Guest posting is far from a dead technique, despite what others may have told you a few years back. The existence of this very site goes a long way towards dispelling that illusion, and I’m here to help you accomplish your goals with guest posts.
Today, though, I’m going to do something a little different. Rather than bring up all of my own advice, I’ve turned to other experts in the industry. A lot of people have asked a lot of other people over the years for tips for guest blogging. I’ve compiled my favorites, with links to the source.
1. Ramsay Taplin on Copyblogger
In this post, Ramsay provides seven crucial tactics that make guest blogging successful.
Ramsay is also known as the Blog Tyrant and has built and sold a number of successful sites over the years. You can click through to read all seven of his techniques, but here are the ones I find most important.
- A guest post should funnel people to an outcome, not to a home page. What this outcome is will depend on your goal with the guest post; is it a landing page, a contest page, an informational page, an ebook? Perhaps the most effective for traffic and audience building is simply just a related post on your own blog.
- A guest post should be followed up by sister posts. Ignoring keyword cannibalism for a second, there’s no reason to avoid writing about the same topic more than once. You can take different spins, use different variations on keywords, and delve deeper by assuming the reader has read the first post, while linking back to it for circular value.
- Guest posts should be aimed mostly at beginners. Your blog can be full of great, detailed information for moderate and advanced users, but you can’t assume everyone on your target site has that kind of basic knowledge. Use guest posts to lay the foundation, and bring readers to your site for deeper information.
2. Adam Connell on BloggingWizard
Adam’s recently updated post here comes from a position where he’s seen a lot of success from blogging. He has quite a few strategies in that post that are worthwhile to read, but the number one in my mind is actually number three on his list. Connect before you pitch.
One of the problems with guest posting today is that, well, everyone is trying to do it. I get quite a few offers for guest posts on a regular basis, and my site isn’t even all that large. A site like Business Inisder, Forbes, Moz, or Entrepreneur will get hundreds of pitches per week in some cases. Just filtering through them all can be a full time job. How do you stand out from the pack?
Take some time before you even consider pitching a guest post, and try to connect with the editor in charge. Share their content, comment on their posts, connect with them on Twitter, or even try to conspire to meet them at a trade show or convention. Anything that makes you more memorable – in a good way – can get you an acceptance ahead of everybody else.
3. Neil Patel on Hubspot
Hubspot isn’t Neil’s usual haunt, but he’s been known to drop in and provide some value, which is exactly what he did in this post.
He’s written a lot about guest posting over the years, but this post is a lengthy treatise on how to get proposals accepted. Here’s a couple of my favorite nuggets of wisdom:
- Make sure you’re using a professional return address. You’d be surprised how many people try to run businesses behind an email address set on a free hotmail account, an aol account, or with an email name like “stardustpony53”. Generally, you want your email name to be yourname or your.name, and you want it either on yourcompany.com or gmail.com, since Gmail is the most generally accepted business-class free email solution.
- Make your email personalized to the recipient. Don’t “to whom it may concern”, actually mention their name, and ideally where you’ve met with or connected with them before.
- Give them your content up front. Don’t put the responsibility on the editor with “if you want to see this, let me know.” That means they have to take the next step themselves, and they don’t want to put themselves out there by expressing interest sight unseen. Put your guest post sample in a Google doc and link it to them directly.
4. Kristi Hines on KISSmetrics
Kristi is one of the most prolific writers in marketing, moreso than you might imagine given how much content she ghostwrites as well as writes with her byline attached. The post I’m referencing now is actually a massive guide on the process of guest blogging, so there’s a ton of value. Far too much to pick any one handful of tips to single out, in fact, so I recommend you go read the whole thing.
If I had to single out just one section to be worth reading, I might actually pick the one about a guest bio. Writing a good guest bio is crucial to getting more opportunities out of guest blogging, and it takes careful consideration to provide the information and links that are most relevant to the audience of the site you’re writing on.
5. Brian Dean of Backlinko
Brian doesn’t do things by half measures. Practically everything he writes is a top-tier resource, which is why Backlinko is such a great site. This post is his version of the ultimate guide to guest blogging, much like Kristi’s above, and they cover much of the same information.
My number one takeaway from this particular post comes from a ways into it. He talks about dividing up guest post target sites into tiers, much like my own category system. He has tier 1 and tier 2 as his divisions, with tier 1 deserving the high level ebook-quality posts, and tier 2 being the more standard, casual blog posts.
I will say, though, that the very first section that focuses on finding sites to target is very good as far as resources go. He has a half dozen different ways to find sites that might be relevant, and accompanying ways to analyze the sites and see if they’re worthwhile. Overall, it’s a great resource.
6. Henri Junttila
The next handful of experts all posted their advice in the form of an expert roundup post on Navid Moazzez’s blog. You can find the full thing here. The article is too large to share here; if you want to read the expert advice in their own words, I definitely recommend reading the original article; fo rnow, I’ll curate what I find to be the best pieces of advice from the post.
Henri is a great blogger who teaches his readers how to build a business focusing on a passion, rather than trying to get passionate about a business. His tip for guest blogging is something I feel like I don’t emphasize enough on this blog: Just do it.
Yes, there are a lot of concerns and a lot of research you can do for your guest posting. However, it’s very easy to never feel prepared to send out that pitch email. Sooner or later, though, you have to – excuse my French – “sh*t or get off the pot”.
Your first guest post won’t be great. It might take a while to get accepted somewhere. At the end of the day, though, everyone improves the more they do something. Get started and get the mistakes made and done with, learn from them and improve, and get to guest posting.
7. Dan Schawbel
Dan is a bestselling author and knows a little something about promotion, since his book is called Promote Yourself. His advice is simple but important, and though it’s been echoed by others on this list, it’s worth singling out again.
Before you reach out to a target site, start to make yourself familiar to the owner. Look into what comment system they use and make sure you have a profile set up with the same profile picture and name that you use for your blog and your email. Start leaving comments and social shares for the site, so the blog owner starts to recognize you as a source of engagement and value. Then, when you pitch a guest post, they’ll be much more willing to read it because they recognize you.
8. John Lee Dumas
John is the founder of the Entrepreneur On Fire podcast. His tip was inspired by a different blogger, Tim Urban, who is known for spending a long time to create very detailed, deep dive posts. His advice is something that’s worth recognizing in this modern world of content bloat:
1 A-tier post beats 10 B-tier posts every time.
There’s simply so much content going around, published every week, that it’s difficult to stand out just writing something that’s merely “good.” You can guest post with mediocre content, and you can guest post with good content, but you’ll only really get the true value from a guest post if you make your content Great.
I will also add my own caveat to this: you should make the surrounding content great as well. When you submit a guest post that’s S-tier content, but the landing page you send people to is merely A-tier, you’ll lose a lot of them. Make sure the landing page – and ideally, the most visible content the landing page links to – are all top-tier posts as well.
9. Kate Erickson
Kate works with John from the previous tip as a content creator and community manager for Entrepreneur On Fire. She covers a few different tips that John left out, but I think are valuable as well.
Her number one tip is a very good one, which is this: be familiar with your target blog. All too often, I see bloggers who simply harvest lists of possible target sites and start hammering out guest post pitches with little regard to elements like what the site has covered before, what the audience likes, and what the tone of the site generally is.
It does you no good to write some basic guide to guest posting and submit it to Backlinko or KISSmetrics, right? They have their own mega-guides, after all. You need to do something that either stems from and relies on your own personal experiences, or hasn’t been covered by the site as a whole before. Since the second one is pretty hard to accomplish, it might be worthwhile to dig into your own experiences for the first.
10. Jon Haver
Jon founded Authority Website Income, and he brings up something we’re all thinking; guest posting is a lot of work. It’s possible to outsource some or all of the work, but you really need to be careful if you’re going to attempt to do so.
One of the biggest problems with outsourcing is that the cheapest ways to outsource are also hideously ineffective. Paying an overseas virtual assistant is killer, because they often have a less than perfect grasp on English. It’s enough for basic emails and communication, but it doesn’t inspire confidence when you’re asking a site to publish your content. Always be careful to make sure anyone working for you is able to represent you in the best possible light.
Jon also published a pretty great post about establishing a system for monitoring, tracking, and following your guest post campaign over time. You can read it here.
So there are ten great experts and their advice on guest posting, as curated and summarized through my lens. I know there are a lot more experts out there, and maybe next time I’ll get their contributions directly. For now, though, I have given you a wealth of extended resources to read, so get to it!