The State of Guest Blogging: How to Guest Post and Grow Your Traffic
December 13, 2019
Editor’s Note: This guest post was contributed by Ryan Robinson, Blogger at Ryrob.com.
Imagine being able to spread awareness about your blog, improve your SEO by acquiring natural links from high-quality websites, and drive relevant traffic to your content — all without paying a dime in marketing spend.
It sounds like the marketer’s dream, doesn’t it? Well, guest blogging enables you to accomplish all of these goals at once.
So, what is guest blogging? It’s a content marketing technique that involves writing articles for someone else’s blog—usually a popular website or publication in your niche—to drive relevant, incremental traffic back to your own blog and increase your organic search rankings in the process.
Think of guest blogging as a barter deal, wherein you produce a valuable and unique piece of content for someone else’s blog (because they need high quality content) and you get appropriate credit as the author. It’s a win-win scenario for both parties.
Guest blogging has long been one of the highest ROI activities for content marketers, and I speak from personal experience having written hundreds of guest posts over the years. Take a look at the massive surge in traffic I saw on my blog (1,874 readers in one day—far above my average at the time) right after my very first guest post was published.
While guest blogging may sound like a piece of cake on the surface, it’s not so simple. For this technique to yield positive results, it’s important to be very strategic in your efforts.
Here are four key steps to land a guest post and drive traffic to your blog.
1. Find and evaluate websites to pitch
If you want to land a guest post on someone else’s blog, there’s no avoiding the need to get out there and start pitching. Be mindful though, I’m not talking about Google searching “websites that accept guest posts” and sending a mass email to each of them. That’ll do nothing to further your marketing goals.
What matters today is delivering a very carefully curated, personalized pitch to relevant and credible blogs that share the same audience as you do. Now, how do you find these websites?
Start by first approaching any blogs in your industry that you actively follow, respect and know accepts guest posts. If there are any sites where you have a professional connection already working there, then use that relationship to get an introduction to their content manager.
After exhausting those that immediately come to mind, you can use a simple Google search to find more high quality websites in your niche that accept guest posts. Use search terms like “niche/keyword” + “write for us” or “niche/keyword” + “guest post”. This will get you started down the right path to finding websites that accept guest posts in your niche.
Once you have a list of blogs to consider approaching, it’s time to assess whether they’re worth your effort to pitch and spend time writing for. You want to write for blogs that have a strong domain authority and will pass positive SEO benefits to your site—and you can quickly check that measure using tools like Ahrefs, SEMRush or Moz.
Aim your pitches at blogs that publish content frequently and see high traffic, so that your guest post is all but guaranteed a welcome audience once it’s published.
2. Generate guest post ideas that'll resonate with editors
With many editors of active websites publishing between one and ten guest articles each week, it’s safe to say that there’s a considerable amount of competition in the guest blogging space. The only way to grab an editor’s attention is to pitch an idea they can’t say no to.
Start by doing a thorough analysis of the prospective website to fully understand the topics of content they publish, writing style, article format and gather a sense of the blog’s audience.
Use a tool like BuzzSumo to understand the top-performing content on the target blog and other popular topics in their niche. You can also analyze their competitors and take inspiration from their content.
Once you’re done brainstorming blog post ideas and have at least five to ten topic ideas at hand, it’s time to craft your pitch email.
Keep your pitch short and to the point. Stay away from using generic templates and make the effort to draft a personalized pitch that addresses the recipient by name.
Remember, you’re emailing a busy editor. Your pitch email should clearly state the titles of a couple potential articles you could write for their blog, while briefly describing the direction of the piece, mentioning how it’ll benefit their readers and highlighting that it’ll also cover a valuable keyword phrase that their site isn’t yet pursuing as much as they could.
Make it a point to also introduce yourself, your blog and share a few links to your published work that can help establish your credibility.
Before sending your pitch email, quickly make sure it’s in line with the blog’s guest posting guidelines—you don’t want to give them the impression you’ve never read their blog.
3. Write a strong guest post that gets accepted
Now that your pitch is accepted, you need to write an impressive post that provides value, is well-written and formatted as per their guidelines. The idea is to deliver a piece that requires makes the editor’s job as easy as possible to get out the door and in front of their readers.
Begin your blog writing process by coming up with an engaging headline, followed by an enticing introduction that hooks the reader. Perform some quick keyword research to use short and long-tail keywords sparingly. Make your post visually appealing by using images, GIFs and other visual elements to complement the text.
Another important element of writing guest posts, is tastefully adding links to your own content. Include only natural links to your own content that are relevant to the guest post at-hand. Be tactful about this and ensure you’re linking only to a high-quality piece that’ll truly add value to the guest post you’re submitting.
When it comes to linking to other content from within your article, it’s always a good idea to insert useful links to other authoritative websites and content that serves to further add more credibility to your post.
Last but not least, the author bio section is another place that you’ll often have an opportunity to mention your own blog, product or service. So, you need to craft a clever bio that attracts clicks.
Keep your bio down to around 50 to 100 words that lets readers know who you are and includes a link to your blog—or a specific content piece you want them to check out.
Here’s an example of my guest author bio.
4. Promote your guest post
Your work never ends with submitting your guest post and riding off into the sunset.
Instead of solely relying on your host blog to utilize their resources in order to get readers to your guest post, show them you’re also invested in your content by promoting the article.
Promote your guest post by sharing it with your network on social media, including it in your email newsletter and reaching out to anyone you’ve mentioned in the article to ask them to share as well. You should also take care to tag the host blog in your social posts, so that can take note of your efforts and re-share the content as well.
Once your post goes live, it’s important to also keep an eye on the comments section and respond to any questions their readers send your way. This again shows you’re invested in the success of the content and helps in building a strong relationship with potential readers.
Final thoughts on guest blogging for today’s age
Once you’ve guest blogged for a handful of leading publications or niche websites in your industry, it’s smart to list them in a prominent location on your own site—like your homepage or on a ‘Hire Me’ page that boosts your credibility for future guest posting pitches.
While guest blogging is undoubtedly a time-consuming endeavor, it’s proven to be a great way to drive traffic to your blog, establish yourself as an expert in your field and improve your blog’s SEO all at once.
Considering the benefits it offers, this tactic deserves to be part of your content marketing mix regardless the size of your organization. Follow these four basic principles to put together a stellar guest blogging strategy that’ll pay dividends in the long run.