Guest blogging can take a lot of time and effort. One thing the internet specializes in, though, are tools and services to save you that time and effort, in exchange for money. Another thing the internet specializes in is cat-based distractions, but I doubt I need to link you to those.
If you’re finding guest posting to be a long and tedious process for distressingly small returns, you shouldn’t just stop. Instead, look at ways to streamline the process itself so your investment is smaller. All of the apps and services below can help you with that, broken up into broad categories.
Actually writing content for your blog is difficult enough; writing content for guest posts can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back if you’re not careful. It can be difficult or tiring to write thousands of words of content every week.
These sites are content hubs where you can purchase content. In some cases you can browse an existing portfolio and purchase content you see; in others, you post an assignment and wait for a writer to pick it up, paying upon completion.
- Constant Content – This site is a marketplace. You can go and browse content posted on the site, and buy any you feel is a good fit for your brand.
- Textbroker – This is a prototypical content mill; post assignments and have them written for cheap within a few days. Inexpensive, but not terribly high quality most of the time.
- WriterAccess – This is like Textbroker but higher quality; writers have individual areas of expertise, and you can post casting calls to get applications for your pitches.
- Compose.ly – This one is like a content mill with a guided experience; the site does some assigning to give your assignment to a writer best suited for it, rather than whoever comes along first.
- BKA Content – This one is like a content mill on steroids; what a content mill wishes it could be. All writers are hand-picked and quality is guaranteed to be high.
- Human Proof Designs – This site specializes in article packs delivered on a regular basis. I recommend the premium content plans with higher quality levels.
- Writer Portfolio Sites – If you see a writer you like online, you may be able to approach and hire them. Check to see if they have a website with a “hire me” page.
- Industry Contacts – Ask your industry friends who they have writing for them! A lot of marketers use ghostwriters and may refer you to their better writers, so long as you don’t try to poach them.
In order to increase the success rate of buying good content, you need to make sure you’re good at posting what you want. Generally, a simple overview with a guided title, a few guidelines, and a keyword or link you want used is plenty. You don’t need to micro-manage every aspect of the content; let the writers do what they’re good at doing.
Editing and Improving Content
Sometimes the content you get when you buy it is acceptable but not stellar. The good part is, when you buy content, you have the full rights to edit it.
With a few tweaks and the help of some tools, you can make sure that content is the best it can be.
- Copyscape – Set this up on your site to make sure your own content isn’t stolen, and run content you buy through it to make sure it wasn’t scraped from somewhere else.
- Grammarly – This is an automatic grammar checker along with a plagiarism checker. It’s useful for finding grammatical issues that may not be apparently on a simple read.
- iUniverse – This and other services like it provide full-service editing for your content. You provide the content, they make it truly shine.
It’s also worthwhile to double-check to make sure your purchased content is unique. Occasionally, you’ll find writers who resubmit already-sold content or who steal content to submit instead of writing it anew. In these cases, running it through a plagiarism checker will make sure what you’re getting is unique and won’t get you in trouble.
Finding Guest Post Opportunities
One of the best tools for finding guest post opportunities is Google itself, but you need to know how to use it.
That, or you can take advantage of other people who already have; what follows are lists.
- Peter Sandeen’s List – Peter has maintained this list of over 160 sites that accept guest posts and have a high quality level, so they’re good targets for your posts.
- Advance Web Ranking’s List – Curated by Norman Karim, this list has over 150 sites on it and was produced last year. It’s generally well-maintained if you’re in the right niche to use it.
- Effective Inbound Marketing’s List – This list is smaller, with only 68 entries, but it includes Alexa, Klout, and Engagement rankings to give you an idea of the quality of the site at a glance.
- ShoutMeLoud’s List – This is a relatively small list, kept curated about once a year. It’s focused entirely on web marketing and various related topics.
- KISSMetrics’ List of Techniques – Part of the KISSMetrics guide to guest blogging is a section on how to find target sites; it’s manual work, but they give you some tips and tools.
- Our List of Search Operators – We produced a more robust list of various Google search operators you can use to get the most out of Google, regardless of your industry or niche.
- Our Lists of Sites and Influencers – Two of the most robust lists you’ll find, we’re constantly scraping, analyzing, and pruning on a daily basis to make sure each list is as robust as possible.
Some lists are lists of sites you can approach for a guest post; others are lists of Google searches you can use to find more of those sites on your own.
Finding Images for Guest Posts
It’s rare that a guest post will require images, but in some cases the site wants to offload as much effort onto the writer as possible.
In order to make sure you’re using images that aren’t going to get you or the host site in legal trouble, make sure you use images licensed under the creative commons attribution for reuse.
- Google’s Image License Search – Replace the keyword with your desired topic, and make sure the “license type” is set to a type you can use.
- Pixabay – Community-curated and produced, this site has over 1.3 million images and videos categorized for you to browse or search through.
- Unsplash – This site has a huge array of photographs you can browse through in high resolution, along with specially curated image packs centered around specific themes.
- PhotoPin – This search also searches through a handful of other creative commons sources.
- Public Domain Pictures – In order to encourage submission, this site gives photographers a chance to win money each month. This means there are a lot of different photos being uploaded every day.
- New Old Stock – This is a smaller site specializing in vintage photos and photos of vintage objects, if that’s your aesthetic.
- Public Domain Archive – This site can give you inspiration through new weekly photo sets, and deliver image packs to your inbox.
- SplitShire – Another site with a wide array of photos covering all kinds of subjects; browse to find what works for you.
- Wikimedia Commons – Wikimedia is one of the largest user-contributed networks in the world, and all of their creative commons images are aggregated here.
All of these sites allow you to use the images, either for free or for a small fee.
Writing the content maybe not be your weak point; maybe writing is your strong suit. It’s the outreach that gives you trouble.
Let someone else do the outreach for you, then!
- Stellar SEO – A high end, boutique outreach company that will handle as much or as little as you want them to.
- FatJoe – A fast growing and hands-off outreach system that has a few pitfalls, but can do the deed if you need it done cheap.
- BlogDash – This company focuses on putting two and two together; they help you network with site owners or writers, but don’t do much more.
- No Bullshit – A very small family-owned company based out of Australia, they’ve been working in outreach for a decade.
- Linkredible – This site will handle outreach as well as content writing if you want to hire them for both services.
- OutreachMama – One of the authorities in outreach and guest blogging, you can’t get better than Mama’s recipe.
- SubmitShop – They may not be cheap, but these guys have a wide range of bloggers in their network with guaranteed relationships just waiting to be formed.
- The Hoth – This is another one of those services providing writing as well as outreach if you want a full service option, or just one service at a time.
These services have varying degrees of treatment, from email copywriting to full-service post submission and negotiation.
Measuring Guest Post Performance
When your guest posts are published, you want to make sure they’re doing well.
- Google Analytics Referred Traffic – In Google Analytics, you can view your traffic reports and find sites that referred traffic; monitor the ones you guest posted on to see how they perform.
- UTM Parameters – UTM parameters allow you to track the performance of individual links. Beware, however; not all sites like you using parameters in guest posts.
- Social Mentions – Various sites including Mention will allow you to monitor your social mentions around the web; look for spikes when you write a new guest post.
These options help you keep track of how they’re doing and how they’re benefitting your brand.
Guest Post Networks
These sites are questionably useful; some brands are more than willing to give them a shot, while others find them a little too gray-hat to use.
- MyBlogGuest – The largest and most flagship of these outreach networks, it’s also the riskiest; they’ve been deindexed as a PBN before.
- Post Runner – If you like MyBlogGuest but don’t want to run the risk, use this site; they have many of the same members.
- Blogger Link Up – A unique offering involving a WordPress plugin, you can get guest posts delivered directly to the dashboards of people in their network.
- Content BLVD – Sort of like Constant Content, but with an outreach spin; you can find content and make deals with authors directly.
- Post Joint – Submit content and be matched with an audience looking for that specific kind of content here.
- Ninja Outreach – Reverse the system and find guest posts for your own site; bring outreach back home.
They are private networks of publishers and bloggers looking to circulate content amongst one another, with various terms and tools included. Check them out, but by no means use them if they make you feel uncomfortable.
Do It All
The following sites allow you to get all of the services above, but might require hiring more than one person to do individual parts of the job.
- Fiverr – Everything starts at $5, though the best service providers have much higher costs. Just avoid the worst and you can get passable service.
- Upwork – The combination of the former Elance and oDesk sites, there are a ton of freelancers available here.
- Freelancer – One of the largest hubs for freelancers in all industries.
- Outsourcely – A smaller but potent hub for finding people to do various kinds of work for you.
- Guru – A freelancer network catering to higher end services; expensive but worthwhile.
You might hire one freelancer to scout out a list of potential sites to post to, another to reach out to them and ask them if they’re willing to accept a post, and another to write the posts you have slated to be accepted. It can be complex to keep track of, but you can set up an entire process this way.
50: A Custom Solution
Last on the list, this one is not a specific recommendation so much as it is a “by the way” option. By the way… there are agencies and businesses out there that do total outreach and blog management for you. You can outsource the entire thing to a company who will write your blog posts for you, create an editorial calendar, plan out your links, reach out to other bloggers, produce guest posts, and deliver growth all for a middling fee. Pretty much any SEO management or web marketing company will have a full-service option like this, so there are literally hundreds of them to choose from. Feel free to explore your local options and strike a deal, just know that it’s probably going to be your most expensive option. But hey; if it grows your site and leaves you free to focus your attentions elsewhere, it’s worth it, right?