What if I told you you can get Backlinks with Guest Posting?
A recent survey by Moz revealed that about 37% of business owners spend between $10,000 and $50,000 per month on link building. That’s huge!
Why should you spend such a large amount of money when you can leverage guest posting to get high-quality inbound links from popular blogs out there?
This is the ultimate guide that will teach you everything about Guest Posting.
The other week, I was invited to a dinner hosted by a friend. There were people I’ve admired for years who were present.
While having a great time, laughing and discussing some sweet nonsense, I silently asked myself, “How did I become so close to these experts and influencers?”
Trust me, it all began when I connected through a guest post.
The benefits of guest posting are clear:
- You gain traction to your new blog.
- Quality inbound links to your content pages.
- Traffic to your site.
But I didn’t realize that guest posting will actually position me as the expert that people will look up to for SEO, and link building.
And this benefit isn’t limited to online business, it far surpasses that. After all, while I was enjoying a dinner with people whom I got to know through guest posting, I’m being introduced to real estate investing and other offline opportunities. What a luck!
- What is guest posting?
- Step #1: Build a strong content portfolio
- Step #2: How to Find Guest Posting Opportunites
- Step #3: Launch your content campaign
- Step #4: Send irresistible pitch
- Step #5: Write the guest post
What is guest posting?
If forum marketing is the act of promoting your site on discussion boards, then we can boldly say that guest posting is the act of contributing/writing useful and relevant content to other blogs with the hope of driving targeted leads to your business, backlinks that will improve your organic search rankings and possibly attract clients who will grow your revenue.
When it comes to guest posting, always have it at the back of your mind that building relationship is the long-term goal. Nothing else matters.
Yes, you may get links today, and drive buyers to your online store, but in the future what you can boast of is the relationship/friendship that you’ve built with the blog author or owner.
You already know that true friendship can only be built through consistency. You don’t quit after 1 week. Besides, there are 31% more bloggers today than there were 3 years ago. Obviously, the competition is high and only those who stay put will thrive.
Guest posting started out as a way to enhance your personal brand online, but it has since dominated the internet marketing industry as a marketing tool for generating links, reaching new readers/customers as well as getting more indexed web pages in Google SERPs.
In reality, it’s still about your brand. Because customers connect with brands, not really the products. In turn, “great brands aim for customer’s heart not their wallets”, says Denise Lee Yohn.
The moment you redirect your focus from getting links by all means through guest posting, and think of pushing your personal brand to the forefront, reaching new heights becomes a reality.
More important, as you set out to grow your online business through guest posting, and acquire the right links that Google will fall in love with, you need to go from promotion to emotion. Both require a different state of mind and approach.
“Promotion” tends to be pushy and oftentimes, it can hurt people, but “emotion” deals with making impact in people’s lives.
When you become human, your target audience will trust you more – “human beings buy from other human beings,” says Pam Moore.
Until you impact people with your articles, you can’t really get them emotionally connected. And remember that no matter the product/service that you’re offering for sale, “people buy on emotion and justify with logic.”
Next, you’ll learn the 5 steps that will help you build authority links through guest posting:
Step #1: Build a strong content portfolio
As someone who has hired many writers and designers over the last few years, I discovered that nothing impressed (me) more than a quality portfolio of work.
According to the University of Kent in the Careers and Employability Department, “You need a portfolio to showcase your work and to help demonstrate your skills to prospective employers.”
In the same aspect, you need a portfolio of your best content to demonstrate your writing skills and knowledge to any blogger you intend to pitch.
The truth is that Google wants less spam and better content on the web. Because that’s the only way to build the web of our dreams where people can easily find what they’re looking for.
You’ve got to understand that building the right links through guest posts is not by accident, and there is no shortcut.
You need to prove to blog owners/authors that you’re an expert whose opinions can be trusted.
You’ve got to build a strong content portfolio, which you can showcase at the forefront whenever you send a pitch.
Danny Iny’s portfolio page is one of the best out there. It’s well structured, and his best articles are at the top. Take a look:
96% of the time, you’ll need to provide some of the best articles that you’ve published in the past.
Your content portfolio has to be strong. But that doesn’t mean that you’re doomed if you weren’t featured on Forbes.com, or haven’t written so many guest posts before.
A “strong” content portfolio is usually a portfolio that contains useful, relevant, well-researched and helpful content.
In other words, you could have 40 articles in your portfolio, but still struggle to convince an A-list blogger that you’re qualified to write for their audience.
Whereas, other businesses could have 2 – 5 valuable articles on their portfolio that captivates the blog’s author. It’s all about relevance.
Editors are tricky human beings.
What they’re looking for in a pitch is just as tricky.
When presenting yourself as a potential guest blogger, you need to make the work easier for the editor or blogger.
Provide as many published samples of your content as you can. The more useful content you can provide for review, the higher your chances of getting a “go ahead” response will be.
Remember that when sending content samples for review, you should first and foremost study the blog. If their popular posts contains over 1,000 words, then your content sample has to be similar to that.
Step #2: How to Find Guest Posting Opportunites
Before you type a word on your keyboard, you’ve got to find guest posting opportunities. All blogs are not created equal.
Some blogs are going to perform better than others. It’s your responsibility to search out the best blogs that will deliver the optimal ROI for your time.
In his class book “The Epic Content Marketing: How To Tell A Different Story, Break Through The Clutter” the author Joe Pulizzi says that you can no longer interrupt customers with mediocre content.
What they want is unique and helpful content that brings them into the conversation.
Creating content is a big challenge for both B2B and B2C marketers. But 49% of B2B marketers have a challenge when it comes to measuring content effectiveness.
This is a serious issue, because if your business can’t measure the impact of your guest posts and the quality of links that you’ve built over time, there is no way you can scale it.
Trust me, it’s a lot easier to measure content effectiveness when you carefully select the blogs to feature your quality guest article on.
I use 3 powerful methods to find guest blogging opportunities. I’m talking about blogs that are desperately waiting for you right now. Let’s explore these methods:
Method one: Search Google for an expert guest blogger
Do you know any expert or business that has been actively guest posting?
Back in 2012 – 2013, I was featured on some of the authoritative blogs out there. At the time, there were bloggers who were equally active – contributing useful articles to other industry blogs regularly.
The question is, which blogs have these people written for that you can tap into? Basically, this is a huge time saver, because you no longer have to contact any blog that wouldn’t be interested in your idea.
Some of the prolific guest posting I know include: Danny Iny, Kristi Hines, Gregory Ciotti, Corbett Carr, Neil Patel, Michael Chibuzor, Bamidele Onibalusi, Anna Hoffman and more.
So how do you find the top blogs where these experts have been featured, while they were building their own blog audience and customer base?
Simply go to Google and search with these strings:
“Guest post by Gregory Ciotti”
“Article written by Danny Iny”
“This guest post is from Corbett Carr”
“Author bio: Gregory Ciotti”
“Guest post contribution by Michael Chibuzor”
“Guest article written by Bamidele Onibalusi”
When I plugged the first search string into Google, here is the search results with links to some of the best guest posts that Gregory Ciotti had written:
The opportunities are just endless.
Method two: Pinpoint blogs that interview experts
Another way to find blogs that will accept your guest post easily is to check whether the blog owner has ever interviewed some experts before.
Because the truth is that any blogger who interviews other experts, and publishes the Q&A sessions on their blog, is the perfect match for your pitch.
If they can interview others, they can equally accept a content idea that’s useful, and timely.
Let’s see the top blogs that have interviewed some of the guest posting experts above.
Just go to Google and do a search with this string:
Neil Patel “interview”
Danny Iny “interview”
Michael Chibuzor “interview”
“Interview with Gregory Ciotti”
Here’s the search results containing web pages (and blogs) that have interviewed Neil Patel. These are potential blogs to pitch your article idea, and trust me – they’ll listen to you:
Search for the contact us page.
Method three: Find blogs at pre-made target lists
Beyond looking for top platforms to pitch your guest post idea by leveraging on where experts have been featured, you can also find premade target lists.
This list is a similar resource page. It would contain a list of selected blogs that accept guest posts.
There is no better way to increase your productivity level except by having all of the blogs to pitch in one place.
Premade target lists are everywhere. But you can easily locate them when you do a search in Google.
You can dig Google with any of these search strings:
Best guest blogging sites + “your keyword”
Best guest posting sites + “your keyword”
Top sites that accept guest posts + “your keyword”
Top 50 guest blogging sites in “your keyword”
“Best marketing blogs to guest post”
When I used one of the search strings, here’s the premade target list of blogs to pitch your idea to:
When I clicked on the first search result, it took me straight to the web page; a well-formatted post with a direct link to each blog’s “write for us” page:
Remember that having access to top 50 blogs could pose a bigger challenge of making the right choice.
Because all guest posting sites are not created equal, especially if you’re looking for some authority links that will influence your search rankings.
You should look for a high domain authority, since pagerank is no longer an important metric for gauging a site’s authority.
Next, you have got to focus on sites that will reward you with more powerful link values.
Bear in mind also that in today’s SEO environment and search algorithm, what Google is concerned about isn’t necessarily the authority of the site per se, but the relevance and activity that goes around your link.
This means that if you earn a link from sites with DA 50+, but there is no activity (natural clicks) on your links, Google may devalue such links.
On the other hand, if your links came from sites with DA 30+, but serious a activity such as clicks on your links, low bounce rate on your content page and a community around your content (comments, social shares, bookmarks etc), Google will appreciate the value of your links.
Beyond all of these obvious stats, here are some of the things you should look out for in potential guest post blogs:
i). Blogs that offer more than one link in author’s bio: This is the first thing I consider before writing a guest post.
Because if you’re promoting more than one site or different web pages at once, you need to target blogs, where the author appreciates useful content and wouldn’t mind having you place more than one link.
An example of a blog that offers more than 1 link in the author bio is Shopify.com.
ii). Blogs that allow links (author bio) before the content: You want maximum clicks on your links.
It’s not about getting links anymore, but engaging people with it is what Google is concerned about. The higher up your links appear (especially above the fold), the more value it will carry.
iii). Blogs that allow dofollow links: Don’t ever make the mistake of researching a topic, creating and publishing a quality article only to discover that your link has been tagged “nofollow.” What a waste of time and resources.
Once your guest post has been accepted and scheduled, tell the blog owner to make your links “dofollow.” After all, you deserve that little gesture. Be smart.
Note that “nofollow” links are not utterly useless.
In fact, if you want more customers from authority blogs, you should worry less about dofollow links because sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur may not guarantee that. But they can position your links where it’ll receive the most clicks and referral traffic.
iv). Target blogs that allow social profiles on Author’s bio: In addition to your site links, there are several blogs out there that understands the value of social media, and will link to your Twitter or Google+ account.
It’s vital to reference your social profile. At least, if you don’t get enough clicks to your website link, you can increase your chances of getting a social fan.
More so, social signals is a big plus to organic search rankings. It can influence your search rankings, because social engagement tells Google that your content is useful, which is the main reason why people are sharing it.
As you grow your social media fan base, syndicating your content on the top social media platforms will enable you to reach the right audience faster.
Step #3: Launch your content campaign
Guest posting is an arm of inbound marketing that has the potential to increase your leads, product sales and online influence.
More so, two thirds of B2B marketers say content fuels their business across all channels, including events, social, demand generation and much more.
If you want to build links that will stand the test of time, such that no matter the latest Google update, your rankings will stand firm, you have to be strategic about your content campaign.
More B2B companies have seen the impact of social media marketing, which is why they use it wholeheartedly, because social engagement is a strong metric that can pass more link juice.
However, don’t focus on the incoming links, focus on the outgoing content.
Because the quality of the incoming links will be determined by the engagement around your content.
Google is much smarter than so many SEOs thought. Trying to game the algorithm with low-quality, thin or regurgitated content will only get you in trouble.
Since content relevance is the rule of the game, let me show you how to ensure that your guest posting efforts are not in vain:
If you’re an ecommerce expert for example, Google expects you to earn (not build) natural links from related blogs.
These could be sites/blogs that are purely ecommerce or similar subjects like customer service, online shopping, customer experience etc.
You can find sites that are similar to yours for guest posting opportunities. Yes, Google has the answer, but to be certain, I use similarsites.com.
On the homepage, plug your site URL into the search box. Then click the search icon by the right side:
Once you click the search button, scroll down and you’ll find a list of sites that are similar to your own (in this case, ecommerce):
However, you can expand your reach beyond targeted sites. For example, if you run a search engine marketing service and want to attract qualified clients, you can bridge topic with an unrelated blog.
Let me show you how.
Let’s assume that you want to target sales and marketing blogs with your guest posts, if your main topic is search engine marketing, you can “Bridge” your keyword, with the site’s topic and come up with some powerful headline ideas that will be relevant to both audience.
Here are typical headline ideas that will go well in either sites:
- 7 Steps To Creating a Search Engine Marketing Strategy That’ll Increase Sales
- My Fail-Proof Marketing Method For Attracting PPC Leads
- Case Study: How I Increased Organic Traffic To My Sales Blog By 211%
Did you notice how I combined keywords that are relevant to sales & marketing, and keywords that a search engine marketer will understand? That’s the power of inbound marketing.
There are practically no limitations. Even if you run an events business, you can still get relevant links from an internet marketing blog. All you’ve to do is bridge your topics perfectly. See examples:
- How I Generate Organic Leads To My Event Management Business
- 2 Powerful Tricks I Used To Increase Click-Through Rate On My Facebook Ads
- Event Management SEO: 17 Tips That I Used To Grow Revenue By 76% in 6 Months
Here’s an example of a guest post in this manner:
In the guest post above, “fashion” and “blog” were bridged to form a powerful headline.
The blogger that published the above article I’m certain doesn’t have interest in fashion, but he’s a writer who appreciates creativity.
Another example is a recent article on Neil Patel’s blog. Neil is not an ecommerce expert, neither does he have any shopping site (I know his software businesses), yet he chose to publish an article related to ecommerce on his internet marketing blog.
If Neil can successfully bridge topics, you too can. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing a guest post or writing for your own site.
Break borders and enlarge your coast. There are so many opportunities out there when looking to build the right links that will get Google excited.
b). Separate winning blogs from the rest
Writing a high quality guest article is a resource intensive process. You don’t have to waste your time on sub par blogs.
According to the 200 Google Ranking Factors as compiled by Brian Dean, “internal links from authoritative pages or domain have a stronger impact”.
Getting your guest post published on popular sites that are relevant to your topic will add more link juice for better organic rankings.
You have to weed out weak sites before you launch your content campaign. Because low quality sites that have garnered manipulative links over a period of time is a big risk if you link from them.
Authority sites are what smart business owners are after, because these sites have editors who scrutinize every article they receive, to ensure that only the best gets published.
This is quite different for new sites/blogs – most of their content is regurgitated, with no new flavor added to the recipe.
Users don’t want such content, and consequently, Google frowns at it because the search spider follows people.
So focus on sites/blogs that will appreciate you, and position you in front of their audience.
And you have a lot of them to target if you do your research very well. Brian Dean took a step further with this outline:
With that in mind, it’s time to make the initial connection with your chosen sites/blogs. If at this stage you’re yet to come up with viable sites to pitch your guest post idea, then you’re lagging behind. Go back and read step #2.
c). Connect with your targets
As a business owner, you know the basic rules of sales, even if you’re not a salesperson. You don’t see someone on the mall, only to sell them on your headphone without getting to know them personally.
In the same vein, if you want to make true connection with your target list of blogs, you have to do it manually. You can’t automate this because people are just different. We all have our individual names and behaviors.
Some of the easiest way to connect with bloggers, before sending your guest posts are:
i). Connect on twitter: Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that gives you the rare advantage of connecting with people on the go.
All you have to do is get into the discussion. When you do that, you’ll get your name etched on a blogger’s brain, and from there you can nurture the friendship.
Interestingly, Andrew Younderlan, founder of Ecommercefuel.com took action. He left a comment on a tweet on Shopify’s twitter feed and that earned him his first guest post at Shopify.com/blog.
ii). Connect on facebook: You can also connect bloggers and site owners on their facebook page. A simple heartfelt comment will go a long way. At least, the blogger now knows your name and when you decide to pitch, your name will stand out from strangers.
iii). Connect via Google+: Google’s own social media network is the topic on every marketer’s lip. Do you know that 22% of U.S. adults visit Google+ at least once a month. I noticed that when you share a link on Google+, it’ll get indexed within a few hours.
Looking at the power behind Google+, you’d agree with me that connecting your favorite bloggers via this platform would increase your chances of getting your guest post accepted. Maybe…
iv). Blog comment: If you want to delight an influencer, you can just read their latest post, write a useful and relevant comment and appreciate their efforts, ask a question or add your own opinion.
Make sure you use your real name, don’t be desperate for links at this time.
BTW: comment links don’t have much link juice.
So forget about it and focus on building relationship for future guest posts – this will bring in the best links that can influence your organic rankings in a significant way.
v). Email them: Email is the #1 most trusted means of communication. Once you have found a person’s email address, they can become your friend sooner than you can imagine.
Unfortunately, most authority bloggers don’t give you their email address, but if you look around, you can find it.
There is simple tool called Voila Norbert. Here’s how to use it to find the email address of a pro blogger, so you can email them easily.
Let’s say that you want to connect with Darren Rowse, founder of Problogger.net. But you don’t have his personal email address, here’s how Norbert can help you.
On the homepage, type in the full name of the blogger, put the domain name and click the green button:
The moment you clicked the green “Work for me, Norbert” button, the tool will scour the entire domain name for possible email addresses, and give you result for free:
Armed with this email address, you can reach Darren straight at his inbox, without any third-party interference such as virtual assistant, secretary or blog editor. If your idea is highly valuable, he’ll request for the complete article.
Note: When you make the first connection, you don’t have to beat about the bush. Because these influential bloggers are too busy.
They’re probably getting their presentations ready for an upcoming conference. Tell them how your guest post idea can help their readers (because that’s exactly what these successful bloggers are after).
When you email someone, make sure you focus earning their interest instead of buying it. That’s what differentiates inbound marketing from outbound.
vi). Read popular posts for ideas: It’s so easy to get ideas from popular posts. So let’s say that you intend to write a guest post for Searchenginejournal.com, how do you determine their content that generated the most social shares?
On the homepage, plug the blog’s URL (searchenginejournal.com) into the search box. Click the “Go” button at the right side:
Next, analyze the most shared posts:
You can see that the first 3 posts above have over 12,000 social shares on major social networks.
So how does this relate to your quest for ideas? Well, you can model the headlines in very special way. Here are some guest post ideas I just crafted:
- 8 Proven Methods To Explode Your Social Shares By 114%
- An Epic List of 100 Growth Hack Checklists For Dominating Social Media
- 27 Places You Should Be Sharing Your Blog Posts For Maximum Traffic
Each of the headlines above is relevant, unique and valuable to what searchenginejournal.com is looking for. Remember that this is just an example. You can use the same technique to find hot ideas from any blog you intend to pitch.
Building authority links through guest posting doesn’t happen by accident. It’s a deliberate effort.
This is the ideal content that will appeal to the target audience, aligned with your business goals (e.g. getting leads, increasing inbound links, making sales) as well as following the trend of the blog.
Hey, it’s time to send an irresistible pitch to blogger? You have to be creative about it.
You have to be tenacious and you must be willing to accept “NO” from bloggers. Yes, it can be disheartening, but that’s part of the game.
Step #4: Send irresistible pitch
Trust me, this is where most B2B and B2C marketers fall by the wayside.
As the founder of a content marketing blog, I get pitched every other day. Most of these letters are just gibberish, while others are great.
Jess Ostroff, the managing editor at Convince and Convert received an amazing pitch not too long ago. It started out with this:
In reality, every guest post pitch should be about relationship building. Yes, you want some quality links, but that’s not going to happen unless you’re willing to humble yourself and respect people.
Having someone’s email address doesn’t give you the right to cajole or lure them to place of discomfort.
Craft your pitch with the sole purpose of giving immense value, and initiating a relationship. Both are priceless gems.
It’s worth mentioning again: Be brief. Be creative and address editors and blog owners by their real names. Don’t start your pitch with “Hi friend.” It actually can piss off a lot of bloggers, because you’re not their friend yet.
So which guest post pitch works like magic? Well, I didn’t invent it. I still use the one from Brian Dean. Take a look:
Here’s a battle-tested email template to use instead:
I’m a long time reader. You may have noticed my comment on your post on X (awesome article by the way).
I’m writing to you because I’d love to contribute a guest post to Example.com.
I’ve been brainstorming some topics that I think your readers would get a ton of value from:
- Topic Idea #1
- Awesome Idea #2
- Idea #3
I’ll make sure the piece overflows with information that can’t be found anywhere else.
To give you an idea of the quality I’ll bring to your site, here’s a link to a guests post that I recently published on Example.com.
It’s good to send guest post topics/headline ideas first before writing the full article. A-list bloggers especially would prefer to work with you through the entire process.
And you have to be patient and humble enough to revise your content along the way.
Step #5: Write the guest post
If you’ve read through to this point, congratulations because you’re already equipped with the right knowledge for building authority links through guest posting.
At this stage, you simply have to write the article. If you’ve sent a guest post pitch to an editor or blogger and got rejected, don’t whine or give up.
Accept it in good fate, and move on to the next one. There are over 12 million blogs that accept guest posts – and they’re desperately looking for relevant and high-quality content.
Remember to research your topic extensively before writing on it. Research your topic for complementary outline.
Create your own or integrate third-party visuals: Using Canva.com, you can create professional looking visuals for your content.
This is so important, 90% of information transmitted to the brain are visuals. According to Content Boost, the human brain processes visual information 60,000x faster than plain text.
A few other things that you should keep in mind when writing your guest post:
- Stay on track: Write to express your worldview, not to impress anyone because you can’t successfully do that.
- Leverage visual assets: Add custom screenshots, flowchart and images to increase the perceived value of your guest post.
- Aim for contextual links: These are links that appear within the content, preferably above the fold.
- Format your guest post to drive consistent traffic: Use common words and language that your target audience is familiar with.
- Reference authority blog posts: Most SEOs believe that Google looks at the quality and quantity of outgoing links as a way to gauge the relevancy of your web page.
After editing your content thoroughly, send it over to the blogger, and wait for approval and publication. Don’t forget to reply to comments, and answer questions from readers.
If you really care about getting your guest article published, then you must understand that prior preparation and research before sending a pitch is just as important, if not more important, as the quality of your writing.
While many bloggers write content and pray for readers to come, you can stand out by promoting yours.
There are so many blog communities that you can syndicate your published guest article on.
You should also repurpose your content into Slideshare Presentations, infographics, tutorial videos, update your outdated articles and always cross-link your old articles with the new ones.
Never forget that to a large extent, inbound links are still the determining factor when it comes to organic search rankings.
Make no mistakes about it. If you want to rank higher, you’ve got to create better content, but don’t neglect the links.
Which area (content creation, finding guest blogging opportunities, productivity etc) is your biggest challenge when it comes to getting authority backlinks to your site?