Guest posting is a powerful link building tactic. If you can write engaging, linkable content than you know the power that a good guest post can have. But you can't just find a website that you like and pointblank ask them if you can guest post… you gotta play it smooth
Guest posting is intimate: You are asking to put your words and ideas on someone else's publication. You can't just ask for the post out right, you have to woo them first. Basically, you can't write emails like this:
Hi Web Master,
You have a great blog. Wow! I like it, I like it so much that I want to write for it. I see you guys take guest posts, can I guest for you? I'm good at writing and I work at an agency, so I know my SEO. I would need anchor text in my post with the words "Best SEO in USA" pointing to my site. Sound cool?
Let me know,
Pete the link builder
Pete has a lot to learn… many link builders that go after guest posts are over eager. They want the link, so they ask for it – it seems like the logical thing to do, but link builders like Pete are shooting themselves in the foot by being so forward and pushy.
3 Things To Remember When Targeting Guest Posts
- Don't rush into anything.
- Be smoother than the Fonz
- Present the value and benefit your guest post will provide.
When you find a blog that you want to write for, don't just email them on your first visit and ask to write for them – play it cool.
How to evaluate and good guest post:
If you read my last post about finding blogs to guest on and went through the process yourself, you know there are a lot of blogs out there that accept guest contributors. So how do you narrow down your targets and figure out which blogs are actually worth going for? It's not an exact science and it's all relative – but domain authority and page authority are not the only things that should be helping you make up your mind. One of the big factors to look at is social engagement: Do they get retweets? What does their Facebook page look like? Having a lot of followers on Twitter is not a sign of quality either, they need to be doing more than just broadcasting content – they must be engaging their audience and actively providing value around the web. When deciding on blogs to approach it may be in your best interest to target a slightly weaker, yet much more social blog, over a stronger domain.
How to Approach a Blog for a Guest Post
You've found a blog you'd like to post on. First things first, read through two-three weeks of blog posts to determine if this is the right blog for you. Is it too advanced and technical? Is is offensive in any way? Does it speak to the right audience?
Make a comment on a recent blog post and then follow the site (and the editor if you can) on Twitter. If they post open ended questions, try to tweet back and engage them every few days or so – not all the time. If they respond to your tweets that is awesome – but it's still not time to ask for that guest post.
Now sign up for their newsletter – if they don't have one, subscribe to the RSS feed on their blog. Continue to engage with them via social media at a moderate pace… remember not to over do it. If you're feeling like going the extra mile, throw in a blog comment or two. The goal is to look like an active reader/community member – if the website owner feels that you are already adding value to the site with your dialogue, they are going to be much more open to your guest post.
It's finally time to reach out to the website and ask for that guest post. Proofread this email three times. If you don't communicate that you are a solid writer, you're not going to get the post. Depending on the type of publication you are trying to guest on, you may want to show some of your flair as a writer in the request – or you might want to keep it short, sweet and to the point if it is a more rigid and professional publication. Here is an example of showing a little bit of flair:
SEP has a great blog, seriously its rad! I really liked your post on the sucker punch link, really insightful stuff. I will cut to the chase, I've been looking for a great SEO blog to possibly guest post on and I think we would be a good fit for each other. You guys really do have a superb blog. I especially dig the AdWords posts which you guys manage to not make esoteric. I have an awesome, dare I say — STUPENDOUS – blog post about writing title tags and meta's that convert like champions. In my article I assert that the key is treating each title tag and meta description like a haiku, and I explain the benefit of using human-centered language combined with keywords to give year search engine listing a natural feel that appeals to real people and bots. Its a pretty solid article, and if you are open to posting it on your site I would love to send you the final edit. For the record, It hasn't been posted anywhere else, nor will it be if you guys decide to run with it.
Have a great day,
This got almost an immediate response and shortly thereafter I was invited to come on board as a regular writer for this blog (Thanks Ruud!). There are a few simple things I did here that gave this request a better chance of success:
- Reference past posts in the request – letting them know I had read the blog and offering my opinion on why it's a good publication, not just that I think it's a good publication. Stroke those egos!
- From the get go I let them know I was trying to write for their blog and enticed them with the promise of high quality content. Take a few sentences to explain the content you are trying to pitch. No one wants to read a pitch for a generic blog post… but a specific piece of content about a certain topic is much more appealing to editors.
- Make it clear you know the rules – say the content isn't posted anywhere and it never will be, it makes you sound a bit more legitimate and trustworthy.
This might sound like a lot of work, but if you want to pull in the big guests posts you need to play the game with a little style and finesse. Because when it comes to guest posting, you need build a foundation before you build a house.