- Guest blogging on popular websites can do more for your business than writing for your own site.
- Find market defining keywords, spy where your competitors are guest blogging and research content that sells.
- Do your research and pitch to high ranking websites with unique ideas.
As a busy small business owner, I know you’re frantically busy. You might sometimes feel like a duck being sucked into a whirlpool, wildly trying to paddle its way ashore. Your to-do list to keep the engine running is unrelenting and seems like it will never end.
Why in the world would you write articles for other websites when it’s a struggle to keep content on your own site updated?
Actually, there are several good reasons to write articles for other sites, also known as guest blogging.
When done well, guest blogging can give you a serious advantage over your competitors.
Whether you run a small business with a website, an e-commerce store or a blogging site, guest blogging can expose your brand to a new audience. It can give your website a traffic boost and do wonders to position you as the expert go-to person in your field.
Guest blogging is not only worth your time but can form an essential part of your marketing and SEO strategy. If you’re in a competitive industry it can help you reach your audience and then stand out, head and shoulders above your competitors.
What is guest blogging?
Guest blogging, also known as guest posting, is a method of increasing traffic and visibility to your website by writing articles to be published on other sites that appeal to a similar audience.
What are the benefits of guest blogging?
1. Referral traffic to your site
One of the main benefits of guest posting is that your brand and expertise will be exposed to a fresh audience. If you’ve chosen the target of your guest post well, your business will be showcased in the form of an article to new and relevant readers.
For example, a kitchen business’s “How To Design a Small Kitchen” guide guest posted on a trades directory site will expose the business to clients who may be in the market for a new kitchen. Blog often enough and in the right places, potential clients will start to recognise your name.
2. Authority in your field
Guest posting with an article expressing your expert opinion or a ‘How To’ guide on a tricky task in your niche helps elevate you to the authority level of a specialist. It gives potential clients the confidence that you really know your stuff. But it’s important that your content is actually helpful and well written.
3. Backlinks to your website
Inbound links ( or backlinks ) to your site are a major ranking factor for Google. More high-quality links relevant and authoritative sites is a signal to Google that your website is trustworthy and deserves to rank higher on its pages. Guest blogging is a great way to secure valuable backlinks to your website.
Most guest posting opportunities are happy to include a bio of you and your company at the end of the article with a backlink to your site. If possible, also ask them to include a link within the text to a relevant page on your site other than your homepage.
Which sites should I write for?
Guest blogging can be time-consuming and not all websites are worth the resources. To make sure that a good portion of the readers will be interested in what you have to sell, write for websites in your niche or a related niche.
Ideally, they need to be high authority sites, however smaller sites with engaged audiences are fantastic too. It’s a bonus if they have a significant number of social media followers as they’ll most likely promote their blogs via those channels.
Guest Posting Checklist
How to find guest blogging opportunities
1. Find sites with industry knowledge
Are there sites or blogs within your industry that are well known for providing informative articles?
For a kitchen renovation company, these websites may:
· Provide stories and information aimed at an interested public
· Provide industry news and updates to an audience within the industry
· Websites of suppliers that supply your customers
· Websites of partners within the industry
2. Do a Google search
A Google search of your market-defining keyword plus these modifiers will bring up sites that may accept guest posts.
Market-defining keyword ( MDKW ) as explained by link building strategist Eric Ward are the main keywords in your industry. They are usually keywords that are very general and would bring lots of traffic but few sales.
It may be a word that people in the industry use to describe themselves.
For example, in the kitchens business, the MDKW may be “kitchen design” or “kitchen renovation”.
A Google search with your MDKW plus the following modifiers will bring up lists of sites that could potentially be targeted for guest posts.
To find a list of blogs try:
If you don’t find enough results, broaden or change your keyword.
3. Dig for competitors' backlinks
To make the process fast and super efficient, why not mine backlinks from your competitors?
It’s a common SEO practice to rummage through competitors’ backlinks for opportunities, this technique can be used to find guest blogging targets too.
Look for a competitor that is ranking well for your desired keywords.
It’s likely they have a lot of backlinks linking to their site and there’s a good chance they already include guest posting as part of their strategy.
Using a tool like MOZ’s Link Explorer you can take a look at all the links pointing to your competitor’s site.
Most of the links are probably not from guest posts, but you might find some gems that you hadn’t thought of before.
I’ve used this method to find a gold mine of high authority and relevant guest blogging opportunities within a few minutes.
Armed with the knowledge that the site has previously accepted guest posts, you can contact the site with your pitch.
4. Use public relations and media sites
PR, SEO and guest blogging are all closely related and interlinked.
PR sites like Sourcebottle and HARO ( Help A Reporter Out ) are sites that call out for expert commentary and content. You’d be surprised how many opportunities there are to be featured or to guest blog in high authority online publications, just by responding to relevant call outs.
Simply register as a source on the site and respond to the call out emails that sound relevant to your expertise and your target audience.
You can use a template for your response with details about you and why you are qualified to contribute content. The faster you respond, the better your chances of landing a fabulous opportunity.
How to pitch for guest blogging opportunities?
So using one or all of the methods mentioned above you’ve found a few sites that you’d love to write for.
But don’t contact them yet!
Explore the site first.
· What kind of audience is the blog aimed at? Is it end consumers or industry professionals?
· Do they need beginner, intermediate or advanced knowledge?
· What kinds of posts do well? Tutorials? Lists? Look at the comments to gauge which posts are popular.
If you’ve taken in this information, you’ve got a much better chance of crafting a pitch that will be accepted.
When you approach the website with your pitch remember some important tips:
1. Personalise your email
There’s no quicker way of sounding spammy than starting your email with “Hi” or “To the Webmaster”. Find and use the name of the website editor. You might need to do a bit of digging around but it will be out there somewhere on the web.
2. Explain who you are and your expertise
Concisely give details about you, your business or blog and what you’re good at. What bragging rights do you have? Are you an industry veteran? Have you won business awards?
3. Sell to them
Tell them why you should be a guest blogger on their site. Don’t forget this is a sales pitch. Think about what value you can provide for them and their audience.
4. Give evidence
Show them what you can do by including links to your own blog and other guest blogs that you’ve written.
5. Give ideas
Based on your research of each website, think of a few potential blog topics that will appeal to their particular audience. Include these in your email to the editor whilst suggesting that you’re happy to write about any other topics in your field of expertise as well.
It will make the editor’s job easier ( and more likely to accept your pitch ) if they have a list of ideas they can pick from.
Tips for writing a great guest post
So your pitch has been accepted. Congratulations! Now to the actual writing.
The article will need to be well-written, original and contain valuable information for the reader. Think about the audience you’re writing it for and make sure it’s aimed squarely at them.
If it’s a high-quality website, you should be aiming to use some of your best content. It’s your chance to make a great first impression on an audience that may not know you at all.
Don’t forget to check the guest posting guidelines - some have very specific requirements. It should give you an idea of word count and any other specifics. If you’re not sure, email the editor who accepted your pitch.
Remember, guest posting is not a blatant advertisement. Any mentions of your services and business should be reserved for the author bio.
Another good tip is to try to link internally to some of the site’s related posts. Internal links are good for the site’s SEO. Actually placing the internal links in your article shows you’ve done your research and made an extra effort to make your guest post valuable.
Finally, insert a call to action at the end of your posts inviting comments. Ask a simple question to generate discussion. It’s a good idea to actively respond to comments you receive and answer them personally so readers know you actually care.