Whether you’re brand new to blogging or just looking for a new way to boost your blog’s traffic, you need to be writing guest posts.
I’ve been working with bloggers as a coach for over three years now. My blog readers and my clients are from all different niches and range from beginners to seasoned bloggers. Although they all have different goals for their blogs, there’s one question I’m asked over and over: “How do I get more traffic to my blog?”
If you’re a blogger yourself, I’m pretty sure you can relate.
As newbies, most of us believed that if we start a blog and write compelling content, we’d have no trouble building an audience. However, we all learn pretty quickly that writing great content isn’t enough to bring in consistent blog traffic.
When we start out, I don’t think most of us realize how much competition there really is in the Blogosphere. According to Worldometer, as of 5:24pm EST, there are already over 4,918,000 blog posts published TODAY – and the number is constantly increasing.
The truth is, if no one knows that your blog exists, the chances of someone just stumbling onto one of your blog posts by accident are slim to none.
Those are just the facts. Unfortunately, without a content and social media strategy in place, you will continue to struggle with increasing your blog traffic and growing your blog.
I know personally how much time it takes to create a quality post. Other than writing the post: all the research, adding internal links, finding relevant backlinks, optimizing for SEO, creating images…the list goes on.
All of that time and passion creating your masterpiece. Then you release it into the Blogosphere, filled with hope and excitement, and….then nothing.
So, why not get your hard work the attention it deserves?
The Power Of Writing Guest Blog Posts
What if you could publish your content on a more popular website and still get all of the credit, including a link back to your own blog? What if that same post would then be shared with thousands of new people that fit your target audience?
Sounds like something you’d have to pay a pretty penny for, right? Well guess what?
That’s exactly what happens when you start writing guest posts!
What Are The Benefits Of Writing Guest Posts?
There are several benefits to writing guest posts if you do it right. Don’t worry, I’m going to walk you through the process step-by-step later in this post. Here are a few of the main reasons you should be guest blogging:
- Get more exposure for your blog and brand
- Establish yourself as an expert in your niche
- Build your blogger network/tribe
- Drive new traffic to your blog
When you have a guest post published, the host will promote the post to their own audience, just like they would their own blog content. That includes sharing your post with their blog readers, their social media followers, and sometimes their email subscribers.
Guest blogging is the BEST WAY for you to grow your blog and it’s totally free.
There are a lot of popular bloggers that started off just like you – struggling to get traffic to their blogs. Then, they had a guest post published on a popular blog like the Huffington Post. Their blog traffic exploded – practically overnight!
If you’re serious about growing your blog and are ready to start writing guest posts, it can happen to you too.
What If You’re A Brand New Blogger?
I know many of you reading this may be brand-spanking new to blogging. You might be thinking that no one will be interested in featuring an unknown newbie blogger as a guest blogger.
Kick that idea to the curb!! There are plenty of blogs that would love to feature your content.
As long as you have a few high-quality posts on your own blog that you can reference in your pitch, there are definitely opportunities available for you, too. (If you’re not sure if your content is up to par, learn how to write epic content for your blog here.)
Just like anything else, if you want to achieve optimal results from guest blogging, you’ll need a plan.
Follow the seven steps in this post, you’ll have a guest post strategy in place that gets you the results you’re looking for.
1. Find The Right Guest Blogging Opportunities
If you want to experience the most benefits from your guest blogging efforts, you’ll want to find the right guest post opportunities. Just because a website is accepting guest posts and has a lot of traffic, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good choice.
Consider these questions when choosing blogs to pitch for a guest post:
- Is the blog in your niche? Writing a post for a blog that doesn’t match your niche is defeating your purpose of increasing your brand’s awareness. Find blogs in a similar or parallel niche for the best results.
- Do the blog’s readers match your blog’s target audience? Sending the wrong type of traffic to your blog will not help your growth in the long-term.
- Is the blog more popular than yours or at least similar to yours in domain authority and traffic stats? Check the blog’s social media popularity and engagement to see if it’s worth your time to write for them.
When researching blogs that you’d like to write for, you’ll want to find those that have an audience at least as big as your own, but ideally, those that have a larger following.
Don’t just aim for the A-list blogs, though. Many of them don’t even accept guest posts. If they do allow for guest posts, their guidelines are often more strict and the turnaround time for having something published could be months.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t pitch them at all, I’m just saying you should be more focused on pitching the medium-tier blogs.
If you’re not sure where to look for guest post opportunities, Backlinkio offers seven unique ways to find guest post opportunities in their post “Guest Blogging: The Definitive Guide”.
You can also find a list of over 700 websites accepting guest posts in this post by Outreach Mama.
If your target audience happens to be bloggers or online entrepreneurs, Next Level Blogging is always looking for guest bloggers. You can check out my Guest Post Guidelines here.
2. Do Your Research
Now that you have your list of blogs, it’s time to get the blog author’s attention.
- Check out the guest blogging guidelines. Many times if a blog is accepting guest posts, you’ll find a page on their website with a list of guest post submission guidelines. Take time to read them thoroughly. If you ignore the guidelines, you may miss important rules about how to pitch your ideas. Following their guidelines will give you the best chance for having your post ideas accepted.
- . Familiarize yourself with other content on the blog. Take some time to read several blog posts to get familiar with the writing style and how you should organize your content. This will also help you brainstorm post ideas to include in your pitch so be sure to take notes. For example:
- What topics haven’t they covered yet, that their audience would appreciate?
- Is there an idea that you could expand on and improve in a new post?
- Get on the blogger’s radar before you pitch your ideas for a guest post. We all love feedback on our posts, so why not get the blog owner’s attention with a comment. Leave valuable comments on several blog posts. Ask questions about the post or add a relevant tip not mentioned. Just write something that shows you know your stuff, so that your comment stands out from the others.
- Subscribe to their email list and check out one of their free content upgrades. By getting to know their communication style and content, you’ll be able to create a guest post pitch that they can’t resist! Plus, it’s another plus for showing them that you know their content and understand the needs of their audience.
- Review other guest posts on the blog. Take a look at what other guest bloggers have written for the website you’re thinking of pitching. This is another way to gauge the type of content and writing style accepted from guest bloggers.
During your research, you’ll also want to make sure the opportunity will be worth your while. Does the website allow an author bio, links to your social media profiles, and links back to your blog? Are you able to link to a sales page or an email signup landing page? These are all questions you should have answered before deciding to send a pitch.
After all, you’re trying to grow your audience, so make sure the guidelines allow for a link back to your website, at minimum.
3. Pitch Your Guest Post Idea
Once you’ve done all of the necessary research, it’s time to pitch your ideas. This is a very important step for actually landing the guest post opportunity.
If you’re pitch isn’t on point, you could not only be rejected for this opportunity but could potentially ruin your reputation with a brand for future opportunities as well.
Elements Of An Effective Guest Post Pitch
Writing a good email pitch can make or break your chances for having your ideas accepted.
Since you’ll be sending out several guest post pitches, it’s okay to create an email template to save time when pitching bloggers. However, don’t just copy and paste the same information into every email. Take your time to personalize each pitch to match the blog you’re pitching.
Never Send A Blind-Pitch
If you just start blind-pitching without doing your research, you’re going to tarnish your reputation as a reputable blogger.
I can tell you from my own experience that it kinda ticks me off when someone blind-pitches me.
Recently, a blogger sent me their pitch email – let’s call her “Shirley”. She started off on the right track, stating that she’d “been following Next Level Blogging for awhile” and she found me to be a “huge inspiration”. I was smiling, appreciating the ego-stroke.
Then came Shirley’s pitch. Which quickly made me realize her compliments were total crap.
She offered to write a “sleep-related” post that my “audience would love”. Hello? She wanted to write about sleep??
If she’d so much as even paid attention to the website name she was pitching, she’d know that my audience is bloggers and her sleep-related content would not be relevant at all to my audience.
So, not only did she offend me by not familiarizing herself with my content before asking me for a favor, but she also blew her credibility as a professional and expert. I have nothing for Shirley – not now, not ever.
Don’t be a Shirley.
Let’s go over the elements that should be included in your pitch.
- Write a catchy email subject line. Keep in mind that you’re probably not the only blogger trying to secure a guest post opportunity. Create an email subject line that stands out and makes them want to open your email.
- Personalize your greeting. Take the time to find out the name of the person you are submitting your post to. Address them by first name in your greeting.
- Establish a connection. Write a couple of sentences to establish your connection with the host by offering a compliment. That never hurts 🙂 Reference a favorite blog post of theirs, how their blog has helped or inspired you, etc. Don’t overdo it – just enough to let them know you’re familiar with their content and not blind-pitching.
- Reference your other content. Since the person you’re pitching most likely has never heard of you or your blog, you’ll want to establish some credibility for yourself and your blog.
- If you’ve had your content published on other blogs, share a couple links to your best work.
- If this will be your first guest post, include a couple of links to your most popular blog posts.
- Hook them with your idea. Your opening paragraph is your chance to grab the host’s attention and pique their interest in your ideas. According to the article “How To Write A Pitch Email That Will Get Your Guest Post Accepted” from CoSchedule, “Your opening paragraph should hook an editor’s interest right away. Here are a few different ways to do this:
- Establish a problem your post will solve.
- Pose a question your post will answer.
- Describe a scenario your post will discuss.”
- Pitch your guest post ideas. Now that you have their attention, pitch 2 – 3 guest post ideas. You don’t want to depend on just one idea to win them over. Then, for each idea include the following:
- Potential headline/post title.
- A short paragraph describing the main points you will cover in your post.
- A summary sentence of how the post will benefit their audience.
- Write a short conclusion. Write a short closing sentence that summarizes the reason for the email. Here’s what I usually write: “Please let me know if you’re interested in sharing my guest post on one of the above topics. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you soon.” Keep it simple and to the point.
- Include a professional email signature. Finish off your pitch email using a custom email signature.
Using a custom email signature like the one above gives the recipient all of your contact information in one place. It also looks much more professional than just typing your name. If you don’t have your own custom email signature yet, click here to create one now for free. Then, just copy and paste it into your email client’s signature setting and it will automatically appear at the bottom of all of your emails.
4. Writing Your Guest Post
Once you’ve received notification that your approved for a guest post, it’s time to write your article.
Before getting started, be sure to adhere to any guidelines that you’ve been given by the host. If the host provides a template, make sure you use it. Besides, the template will make writing your post much easier since the formatting is already done for you.
When it comes to writing the content for your guest post, you’ll want to show off every bit of writing skill you’ve got, and then some.
Use this opportunity to sell yourself and your blog to a brand new audience.
Show off your expertise by diving deep into the topic being covered. Spend time to research the topic and your main points, and give them some new food for thought on the subject.
Don’t just include the same old information on the topic that can be found easily in other articles – take it next level. Give new insight or recent discoveries, share a relevant case study, or include social proof. Don’t forget to include links to reputable resources and articles that validate your points.
Linking To Your Own Blog In The Guest Post
Most guest post opportunities allow you to include at least one link to a relevant blog post on your own blog.
This is your golden ticket, your one chance to convince a new reader to click through to your website! It’s a big deal – so make it count.
In other words, don’t just link to any old blog post on your site.
In fact, you want to direct them to a blog post that is directly related to the topic being covered in your guest post. Choose a post that goes into more detail on a mentioned topic or a parallel topic. That way, clicking through to your blog post seems like the logical next step for readers. If you don’t have a post that makes sense, write one before submitting your guest post for publishing.
Secure A New Email Subscriber
Once they’ve clicked-through to your website, that’s the perfect time to offer them an incentive to join your email list. If you don’t secure their email address on that first visit, chances are they will forget all about you once they leave your website.
Create a valuable freebie that’s relevant to the content and include a signup form in your post. That way you’ll stay in the forefront of their mind the next time their looking for similar content.
If you do not have a Welcome Email Sequence set up for new subscribers, it’s important that you set one up now. Having a list of subscribers does you no good if you’re not staying in touch with them. Nurture your subscribers, build connections and send an email at least once per month. Learn more about creating a Welcome Email Sequence here.
5. Your Guest Post Bio
Most guest blogging opportunities allow for a short author bio that will be displayed before or after the post. This is your chance to let their audience know exactly why they should go ahead and check out your website.
Usually, your author bio will include:
- Your photo – Provide a front-facing head shot, preferably one taken by a professional if you have one.
- Brief bio – Provide two or three sentences that describe you and your expertise, your blog and how you help your audience.
- Blog link – If allowed, link to a landing page customized just for those readers. If not, link to your Home page or other popular page on your website. Sales pages are usually not permitted.
- Social media links – Usually, you can include your Facebook and Twitter accounts at minimum. If allowed more, don’t overdo it – just link to 2 or 3 that you’re most active on.
Use the author bio as a mini-billboard for you and your blog. You’re trying to attract new traffic for your own website so let readers know exactly how you can help them.
6. Promote Your Guest Post
Once your guest post has been published, you’ll want to promote the heck out of it!
Share it on all of your social media platforms, pin it to your relevant Pinterest boards and group boards, share it with your email list, and any other promotion strategy that you can think of. Promote your guest post as much as, or even more than, you would one of your blog posts on your own blog.
The host will really appreciate the extra traffic and engagement, so it becomes a win-win for the both of you. If they see that your post is getting attention, they’ll think of you for future opportunities, too.
Once you’ve written guest posts on a few websites, create a “Also featured on” banner to add to your Home page. When new people visit your website, they’ll see the social proof that you’re known as an expert in your niche.
6. Respond To Comments
For the first two weeks after your guest post is published, make sure that you respond to every comment. Be prompt with your responses – I suggest checking for comments at least twice each day.
Responding to comments is another opportunity to share your knowledge about the guest post content.
This is also your chance to connect with a brand new audience on a very personal level. Show appreciation to the person commenting, be personable and provide engaging responses that spark further conversation on the topic.
In some cases, it may even be appropriate to provide a link to a relevant blog post on your own blog. However, make sure that you’re only doing this when it’s directly related to the comment. Also, if the host has a post on the topic, be sure to direct the reader to their post as well.
7. The Follow-Up
After your guest post has been published and it’s starting to get attention (comments, shares, etc.), you’ll want send a follow-up email to the host. I suggest following up a few days before the 2-week mark.
When you write your follow-up email, include these elements:
- Show appreciation – Let the host know how much you appreciate them publishing your guest post.
- Share your results – Share at least one of the positive benefits you’re getting as a result of the guest post (engaging comments on the post, more traffic to your blog, shares and repins of the post, etc.).
- Return the favor – If you’ve had a positive experience, ask your host if they’re interested in writing a guest post for your blog. It’s always nice to return the favor. There are a lot of great benefits to offering guest posts on your blog, too:
- Build your content library without all of the work
- Increase awareness of your brand
- Establish your authority in your niche
Sending a follow-up email may not seem like a big deal, but it’s an important step you don’t want to skip. The host will look at your follow-up as another example of your professionalism as a guest blogger. Building your blogger network and a good reputation will open the door to bigger and better opportunities in the future.
Conclusion – Writing Guest Posts Is A Must For Growing Your Blog
Writing guest posts is an absolute must for building a successful blog.
Not only will guest blogging help you build your portfolio and your blogging network, you’ll also get the benefits of growing your audience reach exponentially. You’ll get more traffic to your blog and open the door to future blogging opportunities.
Now that you have all of the information you need to get started, download my free guest post pitch email template and start writing your own guest posts.
What Do You Think?
Are you already using guest blogging as a strategy to grow your blog? What has your experience been like? Do you have any other tips for writing guest posts that I didn’t mention in this post?
I’d love to get your feedback on this topic. Leave your answers or questions about guest posting in the comments section below. Please help other bloggers by sharing this post on social media or pinning to Pinterest.
Thanks for reading! Until next time…