Guest posting is one of the best ways to build backlinks to your website, especially when you don’t have a large budget to work with in order to buy links from highly authoritative blogs and websites.
You can’t just grab a few templates from the internet, research a list of sites that you want links from, and then start mass mailing all of the owners in hopes of getting your content featured.
Life just doesn’t work that way.
Instead, you need to develop the right mindset. Getting into the right mindset will help you see substantially higher returns on your effort, making it easier for you to keep pushing forward than if you were to send out a few dozen emails and get zero responses.
This post isn’t going to necessarily break down the tools that you need to use, or the exact ways you should go about landing guest posts on bigger sites, but will dive more into the mindset that you need to get into and the best practices to help you land more posts for
To get started, I will break down one of the strategies that I use, that sees average returns on the time I’ve invested, making it great for people who don’t necessarily have the creative power to land guest post spots with highly influential people, and people that do not have substantial amounts of time available to devote to the strategy.
When you’re able to take what I’m giving you, and tweak it so that it fits your specific campaign, your results will dramatically skyrocket. That does take effort on your part, so I want you to avoid getting into the mindset that you can take shortcuts.
Taking shortcuts is actually going to add more time to the process. Trust me, I know. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and nothing works better than being honest about what you’re doing, what you want, and getting straight to the point.
Most shortcuts that I have found have come from actually doing the process, so
In the end, there are no “hacks” or shortcuts to help you see success quicker because you’re dealing with live human beings that have an audience they need to take care of.
The biggest shortcut you’re going to be hearing spouted by other people is that you need to use the same basic principals to find blogs and websites that you want to obtain a link from. These shortcuts actually reduce your results because of one specific reason.
Taking shortcuts is actually going to add more time to the whole outreach process.
If you’re using the same methods to find new blogs that are being touted by the gurus, every other person that has found their blog, and their methods is going to be using the exact same strategies.
By thinking on your feet and evolving the methods they’re giving you, you’ll be able to get in front of people that don’t normally get hammered with guest post requests -- and your results will increase.
Also, I want to make a note that most people reading this really shouldn’t be buying links. I’m not saying that buying links doesn’t work, but the strength of the links you can get by shooting out a few emails (after reading this in its entirety) you’ll be able to save substantial amounts of money and obtain all of the links you need for free.
I’ve built links in some highly competitive industries, and I can tell you that the strength of the links that I receive by spending a few hours of time sending emails greatly outweigh the strength of the links that I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on.
Let’s get started, shall we?
There’s no mistaking that backlinks are powerful. Both in terms of search engine rankings, and driving traffic to your website outside of the search engines.
Search engine algorithms still rank the strength and niche relevance of your backlinks as one of their biggest ranking factors, and that fact isn’t going to be changing anytime soon.
If you want to alleviate your dependence on search engine algorithms, you’re going to need the same high authority, niche relevant links pointing to your website.
If the algorithms ever decide you’re not worthy enough to send traffic to,
You can go ahead and do away with all of the SEO knowledge you’ve gathered from the big name SEO blogs and gurus, touting that you need to gain links the natural way.
By natural, what they’re really saying is “slow” and “build it and they will come”.
You have to take their advice into perspective. Their “content marketing” strategies are based on already having a large following, and having to perform much less work to generate new links than folks like you and I have to do.
If you’re trying to get people to link to your content, you’re going to need content that is actually relevant to their audience.
This is especially true if you’re working in a smaller niche or industry and want to obtain links from bigger, more general websites.
The goal for your guest posting campaign should be to receive high-quality links that are highly relevant to the content on your website.
This is the best way to ensure that you’re actually going to increase your rankings in the search engines over the long term, but it’s also going to help you rank your guest posts higher in the search results, which gives you another source of traffic.
Larger, authoritative websites will have a built in audience that can be funneled through your links for years to come, as long as the content on your website is actually something that they want to see.
When your guest post ranks in the search engines, it’s going to continue delivering traffic even if your website happens to take a hit and gets demoted in the search results.
This is an aspect that you have to consider as you move along and works best when you already have an idea for the types of websites you want to get links from.
As you find new websites, you can custom tailor the content on your own to match up well with what their readers want to see and increase your chances of landing the guest posting spot.
There are hundreds of different ways you can find websites that will accept your guest posts. One of the most common is to use Google’s search results and the list of queries that will help you actively target sites that you know are willing to accept posts.
To give you a disclaimer, the search queries I’m about to list are going to be used by everyone and their brother, so if you intend to use them yourself, you’re going to need to come up with creative methods of your own to keep you separated from the rest of the pack.
Here’s a basic list of queries you can type into Google to find websites in your industry that accept posts:
To use them, replace the word keyword with a keyword related to the content on your website.
Remember, the closer you can match the content on your site to the content on the site that you want a link from, the better your results are going to be.
As you’re going through the results, make a couple different lists inside of your spreadsheet. You want to gather as much information as you can about who they are, what they write about, how to contact them, and how often they accept guest posts.
Put each of the links in your spreadsheet, and move onto the next step.
Once you’ve built a spreadsheet of 50-100 different blogs that you want to guest post on, you’ll need to start digging in and figuring out as much as you can about the website owners.
While you’re researching each website, write down a few ideas for content that you think they would accept. This is going to help you in the next step when you actually start sending emails to each of them.
You’ll also want to track down as much contact information as you can. Gather their contact form URL, their email, any social profiles you can find, and the editor’s information, if the website uses one.
This is an area where a lot of people are going to drop the ball, and a lack of research will show through whenever you start sending out emails. If you want to increase the number of links you get compared to the number of emails you send, spend more time researching than you do reaching out.
Make a note of how often they publish guest posts.
Sites that have a higher guest post publish rate are going to be more eager to accept the content you send over to them than sites that consist of 95% of the owners content, with very few guest posts.
Now comes the fun part.
Emailing each of the owners that you’ve just researched, with a few ideas for content that you think their readers would want to see.
Again, this is an area that you don’t want to take shortcuts because coming up with the ideas you want to pitch to the owners will help get their wheels spinning and make them curious about the content you can provide.
You also don’t want to use the same pitch that’s been overused by so many other bloggers.
If the owner can sense that you’re being impersonal, they’ll delete your email. If they can tell that you’ve done your research and actually crafted a pitch tailored to their website and their audience, your chances of landing the spot dramatically increase.
I’ve seen the best results by keeping my pitches short, and sweet. Here’s a basic template you can use (and tweak) to fit your needs:
I’m the content manager at <my site> and came across one of the posts that you’ve published.
(Include a link to the post that you found, and a few notes about it to show that you’ve read it)
I have posted similar content on my own website. You can check it out here: <link to your post>
I think your readers would love to hear about it. I’ve also included a few more ideas for content that I think they would love to see.
Let me know what you think about these three topics?
<content idea #1>
<content idea #2>
<content idea #3>
If you think they would be interested in seeing one of them, let me know which one you think is the best fit, and I’ll get it put together for you.
All the best,
Tweak that template to fit what you’re doing, who you’re talking to, and the types of content that you think could be written to benefit their readers.
Remember, when you’re landing a guest posting spot, it’s not about you -- at all.
Keep the focus on the person that you’re pitching to, and how you have their reader’s best interest in mind. If you’re able to prove that you want to provide for their audience, you will have an easier time landing spots and not have to send out so many emails.
When you send out the initial batch of emails, you’re going to get responses. If you’re following what I’m teaching you, getting responses to your pitches is almost a given.
As long as you don’t tweak too much of the process, and always show that you have the blog’s audience at the forefront of everything you do, people will be glad to receive the free content in exchange for sending their audience over to your blog.
Since you’ve given the blog owners three different choices for new content, they’ll likely pick one of the ideas (if not all three) and you’ll need to get to work.
This is another area that a lot of people are going to take shortcuts. If you do skimp out on the content you’re producing for other people’s blogs, you’re going to sour the relationship before it even gets a chance to take off.
If you’re not able to write fluently in the language that the target website speaks, hire a writer to do it for you. If you do hire a writer, take the time to put together a full outline detailing the content that you want, so that you ensure you get a high-quality piece that the blog owner will actually want to publish.
The content that you send to the blog owner, arguably, needs to be better than the content that you publish on your own blog.
This is for a couple different reasons.
First, it’s going to make you stand out against the blog owner. If you publish a piece better than their own, their readers are going to want to know more about who wrote it, and visit your website.
Second, if you send the blog owner a piece of garbage content or something that took you 20 minutes to write and doesn’t have any research behind it, the chances of them actually publishing it are slim, and then you’ve ended up wasting your time. They usually won’t give you a second chance.
Finally, a high-quality piece of content can be optimized to rank in the search engines. By figuring out keywords that you want it to rank for you can bank off the authority of the blog that it’s published on, and will generate even more visitors to the post -- having the opportunity to send those same visitors over to your website.
The content that you send to the blog owner, arguably, needs to be better than the content that you publish on your own blog.
By creating a high-quality piece of content that you give away, you’re also going to be able to promote the blog that published it for you, helping solidify its power and increasing the authority that you receive from it.
Think about generating 25 new links to your own blog post. What if each of those posts is able to generate 25 links on their own?
If you create a great piece of content that you give away, the blog owner is going to be more apt to promote it and increase those chances for you.
This is how you build long term search engine rankings and become a powerhouse in your niche. One that other large blogs have a hard problem knocking off the top spots of the search results.
After receiving responses from blog owners, creating the content that they want to see, and sending it over for them to publish, your work is still not done. If you do it right, you’re likely to get a large number of responses to your pitch emails.
That’s why you need to add a few more fields to the spreadsheet that you’re using to track your results.
Here’s what all you need to be tracking, on top of the contact information and your initial research:
While it seems like a lot of information to keep track of, it will make your life easier as you get moving forward in your campaign and have a ton of emails out in the wild.
You always want to be able to look back at your spreadsheet and remember where you were at when you left off. After you’ve done this for any length of time, your spreadsheet is going to get pretty massive. If you didn’t have it in place, though, you would be pretty confused trying to track what’s going on based on emails alone.
When you’ve worked through the list, switch up the search queries you’re using to find blogs, and begin adding more blogs to your spreadsheet. Then, repeat the process by sending out new pitches and tracking what you’re doing.
As time passes, when you need something to do, you can revisit the spreadsheet and check on the status of emails that you’ve sent out that didn’t receive responses.
There’s going to be two main times that you need to work on your follow-up game.
For the most part, you don’t want to hound the blog owners and constantly beg them to publish your post. You have to remember that most bloggers receive a lot of guest post requests, and most of them have lives outside of their blog.
After a few weeks have passed, you can confidently reach out to the blogger again, either to request a guest posting spot (making sure they got your initial pitch) or that they did receive the content that you sent over.
Sending them a gentle reminder will keep you in the front of their minds, as long as you’re not overly pushy or constantly emailing them. This will make it seem like you’re begging, and if you want to see success from your guest posting campaigns, you’re going to need to position yourself as an authority, not someone who begs for links.
You’ll also want to follow up with the guest posts that you’ve had published. Usually, shortly after they are published, your posts will receive an influx of comments. This is a prime opportunity for you to grow your own following by interacting with them.
Go back to the guest post and spend time going through the comments, answering where you can. This will help the blog’s readers see that you are a human and that you actually do care.
It will also help you land more spots on the blog down the road when you need to start a new campaign to promote a new piece of content you’ve created.
Running a successful guest blogging campaign isn’t rocket science.
It does take a lot of work, though. Thankfully, the hard work keeps most amateurs away, making it a great strategy for anyone that’s willing to put in the time to do it and not take shortcuts.
If you want to quick start your campaigns, take a look at some of these tips from professionals that make guest posting a part of every blog they run.
The search queries that I’ve given you are great for helping you get on your feet and start sending out emails, but they’re also the same search queries being used by just about everybody else online, especially other people reading this post.
If you really want to obtain an advantage in your industry, you’re going to have to be ready to pivot and figure out your own ways to get in front of the blog owners that you want to land a guest posting spot with.
When you come up with your own ways, you’ll be approaching the owner in ways that they may have never seen before, and sticking out in their mind is one of the best ways you can ensure you actually get the chance to write the guest post.
While you’re researching blogs that you want to guest post on, pay attention to the names of people that have also had guest posts accepted. You’re going to use this information to dig even deeper and find new blogs to post on down the road.
If a blogger has accepted a guest post from one author, chances are that they’ll accept yours. That’s a good sign. However, if the guest poster that you’ve uncovered has had their post published, they’ve also probably had other blogs publish their content, too.
This allows you to tweak the search queries to include the name of the guest poster in place of the industry keywords you would normally use. Continue repeating this process until you have a solid list of other guest posters in your industry that you can mine for new opportunities.
When you’re creating your pitch emails, one of the biggest things you need to stop and do is figure out exactly who it is that your target website is creating content for. You need to understand the audience that they’re writing for and tailor your content ideas around that knowledge.
You need to understand exactly who they’re writing for.
Are they writing to complete beginners? Then you need to tailor your content to suit people that may not be completely aware of your topic.
Are they creating advanced content, full of sources, detailed descriptions, using tons of industry buzzwords? Then you need to create the same type of content.
Understand their audience will not only help increase your chances of getting the guest post published, but it’s also going to increase the chances that you resonate with their audience, and their audience moves through your links to visit your website.
All blogs are going to have certain posts that have a higher number of comments, generate more traffic for the blog, and obtain more of their own links from other blogs and websites. Your job is to create content that follows the same guidelines as these posts.
Figuring out which types of content perform the best on the blogs you’re attempting to land a guest posting spot on will give you a quick blueprint for how you should structure the content that you’re going to create.
This will give you the best chances
The goal for any guest posting campaign should be to receive a high number of links compared to the amount of emails that you send. If you want to keep your numbers high, you need to make sure that you’re pitching websites and blogs that actually accept guest posts.
It’s not always obvious which sites accept guest authors, though. You’re going to have to be on the lookout for clues that will alert you to the fact that they accept guest posts. The easiest way is to pay attention to “guest post” or “guest contributor” labels.
Another great way to determine if they accept guest posts is to pay attention to the authors that are being published. Most times, multi-author blogs are nothing more than a bunch of guest posters.
The more you’re able to personalize the emails that you send to prospective blogs, the more you’re going to get responses back and requests to write content that’s going to be featured.
Use the blog owner’s first name. Spend time reading a few blog posts on their site, interacting with commenters, and then show the person that you’re sending the email to that you’re actually interested in what they’re writing.
You have to remember that these blog owners receive a huge number of requests every day, and most of them are sent using the same template, lacking personalization, and begging for links. It’s your job to set yourself apart, and personalizing the pitches you send is a great way to do that.
If you’ve got sales skills, you need to use them.
Think of landing a guest posting spot on a high traffic blog like going to a job interview that you want to land. You can’t be overzealous, but at the same time, you need to let them know how they’ll benefit from your content.
Don’t go overboard with the persuasion, because it will come off as pushy and salesy, and nobody likes to be sold. By showing them that you’ve thought about their audience, the types of content they create, and that you are trying to benefit them more than yourself, your chances of landing the spot will go up.
Figure out ways you can sell the prospect on why they should work with you and accept your guest post without going overboard.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, there’s one major rule you should take from this tip, the guide itself, and all the other tips that I’ve given you: it’s never about you, or your blog.
It’s about the blogger’s audience that you’re pitching your content ideas to.
The sooner you realize this fact, the sooner you’ll evolve into a “let me serve your audience” mindset, compared to a “how can I serve myself” mindset. There’s a huge difference, and it shows in the pitches that you send.
While you’re researching blogs to guest post on, figure out how you can serve their audience. Write content that their audience wants to see, and show the blog owner that you’re trying to benefit them more than yourself.
One way to show the blog owner that you’re trying to help out their audience, and open the door to have future guest posts published on their blog is to include links to other content from around the web, as well as content that the blog owner has published that’s relevant to the topic you’ve created.
Don’t create your guest post with the idea that you’re only going to link to your own blog, and suck up all the traffic for yourself.
Not only will the blog’s visitors figure out what you’re doing, causing you to receive less traffic, but the blog owner isn’t going to be as keen to publish you in the future.
By moving traffic to your guest post throughout the blog that you’ve been published on, as well as other pieces of content around the internet, you’re actually going to build trust up in the blog’s audience, and that trust will carry over when they move through your links onto your own blog.
When you’re just starting out with your first few pitch emails, things are going to be easy to organize. You won’t have to worry much about tracking what you’re doing because you’ll be able to keep everything in line inside of your head.
However, after your first month, second month, third month, and beyond, you’re going to be sending and receiving so many emails that keeping track of everything that’s going on will be quite difficult, and end up consuming a large amount of your energy.
All you need is a basic spreadsheet that shows where each prospect is at in your line of communication. Track when they respond to you, when you followed up, the content they want to see, what their audience wants to see, pretty much any information that can help make your life easier.
Coming off like every other person that’s trying to get guest posting spots on the same blogs that you’re pitching is a recipe for disaster. You’re going to need to come up with creative ways to get your pitches noticed, and the content that you create published.
The best way to do this is to simply help people before you ask for help yourself.
If you spot a broken link on the blog you want to have a guest post published on, bring it to their attention. The big name gurus are calling this broken link building, but they expect you to recreate the content and then ask for a link to be updated that points to your own blog.
There are infinite ways you can be different and set yourself apart while still following the tried and true strategies for landing guest posting spots. Slow down and put on your thinking cap, and new ways will come to you, that most people probably haven’t thought of.
A great way to provide value before you ask anything in return is to put your money up (or your time, if you’re good at graphic design) and create an infographic that can easily be shared across the internet.
Infographics are graphics that are loaded down with tidbits of information, making them easy to skim, and easy to share. When you include one in your guest posting pitch, you’re showing the blog owner up front the type of content that you’re willing to provide.
Most audiences love infographics, so it will also open the door to having the content published. A lot of blog owners will ask you to submit more content along with the infographic, which gives you a chance to get even more links to your blog.
There’s no mistaking that guest posting and sending out dozens of pitches every week is a very time intensive process. That’s why you need to create systems that are easy for you to follow, so you can keep making headway even on days that you really don’t feel like it.
On top of being able to keep yourself motivated without having to think about it, you’ll also be able to have systems in place that can be followed by people you bring onto your team. Hiring outside help is one of the best ways to capitalize on your guest posting strategies.
The return on your investment is massive whenever you’re able to quickly bring people on, show them the ropes, and have a system in place that they can follow.
I hope that this isn’t too much to take in.
If you have to, bookmark the page so you can come back to it whenever you find yourself having questions.
If you do have questions that weren’t answered, feel free to reach out to us and we’ll be glad to help you work through them.
Remember, guest posting isn’t rocket science. It’s actually a fairly easy process, but the time involved keeps people from wanting to proceed forward.
That means you’ll have less competition when you actually start doing it, and even less whenever you put systems into place that allow you to efficiently move from pitch to content to published guest post.
Andrew is an entrepreneur, digital marketer, wine enthusiast, hustler (in a good way) & the guy behind BrandBuilders.io. His business helps both FBA sellers and Amazon Affiliate marketers build out their brands and manage their portfolio of sites.