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How to Become a Successful Guest Blogger

Chris Christoff
Chris Christoff

Guest blogging can provide you, and your business, with a number of benefits.

When you create a blog, the first stages of its inception are tricky. You need to gather enough interested readers to watch your numbers grow and your content spread. Trying to build an audience from scratch can be a tremendous challenge. That's why guest blogging is an effective marketing tactic.

Guest blogging is writing valuable, compelling content for other websites so your brand gets closer to reaching its goals. Posting on well-known, authoritative websites is a great way to expose your content to new readers, build buzz around your brand and drive traffic to your website.

While some companies have used this strategy to acquires thousands of news users in a short period of time, you need to do it correctly since Google doesn’t mess around with spammy SEO tactics. It's easier to organically drive traffic to your site when you have compelling content that draws readers in. It must be relevant to their interests, help them solve a problem or teach them something new. 

If you’re deciding whether or not guest blogging is the marketing tactic for you, consider its benefits. 

  • It builds an email list. Businesses thrive on their email lists. It's what connects them to their target audience and tells them what kind of content they signed up for. If your brand is going to succeed, it needs a reliable list of customer information to continue marketing to them. Guest blogging puts your name out there on authority websites, which means readers in your target market gain exposure to your content. It's much easier to build and grow an email list when you guest post because that audience is already interested in your industry.

  • It drives referral traffic. When you publish a blog post on someone else's website, you automatically get eyes on your own website. Guest posting is a simple way to drive referral traffic back to your website and improve user engagement.

  • It positions you as an expert. When you offer high-quality, informative content to readers for free, it positions you as a leader in your industry who has expertise. People listen to those they trust, and the best way to do this is to show off what you know. Writing relevant blog posts on other websites tells readers you know what you're talking about and encourages them to heed your advice.

  • It improves SEO. Back in 2014, Google declared guest blogging a "spammy practice." However, as long as you follow the rules and avoid black hat SEO tricks, guest posting will only bring benefits to your blog. It's crucial to post only on relevant websites, build links organically so they make sense to the reader and avoid using rich anchor text. That way, Google senses that you're providing quality content to visitors and boosts your search engine ranking.

  • It builds brand awareness. Perhaps the most obvious benefit of guest posting is that you get new readers invested in your content and its message. Those who are in your industry but didn't know about you now have the opportunity to check out your brand and familiarize themselves with it. If they like it, they'll share it with others, further building brand awareness and growing your audience.

Now that you know the benefits of guest blogging, the next step is a find a way to become successful at. Here are four tactics to consider when starting out as a guest blogger

1. Set firm goals.

When you set out on your guest blogging campaign, it's crucial to pick a few goals and stick to them. This narrows your focus so you're able to follow through until the end. It also helps you pick the guest posting opportunities that best align with your objectives so you see results. If you choose more than a few, it becomes overwhelming and you won't progress as far.

Think about what results you want to see from guest posting, such as

  • Increasing email subscribers

  • Driving more traffic to your blog

  • Generating leads

  • Positioning yourself as a thought leader

  • Building brand awareness and recognition

  • Finding networking opportunities within your industry

Use specific numbers and targets when creating your campaign goals so you know how far you're trying to go. Give yourself a set amount of time so you apply and enforce the rules appropriately. Set a realistic deadline that gives you enough time to find opportunities and publish on different platforms.

2. Search for relevant opportunities.

It's crucial to pitch to websites that are relevant to your industry and target market. If you're a food blogger who pitches to a sports website, the chances of them accepting your pitch are slim to none because your content isn't relevant to their readers. It doesn't bring them value, so there's no point in presenting your blog post idea to them. 

When searching for guest blogging opportunities, it's crucial that those sites' audiences align with yours. It's also important to post on high-quality blogs that are known for producing valuable content. 

If you publish your content on low-ranking websites or sites that don't offer the best quality content themselves, you're setting yourself up for failure. You want new readers to discover you on blogs they trust and rely on for accurate, resourceful information.

There are endless combinations of keywords and search terms you can enter to find guest posting opportunities:

  • Industry keyword + guest blogging

  • Industry keyword + guest posting

  • Industry keyword + write for us

  • Industry keyword + contribute

3. Create a pitch.

You may have a solid idea for a blog post, but if you don’t know how to pitch, no editor or publisher is going to take you seriously. If your blog is new, you need to work extra hard to ensure your pitch is polished, concise and straight to the point. Remember that authoritative blogs receive numerous pitches for new content, so if yours doesn't stand out immediately, it may not see the light of day.

First, make sure your topic is relevant for the site you're pitching to. Take a look at their existing blog posts and see what kind of content they're currently publishing. Pay attention to the topics and which ones do well with readers, garner lots of shares and rack up comments.

Next, read their guidelines carefully. Since well-known blogs receive a higher number of pitches, they don't have time for submissions that don't match their criteria. It shows you didn't take the time to read the rules thoroughly, and this leaves them with a negative impression.

Let them know who you are and why you want to write for them. Was there an article on their site that caught your eye? Did someone you admire write for them and inspire you to do the same? Think about things that set you apart so whoever reads your email feels intrigued to respond and give you a spot.

4. Write an awesome blog post.

Once your pitch is accepted, it's time to create a quality blog post that offers value to readers and makes them want to share. As long as you know your target audience, it shouldn't be difficult to produce content they want to consume.

Add statistics, data, case studies, and other information that solidifies your points and backs up your claims. Give enough examples to convince readers of what you tell them. Teach them how to do something better or go in-depth about a broad topic. 

Write an attention-grabbing headline that catches their attention, expresses its benefits and uses actionable verbs. If it's true that 80% of users read your headline, but only 20% continue to read the post, then your headline must be compelling and unique.

Ensure that your blog post is skimmable since most people don't read every single word and prefer to scan the page. Keep a conversational tone that mirrors a one-on-one conversation with a friend to refrain from boring users. Follow the website's formatting guidelines and apply them to your post. And don’t forget to insert a call to action to ensure that readers take the action you want them to. 

To make sure you get results from your guest blogging campaign, you can download a Google Analytics plugin. It gives you information about how much referral traffic goes to your website, how users engage with your content and how long they stay. These are all important metrics to track to ensure your campaign is a success.

Guest blogging is an exciting endeavor that, when done correctly, takes your website from zero to 100. It puts your content in front of new, eager eyes, drives traffic to your website, generates leads for your business and does so much more. If you have yet to take advantage of this marketing strategy, it’s time to start brainstorming content ideas and pitching to authority sites. 

Image Credit: poike/Getty Images
Chris Christoff
Chris Christoff Member
Co-Founder of MonsterInsights, the leading WordPress plugin for Google Analytics.