I see a lot of talk out in the blogosphere about how easy guest posting is:
How to find a bazillion A-list bloggers who are eagerly waiting to publish your post.
How to “write a guest post a blogger can’t refuse.”
How to get a perfect guest post written while you sleep.
(Okay. I made that one up.)
It isn’t that the posts aren’t helpful. It’s just that they don’t tell people the cardinal rule for success. The one thing that most affects the answer they will get when they propose a guest post.
The one thing you can do to be noticed more than 95 percent of bloggers who propose guest posts
Here it is, three simple words the advice givers gloss over. The thing that will open the door wider for you:
Do your homework.
When I was writing for magazines, I learned how important it is to find the right publication for my article and to get the topic and content right. In other words, how to write for their unique audience.
Same thing with guest posting.
One of the best ways to impress a blogger is to show her that you read her blog, understand her topics and even know what she has written about lately.
Subscribe. Follow what they write about.
In your pitch (email inquiry), show you have been following the blogger by referring to a post they wrote and suggesting a follow-up guest post that goes into more detail on one of the points (or offers a different perspective).
Explain why you think your article is a good fit and how it creates value for the blogger’s readers.
Watch the discussions in the comments and contribute. And pay particular attention to what readers are saying, what kinds of questions they are asking, what they need more help with.
Then propose a post on it.
Or read some of the guest posts bloggers have already published there.
Then propose something different.
Remember: There are no new ideas, but there are millions of spins on old ideas. Put your voice and personality into the post. And it goes without saying, but make it your best post.
Because that is what will drive people to your blog to get more of you.
5 places to look for guest posting opportunities
As you go through this list, look at the blog with two questions in mind: Do I want to blog for them? And, Is their audience a good fit?
Some things to consider:
• The reach. How many readers do they have? How many comments do they get?
• Promotion. Are there cross-promotion opportunities (social media, etc.)?
• Audience. Sometimes looking at their advertisers gives you a good sense of this.
• Blogger as person. Check the About page to find out more about him/her.
• Topics: Can you spin a post to cover any of the topics they write about?
Now, where to look:
1. Your blogger friends.
If you are a newbie blogger, blogs of friends are a good place to start. It’s a good way to learn, refine your work and develop confidence.
Just be sure that if it’s a reciprocal thing, it makes sense for that person to guest post on your blog. (More about this in a future post.)
2. Blogs you already read.
Which blogs do you regularly read? Which blogs are you already known at because you have left comments?
The great thing about this strategy is that you know the topics and can even refer to the blogger’s past posts in your pitch.
In other words, you have already done your homework.
3. Do a Google or Twitter search.
For instance, if your niche is marketing, a Google search with the terms of “guest bloggers needed in marketing” will turn up tons of opportunities, as well as titles of and links to guest posts bloggers have already written for marketing blogs.
On Twitter, you can do searches more specific to your niche (or genre if you are an author) and find out who is putting a call out for guest bloggers.
4. Visit My Blog Guest.
I have not used this, but have heard good things about it. It’s a community where bloggers can find out about guest posting opportunities, network and reach new audiences.
5. Browse Alltop.com.
If you are brave enough to turn it up a notch, visit this site. As you probably know, Alltop.com is a collection of the “best of the best” blogs out there. You can search both within your niche and outside it.
Choose the blogs that look interesting and might have things in common with yours. Be prepared for some stiff competition, but if you read and study one of these popular blogs first, who knows?
What about you?
Have you started your guest blogging journey yet?
Are you thinking of starting?
Do you have tips to share or more questions?
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And, if you are in the Puget Sound, Washington area and want to learn more about how guest posting and other traffic-building strategies can get you on the road to monetizing your blog faster, go here.