At the top of your list should be: “Find the right blog and audience.”
Content creators often place most of their attention in writing their blog posts and worry about the SEO, social media promotions and traffic afterward. But if you’re interested in creating a guest post for a blog, the process should begin by finding a blog that works for your content, not the other way around.
Content creation is not the first step in guest posting, Chuck Price explains in Guest Posting: A Quick Start Guide. Rather, writers should first look for blogs that are relevant, valuable and contain trust signals. “There is little point in creating the perfect square peg when our coveted target blog has a big round hole in it,” he maintains.
Target Relevant Blogs
One effective way to find guest posting opportunities: advanced search queries on Google and social search engines like Topsy. Price recommends including industry key words followed by “write for us” or “guest post” to find blogs that accept guest posts aimed at your target audience.
In 7 Ways to Make Guest Blogging More Powerful, Brian Dean shares 20 tips to create an effective, search-optimized guest post. Among his observations: blog comments = traffic. While the post may be published on a top-ranked website, blog comments signify legitimate, engaged communities.
Lesson learned: Offer guest posts for blogs with a targeted and engaged audience.
Blog Manager Outreach
When reaching out to blog managers, guest writers should pitch ideas that are specific, fresh and well-researched, Barb Schmitz instructs in 10 Steps to Better Guest Blogging Pitches. Writers should also court managers on social media before the pitch by commenting on their blog posts and sharing their content so they recognize your name when your pitch arrives in their inbox.
In crafting the email’s subject line, Schmitz suggests including a working title of your post so blog managers know what to expect.
Don’t Abuse Your Power
Chris Crum warns writers not to abuse the power of guest blogging in Do You Follow Google’s Rules on Guest Posts? While it’s a good way for lesser-known writers to generate exposure, guest posting can and has been taken to extremes, Google’s Matt Cutts acknowledges.
Link building abuse, posting the same article multiple times, or spinning posts so they cater to different outlets are all no-nos, Cutts warns. To avoid penalization, Google webmasters recommend assigning “nofollow” to links that bring readers back to your website. The “nofollow” value tells Google that the link should not influence the search ranking of your website.