21 Guest Blogging Tips to Help You Secure More Link Opportunities
No, guest blogging is not dead. Far from it, actually. It's alive and well, and continues to be one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your website that is highly targeted, with a high likelihood of being interested in the product or service you offer.
You just have to know how to do it right.
I reached out to several online marketing and SEO experts and asked them all to share their best guest blogging tip. The result is a resource full of actionable tips and advice that will no-doubt help your guest blogging campaigns and efforts.
I hope you are able to take something valuable away from this, and thanks again to all those that participated.
1. Have a long-game approach.
"When guest blogging, the temptation for a lot of SEO's is to write content that you can use to immediately plug your site with a backlink. However, playing the long game by providing content that is useful to the site's readers is more likely to get you invited back in the future. Having one quality link is good, but having two is even better.
One way that we handle this is to have several articles ready to go when conducting our outreach. Having multiple articles ready and choosing the one that best fits the site's readers, or is most unique to their past posts, is more likely to get picked up.
As with most guest blogging efforts that involve outreach, results are varied. The value of quality links is worth the effort to cater to your readership with great content, even if that readership is borrowed." -- Spencer Hock, Firetoss
2. Don't ignore offline opportunities.
"Look offline to fine guest blogging opportunities online.
Many sites you want to guest blog on are active offline as well as online. Their writers and decision makers can be found at events and met in person, which really increases your chance of securing the spot you want. Real world connections have online consequences." -- Craig Streaman, Streaman Marketing
3. Lead with something other than a guest post pitch.
"When seeking out guest posting opportunities, don't lead your email pitch -- or subject line -- with anything about guest posting. Instead, find an issue with the website and lead with that. For example, you can crawl a website and find some kind of an SEO-related issue such as 404 errors.
Send an email with a subject line that revolves around their website having an SEO issue. Then, lead the email with the issue and provide necessary links. Finally, you can simply state that you like their blog and would like to contribute to it.
Lead first with something helpful, then follow that with a soft pitch for a blog post. This approach has worked better for us because we lead with something that is helpful to someone else, instead of leading with what we want from someone. This has improved both our email open rates and percentage of people willing to allow us to guest post on their website." -- Nick Bennett, Growmeo Marketing
4. Avoid spammy looking automation.
"When you're pitching a blog, don't automate the process of reaching out to potential blogs to guest post on. You will definitely look bad because your outreach email won't be personalized, targeted properly and it will make you look bad. You can automate the process of locating potential websites to guest post on, gathering contact information, etc. -- but under no circumstance should you ever automate the outreach email and send them out in mass.
If a website has a guest blog post process to be considered then you'll never even know and your email will immediately get rejected. People know when you're not being genuine and using automated outreach is the best way to come across as spammy.
If you want to guest post on a blog, find potential blogs through automation but after that, take a few minutes to get to know the blog and what you need to do to guest post. If they have instructions and you don't follow them, you're wasting a lot of time -- both yours and the blog owner.
Approaching the outreach from a more personal standpoint will get you 100 percent more success. You'll look better and be more likely to get your guest post pitches accepted." -- Nick Leffler, Exprance
5. Pitch an article that contributes to the website's SEO effort.
"We’ve worked with thousands of clients and writers doing this over the last nine years, and we’ve done a lot of work creating guest post content. There are a few things that stand out to me.
With Google’s increasing expectations of quality and authority in content, the old model of just offering free and unique content isn’t as compelling when approaching sites about guest posting. E-A-T guidelines require that you have offer up content that supports a site’s overall efforts to meet those guidelines, which means it needs to be written by someone with expertise in their industry, well researched and semantically complete.
Instead of telling your prospects that you’ll give them a '500 word unique article,' tell them how you’ll give them content that supports their E-A-T efforts like giving them an article from an expert, along with a byline, etc.
Also, pitch them a topic that contribute to their SEO effort. This requires a bit of research, but if you spend a bit of time researching your guest posting prospects sites, you should be able to identify keyword gaps that they don’t rank for that their competitors do -- SEMrush offers a great tool to quickly identify these.
If you can find a keyword that they would benefit from ranking for, build out a little plan and pitch them. When crafting your email to them, tell them which keyword you could help them rank for, which competitors rank for it currently, and how you’ll create content that will help them do that. SEMrush also offers an SEO content template that tells you how long your content needs to be, and what topics to cover, to create better content than the current top 10 google results for a keyword.
Providing this info helps your pitch succeed. This does mean you’ll have to do more research and in all likelihood, create a longer piece of content for them, but your outreach efforts are much more likely to succeed since you’re offering them real advice and value." -- Eric Hoppe, Crowd Content Media Inc.
6. Write content that has a pulse.
"Journalists, bloggers and editors all love to see a piece of content that helps increase engagement within their own site. Posts that we create with this strategy are more likely to get published, more likely to be promoted and more likely to open the door for future publishing opportunities.
You also want to be opinionated. So many guest blog posts are mindless drivel that don't have a pulse. Find a way to make your content controversial, funny, sexy or edgy. Interesting content has more natural value when it's published for both you and its host." -- Jordan Brannon, Coalition Technologies
7. Use unique strategies when targeting those that aren't guest post savvy.
"We work with a number of clients in fields where even explaining the guest post process is more trouble than it's worth. The clients weren't particularly tech-savvy, but were active with a lot of online communities in their industry and regular attendees of the various conferences and training events in their respective fields. Normally these would be businesses in the construction, renovation, landscaping and contracting fields.
Knowing that their peers at these conferences all own websites I put together a landing page on my client's site to gather information from these potential guest post sources and printed out a batch of 'guest post specific' business cards my client hands out to industry peers at their conferences.
With a quick pitch I provided my client that explains the benefit to both parties, our guest post focused business cards we were able to provide a good source of inbound requests from sources that I would wager would never answer a guest post outreach email." -- Luke Marchie, Franklin Digital
8. Offer a guest blog post on your site in return.
"I have been doing guest blogging for about ten years. It's not easy to get a response and you have to send out probably a hundred emails before you get a few responses and takers. Here are my main tips:
- Search for blogs that accept guest posts. If they already accept posts, you have a much better chance
- Before you send a complete article, email them and ask what they are looking for and suggest a few ideas
- If you own a blog yourself, offer them a guest blog post on your site in return. This will work very well if your site is quality and has authority." -- Pierre Zarokian, Submit Express
9. Leverage technology for the most suitable topic and headline.
"There are a host of websites which provide valuable resources for researching keywords, monthly search traffic, backlinks and domain authority. When submitting your proposal, include your research to showcase the potential traffic and value your article will provide to the client’s website, which will show you are interested in more than just a backlink.
On top of the research above, also spend some time on the client’s website. Browse their existing articles, look at the length of articles and the various headlines and identify gaps where a unique blog post would be suitable -- otherwise your writing time can be wasted.
A headline makes all the difference to visitors on a website, so be bold. Use strong wording and identify popular discussion topics such as ‘pain points’ or ‘industry problems’ that your article can help solve." -- Glen Panarese, Living Online
10. Think outside-the-box in terms of niches.
"Guest blogging isn't a mysterious marketing tool that evades most organizations. In fact, it can be very simple and the process can be easily implemented. However, know there is no better cost-effective option for creating backlinks and gaining exposure. You just have to know where to look.
It's important to not only know your audience, but to get creative with it. For example, if your blog offers fitness tips and you've reached out to just about everyone with a high Domain Authority within your niche, think outside of the box. Connect with a few travel sites about a guest post on fitness tips when you're on the road, or contact a DIY blog about a create-your-own fitness routine.
And once you have made a connection, keep in touch. Reach out at least every three months and discuss the opportunity of providing another high-quality, informative piece of content. Remember -- it's all about what you can offer them." -- Angela Ash, Flow SEO
11. Search for broken URL opportunities.
"Guest blogging in this day and age is definitely a lot more difficult than it has been in the past. I have found that the best strategy is to provide value first then offer your writing services. The best way to achieve this is to use a tool called, Check My Links.
This tool is a Chrome extension that will find all of the broken links within a given page of a company’s website. Once I have a list of the pages broken links, I piece together an email to the site owner that includes the broken URLs, a short guest writing pitch as well as a list of my sample posts that may be able to replace the broken links on the website.
I have found this to be an incredibly effective method as it provides value first." -- Jamie Thornberry
12. Leverage the power of surveys.
"We find that guest posting -- both securing placements and structuring interesting articles -- is much easier when it's underpinned by original data.
By conducting a simple survey using a tool like SurveyMonkey, you can generate a host of interesting data points that are unique to your brand. This gives you a compelling hook to actually get the site to agree to share your post. Blog editors are overwhelmed with guest post submissions and requests, and there's so much spammy, vanilla stuff.
Going in with data gives you a cutting edge of credibility, and the post is much more likely to be timely, topical, relevant and interesting to the audience -- which is ultimately what that blog editor is most preoccupied with.
This approach has been a huge success for us and has helped us write successful guest posts on high authority sites including Hubspot. But more than this, by hosting the data on a landing page, we find that it attracts organic links from some amazing websites -- which has massively helped us grow our backlink profile and domain authority over the last few years." -- Adam Hayes, Wyzowl
13. Build a relationship.
"If you can, try to build a relationship before you pitch your guest post. Most people are on social media these days so give them a follow and try to get to know them a little with no intentions. Comment and share their content and create a presence in their online space. When they see your name pop up in their email inbox with your guest post pitch, they’re more likely to engage with you.
Retain this relationship once you’ve had your guest blog published. Thank them in any way you can and share the content far and wide. You never know when further opportunities could arise with this new-found relationship. We make the effort to stay in touch with everyone we work on guest posts with and have never been turned away from a second pitch.
As an agency, creating a bank of good go-to blogs that we have solid relationships with means we can guest blog on behalf of multiple clients without the headache of prospecting." -- Sofie Tooke, ASSISTED.
14. Have a personalized approach.
"Using automation and mass communication is the standard advice I hear when it comes to guest blogging, and that’s exactly what I would recommend against. We were able to connect with about 60 other industry-relevant sites for guest blogging (for one of our clients) after about a year and a half. This all revolves around real, personalized communication and not a plug-and-play email template.
You have to have a wide base of blog content for your own site. People aren’t going to want to -- and shouldn’t -- link back to a website with a homepage, about page and contact page. You need educational resources worth linking back to.
Every time you publish a new blog post, do a Google search for: [your topic] + 'guest blog.' This will help you reveal two groups of people -- those who have accepted guest blogs about your topic in the past, and those who are actively networking and contributing guest blogs to other outlets.
Research a blog topic -- that the site hasn’t covered yet -- that will be valuable to their audience that your company is knowledgeable about. Send an email to someone from the company pitching them your topic, why it’s relevant to their audience, and why you’re well-suited to write about it. This should be completely personalized, and you should ask them upfront about their guest blogging guidelines.
The key here is to not use any templates or automation, and put the other site’s interested first. If you are genuine, and truly solve a problem for the other company -- delivering insightful, valuable content -- you will be well received.
The best sites to guest blog for have knowledgeable people running things, and they’ll see through templated outreach a mile away." -- Tony Mastri, MARION Marketing
15. Use the 'Staircase' approach.
"One guest blogging technique which we are using from last 4 years is the 'Staircase Guest Blogging Approach.' It’s our own coined term.
In this approach, we start our guest blogging campaign by writing quality content for the sites which are easily approachable. We put maximum efforts to write the content for these websites as we use them to showcase our quality to other blog owners.
In the second phase, we go to some higher authority sites and send them links to our published articles at many other blogs.
In the final stage, we approach larger websites to accept our guest post, where we show them the links of articles secured during the second phase.
This approach has helped us to get our content published at many large publications." -- Kulwant Nagi, AffloSpark
16. Use Google images to uncover opportunities.
"Here is one unique outside the box guest blogging tip. Use a backlink analysis tool link Ahrefs and sift through competitor links. When you find a blog post you can take the author's image and drag and drop it into Google images and you will find many sites that they have guest posted on.
This is a great indicator of which sites are accepting guest posts. This method has proven effective time-after-time for us and our clients." -- Chronis Tsempelis, SEOExplode
17. Have a clearly defined goal you want to achieve through guest blogging.
"Yes guest blogging is a great link-building activity. Yes it can help expand your digital footprint. However, a clearly defined smart goal related to your guest blogging will help you to seek out the most appropriate sites for you to pitch to.
Furthermore, setting a specific goal will help you to define what type of content you would like to contribute. Goal-setting should always be the first step." -- Briana Marie, Tanzek Media
18. Approach every opportunity as a partnership.
"Guest blogging is all about relationships. Relationships are all about trust. There are many practical tips for finding blogs to guest post on and how to find quality blogs, but the most important thing to remember is that guest blogging requires partnerships.
My tip for guest blogging, is to know and be known by your partner. When establishing a connection, don't be afraid to convey personality as well as your expertise. This fosters trust and makes you much more memorable.
Treating guest blogging as a relationship first has been successful for our team. It's how you change from the 'seeker' to the 'sought' and ultimately establish win-win partnerships. You'll find the trust you build in the real world translating to trust online." -- Nick Rorabaugh, SEOteric
19. Always focus on publishing high-quality content.
"The best way to effectively guest blog is to write high quality content and cater the subject to both your business and the business of the blog you are contributing to. This way you are adding value to both companies. I achieve this by doing some research on their blog to understand their preferred subject-matter and keywords and then pitching a topic that relates to what we do and what they are interested in.
For example, we develop apps, so if I were pitching to a tech real estate blog, I would pitch a subject like 'Why using mobile apps can can help people find apartments faster'" -- Emily Clifford, Fueled
20. Offer something truly unique and sought-after by the target publication’s audience.
"Visit sites like Quora, Answer the Public, Reddit and Google Suggest. Learn the subject-related questions people are struggling to find answers to. Do the research and document your findings complying fully with the target publication’s editorial guidelines and supported by compelling, unique, high-quality graphics and visuals. You will need research, copywriting and graphic design skills to be successful.
For example, if you are aiming to get published in a top apartment rental publication, you might discover Millennials searching for apartments with the best river views in the city, loft apartments, apartments with wood-burning fireplaces, or sound-proof apartments.
Get answers to those questions documenting your findings in detail including your research methodology, data sources and an original map showing the location of each of the properties mentioned." -- Donna Duncan, B-SeenOnTop
21. Look for blogs that share the same philosophy.
"Make sure that you are guest posting on a site that has the same 'world view.' In today's media world, it's easy to start a firestorm unintentionally. It's best to find blogs that you share the same philosophy with because you'll have a greater chance of gaining followers who are like-minded and potentially become customers.
We all hope that we can change someone's mind by dazzling them with our knowledge and perspective, and maybe we can, over time -- but the reality is that when you're working in someone else's domain -- literally and figuratively -- it's best to find someone you agree with rather than someone you oppose. Offering a new perspective, that's complementary to your host, is definitely important. Just make sure you're not starting unnecessary drama for yourself or your blog host." -- Virginia Case, STRATAC