How to Get Guest Posts, Step by Step
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Formulas can be troublesome. Any easily executable series of instructions eventually gets abused until it loses it’s value. At the same time, beginning SEOs need concrete instructions in order to get started. The following is a guideline that should be modified and adjusted as time goes on, but it is an effective one.
Use these methods to collect a list of bloggers to contact for guest posts.
1. Find Bloggers
Search – Google keywords that are relevant to your site but more broad than your targeted phrase. Combine the keywords with phrases like “guest post,” “guest blog”, “write for us,” “writers wanted,” and so on. Look for blogs with high quality content, lots of interesting and relevant comments from visitors, and plenty of social signals.
Twitter – Use their search feature or FollowerWonk to find bloggers who tweet about subjects related to yours. Look for tweeters who have a relatively large follower count, who follow a relatively smaller number of people, and who spend a significant amount of time interacting with their audience. The ones who don’t spend much time interacting are less likely to be accommodating. You can use similar strategies on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networks.
Alerts – Google Alerts will notify you when relevant keywords are used by a notable blog. Set up alerts for phrases similar to those you would perform a search for to find guest bloggging spots.
Forums – Many forums track users by their karma score (rating), or by their number of posts. Check out these profiles for members who have websites. Bloggers that are active on forums are much more likely to be responsive and willing to collaborate. At the least, you can expect to get a response from them.
2. Engage Bloggers
The next step is to start a conversation with these bloggers. Except for blogs that explicitly ask for guest posts and have specific instructions, it’s usually a bad idea to begin the conversation with a request for a blog post. Instead, these approaches tend to work better.
Ask for advice – And mean it. Getting advice on a post you’re working on can be incredibly helpful as a method for improving your work. Bloggers who are active online love to give advice, and it can make them feel a connection with you.
Leave comments – By this I don’t mean spam them to visit your site. I mean leave thought provoking, helpful, insightful, interesting comments that spark discussion with the blogger and their audience. This can be a good way to get their attention and become a somebody.
Cite them first – Mentioning somebody else in one of your posts is a great way to develop a positive relationship. Chances are, you are already citing bloggers in your posts. Afterward, contact them and let them know about it. Ask if there’s anything they’d like to add and what they think. It’s a good way to start a conversation that can lead to other things.
Tweet them – Promote them and they will be much more willing to return the favor. The same goes for other social networks.
The important thing to remember about all of these strategies is that they should take place naturally. Do it improperly and it will feel like you only did them a favor in order to extort a guest post out of them.
3. Ask for a Guest Post
Once you have a conversation going, try to steer it in more or less this direction, without being too forceful about it. Above all else, be patient.
Discuss the subject – Ideally, the blogger should already be passionate about the subject, so it shouldn’t be too much trouble to take the conversation in this direction. Try to have an interesting conversation about the subject. Be provocative. Don’t just repeat what’s been said by everybody else, and don’t take the conversation in a keyword-centric direction.
Let them know about the post – When the timing seems right, let them know you’ve been thinking about writing a post on this subject. Ask if they’d be interested in taking a look at it. The post idea should be more relevant to the conversations you’ve been having than to a preconceived post idea. There’s almost always a way to work a link to your targeted article into the post, so this goal should be secondary.
Offer to post on their site – Once they’ve taken a look at the article, they’ll let you know what they think of it and if it could be improved. If they make any recommendations that you like, execute on them. When you’re done, let them know you’ve been thinking about letting them post the article on their site. That’s about as hard a sell as you should get involved in.
Followup – Whether or not they agree to post the article on their site, you should followup with additional conversations and correspondence. If they decide not to post it on their site, no harm done. Post it on your site, and mention that it was the result of a conversation you had with the blogger. Send a link their way and let them know you posted the article. Say that you appreciate the help they offered, and ask if they’d be willing to help promote it.
This is only one guest posting strategy of many. Now that it’s out there, it’s likely to get abused. It’s just as important to understand why this strategy works as the fact that it does.
What does your guest posting strategy look like?