, make sure you have PopUpDomination setup, so you can at least capture a portion of the leads that come visit your site.
- Tell a Story: The best way to demonstrate and persuade is through the use of story. Story is an extremely powerful tool – you can use it to show your audience your credibility and trustworthiness without telling them “hey, I’m credible and trustworthy”. Story is awesome because it drops people’s defenses, and allows you to persuade them without them resisting the whole time. If you want to learn more about story in persuasion – read the book “The Story Factor” by Annette Simmons.
- Write WELL: The easiest way to sabotage a guest posting opportunity is to write poorly. Make SURE that you have proper grammar, spell check everything, and really spend some time making sure everything sounds good and makes sense. The best way I’ve found to make sure that everything I’m writing sounds good is to read it aloud. If I can read a blog post aloud and it flows and makes sense, then I know it’s good to go. If you’re still struggling, I’d recommend reading the book “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser.
- Write With Personality: Don’t be bland. Include your personality in your writing. If you’ve got a dry sense of humor, use it. The key here is to not be afraid to let your personality show through your writing. If your writing is bland and looks like everyone else’s stuff, you’re not going to stand out – and your blog post will not do as well.
- Respond To Reader Comments: If your post happens to get a lot of comments and questions, make sure to respond to them! Not only does interacting with your readers help build rapport between you and them, but the blog owner appreciates it when you’re there to help beyond just writing the post. The better experience you can provide for their readers, the better off you will be (and the more likely you’ll be able to do future blog posts)
- Write A Badass Headline: You should spend a good amount of time coming up with a killer headline for your blog post. Headlines do most of the dirty work in determining how many people end up reading your post – so make sure you spend some time on it. For some examples of headlines that work, just look at publications with large readerships like Men’s Health, MSN News, Yahoo News, and the National Inquirer. There’s a reason why the copywriters of those companies get paid the big bucks – so if you need some inspiration, look through there.
- Use Quora or Yahoo Answers To Help Write: If you’re still struggling for writing ideas, you can use Yahoo Answers or Quora to find popular questions about the topic you’d like to write about. And then you can incorporate them, and answer them in your blog post.
- Be Persistent: If Edison gave up after one try, would we even have lightbulbs? The point is, if your blog post doesn’t get accepted on a certain blog – it’s not the end of the world. Keep trying – keep writing good content, and keep submitting new stuff. Don’t spam blog owners or anything, but I promise you, persistence pays off.
Bonus Tip: Leveraging Guest Blog Posts for SEO
As I mentioned before, you should be including links in your content back to relevant content on your own site. This is good for general click through traffic, but it also has an added SEO benefit. One thing to keep in mind when you’re linking back to your content is using the proper anchor text. So for example, if you’re linking to something about WordPress SEO, try to use the anchor text “Wordpress SEO”. This will help tell Google what the page you are linking to is about, and ultimately help your rankings for that specific keyword.
Before You Begin Guest Posting…
Oh, and, before I go – one thing to keep in mind before you begin guest posting (especially if you’re just doing it for SEO benefit), is that you should most DEFINITELY have your on-site SEO in check. If you’re building links through guest posting, and your on-site SEO is all messed up, you’re not going to get the full value of your work. It’s like getting paid $20 an hour for a $40 an hour job.
Fortunately for you guys, we have a complete guide on how to do this over at The WordPress SEO Blueprint. I highly recommend any aspiring blogger checks it out, as I know it will dramatically increase your traffic and the value of your SEO efforts.
I hope you guys enjoyed this guest post, and let me know what questions you might have in the comments!