Guest blogging is an essential component of any SEO strategy. The right guest blogging strategy will help any company to gain more exposure, authority, and new customers by showcasing their expertise. What’s more, there’s a healthy appetite for quality guest blogs right now. Blogging is a great way to establish a reputation as an authority in your niche. Not only can guest blogging generate traffic for your business, but it is also a great source of the very backlinks that are vital for your company’s overall marketing strategy. Posting on your owned media is a great start, but guest posting goes one step further to build a positive brand image for your brand. After all, having another thought leader feature you on their blog is a vote of confidence in your brand.
What Is Guest Blogging?
Guest blogging is the process of having a company’s article published on a blog or publication that said company does not own or control. Guest blogging is usually done in the hopes of boosting the brand, increasing its exposure, or gaining backlinks.
Why do we recommend guest blogging to all the brands we work with?
The main benefit of guest blogging is that you can increase your online reach and authority by leveraging the influence and reach of a blog that is much larger and more authoritative than your own. Let’s assume your company’s website currently receives only ten visitors per month and you get the opportunity to guest post on a blog that receives 100,000 monthly visitors. Taking advantage of this opportunity would help you increase brand awareness as well as your domain authority.
Guest blogging has evolved in a similar way as banner ads. Did you know that 44% of people who saw the first banner ad ever used on the Internet clicked on it? In comparison, today’s average banner ad has a click-through rate of 0.05%, which means that less than one out of every 1,000 people will click on it. This is due to a condition known as “banner blindness.” Banner ads have become so familiar over the years that most people don’t even notice them, even if they don’t use an ad blocker.
Guest blogging used to be very effective, regardless of how a company approached it. In fact, brands didn’t even need to make an effort – even content creators who weren’t great writers reported massive success from guest blogging. However, things have changed dramatically, and obtaining thousands of clicks is no longer as simple. In order to see results from a guest blogging strategy, you must actually put effort into it. Earning backlinks from your guest posts requires a refined outreach strategy.
Companies used to boost their rankings by writing simple guest posts on low-quality sites, and they would see a rapid increase in keyword rankings and organic search traffic to their site. To move the SEO needle these days, you must write excellent content and have it published on high-quality websites. At the end of the day, the effort you put into guest posting will be more than worth it. In fact, the most successful brands owe their success to the right guest blogging strategy.
Common guest blogging mistakes
Although the concept of guest blogging is straightforward, the process of getting content published on a reputable blog is not. Sure, you could have your guest posts published on any blog that accepts submissions, but that defeats the purpose of guest blogging. Instead, you will want to guest post on blogs that have high editorial standards. Beyond that, you need to adopt a creative approach in order to stand out from other brands pitching their own guest post ideas. Popular bloggers often find themselves inundated with these pitches, so you need to stand out from the crowd if you actually hope to attract attention and have your guest post published.
If you want to get your guest posting right, you need to first understand what not to do. Let’s take a look at some common guest blogging mistakes to avoid.
1) Failing to follow guidelines
Many bloggers will set out explicit guidelines for anyone interested in submitting a guest post. These guidelines help them to deal with the influx of requests. Even though following these guidelines should be simple, many would-be guest posters still manage to break them. This is a surefire way to have your proposal thrown in the trash. After all, why would a busy blogger review your guest post if you can’t even follow simple instructions?
2) Pitching with generalized content
Pitching with the same generic content that is available on hundreds of blogs and easily found on the web is one of the most common guest blogging mistakes. This may irritate a blog owner to the point where they reject the pitch for your blog post for no apparent reason.
You can look at the guest posts that have been accepted to popular outlets like Forbes and The Balance for inspiration for your own guest post. This way, you can get ideas on how to write a good guest post that will capture the recipient’s eye and get them thinking about your brand. You must always write something fresh and innovative, something that will add value to the blog you’re pitching your content to. If your content won’t drive traffic to the site of the person you’re reaching out to, then they’re unlikely to accept it.
3) Failing to personalize guest blogging requests
In addition to creating fresh and innovative content and distributing it to high-quality blogs, you also need to send out a personalized email pitch to go along with it.
When it comes to guest blogging, quality trumps quantity every time. Many aspiring guest bloggers make the error of believing it is the other way around. Rather than tailoring their emails to a specific blog, they’ll send a mass email requesting a guest post and hope for a response. The problem with this approach is that most blog owners are inundated with generic proposals daily. For this reason, a generic email will land your guest post in the recipient’s folder before the recipient even reads it. To avoid this, you should tailor each pitch to appeal to the person you’re writing to so that you can stand out from the crowd. You can use a template for your emails, but you should personalize the actual content of the email. Taking the time to read the blog you’re pitching to will help you to understand what matters to the person who will read your email. Once you know this, you can write to the person in a tone they will appreciate and pitch them content that they appreciate.
You must develop guest post ideas that appropriate for the tone of the blog you’re pitching and explain why you believe your guest post ideas will benefit their readers. While personalizing your emails makes it harder to send your emails to a huge number of bloggers at the same time, you’ll get a higher response rate with personalized emails.
4) Writing for the wrong blog
You will only get the desired results from guest blogging if you do it correctly. Yes, when writing as a guest blogger, you should always choose the most relevant and high-authority blogs. If you’re writing for irrelevant or low-authority blogs, then your efforts will go to waste. You will have to invest valuable time in conducting proper searches to find high-quality guest blogs. Instead of relying on online lists of blogs that accept guest posts, you should identify the blogs you want to write for and contact the blog owners directly to develop meaningful relationships.
5) Pitching the wrong content
If you only write your guest post with yourself in mind, then you’ll turn the blogger you’re pitching this content to off. Instead, you need to think about the kind of content that will benefit both you and the blogger who you’re pitching. It’s important to remember that not all your article ideas will align with every blog, so you must choose the right and most relevant ones to get the most out of your guest blogging efforts.
6) A poorly written bio
One of the most common guest blogging mistakes that will keep you from succeeding with your guest blogging is a poorly written or nonexistent ‘about the author’ section. All your guest posts should end with a detailed section about the writer behind the guest post. A compelling bio will give readers a compelling reason to visit your company’s website.
You must list your core skills and highlight your expertise in the niche and then inform the readers about the amazing content available on your own blog and explain how they can benefit from visiting it. To increase the readership of your own blog, you should always keep the ‘about the author’ section concise and appealing.
7) Fighting changes from the blog owner
If you refuse to accept changes made to your blog posts by the blog owner or their editorial team, you risk ruining any potential relationship that you could build with this blogger. Keep in mind that every blogger cares about providing quality content for their readers, and they will do what it takes to ensure they’re only publishing this quality content.
Don’t be surprised if the blog owner edits the article you submit so that it can align with their standards. If you can’t accept a blogger making minor changes to your content so that it’s error-free and offers more value to their readers, then you’ll have a hard time partnering with other bloggers. Minor changes shouldn’t ruffle your feathers, and a good blogger will always contact you in advance if they need to make significant changes to your content.
8) Not replying to comments
User engagement is a critical part of your overall SEO efforts. Brands that don’t respond to readers’ comments on their guest post lose out on opportunities to connect with potential clients.
Responding to comments in time can help you to gain more clients or readers for your blog.
How To Create A Guest Blogging Strategy
1) Set guest blogging goals
As with any other marketing strategy, an effective guest blogging strategy begins with a clear understanding of the objectives. These objectives could include:
- Increasing the number of leads and sales by driving traffic to a specific landing page.
- Expanding brand, product, and service awareness
- Attracting inbound links to improve SEO
- Establishing a reputation as an expert in your niche so that other thought leaders will mention you more frequently and give you speaking engagements.
- Increasing the number of email subscribers or the size of your social media audience
2) Find blogs to target
As mentioned above, before you start writing their guest post, you need to find the right blogs to target. Let’s look at some methods you can use to find guest posting prospects.
- Search strings: Performing focused Google searches can help you find the right outlets. Some examples include: “Keyword + guest post”, “Keyword + submit blog post”, “Keyword + become a guest blogger”
- Follow guest post trail of influencers in a niche: Some writers reveal the other blogs that they write for, giving you an exclusive list of high-quality blogs in their niche.
- Image search: Another way to find more related works of a target blogger is to use Google Image search. Copy the URL of the author’s headshot from the author bio in a blog post and paste it into the Google reverse image search box.
- Search on social media platforms: Different search strings on different social media platforms can produce completely different results.
- Reverse engineering: Track the top referral link sources of first- and second-page competitors using a backlink tracking tool such as Ahrefs, RankWatch, SEMrush, Majestic & Moz, and so on.
While you can search for guest post targets in-house with your own PR team, this can take a lot of time and effort. If you’d prefer to use this time and effort for other business tasks, then you should consider hiring a PR agency that will help you identify the best media contacts to pitch with your guest posts. The best PR agencies will even contact these media contacts directly and submit your content to them. For example, the experts at Pressfarm can not only create quality guest posts for you but also distribute these guest posts to the right media outlets. Beyond that, the PR specialists, expert writers and certified designers at Pressfarm are skilled at creating professional press releases and branded media kits.
Pressfarm’s distribution strategy – for both the guest posts and the other content – is designed to boost your online visibility and make it easier for your target audience to find you through organic searches.
When you sign up for Pressfarm, the account executive also creates custom media lists containing the best contacts in your niche. These media lists should help you to do outreach for your guest posts and earn mentions from the right bloggers for a long time to come. When combined with the media contacts you can get from Pressfarm’s database of 1 million+ journalists, bloggers and influencers, these media lists can help you to reach the right people when it matters most.
3) Zero in on target blogs
After creating your list, your next task is to filter it and keep the prospects who will be most beneficial to you. You can identify these contacts this using two modes of evaluation:
- Quality metrics: Several technical factors contribute to companies’ ability to target the most valuable publishers for guest blogging. The top three metrics that help identify the quality of a blog are Google Page rank, domain authority, and Alexa score.
- Single out seasoned blogs: The blog should also be relevant to your niche, attract qualified traffic, and have genuine subscribers.
4) Build relationships with bloggers
You must first establish a relationship with bloggers you have your eye on before suggesting that they publish a guest post from you. Many bloggers are so fed up with irrelevant pitches and low-quality content that they will only accept guest posts from people they know, like, and trust. To begin your pitching, you need to familiarize yourself with their site and the type of content they publish by following them on Twitter, where their content is widely shared. Alternatively, you can subscribe to updates from their site.
After that, you must read this content regularly for a few weeks, if not longer, to grasp what is essential to these bloggers and their audience. Check out their top-performing or featured content if they have it listed on their website.
5) Choose a winning topic
Once you understand the target blogger and you know what matters to them, it’s time to find a topic to pitch.
You should already be aware of how popular the site you’re hoping to publish a guest post is at this point. You must now consider how you can add value by:
- Taking action in response to what’s on the website
- Contributing to the conversation about a popular topic
- Writing something original on a topic that is likely to be well received by the audience.
Buzzsumo is a great tool to use when you are ready to narrow down your options. First and foremost, this tool can help you to locate content that is already popular on the site to which you are pitching. This has two benefits: it helps you develop a related topic that is likely to be popular and stops you from annoying the blog owner by pitching an idea they have already published.
6) Make the pitch
You need to avoid generic guest posting pitches if you want your guest blogging strategy to succeed. If you have done your homework as we suggested earlier, you will be able to quickly craft a winning pitch that is tailored to each blogger on your list.
The first rule is to keep the pitch brief and concise. Don’t waste a blogger’s time by rambling on. It’s especially important to avoid wasting time when pitching bloggers who own authoritative sites because they receive many pitches. Second, refer to them by their given name. Most website owners will not read pitches from people who are clearly too lazy to look up their basic contact information. Third, include the title of the post you’re pitching. You can use this title in the subject line and as a subheading within your actual email.
When you use Buzzsumo or other platforms to choose a topic, you get a snapshot of popular headlines. You should use this as a starting point for creating your own headline. If the person you’re pitching likes your headline, then you’re 50% of the way to a successful pitch. After that, you should give a brief description of the guest post you hope this person will publish on their site. In a few sentences or bullet points, state what the article will cover. Describe how this piece of content will benefit their audience. This should be easy to do because you should be familiar with your existing content by now. Finally, you must demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the job.
While blogging is a great way to become an authority in a niche because it generates traffic for your business and serves as a valuable source of backlinks, you can’t limit yourself to posting on your company’s owned media. Guest blogging can boost your SEO as well as your credibility in the industry. When done correctly, guest blogging has the potential to boost your company’s reputation and, as a result, your online visibility.