Guest blogging is great; it really is. People lose out a lot by glossing over it. Believe it or not, guest blogging is actually one of the most effective ways to grow your brand, build industry links, gain traffic and drive sales. Submitting a fair-few guest posts on a number of websites you will do wonders for your company.
The problem is, some of the more savvy marketers have clocked on to the benefits of guest blogging and because of this bloggers are receiving floods of guest posting requests which they are increasingly beginning to ignore.
People often misunderstand the concept of quality behind guest blogging; while it is an effective marketing tool, you also have to put in the work to get one posted: a lot of work in fact. You see, the quality of the post is extremely important and bloggers don't want their site covered in irrelevant and low quality posts. Secondly, gaining the opportunity to submit a guest post is actually quite difficult.
So now that I have summed up what a guest blog is, you're going to want to know how to go about getting one published.
Firstly, how not to get a guest post published
As I said, many bloggers ignore email requests to submit guest posts. This isn't (usually) because of the indolence of the blogger themselves. Bloggers want quality content on their website and the way in which your ability to craft quality content will be judged will be by your request email.
Some of you may have read State of Search's recent article announcing that they would not be accepting any requests to guest post anymore;
'Guest posting has different advantages after all: as a blogger you get your profile out there, you make good use of Google's authorship markups (get your face plastered around the web some would say) and last but not least: it might get you a nice link.
All nice, there is however a big downside to this trend: my inbox has exploded with (in many cases) low quality guest post requests. Now it is not necessarily my inbox I'm worried about here though: the quality of content in general is rapidly decreasing this way. As the one running State of Search I have now decided to 'do my share' and make a statement: no guest posts are accepted anymore.'
This demonstrates a textbook example of every blogger's biggest fear in regard to the quality of a submitted guest post. If you send an awful email request to the blogger then they will either open it up and probably laugh and forget about it; or ignore it altogether. In a similar fashion, Quicksprout have also expressed their disdain for the run-of-the-mill bad guest post request an example of one being the image on the left. As you can imagine, receiving hundreds of these things a day would send even the most tolerant blogger a bit crazy.
This is really an appalling example. The email is full of grammatical errors, it was dull and impersonal, no information regarding the topic of the guest post was elicited and as Quicksprout's own Neil Patel says; 'They offered me money, which would mean that I would be selling a link.'
If you want to reap the rewards of using guest posts as a successful marketing medium then tune in and take note of the following methods.
Do your research
It just isn't logical to approach a blogger about submitting a guest post to them without doing your homework. If you want to secure a guest post on a respectable blog then you will need to make sure that you have done the correct research before you even type out the first letter of your email request.
So, before you approach a blogger, here's what you should do;
Firstly, make sure that they accept guest posts in the first place. The way to do this without annoying the website owner with an unwanted email request is to check the website for any guest posts that have been released previously. This is also a good way to find out in advance the sort of content they accept and the kind of style that they go for.
- Then you should read their blog articles; all of them. For a website with 200+ posts this may be quite a daunting task but the more you read then the better the feel you will have of the website's content. You will also begin to establish patterns of what sort of article does typically get read a lot and which type doesn't. An easy way to spot this is by looking at the social share counts on an article.
- Another way that you can work out what the audience like reading is by reading the comments that readers have already left on the blog. If you can identify and create an article that coheres to a pattern that fits in with what the audience like to read (and there usually is) then you stand a far better chance of getting your guest post published.
- You will also need to make sure that you analyse every stylistic element of the post; from its formatting, to its tone and structure. You need to make sure that you can write a post that will fit in fluidly with the rest of the content on the website.
Once you have gotten to this point, you should be ready to begin writing your post.
How to write your guest post
At this point you will be familiar with what sort of content the blog owner and the audience like; so now it's time to start thinking about how you will write something that covers both of these bases. Obviously, the more appealing the piece of content that you write is, the more of a chance it has of being accepted.
The way in which you actually write the post will vary from writer to writer. I personally like to have all of my articles researched and planned before I even begin a draft; once the article is written I will then come up with a headline that will hopefully interest the reader. Whatever way you decide to go about writing your post, you will need to be sure of one thing above all else; you need to write a damn good piece, in fact, it needs to be better than anything you have ever written before. If with your first submission you exceed the quality of everything else on the site then there is always the possibility that you will be asked to come back and write another post.
It really complements a post if you include decent images within the article. Of course, you need to ensure that you either have the appropriate permissions or the images are royalty free. No matter how great your post is, images and empathetic formatting are two things that will make any article much better so take the reader into account when you are constructing your article.
Writing a submission email
At this point you should have written a smoking-hot post that has covered everything I have explained above; it will be professional, meaning no spelling or grammatical errors and it will interest the audience. Once you have all this covered you will then need to work on sending an email to the blog owner persuading them to accept your post.
The email that you send to the blog owner is possibly the trickiest part of this whole process. You need to make sure that not only does it is convincing right from the first word, but it also has to balance between professional and informal.
Formal emails are likely to be rejected. Typically a blogger will see a formal email and think it's a sales pitch which will more than likely result in your email being ignored. More casual emails however are usually sent by readers: people who are genuinely interested in the blog.
When writing your email, you should demonstrate that you have made a genuine effort to get to know the blog and the owner by referring to them by their name; "Dear Sir/ Madam" suggests that you are sending the same request email out to hundreds of other bloggers. Be concise with you words when writing a request email, make sure that you outline what your blog is about and how it will fit in with existing content on the blog. I cannot stress enough how much you need to be able to convince the blogger that your post is worthy of their blog, how it will benefit them and how good you are. It helps to provide links to your existing articles within the email as this demonstrates credibility.
For your first few attempts at doing this, it may be wiser to find existing templates and use them for inspiration as it can be quite a tricky process to execute perfectly.
Lastly, using software such as Yesware can be really beneficial at this stage. Yesware is a handy little gmail plugin that will tell you if someone is opening your email. If you find that they aren't then maybe it is being sent straight to their spam box, or you need to work on the subject line you are using.
Avoid these common mistakes!
When writing your email you should be aware and avoid these common mistakes that will absolutely kill any chances of your blog being published.
- Obvious failure to have read and researched the blog you are pitching to
- Spelling and grammar errors
- An insincere tone
- Failure to address the blogger by their name
- Failure to read the blogger's submission guidelines
It doesn't end with your post being published
If your post gets published, you will need to ensure that you put in the post-publishing work to promote it. While a post on a popular blog will certainly bring some traffic to your website, don't make the mistake of thinking that is all the work over: because it isn't. Promoting your post will not only broadcast it to an audience that may not have caught wind of it already, but if your post gains a lot of views then the blogger will be likely to allow you to submit another in the near future.
A few ways that you can promote your blog include;
- Social Media: Take advantage of all your social media platforms; Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook all provide ample ground for your guest post to flourish; take full advantage of the entire spectrum of your social media options
- Friends and industry peers: If your post is really good then it does no harm to ask your friends and industry peers to share it through their social media accounts.
- Engage with the audience: Engaging with your post's audience is a great way to boost the comment count. By replying to comments and conversing with the audience you can spark up new contacts and traffic to your other posts.
Now you need to play the long game
The trick when it comes to guest blogging you really need to put in the time and effort to build up a network of posts. Building up a catalogue of guest posts over time will do wonders for your website. Though you will need to take into account that just establishing a small number of links through guest blogging won't be enough, you do have to commit to building a pretty big network before you will see the real benefits.
The benefits are well worth the effort though. Not only does guest blogging draw traffic to your website but it also gets your name out there in the industry. By maintaining your own blog as well as posting on other industry relative blogs you can eventually become an authoritative figure in the industry. Gaining this level of expertise and popularity is beyond valuable; people will come from far and wide to seek your wise words.
So what are you waiting for? Get writing!