Best Practices for Guest Blogging
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Guest blogging is a form of content marketing.
It’s an arrangement in which you publish relevant content (blog posts) for someone else on their websites and potentially gain high quality links in exchange. It’s an established process requiring diligence and practice to become effective at, and not everyone does it right.
This article will discuss some of the guest blogging best practices that will help you succeed at enhancing your and your partner’s reputation (while scoring some link juice too).
What is Guest Blogging?
Guest blogging is a content marketing technique in which you make an agreement to publish guest posts on a webmaster’s site (typically in exchange for getting a backlink on a post). Guest posts can be paid or free.
You’re probably familiar with guest blogging or you’ve come across guest posts while surfing the web. Unfortunately, guest blogging may garner a bad reputation from some marketing professionals because many blog articles are low quality and irrelevant.
But when done right guest blogging can help you build relationships, find new content opportunities, build your brand, and acquire high quality links.
One of the best reasons why contributing to external websites in the form of guest blogging can be an effective tool in your link building campaign is because your guest blogs can produce contextual authority links that may boost your rankings considerably (when you post on the right sites).
There are a ton of additional benefits to guest blogging that don’t just include SEO. Another reason to guest blog is because it can help grow your email list. Post compelling content for a targeted audience and draw them to your email marketing campaign with your influence.
Keep in mind that the key to successful guest blogging is to produce relevant high quality content that adds value to your partner’s website. Publishing relevant content can make a significant impact on brand awareness for both parties involved, while possibly establishing you as an expert in a specific niche.
Identify a Niche and Research It
Knowing your target niche is critical to finding guest blogging prospects. It doesn’t make a lick of sense to reach out to websites about cats when you’re into fixing cars. Identify your expertise and focus on a niche that will highlight that knowledge while also being enjoyable to write about.
Marketing is about knowing your customers. You want to make sure the right people will be reading your guest blogs, so it’s crucial to understand your audience during the careful process of selecting a niche. Identify your niche target keywords, analyze the competition, and do some research on your target audience.
Social media is a great tool for discovering guest blogging opportunities and new audiences. Keep an eye out for mentions of related topics that cover your specific niche. Follow shared links, join groups, and look for authoritative people and websites.
Most importantly, do some research on potential publishing partners too. Explore their websites and read their blogs (don’t ignore the comments). Find out how the top contributors are engaging with certain types of readers. The goal is to identify authoritative websites to guest post on so you can capture some of that power.
Create a List of Related Blogs
After you’ve identified your target niche and done some preliminary research it’s time to compile a list of niche-related blogs that have a strong reputation within the category. These should be authoritative sites that customers visit to acquire valuable information.
Check out our article on finding guest post opportunities to get this crucial step down.
After you’ve discovered related blogs that you may want to reach out to for guest blogging partnerships, then you need to find out which ones are actually accepting new guest posts. If a site is closed to new contributors then keep exploring because it may link to related blogs in your industry.
Figure out the best way to reach out to these webmasters, even if it means contacting a marketing manager directly or following them on social media channels.
Analyze the List
Analyzing your list of guest blogging prospects is the next important step. This is when you’ll take a deeper dive into researching your list of related blogs. Your goal is to narrow down the list to the most attractive options.
You should check metrics with SEO tools like Ahrefs or an Ahrefs alternative. Focus on the holy trinity; authority, relevance, and power of the domains you are prospecting. Don’t expect that high Domain Authority by itself will guarantee you a quality link in return. Consider all the garbage on some of the most popular blogging sites despite them having high domain authority.
Make sure you explore your prospects manually and thoroughly. Site health can be qualified using a bunch of different techniques, it’s a complex practice and exploring sites using SEO tools is the only way to get better at figuring out what works in looking at a quality blog post or website.
Perform keyword research and see how the results match up with your list of blogs. Use your own experience and intuition of what constitutes a good relevant website. Explore site-wide content to gauge overall quality and keep an eye out for excessive spam or ads.
Create an Email Pitch
After performing due diligence on your narrowed-down list of websites it’s time to reach out to webmasters and publishers with a simple email that conveys a great idea to see if they will accept guest posts.
It’s important to be polite, professional, and creative when delivering your guest post pitch. The key is to convince the site editor that you’ll actually add value. You should always convey value and come across as someone who is pleasurable to work with (you want to establish a lasting relationship).
Tell your potential partners that you’ve explored their sites and read their content. Try to propose an attractive idea and send a published example that proves you can exceed expectations. Don’t get caught up in ranting about how you’re the best person for the job.
Successful blogs receive guest post pitches all the time so make sure you sound like an expert in the topic being pitched. And pitch topics that are directly related to your own site’s content to attract targeted visitors. Guest blogging is about benefiting yourself too and should be part of your marketing strategy.
See our article on cold email templates for SEO for some help!
Keep Track of Sites You’ve Reached Out To
Organization is key. You may have to reach out multiple times before getting the green light to write an article. Follow up on prospects where communication is weak.
Keeping track of sites that you’ve reached out to will simplify communication in the long run. Remember that you’re trying to forge solid relationships with people so you can keep delivering valuable content and expand your reach.
One of the benefits of guest blogging is you’ll get more chances to write for people you already know if they like you (and you don’t lose their email address).
After you’ve been approved to publish a blog post it’s time to shine and write great content. Hopefully, you’ve been following these best practices so far and this step won’t be any problem.
One of the fundamental rules of guest posting is to adhere to all publishing guidelines set forth by your partners. Play by their rules and gain their trust.
Obviously, your work needs to be nearly flawless too. Double-check for spelling and grammatical errors. There are many free proofreading tools available to assist in polishing up your writing.
Formatting and structure are important features of any SEO-friendly marketing content. Guest posting is no different. Make sure you optimize the article’s length, include relevant terms, use paragraph headings, etc.
Remember to write useful content that will engage readers and persuade them to take action. Try to impress with your first few guest posts to stand out and earn trust. Articles should flow naturally after you’ve published one or two well-written blog posts.
You may want to do additional research to bolster what you already know or provide examples to back up claims. Moreover, stay on topic and sound credible.
Expect there to be a revision process. Your editor may require you to make necessary changes to your guest post so that it conforms to specific rules or styles of writing. You should see this process as an opportunity to collaborate with your partner to learn and improve your writing.
So always revise your work and make sure it meets all necessary requirements. Making your editor’s job easier will increase your chances of doing business in the future.
Promotion and Links
Promoting your great content is the last step in the process and one of the most important guest blogging best practices.
There are many ways to boost the visibility of your guest posts. Social media is one of the best channels. For example, networks like LinkedIn host thousands of professional business and subject matter groups where you can attract a target audience.
Once your post goes live don’t forget to share it to drive traffic or even buy it links for a tiered link building campaign. This is your opportunity to include links in your posts that point back to your website.
Linking to your guest posts is a good promotional technique that also benefits your partner’s site. An author bio section in your contact’s blog should be utilized to link back to your sites as well. An author bio is a vital part of a guest blog when it comes to promoting yourself and benefiting your website.
There are several links you can include in an author bio depending on your goal. Including a link back to your site should probably be first and foremost. Alternatively, you may consider various landing pages for directing targeted traffic to.
Finally, include a “follow me” social media link at the end of your bio if you want to draw visitors that way.
Guest Blogging Best Practices Wrap-Up
Guest Blogging is a great way to build networks to help with SEO and content marketing campaigns, but you need to work hard to get the partnerships working.
Most content marketing strategies are going to include guest blogging because it’s an effective way to promote your brand, establish yourself as a thought leader, and grow your business.
You should always focus on marketing yourself as an expert in the topic you’re writing about in the blog post. Moreover, make sure to gain exposure to your posts as much as possible and include links back to your site.
Following these best practices will help you succeed as a guest blogger. Remember to do your homework when compiling a list of guest posting prospects, deliver a favorable pitch to a webmaster, write great content, and promote your work!
Contributing Author: Brian Kihneman
Hey I'm Nick, the Founder/Director here at SirLinksalot. I have a passion for building online businesses and taking websites to the next level with the help of my amazing link building team.
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