More and more business owners are hopping on the blogging train as they realize how much blogging can set them apart as experts in their field. Unfortunately, though, your own blog can only take you so far in establishing credibility in your industry. At some point, you’ll want to learn how to guest blog to get featured on other blogs, which helps spread your message to a larger audience.
Guest posting is a fantastic way to showcase your message on other blogs. A guest post is simply a blog post written by you (or at least with your byline) and hosted on a website other than your own.
But how can you land a guest post on your blog of choice? Here’s the quick and easy path to becoming #internetfamous and gaining some serious #streetcred with guest posting.
How to guest blog in 5 easy steps
Now that you’re ready to showcase your stuff on another blogger’s platform, here are five tips to get you creating content that leaps off the page.
Research ahead of time.
Pick a handful of blogs.
Get crafty with your pitch.
Send and be patient.
Write the post.
If you you really want to learn how to guest blog, keep reading for a deeper dive into each of these steps. Before you know it, you’ll be guest blogging with the best of us.
1. Research ahead of time
I know, I know. It’s tedious and sometimes annoying, but like it or not this is your first step on the path to productive guest posting. You need to find blogs that are relevant to your business. For example, if you are a nutritionist you want to put together a list of nutrition, health and wellness blogs. Search for the best blogs out there in your business’s niche.
You also want to find blogs that allow contributors. My awesome bloggy friends, Jill and Josh Stanton from Screw the Nine to Five, have a fantastic way to quickly find blogs that are looking for contributors. Simply head over to Google and type your niche and “write for us” into the search box; the results should include a bunch of potential blogs for guest posts. If this method doesn’t yield enough results, try typing your niche and phrases like “contribute,” “guest post,” “submit a post,” “work with us,” and “guest writer” into the search box.
Pro tip: Avoid blogs that haven’t been updated in months and those with broken links, spammy ads and spammy comments. Your goal is to be on reputable blogs with decent traffic. It’s a great sign if the posts on your target blogs are packed with killer information and feature lots of high-quality comments.
2. Pick a handful of blogs
Now, nail down five to 10 blogs you would like to pitch. Brainstorm post topics that are relevant to each blog’s community and that will tickle the brains of their readers. Make sure your ideas haven’t already been covered on their blog! If you notice a published post that’s got a ton of comments (i.e. it was popular), figure out a fresh angle for that particular subject. Determine whether or not you should include pictures, infographics, or videos — all of which make posts more shareable, and thus, your pitch more appealing.
3. Get crafty with your pitch
If you’ve found a blog that has specific guest post guidelines, your pitch just got a hell of a lot easier for you. All you have to do is craft your guest post pitch in accordance with the guidelines. No guidelines means you will be sending a cold pitch, which is a little trickier but totally doable.
First, figure out who to send the pitch to. If you can’t find an email address for the blog owner or editor or whoever handles guest post inquiries, you might just need to head to their “contact us” page and fill out a generic form. Not ideal, but not a dealbreaker. Either way you will need to write up an awesome, but short and sweet, pitch that gets their attention and makes them want to use your stuff.
Pro tip: Don’t send a generic request to every blog you want to post for. I’ve been on the receiving end of this lazy tactic and it feels tacky and inauthentic. It’s a fast way to get your pitch deleted almost instantly.
You want your pitch to feel like you know your stuff and you have quality information to share. It’s also really important for your pitch to make it clear that you understand your target blog’s content genre and audience — and that you genuinely care about their readers. Be warm but authoritative. Explain, briefly, why your post idea is a great fit for their blog. It can help to cite a few related posts on their blog that caught your attention. If you have stats to back up the idea you’re pitching, share them now.
4. Send and be patient
This is the hard part. You might even feel like you sent the pitch into the ether never to be seen again, but be patient, Grasshopper. Give it a good week before you reach out again. Most bloggers are nice enough to respond pretty quickly with a yes or no to your request to guest post. Others are as A.D.D. as me and need a gentle reminder you pitched them in the first place.
Make sure you kept a copy of the original pitch in case you need to resend it. Hopefully, you will get a response that says you are welcome to send over your post; if so, continue onto step five. If not, go back to step one and start over.
5. Write the post
The blog you are salivating over accepted your guest post pitch! Awesome! Now write the crap out of that awesome post and submit it clean and mean and on time. If you’ve never had anyone you trust read over your posts before you publish them on your site, now is the time to start. Ask someone to proofread it for you! It’s vital to submit as-flawless-as-possible copy, which will boost your chances of a repeat invitation.
Include a brief bio (about 100 words or so) at the end of the post, along with a link back to your website. Most blogs will have no problem including a linkback, but it’s courteous to ask in advance if that’s acceptable. Find out if you should submit an author photo and, if so, send it in the specified dimensions.
Share the love
When I guest blog I will often write a quick reference post on my own site. It’s basically just a short post that tells my readers that I had the opportunity to share some knowledge nuggets with readers of Blog X, with a link to the guest post. It’s a great way to thank the hosting site for letting you hang out with their community. This is optional, but I love doing it!
You can also add the name of the guest site and link your post to the “as featured on” section of your about page or media kit. Of course, you’ll want to share the heck of that baby on your social media channels, too.
Congratulations, bloggy friend! You now know how to guest blog. You are spreading your knowledge and earning your street cred. I’m so proud of you! When you’re ready, you can even consider allowing others to guest blog on your site.