Is guest blogging part of your content marketing strategy?
It’s time to get started if you haven’t already. Although there has been much speculation over the death of guest blogging over the years, the tactic is still one of the best ways to promote your business and yourself.
These are just a few examples that prove our point. Elna Cain used guest blogging to earn a full-time living from freelance writing. Buffer also used guest blogging to draw 100,000 customers.
This guide will show you how to create and implement a successful guest blog strategy. This will be illustrated with examples of successful guest blogs posts. You’ll learn how to effectively use guest blogging to increase visibility for your brand and business, and to improve lead generation.
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Guest blogging has many benefits
A guest blogging strategy is a great way to increase traffic and improve your content marketing ROI.
The Content Marketing Institute (CMI), a marketing agency, points out that guest blogging is an important part of your marketing strategy. It provides offsite expert content.
Let’s now look at the other benefits of guest blogging. Because the content that you post on guest blogs tells other audiences about your brand, it is a great way to increase brand awareness.
These new readers might visit your landing page or site, which means that guest blogging can help you increase lead generation and attract new subscribers .
Guest blogging also builds trust. Trusted, authoritative websites will publish your content. This trust can rub off on you. Regular guest blogging can make others consider you an expert and improve your business’ reputation.
SEO is one benefit of guest blogging. Link building from high-quality websites is an important SEO ranking factor that will improve the position of your site on search results pages.
Guest blogging is not just for you. You also benefit from the guest blogging strategy on the blog hosting you. Guest blogging is an option for site owners who face a major challenge in content marketing. It makes it easier to create content and helps them meet their content needs.
Guest Blogging Strategy Guide
You must do guest blogging right if you want to make it a successful strategy. We’ll be discussing the steps required to make guest blogging a success in the remainder of this guide. For easy navigation, here’s a table:
- Know your goals
- Sites that you can contribute to
- Create a connection with the site owner
- Select a winning topic
- Get your pitch in order
- Create great content
- Do You Want to Work With Bio?
- Promote Your Content
- Create more guest posts
- Follow Success
1. Know your goals
Effective guest blogging strategies, like all marketing strategies, start with knowing your goals. If you want to reach your goals, you must know where you are going.
These are the typical goals of a guest blogging strategy. These include:
- To increase leads and sales, drive traffic to a landing page or to your website in general.
- You can increase awareness about your brand, products and services.
- Attracting inbound links to improve SEO
- You can position yourself as an expert to be cited more frequently and receive speaking engagements
- Increase your email subscribers or increase your social media followers
It is important to set a goal so that you can create a bio that is relevant and guarantees that the resource people who see it deliver what you promised. This is the best way to build trust and rapport with your new audience.
2. Find sites to contribute
Before you can write a guest post on a blog, you need to find a site accepting guest authors. You must also ensure that the site is able to help you achieve your goals.
How to Locate a Site that Accepts Guest Posts
There are many ways to find websites that will accept guest posts.
Google can be used to search for sites that allow guest posts on topics you are interested in. Some sample search queries include:
- [topic keyword phrase] + «write for us»
- [topic keyword phrase] + «guest article»
- [topic keyword phrase] + «become a contributing author»
For more ideas, see this list of search queries by Optimize Smart.
Similar queries can be used on Twitter. You can also use similar queries on Twitter by typing “guest post” and “guest article” in the search box. A list of tweets will appear showing guest posts.
You can use Google, Twitter, or any other search engine to find the websites that publish the posts. These will come in handy later, when you are ready to evaluate the possibility.
You can also check out guest posting opportunities at your competitors. You can follow your competitors on social media and subscribe to their email newsletter to find out if they are sharing their guest posts. This will help you to improve your reputation.
You can also check their inbound links to get this information. Log in to SEMRush and navigate to Domain Analysis >> Backlinks.
In the search box, type the URL of the website you wish to inspect. You’ll see the backlinks and anchor text of the sites in the report.
This will allow you to find more websites that accept guest posts. In the screenshot below, for example, we clicked on one the anchors to locate sites that contain that phrase.
You can also find guest posting opportunities to help you with your guest blogging strategy at:
- Alltop lists the best sites in nearly every niche on Alltop
- This list contains a few sites that allow guest posts.
- You can find out which bloggers are the most prolific in your niche by looking at their guest blogs
How do you assess guest blogging opportunities
The process of finding the right sites is just one step. It is only one part of the equation. You must decide if these sites are worth your time and if they will help you achieve your goals for guest blogging.
These are the areas you should assess. To get started, choose one of these sites.
To check the domain authority of the site you are interested in, first use Moz’s Open Site Explorer. This will tell you how well the site is regarded online and whether it will offer good value in terms traffic and links if you guest-post there. As an example, here’s a report on the domain authority for Content Marketing Institute.
The better the number (it’s on an 0 to 100 scale), the higher it is. Moz does not define what constitutes a good domain authority, but SmartInsights created a chart that shows the average domain authority across different industries.
You should check for social followers and email subscribers. These numbers are usually published by site owners if they are large enough. This will give you an idea about the potential audience.
If you don’t have any social followers, go to their profiles on social media and check if they have an audience. Also, see if they promote all content on their site (including guest posts). This should be possible if you look back at a month worth of content.
Alexa can be used to monitor site traffic for the past few months. Simply type your URL in the box at the top of the page and you will get a quick overview on key traffic metrics.
This will give you an idea of how many people might see your guest post and where the majority of your audience is located. If the majority of traffic to the site is from the UK and your goal is to reach US prospects, this might not be a good fit for guest posting strategies.
Next, take a look at the posts. Check to see if the published content is relevant to the topics you are interested in writing about. You don’t have to worry about low comments numbers. This is true for many websites these days. Even if your social shares aren’t high, sites that reach your target audience can still help with your goals.
To ensure you get credit for guest posts and to send readers back to your site (as in the example from the OptinMonster Blog), make sure to check the author bios.
Later in this guide, we’ll be discussing how to create great guest blogging bios.
3. Create a connection with the site owner
You must establish a relationship with site owners before you can pitch them for a guest post.
Do not be deceived by the guest post pitch templates that you can find online. For most site owners, cold pitches will not work unless the content and presentation are outstanding.
Many site owners get so tired of poor quality content and irrelevant pitches that they won’t accept guest posts from anyone they don’t know. Here are some ways you can be one of these people.
First, learn about their website and what type of content they post by following them on Twitter. Many people also share their content. Subscribing in Feedly to their site will keep you up to date with any new content.
You should read the content for several weeks or more to get a better understanding of their audiences . You can also check out their most popular or best-performing content by visiting their website. WPBeginner allows anyone to easily view the sidebar and see which content is most popular.
Get in touch with site owners via social media so that you can tag them whenever you share their content. You can share anything you love, but also include a comment to make it more than a link.
Comment on their blogs, sign-up for their email newsletter, and then respond to their emails.
Establish a real relationshipwith the site owner. Do not pretend to be there. They will figure it out, and you won’t reach your goals.
4. Select a winning topic
Once you have a clear understanding of the target site and what is important to the site owner it’s time for you to choose a topic.
It’s important to know what is popular on the site. Think about what you can do to add value.
- Response to the content of the site
- Additional information about a topic that is popular
- Write something fresh on a topic that is likely to be popular among the audience
Buzzsumo is an excellent tool for narrowing down your choices. It can help you discover content that is already popular on the site where you plan to pitch it. There are two benefits to this:
- It allows you to create a topic related to yours that is likely be popular
- You can’t bother the site owner by pitching an existing idea.
Buzzsumo will show you the most popular content by simply entering the URL of the site into the search box.
The same can be done for a topic by entering the keyword phrase in the search box.
You can start your guest blogging campaign by choosing a topic that is popular, relevant, and shared widely.
Are you looking for an edge in your topic selection? Research shows that posts that are in-depth, use proprietary research, and share personal experiences and life hacks are more popular.
Last but not least, make sure you read the guidelines for writing and pitching on the site. Site owners may reject your pitch if you don’t follow their guidelines.
5. Get your pitch in order
It is important that you avoid using generic guest posting pitches in order to make your guest blogging strategy a success. You can craft a compelling pitch that is unique to each site owner if you have done the research we recommended earlier.
Keep the pitch brief and to-the-point. This is the first rule. Site owners with authoritative sites get a lot of pitches. Don’t waste your time.
Second, should use their name. Most site owners won’t read pitches from people who aren’t able to do basic research on this contact information.
Third, should include the title. This is a common tactic used by some pitches that are successful. It can be included in the email subject and as a secondary heading in the body.
You can also get a snapshot of the most popular headlines from Buzzsumo by using the information you received from them when you chose a topic. This list of headline tools can help you create your own headline. You’re halfway to a successful pitch if the person you are pitching loves your title.
Next, briefly describe the post. You can sum up the topic in just a few sentences or bullet points.
Describe how this piece of content will benefit their readers . This will be simple because you are familiar with the existing content.
Show why you are the best person for the job. This is not a resume. Just hit a few high points.
This is one example of how it might work.
This is not a template for guest blogging. Use your natural tone and language to craft your pitch for the site that you are trying to reach.
6. Create great content
Once your pitch has been accepted, you can start writing your guest post. You want it to be better than your previous posts, especially if this is your first post for a site.
Craft a Stellar Headline
Take a second look at your pitch’s headline. It doesn’t hurt to look at the headline again, even if it is loved by the site owner. These are some of the most memorable headlines.
- Include the benefit to the reader
- Use action words
- Tap into emotion
Our readers love headlines such as those found on the OptinMonster website. This guide will help you write great headlines.
Research Keyword Phrases
It will be a delight for site owners if their guest content ranks high in search engines and drives visitors to their sites. Just like with your content, do keyword research to identify core phrases that you can use to optimize it.
Search engines will recognize that good keyword usage (not spamming) is important and helps them find the content. For more information, see our complete keyword research guide.
Your guest post should have a strong link profile. This will help with SEO and building authority. This means that you should include both internal and external links to your guest post.
Link to relevant resources from external sites and great content on the site where you are writing. This gives the content a strong link profile which is great for SEO and building authority.
Follow any site owner’s linking guidelines. Some links are limited, as you will see in the bio section.
It can be difficult to find images. Site owners may not want to do this, so you can help them by suggesting or including relevant images in your guest post. These images will highlight your key points and make it easier to read. Our guide to free image sites will help you find high-quality images that will be used in your guest blogging strategy.
Correctly Format the Post
Format the post to match the rest of the site. Note how they use subheadings and capitalization. Site owners will appreciate you doing less work. You can follow some guidelines provided by sites for guest posts writers.
7. Do You Want to Work With Bio?
Your guest blogging strategy will pay off in the bio. It’s also where you can link back to your site and other resources. There are many options available:
- One link to your homepage
- Link to any page/resource from your site
- Link to your site and social media link
- Here are a few social media and web links
Some site owners don’t place any restrictions on linking in their bios, but that is rare. Most sites allow you to link to any URL and a social link.
How to use your bio for lead generation
You have the option to improve lead generation. Link to a landing site with a lead magnet to get signups from people who like what you’ve written and want to know more. Adam Connell, Blog Boost Traffic, has provided an example of this guest blogging strategy:
OptinMonster is a great way for you to send your lead magnet. Our guide will help you create your first campaign. Next, visit the Success tab of the OptinMonster campaign creator. The lead magnet can be sent immediately by email, or via a success theme.
No matter if you are linking to a landing site or not, make sure to include a clear call-to-action (CTA). This will let readers know what next. An example of a guest blogging CTA might ask readers to:
- Visit your site
- Get a free resource
- Follow you on social media
Referrer Detection is another way that OptinMonster can help you capitalize on the traffic generated by your guest blogging strategy. This allows you to show people who have come from a specific site campaigns without having to create a landing page.
Follow these instructions to create your first campaign. Next, go to Display rules >> Current URL path >> that exactly matches. Enter the URL for your guest post.
OptinMonster’s conversion analytics dashboard will allow you to track the success and failure of your campaign.
A different approach to writing a bio is to identify your target audience. Describe who you work with, and what you can do to help them. See Cate Scolnik’s example below.
You can add UTM parameters to Google Analytics so that you can track the success of each guest posting. This will let you know which websites are actually achieving your goals. This data can be viewed in Google Analytics by going to Acquisition >> campaigns. You’ll then see all the sources of traffic to your site.
Your guest blogging bio doesn’t have to be the same on all sites. You can change your bio to suit your goals. Here is one bio for a site about travel.
It is also customized to be a productivity site.
This is our next guest blogging tip. We will keep it short and sweet. Respond to comments and mentions about your post.
Why? It’s not just good manners. Because being responsive can help you reach your strategic goals.
Blog owners will be more happy if your responses are prompt. This will increase their willingness to accept new pitches or suggest ways they can help you. This will help you get closer to your goals for guest blogging.
Subscribe to comments on guest posts if allowed by the blog owner. You’ll receive an email notification when someone comments. Google alerts allow you to track mentions and share of your post.
9. Promote Your Content
Your guest blogging strategy should include content promotion. This will allow more people to read your content and then link back to it. Site owners will also be pleased to see an increase in traffic.
Guest blogging content can be promoted via the same channels as your own content. You can share guest posts via social media and let your subscribers know. Encourage your followers and subscribers to comment, share and visit. Many will be glad to oblige.
Buffer allows you to add these posts to your queue if you are promoting content. If you have the right plan, you can also run drip marketing campaigns by adding your guest post on Missinglettr.
Log in to your account and click on the Add blog posting button.
Enter the URL and hit Next.
You can create drip campaigns through the site. Over the next year, your guest post will be shared at regular intervals.
Last but not least, link to your guest post content and mention it whenever you can, on both your blog and in guest posts. This brings us to the next point…
10. Create more guest posts
Although one guest post may help you reach your goals, you will be more successful if you write several. A good guest blogging strategy will allow you to write more guest posts, provided that your articles are of high quality.
You will be viewed as an authority if you post more often. This will result in more events invitations and traffic to your website, as well as more leads and sales.
You will need to track guest posts if you are writing many. It makes sense to keep a guest blogging schedule.
This is easy to do by creating a Google Calendar new calendar and adding the titles and due dates for any guest blogging commitments.
Color-coding is a great way to keep track of what’s up for which publications, especially if you write for several. You can also make a note of the posts that are due to go live by adding them in a different colour. This will allow you to kick off social media promotion.
Asana, CoSchedule and other tools can be used to track your blogging commitments.
11. Follow Success
You need to measure the success of your guest blogging strategy to determine if it is effective. You can do this by using the tools described in this guide.
To see if your content is bringing you more leads, track your traffic to your landing pages with Google Analytics and then use OptinMonster’s conversion analytics to evaluate the success of your marketing campaigns.
To see if guest content has been shared on social media, search Buzzsumo. Buzzsumo allows you to set up an author search, so that you can track all guest content from one location. To do this, enter author in the search box.
SEMRush, as mentioned earlier, can be used to determine how guest content ranks in search terms and whether you are getting new inbound links or related traffic.