Are you ready for this: Guest posting 101?
There was a time when bloggers and content marketers struggled to raise their heads, beat their chests and expose their valuable services to the world.
Majority of us who started blogging had little or no money set aside for advertising.
And believe me, advertising in Offline Newspapers and Magazines could cost a fortune.
BTW: I can help you write quality guest posts at affordable rates. Contact me and get a quote.
As bloggers continued to wallow in ‘pain’ and uncertain about tomorrow, something extraordinary started happened.
Guest posting became so popular in 2009, and since that time, it’s been the saving grace which 95% of bloggers lean on.
Guest posting 101: the A-Z of guest posting that works. And as the headline suggests, the information you read here, is tested, proven and stamped with every ounce of my being. I’ve been guest posting on great blog: A-list and B-list blogs.
Information is never ending, and knowledge cannot be tapped on stone. You’ll still find diverse information on guest posting to help grow a business, but this post is going to act as a starting point, resourceful information which you can run to in times of need.
Whenever you run into muddy waters in this guest blogging adventure, look no further than to consider this page. You might be wondering why I’m so confident about this guest posting 101, and I’ll tell you why.
“I’m not an expert in list building, monetization, research or copywriting, but I’m an expert when it comes to guest blogging.” I know how to write catchy headlines, pitch the best draft that can gladden the heart of a stubborn blogger and get them to say “YES.”
I started blogging in July 2011, and till date, I landed quality guest posts on popular blogs like Johnchow.com, ZacJohnshon.com, FreelanceSwitch.com, YoungPrePro.com, incomepress.com, Technshare.com, just name it.
I keep track of my guest posts, and before I started writing this post, I cross-checked and discovered 602 well researched posts which are already published and sending targeted traffic to my blog.
Everything online should be simplified. If you want me to define guest posting with my Academic proficiencies, sorry, I’m going to disappoint you. I want to ensure you properly grasp the real ‘meaning’ in a simple form. Now take a closer look:
“Guest posting simply means writing a unique, helpful and valuable article for another blog, with the hope of driving free, fresh and targeted traffic (readers) to your blog, and also, building backlinks to improve search engine ranking (SER).”
I hope the definition is simple? Well, take a look at the keywords in the paragraph: ‘free, fresh, targeted and backlinks.’
Whenever you approach a blogger to contribute a guest post, your goal must fall within these words. Apart from these core benefits, other benefits of guest posting will be explained in this post.
I’ve to stop here for now, before I exhaust the page with benefits. I really hope this guest posting 101 will get you prepared for what lies ahead. Those are the benefits of contributing a unique and quality post to someone’s blog.
Is guest posting going to die?
A lot of marketing systems were so strong in the past few decades, but today, they’re all gone. Except in the midstream affiliate marketing sector, list-swap and link exchanges is no longer beneficial to ‘relationship building.’
Traditional article marketing was the ‘in’ thing and there were expert article writers. In fact, I had over 300 articles published at ezinearticles.com and a handful articles syndicated at goarticles.com and selfgrowth.com respectively.
If you ask me, I think the traditional article marketing is dead. Guest posting is actually an arm of article marketing, but it’s more legit, well domesticated and has a greater power to transform your business.
If you submit an article to article directory, you’ll get 100 – 200 targeted traffic within 24 hours of approval, depending on the directory. But the next day, your post will be pushed down, and new ones will be shown on the homepage.
The traffic would be gone. You may not get any other traffic, or maybe, 2 – 10/month.
So, what do you think will happen to guest posting now that everyone is doing it?
Guest posting will continue to wax strong, make ordinary lives meaningful, rejuvenate a dead blog and improve its worth. But there would be a ‘twist’ to guest posting. Google will become savvier and increase their ranking standard.
“Bloggers in turn would join the Google standard adventure. The only guest post which can be accepted and published, must be exceptionally good, engaging and detailed.
Guest posting has come to stay, and it’s not going on holiday vacation any time soon. Lol!
If you want to start guest posting, or have been doing it in the past, there are 5 simple and straight-forward steps you should take. These steps will make writing fun, fast and product results.
This is actually the first step in writing a post.
There are basically 2 groups of blogs out there. I’ve mentioned them above, but for us to understand it clearly, they are:
The A-list blogs (Top blogs, Authority blogs, PR4 – PR6 Blogs, Engaged Blogs, High Trafficked Blogs, etc.
The niche blogs which I like to call “B-list blogs.” The B stands for beginner. There are millions of B-list blogs out there, so, you might consider starting from there.
Fact is: it’s easier to get published in beginner blogs. Blogs that are still struggling to drive traffic build readership and generate significant income.
When you propose a guest post idea to the person in-charge, your post would likely get approved within 7 business days (including Sundays).
That’s it. By the time you’re done with these simple research tips, you would have known the secrets of getting published in any blog of your choice – what these blogs lack and the right angle to attack from.
I like to treat ‘topic research and headline’ together. The reason is that, you can’t just research topic and forget it. Writing a good and attractive headline has been discussed by several people, and I wouldn’t want to reinvent the wheel. See how to write headlines that work.
One of the things that can inspire your writing is a strong headline. It’s good to write the headline first, as it will guide your step all the way. After researching the blog, you should have an idea of what post they’re looking for.
For instance, if ‘social media engagement’ post has not been published in a blog for the past 30 days, there is a great chance you’ll make it if you pitch such ideas. But before you write, visit other blogs which have cornerstone contents on this topic, read as much as you can, read more, read more and ask questions where necessary.
A lot of guest bloggers make the mistake of not researching the topic at hand. They simply write, and when they send to an editor, they get a big “NO.”
Research topics first, craft at least 3 good headlines from your research, make it benefit-driven, and then pitch the editor.
32% of my guest posts where published without a single pitch. Do you know why? These are not authority blogs. In order to get approved in A-list blogs like Problogger.net, Marketingprofs.com, Businessinsider.com etc, you need to pitch to them first, before writing up the draft.
So, how do you pitch the right ideas?
It’s actually simple: I talked about blog research above, and took it a step further on reasons why you should research topics. Now, if you follow the steps in #1 and #2, you’re good to go. You should have 3 benefit-driven headlines typed on Notepad or any text processor you’re using.
These 3 headlines should be slightly different from one another. Take a look at these headline ideas:
“10 Ways Social Media Can Grow A Startup Business”
“How Branding Can Triple Conversion Rate For Startups”
“7 Business Startup Strategies That Works!”
In these headline ideas, the three suggestions are quite unique, different from one another. Any blogger who receives these headlines will definitely consider the first, second or third depending on his “headline writing skills.”
The best way to pitch your Headline ideas to a blogger is to send it as email.
Over the years, I’ve developed some effective pitch templates, and I would like to share one with you. Off course, you don’t have to blatantly copy everything, learn from it and create yours. It works if you do it creatively. Here:
Hi [blogger name],
My name is [your name here], an/a [Social Media Examiner and Blogger]
I discovered your blog a few weeks ago, read 3 of your quality posts and got
really impressed. I think you’re doing a great job and making your readers
happy and better than they were.
However, I discovered you’ve not written about [your topic idea here] in
the past [three weeks, one month, two months, one week etc].
I’ve a unique and helpful guest post to cover the topic and here are my
title ideas:[Paste your title ideas which you researched in Step #2]
Would you like me to write up a draft?
Off course, I’ll never republish the post, it’s entirely yours
once it goes live.
I expect your feedback.
Thanks for your time in reading my message.[your name here] [http://yourbloghere.com]
There you’ve it, the exact template I’ve used to land guest post on A-list blogs. I don’t use this template on B-list blogs, just send the article as an attachment or register and post it. Wait until it’s published.
Can you write from your heart?
Then, you’re already a winner – the secret to success is still the same, even though we bring different concepts into it. Anything you do from your heart will definitely bring results. After sending a pitch to an editor or a blogger, wait for them to reply.
If you don’t get a feedback within 48 hours, contact the blogger again. “Bloggers are the busiest people on earth and you’ll soon find out, when you become extremely successful in your blogging career.”
But believe me, some probloggers will respond to your email pitch within 24 hours. I’m personally thankful to JohnChow.com for being prompt to every email I sent to him. Whenever I send a guest post to him, he would always reply within 24 hours. Sometimes, 12 hours to update me on the status (whether it’s accepted or not) – but it’s good to remind those who have forgotten or had a lot of work on the desk.
When a blogger eventually responds to your pitch, there are three things you can expect from this email reply. Here:
The first two answers are good to your spirit, isn’t it?
But you should also accept the third with good faith. But don’t stop there – pitch the same Headline ideas to another blogger and you may likely win. As the saying goes, “one man’s meat is another man’s poison!”
Write your guest post with the specifications. Ensure you obey the rules, follow the guidelines as stated and don’t deviate to the right, or left.
Write from your heart, use bulleted points, subheadings and add light humor where necessary. Everyone likes to laugh – except the ‘enemies of your destiny’ off course!
When you write a guest article, allow the words to flow. Stay away from distractions and don’t edit while writing. Don’t stop the flow of ideas – don’t regress no matter how little – just write what you’ve upstairs and edit later.
When you’ve poured the words down, go back and work on spellings, word structure, grammar, punctuation and sentence placement. Write in bits, smaller blocks makes for easy reading.
Writing is easy if you know the topic in and out. That’s why proper idea research is important. In fact, don’t write except you’ve researched the topic.
If you’re fast in typing and word expressions, within 60 minutes, you should be done with 800 – 2000 words article. That’s the typical guest post length for most A-list blogs.
Don’t be scared, send the complete guest article to the blogger and let him/her know you’ve invested time in research, writing and editing. Do it with courtesy, appreciate the blogger’s time in reviewing your email. Format the post with </h3> and </h3> if it’s an instruction on the guidelines page.
Don’t be surprise, a blogger might still reject your post and you can’t do anything to convince the person. If this happens, don’t move, don’t panic or feel dejected. Simply send the guest post to another blog or publish it on your own blog (every guest blogger should own a blog).
Rejection is part of life, and doing business online. And this should not discourage you from trying again in few weeks time. In fact, when you try again, explain yourself to the blogger as the person whose post was rejected. Honesty and transparency will get you ahead – honesty pays!
Is your guest post published?
But it’s not over yet, in fact, it’s the beginning of great things in your business. What you should do now is to participate in the discussion. A-list blogs usually have active and responsive readers. A handful of these readers will leave a comment after reading your post. You should be there to reply, answer questions and throw light on complicated issues.
The blog owner might not be able to explain or reply to comments, because the idea shared didn’t originate from him, but you.
But how do you get notified when someone comments on your post?
It’s simple, really: Be the first person to comment and then, subscribe to future comments on the post. This way, you’ll always receive an alert in your email inbox – the simple strategy I use to keep up-to-date with over 300 guest posts. I don’t feel tired of replying and answering questions – it’s a form of relationship building.
Your primary goal should be to guest post again. And you cannot be accepted the second time if you mismanaged the first. Engaging readers and participating in everything they do like commenting, would ensure you get published again. You’ve lifted the pain of replying to comments from the blog owner, and sending a fresh pitch would definitely be accepted.
– Be courageous: Getting published in A-list blogs like Problogger.net, Marketingprofs.com, Zacjohnson.com etc. is not as difficult as you think. The courage to move out of your comfort zone and approach these bloggers is the secret recipe.
– Be determined: Success doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, I considered a famous quote recently and it taught me something wonderful. “The man who wakes up and turns a millionaire didn’t sleep at night.”
– Keep learning: The more knowledge you acquire, the best chances you’ve in life. In goes the same with guest posting. Keep learning, don’t put off today what you must learn – tomorrow might be too late!
– Keep reading: This is an arm of ‘keep learning,’ but I wanted to make it clear. The best bloggers and guest posters are avid readers. If you don’t read, you won’t lead a successful guest posting career. Read other blogs. Read all kinds of book even when it doesn’t relate with your niche. You’ll need it in your next writing marathon. Don’t you think so?
– Write consistently: By writing consistently, you’ll discover errors and how to eliminate them. There is no way to become a better writer than to write. You can ask successful writers how they got to the top.
– Take away F.E.A.R: According to Patric Chan, F.E.A.R is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. Do you see that fear is unreal, it doesn’t even exist, but unfortunately we make it a part of our life? Take it away this minute. If you think your guest post is too weak to be accepted, FEAR is ruling your life – you ought to be in charge.
– Failure is an Event: Have you failed before? Yes, I’ve failed also and Darren Rowse of Problogger.net has also failed countless times. But “failure is not a person, it’s an event.” No man has ever failed until he accepts it – have you accepted failure yet? Please, time is too precious to accept it.
– Be Yourself: Ask yourself, “if you strive to be like someone else, who will be like you?” the only legacy you can live for is ‘uniqueness.’ It’s good to learn from others, but don’t try to be ‘like them.’
– Discover your writing voice: There is something in you the world is looking for. Have you discovered how to express it? That’s your lifelong task and only you can dig it out. Once you discover a unique writing voice, don’t adulterate it – swallow the pill and don’t forget to voice it out when you guest post.
I’ve made this guest posting 101 as concise as possible. Now, what experience(s) do you’ve with guest posting? Were you rejected, accepted or smacked? Share your experience in the comment section below, I really want to know. Share this post with your readers, bookmark and tweet. Thank you!
Photo Credit: 21stsoft
Michael Chibuzor is the Chief Content Writer on Content Marketing Up. He works with both B2B and B2C business to grow their leads and convert more paying customers. If you're looking to create content that converts casual visitors into customers, get in touch with him Here