Guest posts are one of the best ways to generate traffic to your website. They help with both SEO and referral traffic plus they elevate your profile in general, which is always a good thing. Rather than focus on how important they are (trust me, they are!), allow me to focus on how to to do them right.
How To Ask For Guest Post Opportunities
You’re going to be asking people to allow you to guest post. That means contacting a blog’s owner and asking them if they will allow you to write content for them. This sounds like a no brainer, why would they say no to free content? But please realize that the blog’s owner is taking a risk on you.
First of all they may need to spend time formatting and editing your content. Second, if your content is bad, that’s going to reflect poorly on them and their blog. Finally, if they have too many guest posts, their site will start losing some of that personal touch that built up their traffic in the first place. Also, keep in mind that owners of popular blogs get dozens of guest post requests every week. Yours is one of many they’ll read today and they’re going to be looking for an excuse to filter you out. So to avoid that, here are some tips on asking for guest post opportunities.
- Find the right target – If you’re just starting out, pitching a guest post to Tim Ferriss might be a stretch. Pitch to some smaller blogs and build a reputation and some traffic first. However, if you have spare time, pitch to the big boys too. There’s no harm in it and after seeing your name a few times, they might actually say yes. Also, don’t be scared to pitch again if you got no reply. Second or third time might be the charm. Just wait a few weeks/months and come up with a different topic to pitch.
- Be an active participant on the site – If you’ve been commenting and participating in the conversation on their site, blog owners are much more likely to say yes, or at least read your request.
- Pitch specific topics – Don’t just offer to write a guest post, offer to write on a specific topic. For example, if you’re pitching a guest post on my fitness blog, don’t just tell me you’re going to write an article about fitness, tell me that you’re going to write an article about interval training and how it helps with building speed.
- Do your research – When you’re pitching a specific topic, make sure it’s not one the site already covered in depth. For example, I’m writing a series of how to generate traffic to a website. Pitching me that as a topic isn’t very interesting. One exception to this rule would be to fill in a gap in my content. For example, if someone sent me a guest post request that said “hey, I noticed you’re writing about generating traffic to a website. I have extensive SEO experience and I was wondering if you’d be interested in a guest post talking about SEO tools”, now that would be interesting.
- If possible, include an outline – Don’t just tell me about the topic, actually tell me about the content. What details will you include? What’s the point of the article? What conclusions will it draw? I want to know this before I say yes.
- If it’s not obvious, tell me who you’re going to be linked back to – I know you want a link in your guest post, everyone does. Heck, it’s why we all do guest posts, for the linkbacks. However, I want to know that I’m not going to be linking back to some website selling viagra online. So please make that clear if it’s not already.
- Send samples – If you’ve done previous guest posts, include a link to them. I want to see that you don’t just write fluff pieces.
- Follow the guidelines – Some sites have specific instructions for people looking to guest post. FOLLOW THEM! NO EXCEPTIONS!
How To Write A Good Guest Post
And what would make the guest post itself successful?
- Limit the links please – Yes, again, I know guest posts are all about links, but there’s a limit. If every other sentence in your posted is a link to one of your articles, that’s too much. Be sensible please. One note though is that linking back to your host site’s articles is fine.
- Limit the self promotion – Some self promotion is fine, especially if it’s relevant to the topic. However, spending all your time telling my readers how your new SEO tool is the best and is available for a really low price, that’s not ok. The only exception to that is if you cleared it with me ahead of time. For example, if your guest post pitch was “hey, I have a cool new SEO tool and I would like to write a guest post about it because it goes with your current series”, I might actually be interested in that. Just be honest.
- Don’t reuse content – I want something original. I don’t want something you’ve already used on your own blog or someone else’s.
- Don’t save your best content – I understand you want to write the best articles on your own site but I want quality articles for my own site. If you’re just regurgitating the same crap I see everywhere else, I’m not going to be interested.
- It’s ok to be controversial – The best guest posts are the ones who present a different view point. So if you want to disagree with something I say, that’s great. Present a different view point, I welcome it! Just do so politely and without calling me an idiot please.
- Include your bio – Make sure you include a description of who you are. This is also your chance to your backlinks by the way since bios will always link back to your site.
How To Deliver A Good Guest Post
Yes, after writing the post, your job is still not done
- Send me two files – One should be easily readable to I can understand your content. The other should be formatted for WordPress (or the platform you’re writing for), complete with links and such.
- Remind me – Wait three days. If I don’t respond, send me a reminder. Do that a couple of more times and if I still don’t respond then move on. Sorry, it happens. Still, don’t be afraid to remind me again two or three months down the road. Maybe I was just having a bad week.
- Answer questions – When the post is posted, be there to answer questions in the comments.
- Link Back – Link back to the guest post from your own blogs. Yes, I want some link love too!