Your site’s authority, and subsequent ranking on search engines like Google, is tied to the number and quality of links leading back to your website.
Long gone are the days where plugging in a certain keyword enough times would ensure your rank.
Today, small to mid-sized businesses who want to maintain competitiveness on the global market called the internet, must think about the process of link-building to raise their authority.
That’s especially true for those competing in an insulated local market, like Tampa Bay, where who know you often outweighs what you know.
But in this case, we’re going to show you how what you know can give you a boost over the big guys.
This guide to guest posting is all about blog opportunities. That’s what you are going to leave here with, so keep reading.
Benefits of Guest Blogging
Guest posting has a number of benefits that small to mid-sized businesses and ad agencies benefit from.
Among these are the following perks:
- Builds brand awareness and recall
- Promotes consumer trust
- Generates new leads to your business
- Increases domain authority and SEO
For these reasons, ad agencies and small to mid-sized businesses alike have begun investing time and resources in guest blogging, seeing it as an essential part of any marketing strategy.
Step 1: Set Guest Blogging Goals
When you make the decision to write your first guest blog, you might try to dive right into blog opportunities — looking for resources like this blog, that point you in the right direction.
It’s a good idea to learn all you can. But before you get to work writing your first guest post, you should set guest blogging goals.
To do this you want to think about the benefits mentioned above and align your goals with those.
Examples of a company’s goals may be to increase brand awareness in the Tampa Bay market.
You can make this a measurable goal by conducting surveys before and after running guest posts, using social listening tools and taking note of trends in website traffic and search volume.
Step 2: How to Seek Out Blog Opportunities
Once you’ve set some reasonable goals for your content marketing plan, it’s time to figure out where to post.
One way to do that is to jump down the Google strings rabbit hole. All you need to do is type in search terms like “your keyword” + “guest post” and “your keyword” + “write for us” and see what Google spits out.
The Google suggestions bar that pops up under your search box as you are typing up your search terms may offer new strings for you to try.
The top sites will reflect potential hot potential guest posting spots, so you should be able to get a lot of good leads from Google.
If that’s not enough you can use other avenues, like:
- A reverse image search of a writer’s headshot, choose someone who writes on the same topics you do
- Searching “guest post” or “contributor” on Twitter and see what blogs are sharing guest posts
- Find out where your competitors are getting guests posts
- Look for blog posts that offer links to blogs accepting writers
Once you’ve done this, you should have a good list of guest post opportunities saved in a spreadsheet or wherever you keep important information.
That doesn’t mean you want to go and submit to each and every one. There are a few ways you can approach strategy for selecting guest post opportunities.
Consider Starting Small
If you’re new to guest posting and you don’t have a ton of credibility built up as a guest poster, it may be a good idea to set your sites on a handful of lower authority sites.
You may ambitiously want to start off as a contributor to Forbes, but that’s much less likely to happen if no one in the blogging world has ever heard of you.
Starting with a blog who’s domain authority is in or around the twenties according to your Moz bar, will lead you to the most high-quality, low hanging fruit for new contributors.
Once you start getting a few blog opportunities under your belt, you can move up the ranks until you are eventually posting on the big names in your niche.
We just told you to start small, but that doesn’t mean compromise on domain authority. Set a threshold like only posting on sites that have a domain authority of 20+.
This means these sites will have an authoritative link profile, and that’s exactly what you are looking for when building links back to your site. That’s also what Google web crawlers look for when ranking your site.
A good strategy would be to eliminate low-ranking sites then work your way up the ranks starting from the bottom.
Scan the Content for a Good Fit
You should be familiar with the content that is posted on the sites you want to write for.
Only submit work if you feel like the content selected is quality content and it matches your niche.
Write for Site’s Where You Engage with Content
If there are any blog sites out there that you love, where you frequently engage with the content via social shares and blog comments — those should be at the top of your list if they meet the domain authority threshold.
That’s because those are sites where it’s more likely the blogger or editors already know who you are.
When it comes to blogging, every blog that’s any blog is paying attention to who their fans are on social media and in comments.
If there’s a blog site within which you are an active reader, give them a shout with your pitch.
Step 3: Decide What to Write About
When you decide what you’re going to write about, that’s otherwise known as topic research.
You can use a tool like BuzzSumo to see what’s been trending in your niche over the past 24 hours, week or month. The fresher the better.
That’s the best way to approach content, but if you don’t have a paid account for finding trending content you can use some workarounds:
- Use free hashtag and keyword tools to make a list of themes trending in your niche
- Type a keyword into Google, select to search ‘New’ and limit it to the most recent selections
- Look at what your competitors are writing about and do a fresh take on an interesting topic
You should compile all of your ideas into a spreadsheet, database or other repository and knock them out one by one. But don’t forget that some things are timely and need to be executed on quickly.
Always prioritize breaking news and things that require timely context.
Step 4: Submit a Guest Post
Now that you’ve figured out what blogs to submit to, and put together a-rockin’ post on your niche topic. It’s time to ship it to the editors at your chosen publication.
I say ‘publication’ not ‘publications’ because each post should be submitted to only one publication at a time. You have to give your chosen website time to review and accept your work before pitching it somewhere else.
The amount of time needed varies and is usually outlined in the form of guidelines at each publication. Some require up to thirty days to review.
Review Submission Guidelines
In addition to how much time is needed for review, the guidelines will provide information that will help you decide if your blog is a good fit for the publication before you submit it.
This includes things like niche, word count, whether or not backlinks will be published and if those links are do-follow or no-follow.
Getting familiar with submission guidelines before you make a pitch is a good idea.
These rules will also tell you how to pitch and who to pitch to.
Make a Pitch
Once you’ve reviewed the guidelines and determined your blog is up to spec, it’s time to pitch it.
Sometimes, this means just logging into a portal and sending your blog into the abyss of “In Review”.
This is especially true of bigger sites, like PopSugar, who have a portal called Voices for all of their contributing writers to use a hub for submissions and transparency throughout the process.
For other sites, pitching may mean reaching out to editors directly via email, either with a full story or a story idea and see if they are interested in publishing you.
For most publications, editor email addresses are relatively easy to find because they are published somewhere on the site.
If you have to make a pitch via email remember to provide a brief introduction, that may include other publications that have published you and why you are interested in being published, a 30-second snapshot of your idea and a salutation.
It’s good to know the name of the person you are pitching to if possible.
Guest Blogging 101
No matter if you are a small business, a slightly larger business or ad agencies competing in a saturated market for all the business, you have your work cut out for you with guest blogging.
While it may seem like no easy feat to accomplish your goals, we promise the journey is well worth it.
On the plus side, for bloggers who become savvy contributors, this can generate some passive income beyond actively driving conversions. This occurs via:
- Being paid for contributor posts: believe it or not, this does happen from time to time
- Selling backlinks and affiliate marketing: the more your name gets out the more people are going to want to partner with you
So while you may not plan to make a career out of being a professional contributor, as a business owner getting your name out there makes financial sense.
Now that you have the tools you need, happy hunting for blog opportunities!
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