The Whys And Hows of Guest Blog Posting

Guest Blog Post

You’ve probably heard of guest blogging before, but just in case, let me give a quick description of what it is. A guest blog post is when someone other than the owner of a blog writes content, and the owner of the blog posts this content while giving credit to the original author, sometimes just by name and sometimes with a link to the content writer’s website. This is good.

Why Are Guest Blog Posts Good?

But why is guest posting good? First, let’s look at it from the perspective of the blog owner. They don’t have to spend nearly as much time to publish content when they don’t have to write it themselves. Furthermore, they still have control over the content. They can always choose to reject what a guest blogger has written before it is posted. But more than just being convenient, it can also provide their audience with a fresh and interesting view on a topic, or even provide some expertise that the blog owner doesn’t have by themselves. Which means it’s good for the blog’s visitors, which inherently makes it good for the blog owner.

But what about the writer? Why should he or she spend time writing free content for someone else? In short, exposure, traffic, and rankings. Since this post is attributed to the original content writer, an entire audience that may never have heard of the content writer will suddenly know of him or her. This alone makes it a valuable marketing tool, but that’s not all there is to it. With a link in the post, it can also directly drive traffic to the content writer’s website! Anyone who owns a website knows that a website without traffic is worthless, and that traffic is undoubtedly valuable. This is a great, legitimate, and inexpensive way to get some extra traffic. But that’s not even the best part. The link does more than drive traffic. It gives you a vote for Google searches. These are some of the most valuable links you can get for increasing your rankings in Google due to the unique content and the limited number of in-content links. Plus, they tend to be permanent, so each one will continue to help for an extended period of time.

Is This Better Than Other Forms of Link Building?

Short answer: yes. Google is able to tell if a link is part of a navigation sidebar or footer, and these links are discounted, though the sheer number of them can still sometimes make them quite valuable. Links in the form of ads can be powerful, but you either continue paying for them or they disappear. Links in a guest blog post are permanent, generally free outside of the time spent to get them, and in context so they are not discounted like footer or sidebar links are.

Guests for a Blog

How Do You Actually Get a Guest Blog Post?

So, I’ve established that they are important, but how do you get them?

This will take some finesse, some practice, and lots of rejections. You will need to send requests to blog owners that include your idea for a guest blog post. These requests should compliment something specific on their site, and should include links to samples of your writing. Of course, the request itself should be well written and free of any spelling or grammatical errors. However, even when these requests are well written with good ideas, the blog owner will often refuse the offer. You’ll have to have a thick skin for this, as you’ll likely get more rejections or no responses than you’ll get accepted blog posts. Fear not, however, as there are some ways to increase your success rate.

Here is a rough step-by-step guideline for how to do this (with more details to follow):

  1. Find a blog that is more likely to accept a guest blog post offer.
  2. Make sure this blog fits your niche.
  3. Write your request well, and provide examples of your writing in your request.
  4. Write the post using a targeted keyword.
  5. Link to your own site sparingly and respectfully, but try to get a targeted keyword for your anchor text.

If you approach blog owners that are explicitly looking for a guest blogger to post on their site, your success rate will go up dramatically. There are a few ways to do this. The first, and most tedious, way is to go to lots of different blogs and look for some sort of submission page. Though they are in the minority, there are many bloggers who openly advertise on their site for guest bloggers. Some of them are pickier than others about the quality, quantity, and topic of the content than others, so you’ll likely still get rejections even from these bloggers, but at least you know up front that they want somebody, even if it might not be you, to do a guest blog post for them. However, this requires going to lots of different blogs and hoping you can find such an advertisement or submission page, which will likely be called different things and be in completely different locations depending on the website. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some place to aggregate blog owners who are looking for guest blog posts, so that people who want to submit guest blog posts can?

Forums For Guest Blogging

My Blog Guest

Well, there are a couple of places like that. They tend to be forums, though, so there is no special software or setup required for using it. Only the usual forum registration. One such website is called My Blog Guest. There is a subforum there for blog owners looking for guest bloggers, so you can go there to find people who are much more likely to accept your request, as long as the website they have fits the niche you are going for. What’s really nice, though, is that there’s a separate subforum for people who want to write a guest blog post. You can make a post there and, as long as your post is well written and accurately describes the niche or genre that you would like to write about, you can just wait for the blog owners to come to you! Of course, this is likely to take longer than if you send the requests to the owners yourself, but if you do both, you can really maximize the number of successful posts you get. There are also other less-specialized forums out there that you can use for the same thing, like the Warrior Forums, but people there are looking to buy, sell, or trade links. They are more likely to accept a guest blog post than a random blog, but that’s not necessarily what they are after.

Mailing Lists and Groups for Guest Blog Posts

Blogger Link Up

Another way to find others who want guest blog posts is to join some sort of mailing list.  Blogger Link Up is one such mailing list.  To join the mailing list, you just fill out the form shown above on their site.  When you do, you’re guest blogging offer will be sent to everybody who has signed up for the mailing list in the past.  You most likely won’t get a huge response each time you send out an offer, but you’ll likely get one or two for each offer you send out, and it’s a great way to connect with others who want exactly what you have to offer.  There is yet another shortcut for getting guest blog posts as well, and that is joining a group in a known service that specializes in blogging.

The Blog Zone

One such group is found on LinkedIn, and it’s called The Blog Zone.  After joining this group, you can communicate with a couple thousand bloggers out there, many of whom would love to have access to a few guest blog posts.  Many of them even joined this group for the purpose of obtaining guest blog posts.  As a result, you’ll be able to find a lot of opportunities here the old fashioned way, by talking to people.  One note, though, there is a special subgroup here that can prove especially useful: The Guest Blogger.  It is even more focused on exactly what you want to do, which is exactly that: to be a guest blogger.

Other Methods For Obtaining Guest Blog Posts

So, you’ve exhausted My Blog Guest, Blogger Link Up, The Blog Zone, and you can’t find any more blogs with “submit” pages, but you want to do more. What do you do? Well, you go to any blog that looks like it would be a good place to get a link from, and use a service like Who Is to find an administrative contact. Who Is will take a domain name and look at the publicly available registered information about that website, and will almost, but not quite, always have an email address or sometimes even a phone number that you can use to contact the owner. Now, keep in mind that these people are likely not actively looking for a guest blogger, and some of them don’t even know that their contact information can be found this way, so you’ll get a lot of rejections this way. However, sometimes the best sites simply don’t have another way to contact them, and blog owners will occasionally accept a guest blog post from such an email, so it’s worth looking into.

The Request Template

The request should be moderately formal. It should compliment something specific on the owner’s website so that they know you are a real person who actually took the time to look at their website. Then, you should politely ask for a guest blog post, clearly state your intentions (number of links, where the links will point to, anchor text, etc.), present a few ideas for the topic, say why you think it would be good for their website, and provide some examples of your own writing so they can see for themselves if you are good at it or not. In fact, here’s a decent template to go by. Just replace everything with {} around it with the correct information. Keep in mind that you might want to modify it a little bit to your own personal tastes.

Hi {website owner’s name},

My name is {your name}, I write articles for the site {your website}. I really liked your website, {website owner’s website}, especially the {specific thing you really liked about their blog}. In order to get exposure to new audience; I’m interested in writing a guest article on your blog. I’m sure that your audience would like my writing, as I will write a post based on the theme of your blog. If you have any specific process for submitting articles, please let me know I’m happy to follow that as well.

As for the topic, I’m planning to write a post about {your suggested topic} that keeps your readers in mind. I’m also open to writing about any other related topic, if that is what you would like. If you’re interested I’d appreciate you getting back to me. I can send you a draft between {lowest number of words} and {highest number of words} for you to consider for publication. All I’d ask in exchange is a link in the {location you prefer} with the anchor text {your target keyword} to the URL {your URL}.

Below are a couple of samples of recent feature articles I’ve written:

{a couple URLs pointing to your articles, preferably on the same topic}

Thank you for your time, please feel free to get back to me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks,

{your name}

Google knows guest blog posts

But What About the Guest Blog Post Itself?

There is one catch, though. You shouldn’t go for every possible guest blog post out there. There are a few things you should worry about as far as content of the post as well as the other content on the website that will be hosting your guest blog post. Why is that, you might ask? Well, when Google finds a link to your website, there are a few things they look at.

  1. The anchor text on the link itself
  2. The content directly around the link (the guest blog post itself)
  3. Relevance of the post’s title tags, copy and other SEO elements to your anchor text
  4. Number of outbound links on the page competing with your link
  5. What the linking website, as a whole, is about

Google uses these things to determine what your website is about according to those who link to you. If Google thinks that your site is about something other than the content that is actually on your site, it can hurt your Google rankings for your keywords instead of help them. Since you’re doing the writing, you directly control number 1 and number 2 as long as you can keep the writing good enough to please the blog owner. As a result, you should make sure that your post targets a keyword that you are trying to rank for, just like a post that actually goes on your own website. This way, Google is more likely to get the right message from this particular link. And, of course, the anchor text of the link should be a keyword you are trying to rank for as well. This can sometimes be a problem, but we’ll get to that a little bit later.

Number 5 can only be controlled by actively seeking blogs that fit your niche, and denying opportunities from blogs that don’t. If a site that is clearly about furniture in Google’s eyes talks about furniture and links to another site with the keyword furniture, Google is sure to think that the linked-to site is about furniture. If it is indeed about furniture, this is a good thing, and the link will prove to be valuable. So, be sure to get guest blog post links from a blog that has the same (or at least a very similar) niche as your own website.

Problems and Hurdles For Potential Guest Bloggers

Sometimes creative differences between the guest blog writer and the website owner will occur. Many website owners don’t like to link to an author’s website with anything other than the name of the author’s website. Many feel that anything else is unprofessional. You may need to provide a specific example as to how it can be done while keeping it looking professional. If this can’t be done, you may have to give up and accept a less than ideal link. Don’t worry, the link will still be valuable, just not quite AS valuable.

Above all, never give up! Practice, work on better requests, show off better writing skills, and it will all pay off in the long run!

Want to try your hand as a guest writer? Consider becoming a writer at Clickfire.

Steve Miller

Steve's interests lie mostly in Japanese games. He imports Japanese games and reviews them on his Japanese Game site Kuromatsuri.com. Check out a review: Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep Review

22 comments

  1. What a thorough post – I enjoyed it immensely!

    “So, you’ve exhausted My Blog Guest, Blogger Link Up, The Blog Zone…”

    Ok, if you have, you should be just crazy about guest blogging LOL

  2. Emory Rowland

    Dittos, Ann. Well done, Steve. Thanks for contributing this work.

  3. Thanks!

    I wouldn’t consider myself an expert writer or anything like that, but I do like being thorough with my writing. And this was actually one of the more interesting guest blog posts I’ve written!

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  5. Steve very detailed post, kept my attention throughout! I actually love using Blogger Link Up, I have gotten many quality guest posts to my site because of it.

  6. Tejas Ramakrishnan

    Awesome indeed.
    I like the idea of guest blogging and am doing it right now.

  7. Real work at home jos

    Great post! I’ve used Blogger link up a few times but I wasn’t aware about The Blog Zone and My blog guest! I’ll have to give these 2 sites a try today.

  8. Hey, great post! I think I’m gonna have to get a blog on my site really soon, should be able to get some fun feedback I think! Cheers!

  9. buyer structured settlement

    Hi Steve, Very well written article about guest blog writers, I think Im going to have to try this on my site. Your template is great!

  10. Nice and interesting post, i started hearing of this “guest blog post” this year, and do learn more from you about why and how to do this, good guideline. Appreciated!

  11. Anamika

    Wonderful tips you have got there. I have been using My Blog Guest and also have a page on my Blog inviting Guest Bloggers on my Niche and have got a wonderful response. The only problem I have faced is that I had to reject posts because of low quality and duplicate content.

    • Emory Rowland

      Thanks, Anamika. I have benefited as well from guest posts here. There are some really talented writers out there willing to post. I have the same problem with getting high quality posts. Setting forth guidelines to point guest bloggers to seems to help. The few writers who deliver are great assets to the site.

  12. Niche

    Guest blog posting is probably a SEO future. Google is geting smarter every year. I expect that more sites like My blog guest will spring in the future.

    Thank you very much for the template.

  13. Big Brown

    I would like to know why duplicate content is such a big issue? Would like to understand the logic behind some site owners.

    Thanks!

  14. Emory Rowland

    Big Brown, two things come to mind: the filtering out of dupe content by Google and just the desire to be unique can go a long way with visitors.

  15. Jim Kraft

    Guest posting is an powerful online marketing activity that not only generated traffic and backlinks for the website but also helps in Brand promotion. One month ago I had submitted a guest post on this site: techmagnets.com and now i am getting daily 80-100 visits on my site.

  16. Guest blogging is without doubt one of the most effective ways for bloggers to market themselves online. Many renowned bloggers are believed to have started out in this manner until they became seasoned bloggers. I’m new in this field but i know so far what has pushed me to survive this far is guest commenting until i’m now able to sustain my own blogs.

    Thanks for sharing
    Regards

    Dickens

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  18. Really a great post by you. I love to do blogging and I came to know about various advantages of guest blogging. But I want to ask u one question.

    “Sometimes creative differences between the guest blog writer and the website owner will occur”.

    This point is mentioned by you in your article. So,can you suggest some remedy for this? It will be very helpful for me.
    Thanks.

    • Emory Rowland

      Hi Samrat, Good question you raised. Steve mentioned the potential point of disagreement over the link anchor text (guest blogger usually wants exact match generic text vs. publisher wants author name). I won’t speak for Steve but as a publisher, I can tell you there are many points beyond just the link anchor text where I tend to butt heads with guest bloggers. Here are a few that come to mind:

      • Style – sometimes the information is good but the way it is communicated doesn’t excite readers. That’s where the publisher has to step in and ask for corrections or edit it himself (can take a long time). I love working with writers to help attain perfection for the audience. However, the risk for the publisher is that the writer may just cease working with you and go elsewhere.
      • Formatting – there has been plenty of thinking about how to format an article for Internet consumption. Things like including media, using bold/italics correctly, bullet points, short paragraphs, etc. can go a long way to making the post more ergonomic if you will.
      • Title – I see this as the prime and most important part. If you don’t have an unusual, attention-grabbing title, then I have to ask guest bloggers to go back to the drawing board and think up a new one that sizzles. I used to suggest titles myself but recently I suggested a title and the writer delivered an article that didn’t match the title. Then, they were mad at me because I wouldn’t guarantee publication. Oh well :)
  19. Hi Emory,

    Well i have a question, don’t you think after MBG penalty it is unsafe to use MBG. I mean Google guys must be keeping their eyes on such sites. In that case to use MBG can cause penalty for publisher as well. Is not it ?

    • Emory Rowland

      Hi Yogita,

      You are right, things have changed. Steve’s post predates Matt Cutts’ proverbial “fork” that Google stuck in guest blogging. There are some people like Eric Enge who have written about the right way to do guest blogging in these times. Nowadays, the best approach is not to do it solely for link building but for inbound marketing gains.

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