When you’re first starting out a blog, online magazine, or other website, guest posting can be tricky, but it’s beneficial in many ways. While I’m certainly no expert on this subject—please feel free to interject your own opinions on the matter in the comment section so we can all learn—I’ve certainly learned some on my own from both gathering guest writers for my website, Adult Ballerina Project, as well as guest blogging for some other fellow bloggers. Both writing for other websites and having others for you can be beneficial to increasing your brand awareness for you as an entrepreneur as well as for your blog.
I’ll start this post off with writing about how you should go about writing for other websites, blogs, and online magazines, and then continue next week about finding contributors for your own site.
Why Do You Want to Guest Blog?
According to Kissmetric’s post “The Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging” the first thing you need to do when you decide to guest blog is to determine why you want to do it. While guest posting for other blogs probably won’t pay a decent amount (or at all), there are still other reasons to do it.
Typically, these reasons include: positioning yourself as a well-known authority on a topic, directing traffic back to your site, or building back links. Personally, I do it for the first two reasons. I want to be viewed as a an authority on a topic (possibly for future for future jobs) as well as to expand my audience.
For the first two reasons, you want to find a blog that has good sized, as well as engaged audience. For the third reason, you’ll want a site with strong root domain authority (you can use SEOmoz toolbar to find out).
Find a Blog that Accepts Contributors
I’ve met some bloggers who are picky about accepting guest blogs for one reason or another, so you’ll want to carefully find a website that would be good to post a possible article to. There are several ways to do this, from a simple Google search to several different directories that list blogs that currently are looking for contributors.
Kissmetric’s post also lists several great ways to help find your perfect match when guest blogging. You want something that has a niche topic that matches yours, engaged readers (lots of commenting, sharing of posts, etc.) and a blog owner who is also engaged on social media.
Google can be a great way to find blogs that accept guest bloggers, but there are several other resources you can use as well. Kissmetric says you can try searching social media sites like Twitter for tweets that mention guest posting as well.
Other resources include Brian Keith May’s “100 Sites to Submit Guest Posts,” which links you directly to different blog’s contribute pages. It doesn’t really get easier than that.
MyBlogGuest helps you find sites and blogs that are looking for specific guest posts at the moment, so you’ll be sure to find someone who is openly looking for guest posts. Pro Blogger’s job board is another way to find sites that are actively looking for contributors (most pay, on a range levels)—but many of them require a longer commitment than a single post (which could be a plus or a minus, depending on what you’re looking to achieve by guest posting.
Pitching Your Post
Once you’ve picked a niche you want to write about and find a blog you want to contribute to, it’s time to pitch your article idea or your actual article itself. Different websites have different requirements for sending the site ideas or articles, and it’s best to follow those guidelines. I’m pretty flexible for my own site about guidelines and love having different voices on my site, but I generally ask for a link to their blog or other writing samples before I’ll approve a pitch.
Freelance Switch lists some general guidelines for pitching guest posts in “How to Pitch a Guest Post.” You want to make sure you have some sample articles—preferably in the niche you’re proposing to write your post about and preferably published, but the most important thing is demonstrating your writing ability. You’ll also want to demonstrate that you’ve read their blog.
In your pitch, you’ll want to outline the article you want to write in a few points, pitch a good headline (see my tips below), and explain why you want to write the guest post and why you’re pitching to them (what you like about the blog, a particular article you’ve found useful, a particular author whose style you admire, etc.) in addition to including samples of your work. Freelance Switch has a great e-mail template to use–make sure to make it personal–if you’re not sure how to start.
How to Write a Successful Post
Duct Tape Marketing’s “The Real Reason Your Guest Post Flopped” lists some great tips of what to do (and what not to do) while trying to write a guest post. Some of their recommendations include writing a good headline (great ones cause readers to ask questions—this leads them to click to read your post), sharing your post on social media (which I explained in my post last week) as well as sending it via e-mail to your friends, family, and colleagues that might be interested (I’m not huge on this one personally—I hate spamming people via e-mail, but perhaps sending it to those who already read your blog on a similar topic could be useful).
Tommy Walker’s last two points in this guest post for Duct Tape Marketing stand out the most: make sure you still have your own voice while adjusting to the tone and style of the blog your guest posting on and having a strong closer (whether it be inspirational, or a good, thought-provoking question). I know I struggle with both of these, and I’m always in a constant struggle to get it right. But when I do, I can definitely see the results both in my guest posts and in my writing on my own website.
What strategies have landed you guest posting gigs?