10 min read
You’ve been blogging for a bit now. Maybe you’re slowly building a small following from week to week. Maybe you’re about to launch a new product. Maybe you’re trying to find a bloggy community to fit into. Sounds like you’re ready to be guest blogger.
If you’re new to this milieu, you might be wondering what the big deal is. Sounds like a cool concept, but why would you use up time to write on someone’s blog instead of your own? Well, let’s talk about it.
Guest posting is so important for your brand. The most obvious reason is exposure. If your blog has a readership of 1,000, think what will happen to those numbers if your words are seen on blog with 50,000 readers.
And those numbers are just the tip of the iceberg.
Guest posting also helps you be seen as an authority on your subject. Being an expert on a topic gives you all kinds of street cred. People who had never heard of you before are now quick to heed your advice because they already trust your host so instinctively they must be able to trust you now.
Finally, guest posting can be one of your greatest allies during a launch. If you’ve timed it all out right (and timing is KEY- more on that later), guest posts are a fast and vast way to increase awareness of your new product or service.
But while it may seem like an easy way to get your name and product flying around the interwebs, there is a mountain of work that goes on behind the scenes and before your post is ever read by your future customers.
Never fear, though, this article lists it all out for you. I’m going to go over every little detail you need to consider, research, write, rewrite, submit and then follow up with when you’re ready to branch out into guest posting.
I want to keep you away from overwhelmed and all in the confident, so I’ve broken down the process step by step. Let’s get started.
Knowing what you want your post to accomplish is the first thing to figure out. A guest post can serve many different purposes depending on what you’re looking for in the outcome. Do you want to drive new readers to your blog? Do you want to set yourself up as an authority in your industry? Are you new and just looking to make connections with other bloggers in your field? The answer to all these questions will change the way you write your post, who you submit it to and how you evaluate the results.
Once you’ve determined why you want to guest post, it’s time to find the right opportunity.
The world is your oyster here. Search around for awhile and get a feel for a bunch of different host sites. It’s kind of like Goldie Locks- you need to find a host that’s juuuuuust right.
Obviously, look for blogs that focus on your realm of expertise and make sure they open up to guest bloggers. Some do and some don’t, so before you put too much effort in, make sure there’s even a chance! Signs you’re on the right path include:
Once you’ve seen the possibility, start evaluating their engagement. You want to find a host who not only has a large readership, but is also active with their readers. The more active a host is, the more they will share your post and the more their readers will instinctively interact with you.
So check their social media. Are they replying to comments? Are they retweeting and supporting other bloggers? And are their readers responding? If so, you’re on the right track.
Now lay some groundwork. The likelihood of your post being accepted if the host has never heard your name is slim to none. As soon as you can, start commenting on their posts and social media accounts. No need to go overboard here and end up being annoying. Just let them know you appreciate their work. Maybe ask a couple questions that show you’re paying attention.
Once you’ve assembled a list of blogs that you’ve personally engaged with, are in your field, without a doubt except guests posts, and engage with their audience, it’s time to craft some pitches.
Later on, once you’ve made a solid name for yourself and your blog, you can start pitching in the big leagues. Guest posting on well-established blogs is where some sizeable conversions happen. A while ago, our CEO Nathan, had a guest post called How to Launch Anything on Smashing Magazine- one of the most active and largest publishers of web development resources. To date, just from that one post, Nathan has amassed almost 4,000 new subscribes. It became like a passive income. That article will always been there for Smashing Mag readers to find.
But that might be for later, back to today…
Pitch mode is just as important of a step as a writing the actual article.
First off, you’re going to need to send a LOT of pitch emails to a LOT of blogs. This is the first time your hosts will read your writing and get a sense of your personality. Each pitch should be personalized to the specific blog and should explain why you’ve got something they need.
It only needs to be a short paragraph (with a clear and intriguing title), but make sure that paragraph explains what you want to say, how you are going to say it and why it’s so important. In our guide to guest posting on ConvertKit, we’ve got a great example of what a simple and effective pitch looks like.
And don’t just send one pitch to a host. Give them a couple different ideas you. They might have a themed month coming up that would be perfect for one of your pitches. Or they may have recently written on two out of three of your ideas. Honestly, the more opportunities you give them, the more likely they’ll see one they like. It’s like buying extra lottery tickets- you’re just increasing your luck. Just make sure you're considering any timelines you might have as you send in your pitches.
If you’re guest posting to increase awareness for a product launch, make sure you’ve given yourself ample time for the in between. Factor in time for the host to respond to your pitch, for your post to be approved, edited, and published. Nathan learned this the hard way.
My plan was to have 10-15 guest posts, on a whole range of topics, go live on launch day…Unfortunately I only ended up with 5 going live that day, with 1 more the next day.
The problem was I just didn’t allow enough time. Pitching a topic, writing the post, getting it edited, and then finally in the publishing queue just takes time. I allowed a month from start to finish, but waited too long to deliver the final drafts. Several posts got rejected from the sites I pitched (this is normal) and never found a new home. Others I sent my final draft only for it to take 2+ weeks for their editorial team to review it. Which is totally understandable. It is my fault I didn’t have everything together sooner.
So give yourself as much time as possible. No matter how prepared you might be, your host will most likely have a different set of priorities on their calendar.
Now that you’ve decided the purpose of your post and found a place to post it, it’s time to sit down and make the words happen.
A guest post should give a little extra value than the normal blog on your own site. You want it to be special enough to grab attention from someone who doesn’t know you. Take a stand on a trending topic in your industry, choose a small topic and go super in-depth to show your authority or take a new angle on something you’ve seen overdone- it will catch readers off guard.
Next make sure your post will fit in with the host’s existing content. Do they have any guidelines for their guest bloggers? Are their posts long and wordy or short and sweet? Are there a lot of listicles or how-to’s? You want you blog post to be a seamless fit.
Finally make sure you incorporating some beneficial links for you and your host. Link to other blogs in the same industry who might ask either of you to guest post with them. Link to other articles in your host’s blog- they’ll love that you’ve paid attention to their content and will love the internal linking to keep their readers in blog longer.
It’s small and it’s at the bottom of the page, but do NOT forget to write a killer bio. Fill it with your fun personality so the readers get a better glimpse of your charm, and list some qualifiers to show off your expertise. But most important- LINK it up!
In your bio, make sure to add links to important information on your own blog. It could be to a give-away, your online store or another post similar to your guest post, but I’d suggest creating a landing page that is specific to your guest blogging audience. It’s the same concept as creating content upgrades. Makes sense, right? Send those readers to a page tailor made just for them and give them an offer they can’t refuse.
So now you’ve successfully pitched your idea, written an inspiring, can’t-stop-scrolling-down article that left readers searching for more from this new, exciting blogger. You did it! After all that research, work, and time put in, your guest blog has been posted! Congrats!
People you would never have reached on your own are seeing your words and are hopefully excited to see what else you have up your sleeve. BUT WAIT! Your job isn’t done yet. Now it’s time to take it to those proverbial streets.
Promoting is key to make sure your guest posts is seen as much as possible. Share it on every social media stream you have and ask your friends and followers to do that same. Follow up with comments on the host’s blog- they will love that you’re taking care of their readers and might just ask you back.
And now that you’ve felt the loving glow of being accepted as a guest blogger, pay it forward. Let it be known in that land that you’re accepting guest posts on your own blog. If you keep it up, soon you will have your own community of bloggy friends to encourage and help each other grow.
It's your turn – follow the steps above and go pitch your favorite sites that take guest posts!
Save yourself from the missed steps and trial + error and grab the same checklist we use on our own blog to make guest posting easy.