Guest posting has been a strategy that bloggers have been using for years. And, if you’ve been blogging for a while, you’ve probably gotten your fair share of guest post pitches from other bloggers.
Guest posting is a popular blogging strategy. It introduces your blog to a new audience, gets some social shares from other bloggers, and potentially helps you build backlinks. But, figuring out how to submit a guest post to get the most benefit for your efforts and how to land guest post opportunities in the first place takes some practice.
What is Guest Posting?
Guest posts are posts bloggers write on other blogs. It’s sort of like when actors and actresses make a cameo appearance on another show.
When you write a guest post, you’re typically submitting a post to a blog that’s in your blogging niche or a similar niche. You’re also the author; this isn’t the same as ghostwriting or roundup posts where the blog owner is the author.
Also, no money changes hands. You don't pay for the opportunity to reach this new audience nor are you paid for writing the article. In exchange for writing a post, you normally get a backlink or two to your blog and get to present your writing to a completely new audience.
About those Backlinks
One of the main reasons bloggers aim to do guest posts is for the backlinks so I want to address this right away.
Technically, any backlinks you get from guest posts are supposed to be no-follow, which means Google doesn't count it as a backlink. However, I know from experience that many bloggers ignore this advice, and all the links remain as do-follow links.
From a blogger's perspective, this is just fair. You get a backlink and they get free content. But from Google's perspective, it's basically a paid link, so they don't want to count it.
Honestly, I can see both sides and in real life it works exactly how you would expect. Bloggers leave the links as do-follow and Google discounts their benefit in your backlink profile.
That said, it may still be worth doing. There's a good chance that your links will be left as do-follow and then you can let Google decide how much weight that link will have on your authority. But know that if you are doing guest posts strictly for backlinks you may end up disappointed.
Also, note that most bloggers don’t want keyword-stuffed links that are clearly for SEO purposes in their content. Plus, that will be a huge signal that your links are not legit. Stick with one for your homepage and simple anchor text for the other, not “cheap Vegas hotels near me” or something robotic sounding. Make it natural.
The Benefits of Guest Posting
So, why on earth would you potentially spend hours crafting a post that’s not even for your own blog?
Well, there are numerous benefits to guest posting which is why this strategy is so popular. Writing a guest blog post can actually have several direct and indirect benefits for your blog, including:
- Backlinks: Backlinks are a major ranking factor for getting your posts to rank higher on search engines. By writing guest posts, you can link back to your blog’s homepage or specific blog posts you’re trying to rank.
- Traffic: Writing on other websites can lead to a nice stream of additional blog traffic.
- Promotional Help: Many bloggers go on a guest-posting spree when they’re releasing a new course or product since it can help drive anticipation for release.
- Authority: Backlinks help your blog’s authority in the eyes of Google, but it’s also beneficial if you’re “the expert” on a particular subject and write about that topic on numerous websites.
And yes, the benefits of guest posting are real and translate into traffic and sales. For example, guest posting is how Buffer, a social media scheduling tool, grew to 100,000 customers.
The key to successful guest posting is to do it consistently. Writing one guest blog post won’t move the needle for your traffic, but writing one or two per month for a year likely will.
How to Find Guest Post Opportunities
Finding blogs that accept guest posts isn’t always easy. These days, bloggers are drowning in guest post requests and are either too busy to respond to them all or have stopped accepting guest posts altogether.
However, finding blogs to guest post on is still possible if you know where to look and how to reach out to bloggers.
1. Ask Your Blogging Friends
If you've been following me for more than five minutes then you've heard me say how important it is to network with other bloggers in your niche. In all honesty, it's one of my main pieces of advice for building a successful blog.
If you've followed that advice then it's time to use that network you've been building. Ask your blogging friends if you can contribute an article. If they know you are a legit blogger there is a very good chance you will get a yes.
You know you are writing for a legit site that has a relevant audience and they know they'll be getting a high-quality article.
2. Email Bloggers
Emailing bloggers to find guest post opportunities is a common strategy because it’s fast, free, and effective if you know how to pitch a guest post (more on this later!)
My main tip for email outreach is to check if the blog you want to guest post on has a “work with us” page. Many blogs have pages that outline guest post guidelines or if the blog accepts guest posts in the first place.
Additionally, find the actual name of the blogger you’re pitching. If I get a guest post pitch from someone and it begins with something like “dear webmaster,” that email isn’t getting a response. I mean, my name is right there in the author bio! Did you even take time to read my blog before emailing me?
3. Try HARO
Another method to find blogs to guest post on is to use HARO, or Help A Reporter Out. HARO connects publications with sources who provide insight on upcoming articles. Typically, bloggers use HARO to score a quick backlink, and most HARO pitches only involve writing a few paragraphs or providing a quote for an upcoming piece.
But you can sometimes find interview or guest post requests on HARO. While this takes more work than just submitting a snippet for a roundup post, many massive publications use HARO regularly. This means you can potentially submit guest blog posts to extremely authoritative websites that result in powerful backlinks for your blog.
Related: How to Write a Successful HARO Pitch
4. Look in Blogging Facebook Groups
Blogging groups are useful for networking with other bloggers and finding new business opportunities. Plus, blog groups are a goldmine for finding guest post opportunities.
Bloggers who become too busy to write for their blog often turn to guest posting to get free content. Oftentimes, these bloggers post guest post requests in various Facebook groups. All you have to do is respond that you’re interested, and after a bit of chatting, you’re probably in the clear to submit a guest post.
Guest Post Guidelines
Once you identify several websites you want to guest post on and get the green light, you’re ready to start writing.
But, before you submit a guest post, there are several guest posting guidelines you should know.
Get to Know the Tone and Audience of the Host Site
Before you start writing or even thinking about a topic take a few minutes and get familiar with the host's site. Have a clear understanding of who their audience is the tone of their site.
You don't have to match it perfectly, you'll still want to be yourself, but you don't want to just come out of left field either. Consider topics that will be interesting to the readers on the host site but also relate to the content on your site.
For example, if you write a personal finance blog and you are guest posting on a parenting blog you might write about how to talk to your kids about money. Or maybe how to save for college.
Typically, guest posts are in the 1,000 to 2,000 word range. But your goal with writing should be to match the formatting and length of the blog you’re posting on.
Again, blogs usually outline guest post requirements on a specific page or mention requirements when replying to your pitch. If you’re unclear, ask for clarification so you don’t bite off more than you can chew or submit a short guest post that gets rejected.
Avoid Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is content that’s identical or nearly identical on the web. Duplicate content can also appear on the same blog or on multiple websites.
Now, unless you plagiarize something, writing a guest post on another blog won’t be duplicate content. And, if you submit an article idea the blogger has already covered, they should reject it.
Where you can get into trouble is if you submit the same guest blog post to several websites. Guest posts should always be original content to avoid duplicate content issues and misleading the host blogger. This might be time consuming, but it’s the right way to start guest posting.
The only exception is if you arrange for content syndication, which involves republishing identical articles on multiple websites. News outlets and bloggers actually do this all the time.
But syndicated content is clearly marked as being syndicated. Additionally, according to Google, its search engine will “always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you'd prefer.”
So, be careful when submitting guest blog posts, and don’t push for content syndication unless you have a clear promotional strategy in mind.
Guest Post Outreach Template
As mentioned, bloggers get a lot of guest post requests. So, if you want to find guest post opportunities more regularly and stand out from the crowd, you need a solid pitch.
One guest post outreach template that can help you land more post opportunities goes a little something like this:
I’m a blogger in [your niche] and just spent some time reading your blog. I liked your post on [find a specific post they wrote and actually read it!]. Your take on [pick something specific from that post] is spot on.
I think our blogs have a lot in common, and I’d love the opportunity to contribute to your blog if you’re accepting guest posts. I imagine you get these requests all the time, and I do as well, so I understand the frustration of getting sub-par guest posts that are stuffed with links.
Since your blog hasn’t covered [specific topic] yet, what do you think about a guest post on that subject? I’d be happy to write a [wordcount] post that targets [keyword idea] or another keyword of your choice.
Here are some examples of previous guest posts I’ve written, many of which are also targeting specific keywords and getting traffic:
- Example post 1
- Example post 2
- Example post 3
I always strive to write guest posts that have the same publishing standard I’d want on my own blog, and I’m happy to talk about word count or topics if you have something in mind! Hopefully, I can provide some stellar content for your blog and we can work together.
All the best,
This is a pretty standard guest post outreach template, but it does many things right. Naming the blogger/editor you’re talking to, actually understanding their blog’s content, and suggesting a content opportunity and keyword are the main takeaways.
There are other guest post outreach strategies, and overall, the more personalized and relevant your pitch, the better.
If you want to get your blog noticed on Google, you need backlinks. And, if you don’t have a marketing budget to pay for outreach, learning how to pitch and write guest posts yourself is a must-know blogging skill.
Just remember: the researching part of guest posting is as important as the writing itself. Look for blogs that are in your niche and have a large audience to submit guest posts to. If you do this consistently, you will see benefits for your organic traffic and overall blogging authority.