Have you ever thought about guest blogging for business? Or perhaps, you have been dabbling in it but not seeing any results? In today’s post, I am giving you my 10-step process for getting published on the leading blogs in your space, attracting readers and clients.
I have tried and tested this method myself and with hundreds of clients. I have taken the guess work out and made everything as clear as it can be.
Let’s get right into it!
Step #1 Decide on your goal
Why do you want to publish on other blogs? What’s the purpose behind it? Your job is to get super clear on it. There are two main reasons why you, as a business owner, would choose a blog to guest post on. One, it will build your credibility. Two, it will build your email list.
Now these two goals are not necessarily mutually exclusive and leading blogs in your particular industry can give you both of these results at the same time, but it is wise to choose one goal and treat the other outcome as the icing on the cake.
Blogs like Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Forbes, Business Insider, and Lifehacker are great for raising your profile and give you the right to display those highly coveted ‘as-seen-on’ logos across your website.
Then you have industry specific blogs. For example, for a life coach blogs like Tiny Buddha, Pick Your Brain, The Daily Love, Mind Body Green, and Elephant Journal are great sources to potentially build your credibility and list, both. When your focus is on building your list, look for blogs that are run by a single owner, who write majority of their own content and their audience is super engaged.
Step #2 Make a list of target blogs
This step takes a fair amount of research. This is the step which people tend to keep procrastinating on. Business owners are busy overseeing their Facebook ads, sending promotional emails, or creating their next product which will always be more urgent and important than doing research which may or may not provide a great return on investment.
The way I get around this is that I give a list of about 30-40 blogs to my private clients so they can get started straightaway. Unfortunately, you will have to do the work so let me teach you how.
- I want you to make a list off the top of your head. Think about the leading blogs in your industry you follow. Add blogs that you recall from people talking about them in various Facebook groups or online forums you visit. And then also look at your own email subscriptions or RSS feed.
- Run some searches on Google. Look for relevant keyword based phrases such as Top 50 Personal Development Blogs, or Self-improvement Blogs that accept guest posts for example.
- Lastly, try going to alltop.com, a site that curates the best content as it appears on blogs. You also have an option to search for blogs using their search bar.
I recommend starting with a list of at least 50 blogs because most of the blogs won’t make suitable guest blogging targets. Let’s discuss why.
Step #3 Short list your targets
You will continue your research and dive even deeper here. Start by choosing one blog from your list. Your job at this stage to determine whether this blog accepts guest posts in the first place. Scrolling through their blog and see if you can locate any evidence of posts published by guest authors. You will often see it as ‘this is a post written by guest blogger …’
Another way to be sure is to spot their guest posting guidelines or write for us tabs, usually found on the navigation bar. Discard any blogs that don’t appear to publish any guest posts. Do not annoy the blogger by emailing them and asking if they do. Have a look around and find that out for yourself.
At this stage I would recommend creating a spreadsheet and start recording information such as blog’s title, URL, accept guest posts (check), guest post guidelines, popular ideas, relationship status, pitch sent, post status, etc.
Step #4 Pre-pitch process
As you are going through each blog, see if you locate their guest post guidelines and read through them. Make a note of if they want you to submit a completed post or send an idea for approval first. They might even say that guest posts are invitation only.
If you don’t see the guest blogging guidelines and they routinely publish guest blogs, check out their about or contact pages because sometimes the information can be listed there.
If they accept completed posts, move that blog up to the top. These blogs are relatively easier to write for. You don’t need to do much ‘pre-pitch’ process. Choosing the right idea is still very important and I will talk about that in a minute.
If they require you to submit an idea first, or if guest posts are invitation-only, then you need to warm them up. This is what I call the pre-pitch process. Your goal is for them to take you from ‘stranger’ category to ‘a valued reader/colleague’ one. You ideally want them to recognize your name in their inbox. So how do you do it?
Firstly, follow them on social media if you haven’t already. Then read a few blog posts written by them and leave a thoughtful comment. All bloggers read their comments even if they don’t reply to all of them. Interact with them on social media and share their stuff. Be helpful and show that you respect their work.
Step #5 Choose a winning idea
Now, regardless of the fact that if you are sending in a completed blog post that is ready to go, or if you are sending a blog idea, it is super important that you find out what will resonate with the blogger and their audience.
For this reason, I highly recommend that you go through 5-7 posts published on the blog. You don’t have to read them word for word but get a sense of what the blogger publishes and also what is getting popular.
Go through the reader comments. Which posts are receiving most of them? Where do you see the most social media engagement happening? These will give you clues into what their audience finds to be really useful.
Another way of doing this is to have a look at their most popular or best content listed on the sidebar. This may be latest favourites or evergreen content. After spending these 15-20 minutes you should have a pretty good idea of what will make a really great blog post submission. Your idea can make or break your pitch so don’t skimp on this step!
While you are at it, keep an open mind for ideas you can get after reading the comments. Can you do a follow up post? Can you create an in-depth post on something the blogger covered previously?
Now here is the most crucial part of idea selection process. You want to choose an idea that will appeal to their audience but also has something in common with what you talk about. If you pick something that is irrelevant to your own topic, the people who come to your website won’t be interested in your content. They won’t stick around or sign up because what you cover isn’t appealing to them. Got it?
Make a list of 2-3 ideas with potential.
Step #6 Draft your pitch
Do you know the most important part of the pitch? It’s the email subject line, which is actually the suggested headline of your blog post.
Once you have finalized an idea, spend some time coming up with a compelling headline for your blog post. Remember, benefit-driven or curiosity-invoking headlines work really well.
In your subject line, say something like Guest post: Your headline. If you have a really attention grabbing headline, it is bound to catch their eye. The rest of the pitch is just a matter of conveying this information in a cordial manner:
- State your name and introduce yourself briefly.
- Establish a point of connection. Say how much you love their blog/book or even better, a particular post they published recently.
- Mention your idea and expand on it very briefly. 3-4 bullet points are enough.
- Give links to some of your best work. If you have been published on other sites, name drop!
- Ask them when you should send over the post. Reassure them that it is 100% original, unpublished and you are okay with revisions.
- When sending a completed post, replace the idea pitch with something like ‘please find the post as attached in a word doc as well as html format’. You want to make it really easy for them.
- Attach an image or two if they ask for it.
Step #7 Write your post
Do the best job you can. This is not to say that look for perfectionism but give it your best effort and know when to stop. The headline is very important so work on that. If this is not your strongest skills, ask someone to look it over, especially when approaching a popular blog.
Make your introduction engaging. Tell a story, state a startling statistic, make a shocking claim or start with a compelling quote. Ask a question that draws people in. If you lose readers here, all this hard work would have been for nothing.
Make your post scannable and easy to read. Use sub-headings, bullet points, bold, highlight and images to break up the text. Keep your paragraphs short and aim for clarity, not cleverness.
Link back to other articles published on their site. Bloggers love that. Give people a clear call to action. Ask a question or a comment. You might not be able to ask directly to sign up to your list but don’t worry, you can do that in your byline/author’s bio.
Step #8 Optimize your bio
So this is what it comes down to: all the hard work you have been doing, you want people to click on the link inside your author’s bio at the end of the post, come over to your blog and subscribe. How can you do that?
Tell them who you are and how you help them. Keep it concise. A single sentence works well. Then bring their attention to your freebie offer and say what it is. This can be something you put together especially for this audience, if that’s the case, say so. Your standard opt-in on your website works just as well.
Give them a link to click on. Direct this link to your squeeze page – a page created especially for people to opt in to your email list and receive the ethical bribe for taking this action. Don’t point the link to your home page or they might get distracted by all the other elements and forget to subscribe.
Step #9 Things to do after post goes live
After your post goes life, celebrate. Your hard work paid off, but don’t go slacking off. There is still work to be done.Share this post on every social media platform you are active on. If you know it will especially resonate with certain people, consider personally emailing it to them or tweeting at them. Go over to the blog, read comments and reply to them. Monitor your social media mentions and reply to them.
Step #10 Follow up
Whether your post gets published or not, do a follow up in either case. If your post gets published, write back and say thank you. Let them know that you have been sharing the post everywhere and ask if there is anything else you can do for them. Tell them you are looking forward to carrying the relationship forward and writing again for them.
If you don’t hear back after your pitch, follow up in about a week’s time. Don’t beg or cajole. Just let them know that you understand that they are busy and enquire if they had a chance to look over your idea/post.
Attach the post or include the original email to make it super convenient for them to check it out and respond.
How about you?
So there you have it. This is my 10-step guest blogging process that never fails. Why don’t you give it a try? And if you have already been pitching or even getting published and not seeing the results, can you now diagnose why that is? Leave us a comment.
Are you a marketer ready for a challenge? Got interesting ideas you’d like to share with thousands of readers around the world? Why don’t you write a guest post for GetResponse? If you think you have a topic that our audience would love to read pitch it to us via email and make sure to title the email “GetResponse blog post idea”