A guide to guest posting

guest posting

A guest post by Stuart Cooke. 

There are a number of reasons you might want to do guest posting on another blog. One of the main reasons is to drive quality traffic to your own blog, website or platforms. Other reasons why you might want to guest blog include:

  • Increasing awareness of your products or services
  • To start building your brand authority
  • Increasing your social media following
  • Building a portfolio of your work
  • Improving your writing skills
  • Creating a strong online presence

But for some people, guest posting can be an entirely new concept, especially if you are new to the world of online content. To get the most out of the opportunity of guest posting, there are a number of steps you need to take.

This guide will take you through each step in detail. It will explain why it’s important and how it can help you to get more from guest blogging. Check it out below.

1. Find the right opportunities

First, decide what your guest blogging goals are so you can find the right opportunities. You will want to aim for reputable blogs in your niche. Or if you’re feeling confident, you could pitch to some of the bigger, more generic publications which cover different topics.

Run an internet search to find out which blogs accept guest posts. Type into Google {keyword} + guest post or {industry} blogs that accept guest posts. This should return lists of websites in your niche which are actively looking for guest bloggers.

Make a list of any blogs you should regularly visit. Include those which are popular in your industry and those you found in your internet search.

Also look on social media for opportunities. Twitter is particularly popular amongst the blogging community. Hashtags such as #GuestPost or #BloggerRequest can direct you to people looking to feature new stories on their site.

Once you’ve got a list of potential opportunities, it’s time to narrow this down. Choose two or three sites you want to pitch to first. If you don’t hear back from them, move on to the next publications on your list.

2. Beware of Google’s Guidelines

Guest posting got a bit of a bad rap a few years ago. Matt Cutts of Google stated it should no longer be used as a link building tactic. This led many people to announce that guest posting is dead and you should steer clear of it.

But this was missing the point Matt was making. He was talking about using guest posting purely as a means of building links. He said this should be avoided just like any tactics which manipulate the search engines. But there is still a lot of value in guest posting as a means of promoting your brand for all of the reasons covered above.

Be aware of paying for the placement of your guest post on a website. Many website owners see featuring guest posts on their blog as a way to make money. They do this by charging companies to publish their articles.

Google now states websites should declare these types of posts as sponsored content, so that they can be treated differently than standard editorial links. In my opinion it’s best to avoid paying for guest posts at all. This is because it’s a practice that’s being increasingly clamped down on by Google.

3. Get to know the content

Before you pitch your blog post idea, you need to understand what content is covered on their blog. Also what’s already been covered before you decide on a topic you think will be of interest. This will boost your chances of being accepted for a guest post.

Take a look at their blog to look through their different topics and pages.  Look at their social media profiles to see what kinds of subjects and content they are sharing on there. Then you can put together a few blog post ideas you think they would like and choose your favourite to pitch.

4. Pitch your idea for guest posting

Once you have decided upon your idea, it’s time to reach out and pitch it. Put together a short and snappy email that summarises your idea. Say where you think your guest post could sit on their blog, such as, ‘I think my story would fit perfectly on your lifestyle page’.

If you found the blog on social media, reach out to the author directly. Alternatively, use their contact page or a ‘write for us’ page. You should be able to get their email address from there.

Include examples of previous guest posts or articles you have written to show them what you’re capable of. Just remember to keep your pitch short and sweet. Long complicated emails are more likely to be ignored or sent straight to the trash folder.

5. Create strong unique content

This is very important. If you’ve been accepted for a guest post, you need to make sure you create strong, unique content which will engage the readers. To avoid Google seeing your guest post as just another ‘link-building’ exercise, make sure it is interesting and educational, and actually adds some value to the readers in some way.

It’s also vital your content is 100% original and you have not plagiarised or published it elsewhere already. This will help build your authority and boost your SEO efforts.

Most blogs require you to include a few links for SEO purposes. It’s likely one or two of these will be to your website or social media – and that’s fine. However, make sure you link your relevant research or stories to reputable sources.

6. Send your guest post

Proofread your post several times before you send it off and expect the website owner may want to make a few small edits themselves. Once they’ve confirmed they have received your article, follow up to find out when this will be published.

Remember, some blogs are publishing high volumes of content every day, so you may have to wait weeks, maybe even months to see the final product.

7. Promote your post

Once the post has gone live, it’s entirely possible the publisher will promote it on their social media platforms. But you should definitely be shouting about it on yours.

Promote your guest post across your various platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Remember to tag the blog owner in your posts. If you have published something on Buzzfeed, use their social media tags, as this increases the likelihood of others seeing it and sharing it on their profiles.

8. Reply to comments

Finally, as people begin to read your post, some may choose to leave comments. It’s a good idea to reply to these comments to build up your authority within the guest posting world. This also gives you an opportunity to share any of your other content or products are relevant to their comments/queries.

About the author

Stuart CookeStuart Cooke is an SEO Specialist at Levity Digital. He knows the power of guest posting when it’s done properly and for the right reasons.

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Alice Elliott writes the award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog for beginner and post-beginner bloggers to “explain things really simply” about blogging and WordPress. She provides simple, easy to understand, highly visual courses and tutorials using ordinary, everyday words. Visit her new Beginner Bloggers blog to find her latest learning resources.
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