Guest Blogging is a content marketing and SEO technique where someone writes and publishes a blog post on a third-party website or blog to promote their personal/corporate brand. Guest blogging sites expose brands to a relevant audience and can be an effective method to generate awareness — but it must be done carefully to avoid Google penalty.
This guide contains everything you need to know about guest blogging.
1: Find Guest Post Targets
Your first step is to find a site to guest post on. Here are 7 proven ways to find sites that accept guest posts:
Technique #1: Google Search Strings
Looking for something besides the typical “keyword” + “write for us” search string? We’ve got you covered.
Here’s a list of search strings that we use to find guest posting opportunities:
Your Keyword “guest post”
Your Keyword “write for us”
Your Keyword “guest article”
Your Keyword “guest post opportunities”
Your Keyword “this is a guest post by”
Your Keyword “contributing writer”
Your Keyword “want to write for”
Your Keyword “submit blog post”
Your Keyword “contribute to our site”
Your Keyword “guest column”
Your Keyword “submit content”
Your Keyword “submit your content”
Your Keyword “submit post”
Your Keyword “This post was written by”
Your Keyword “guest post courtesy of ”
Your Keyword “guest posting guidelines”
Your Keyword “suggest a post”
Your Keyword “submit an article”
Your Keyword “contributor guidelines”
Your Keyword “contributing writer”
Your Keyword “submit news”
Your Keyword “become a guest blogger”
Your Keyword “guest blogger”
Your Keyword “guest posts wanted”
Your Keyword “looking for guest posts”
Your Keyword “guest posts wanted”
Your Keyword “guest poster wanted”
Your Keyword “accepting guest posts”
Your Keyword “writers wanted”
Your Keyword “articles wanted”
Your Keyword “become an author”
Your Keyword “become guest writer”
Your Keyword “become a contributor”
Your Keyword “submit guest post”
Your Keyword “submit an article”
Your Keyword “submit article”
Your Keyword “guest author”
Your Keyword “send a tip”
Your Keyword inurl: “guest blogger”
Your Keyword inurl: “guest post”
allintitle: Your Keyword + guest post
Technique #2: Google Reverse Image Search
This is cool:
First, find someone in your niche that writes a lot of guest posts.
For example, Noah Kagan tends to contribute to a lot of blogs in the marketing space.
Second, grab the URL of the headshot they use in their author bio:
Finally, pop that into Google reverse image search:
Boom! You get a list of places they’ve guest posted… presented to you on a silver platter:
Technique #3: Twitter Search
Twitter search is an untapped goldmine. In fact, we’ve found some AMAZING guest blogging opportunities on Twitter….
…opportunities that we would have never found in Google.
(Also, Twitter results are fresher than Google’s index. Which means you can find sites that are actively on the hunt for guest posts).
Here’s how to do it:
First, head over to Twitter search and enter a basic guest post search string like “[keyword]” guest post. Then, look through the results to find guest posting targets:
Within 5 seconds, we found a handful of high-quality sites that accept guest posts.
Technique #4: Reverse Engineer Your Competitor’s Backlinks
Here’s where you reverse engineer the backlinks of a site in your niche. When you do, you can uncover a GOLDMINE of guest posting opportunities.
For example, we noticed that this site was ranking for a lot of keywords on same niche:
So we took the homepage URL and popped it into Ahrefs and we got a list of all their backlinks.
Most of their backlinks didn’t come from guest posts. But a good chunk did.
In fact, within about 5 minutes we found (literally) 10 high-quality sites that they’ve guested posted on:
The best part about this strategy is that you can find sites that aren’t openly advertising the fact that they accept guest posts.
(In other words, sites that DON’T have a “write for us” page).
But thanks to reverse engineering, you can find these sites with ease.
Technique #5: AllTop.com
If only there was a place that listed the best blogs on the internet. Oh, wait there is!
It’s called AllTop.com.
Just head over to AllTop, find your topic, and you’ll get a list of the best blogs in your niche. Of course, you won’t be able to submit a guest post to every single site listed in AllTop.
But with enough legwork, you can find a handful that do.
Technique #6: Blog Comment Bonanza
Warning: This is an advanced guest posting strategy so if you’ve never published a guest post before, skip this technique for now.
With that, here’s how it works:
You’ve probably noticed that other bloggers comment on your guest posts.
For example, here’s a guest post Brian Dean published a while back:
As you can see, a handful of people commented on his guest post:
And these weren’t just random people… these were folks that run blogs in the same niche.
So after he replied to their comment, he sent each of them this script:
Hey [Name], Thanks for taking the time to comment on my guest post at [Website]. I never thought of the fact that [Insert something they said in the comment]. That’s a good point. Anyway, I actually have another guest post idea that would be perfect for your site. It’s called: [Guest Post Title] I could have it sent to you this week. Either way, thanks again for your insights! Best, [Your First Name]
And that simple email script got him an awesome “insider” guest post opportunity from a site that didn’t have a “write for us” page.
Why does this work so well?
Someone that leaves a comment on your guest posts obviously liked your content. (Otherwise, they wouldn’t have taken the time to leave a comment).
So as long as you send them an amazing post, they’ll usually say “yes!”.
Technique #7: Lists of Sites That Accept Guest Posts
Why spend hours searching for guest posting opportunities when other people have already done the hard work for you?
For example, here’s a huge list of 300+ guest posting sites that we made:
This post even provides stats on each sites on the list:
This is a good list to get you started.
But if you want even MORE sites that accept guest posts, here are 4 lists that we use whenever we look at sites to guest post on:
That should keep you busy for a while 🙂. Now that you’ve found a site to guest post on, it’s time for point #2…
2: Get Your Guest Post Ready
In this point, we’ll show you how to find sites that are a good fit for your guest post. You’ll also learn how to “warm up” blog owners.
Let’s get started…
Separate Winners and Losers
First, you need to separate the wheat from the chaff.
In other words, you need to find sites that are worth writing a guest post for.
To be clear:
This isn’t about being overly picky. In fact, if you’re just starting out, you actually want to focus on blogs that aren’t that popular.
These smaller blogs will be MUCH more likely to accept your guest post.
Then, as you get more posts under your belt, you can level up to more popular sites.
Either way, you want to guest post on sites that:
- Have an authoritative link profile
- Are in your niche (or a related niche)
- ONLY post high quality content
- Can bring you targeted traffic
- Won’t bury your link in a tiny author bio box
- Have a significant amount of social media followers
For example, we recently published a guest post on the Buffer blog. And when you look at that site, you realize that it checks all of these boxes…
Strong link profile? Check.
In our niche? Check.
Significant social following? Check.
Then it’s time to…
Warm Up Your Targets
If you want to guest post on an authority site, you want to get on that site’s radar screen… before you pitch.
That way, when you reach out, they’ll say:
“Oh yeah, that’s Jim, the guy who leaves all those awesome comments.”
Here’s how to do it:
1. Share on Social Media: Want to get your name etched on a blogger’s brain? Share their stuff on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
2. Blog Comment: Take a few minutes to leave legitimately insightful and helpful comments on their site.
3. Email Them: If you’re feeling frisky, email the site owner a week or two before your pitch just to tell them how a specific piece of content helped you:
Hi [Name], Your recent post on [Topic] really helped me out. Specifically, I used [Technique or tip from their post]. And it [Results]! So I just wanted to send you a quick email to say: ”thank you!”. Thanks again, [Your First Name]
Find The PERFECT Guest Post Topic
Here’s exactly how to find the perfect guest post topic:
1. Check out the site’s most popular posts.
These are sometimes listed in the blog’s sidebar:
Or you can use a tool (like Ahrefs) that lists any blog’s best-performing stuff.
No matter how you find them, these topics are proven to generate shares, traffic and comments.
So when you send someone a guest post on that topic, they’ll say: “Content on that topic always crush it on our blog. Perfect.”
2. Next, head over to BuzzSumo.
This is an awesome tool for finding trending topics that in your niche.
Why is this important?
Well, bloggers want to publish posts that are on hot, trending topic. (Because it means more traffic for them).
So when you offer them content on a hot topic, they’re MUCH more likely to accept.
3. Check out their other guest posts.
What have other people posted already? This will give you an idea of what the site owner looks for when vetting posts. For example, when we looked at the Buffer blog, we noticed that most of their guest posts were case studies.
So we decided to send them a case study for our guest post.
4. Review The Site’s Guest Post Guidelines
We know you have better things to do with your life than to read a site’s list of guest post guidelines. We get that.
But some bloggers have really, really specific guidelines.
Some are there to standardize their posts. Others are there to make sure people actually read them.
Either way, it’s important that you take them to heart.
Because there’s nothing worse than writing up a 2000-word masterpiece… only to have it rejected because of a word count limit.
3: Send Your Pitch
Imagine for a second that you’re the owner of a growing authority site. You’ve got posts to write, tweets to tweet, and an overflowing inbox.
How are you going to react when you get a generic guest post pitch?
Yup! You’re gonna hit the delete button as fast as possible.
Here’s a battle-tested email template to use instead:
Hi [Name], I’m a long time reader. You may have noticed my comment on your post on [Article] (awesome article by the way). I’m writing to you because I’d love to contribute a guest post on [Website]. I’ve been brainstorming some topics that I think your readers would get a ton of value from: [Idea #1] [Idea #2] [Idea #3] I’ll make sure the piece overflows with information that can’t be found anywhere else. To give you an idea of the quality I’ll bring to your site, here’s a link to a guest post that I recently published on [Other Website]. Cheers, [Your First Name]
Here’s what makes this email template so effective:
- Starts off with something specific about THEIR SITE
- Short and sweet (<150 words)
- Gives them 3 specific topics to choose from (less work for them)
- Soft sell
- Touches on your experience and published work
And now it’s time for…
4: Write Your Guest Post
So a blogger is accepted your pitch.
Now you need to actually send them something. Here’s how to do it…
My Patented “2 Tier System”
There are only so many hours in a day and you can’t write a 3000-word ultimate guide for every site out there.
That’s why you should separate your targets into two tiers:
Tier 1: These are the top 10-20 undisputed authority sites in your niche. Sites that you can name off the top of your head. Sites you actually visit, read and follow.
Tier 2: Tier 2 sites that are blogs that are acceptable enough to warrant a high-quality guest post. But they’re not big enough to spend a week writing mind-blowing content for.
With that, let’s cover what to send Tier 1 and Tier 2 sites.
Tier 1 Content
Content for tier 1 sites should be as good or better than what you post on your own blog.
I’m talking mind-blowing pillar content that forces the hand of the site owner to hit “publish”.
Content that changes minds, sparks conversation, and spurs action.
Content that could appear on the homepage of Life Hacker or The Huffington Post.
Remember: Authority sites are authorities because they only post quality stuff. Period.
And they’re not going to drop their standards just because you commented on their site a few times.
You really need to bring it. Here’s how…
Here are 4 things you need to include in your Tier 1 guest post content:
1. Send a System: If you look at the best content on any site you’ll notice that they have one thing in common:
They lay out a complete step-by-step system for reaching an outcome.
Why? Systems have a MUCH higher perceived value than a set of random tips.
For example, with this Buffer guest post, they showed people the exact steps that they used to increase their blog’s conversion rate by 134%:
That way, people could follow the steps from the post… and improve their conversion rate.
No theory. No BS. Just a step-by-step process that anyone could follow.
2. Length is Strength: Longer articles have a higher perceived value than short posts.
But as you can see, this isn’t a bunch of fluff. It’s 2,993 words of insanely actionable content:
3. Custom Screenshots, Flowcharts and Images: Include lots of screenshots and other visuals. These help you stand out… and adds lots of meaty value to the post.
As you can see, we made sure to include A TON of screenshots in this guest post guide.
4. Internal Links: Internal links are GREAT for SEO. So make sure to link to some of the site’s other content in your guest post.
This shows that went the extra mile to make your guest post as valuable as possible.
Tier 2 Content
Tier 2 sites deserve some love too. If they’re on your list of targets, the blog must have something going for them.
While we don’t go crazy for these sites…we still send something of value.
It just isn’t quite as amazing as the stuff we send Tier 1 sites.
5: Follow Up
Here are some things we do to get the most from every guest post:
1. Actively Respond to Comments: Don’t post and run. Take the time to respond to people’s comments as they roll in. In fact, we usually leave a comment right after the post goes live to show everyone that we’re hanging out to answer comments.
Then, do our best to reply to all comments that come in within the first 48 hours.
2. Promote Your Guest Post On Social Media: This is a win-win. The site you guest posted on gets some traffic. And you share an awesome blog post with your community.
3. Send a Thank You Note: Send Tier 1 sites a quick follow up email letting them know we appreciated the opportunity. Again: this is something that no one does. So this little thank you note really helps you stand out. It also keeps the line open for the next time you want to guest post on their site.
4. Blog Comment Bonanza: Like we mentioned way back in point 1, we’ll sometimes reach out to people that commented on our guest post… and ask to publish a guest post on their site.
So that’s our step-by-step guide to guest blogging. Now we’d like to turn if over to you:
Which tactic from this guide are you going to use first?
Or maybe you want to find guest posting opportunities with Google reverse image search.
Either way, let me know in the comments section below.