Guest blogging is a good path to backlinks and traffic to your site, but it can go nowhere if you don’t have a clear strategy for getting your articles published on reputable sites.
Getting backlinks from reputable, highly ranked sites is an ideal way to raise your own site’s traffic and increase search rankings for relevant keyword terms. In some cases, writing great content on your business blog will be enough to help you get those links—but often, a little more elbow grease may be required.
That means finding relevant industry blogs where you can offer to guest post, and reaching out to them with content that appeals to their audiences. Because there is no guarantee of acceptance by any particular blog, it’s important to develop your own custom database of blog prospects, and keep track of what you’ve submitted and the response that you’ve received.
It can be difficult to find the right blogs to target for guest posting opportunities (and choosing the wrong ones may affect you negatively), but we provide this service to several of our clients and have come up with a few strategies to streamline the process.
Here are some of our tips:
Technorati is one of the best sites for determining the most authoritative websites in various industries—for example, if your business focuses on green technology, you can find a directory of highly-ranking green blogs here. Use the site to scope out the top blogs in your industry, and then visit them to find out if they accept guest posts. Most that do will have a “write for us” or “guest blog” page, but with others, you may simply need to look for an editorial contact on the site and reach out directly.
If your competitors are good at self-promotion, they’re probably doing some guest-posting already. Use a backlink-checker tool like Open Site Explorer to determine what sites are linking back to them, and then click on the links to see if they are guest posts. If so, the blog will likely accept a guest post from you as well, helping you boost your site’s authority. In addition to checking sites’ “authority” on Open Site Explorer, use Alexa.com to check their traffic ranking. If the sites are coming up below the top million, they’re not likely to help you get many more visitors.
As you locate good opportunities for guest blogging, create a spreadsheet that includes details such as:
Don’t aim just for the most popular blogs—take a similar approach as you did to the college application process, where you might apply to a few “dream” schools, a few good prospects, and one or two “safety schools” (i.e., blogs with lower, but still decent, traffic and SEO rank), prioritizing your preferred sites and working your way down from there.
Before sending an article to any site, take a look at the guest posts currently featured there, and familiarize yourself with the style and content. If contributors’ guidelines exist, read them thoroughly before sending your pitch or completed article to make sure that your story idea is in line with the site’s other content. Take note of the site’s average response time, if listed—some may take as long as several months for a response. While you shouldn’t send the same article to multiple blogs simultaneously, if you receive a rejection from one site (or get radio silence for a month or more), pass it along to the next prospect on your list immediately, modifying the article to fit that site’s tone and requirements if necessary.
Building good backlinks through guest blogging isn’t a quick and easy job by any means—if you want to build links from high-quality, reputable sites, you’ll need to generate high-quality, authoritative content to fit those sites’ exacting requirements. Many business owners and marketing teams don’t have the time to develop such content along with their other marketing activities; if you find this to be the case, consider the benefits of working with a content marketing consulting firm to help you raise your business profile online.
Kathryn Hawkins is principal and chief content strategist of Eucalypt Media. She has worked as a freelance journalist for media publications and managed inbound marketing and content strategy for corporate and nonprofit clients for more than a decade.
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