Writing guest posts for other websites is a a great way to build your authority, widen your audience, increase traffic and share your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) while you start to grow your blog.
However, today, it’s not so easy to find opportunities for guest posting. With the increase in spammy emails from black hat SEO agents posing as bloggers looking for guest posts, the majority of guest post emails are responded to with ad rates or end up in the bin.
To avoid this happening to you, we want to show you how to successfully pitch guest posts and keep your email from being sent to the spam folder.
How to Successfully Pitch a Guest Post
If you’re planning to pitch a guest post, or maybe even a few guest posts, you need to prepare properly in advance.
One of the most important things to remember is that bloggers often receive dozens of guest posts requests per week and they have to be judicious when accepting them.
Here’s a guest post pitch I receive quite often. In fact, I just received this one today:
Subject: Write For You
I am a blogger and would love to guest post on your website. I have published numerous articles on various websites.
Would you be interested in publishing an article on your wonderful website?
Please feel free to contact me.
It actually sounds too generic to be real, right?
There’s no personalised information, which leads me to believe this blogger has just spammed dozens of other bloggers with this request.
They don’t know my name, my website, my type of content.
They’ve not shared any specifics about what they write or who they’ve written for.
It is highly unlikely that you will ever get a response from this type of guest post pitch.
Here’s what to do instead:
- Make yourself known to the blogger in advance. Avoid cold-calling!
- Be sure to properly address the blogger, by name.
- Show you actually know who the blogger is.
- Avoid copy and pasting. Yawn.
- Show you’re capable of producing stellar content.
- No typos, grammar errors.
- Include previous work you’ve done.
- Be unique.
Guest Pitch Example
We think the best way to learn is by example.
We’re going to dissect a guest post email I received from Nick Kembel of Spiritual Travels.
A while back, Nick emailed me with the headline:
1. Headline: Guest Post Request – from a real travel blogger 🙂
Commentary: To be honest, I now get this ‘real blogger’ line a lot, so it didn’t win me over initially but what did was seeing Nick’s name. I recognised him and his email profile image from our Facebook group. Nick is an active member of Make Traffic Happen.
2. Greeting: Hi Gemma,
Commentary: I get ‘hey Scot’ often because my travel site is called Two Scots Abroad. Nick not only knew my name, but he also spelt it correctly!
3. Opening: You and Laura are my heroes.
Commentary: BOOM, ego boost! AND he showed he genuinely knew who I was.
4. Provide Credentials: He included that he was a published author and professional travel writer and that he makes most of his income from this
Commentary: Adding this highlighted to me that he can write. One of the biggest issues with guest posts is that the guest post can’t actually write a travel post. Poor grammar, spelling and structure are not accepted on my site (please avert your eyes when you come across any of my first posts!)
5. Reason for Guest Posting: Nick identified his goal was to gain more traffic
Commentary: To the point, honest, no shade.
6. Why This Benefits Me: He had trawled through Two Scots Abroad and identified a benefit for me. I had weak content on the destination in question and he asked if he could write a more comprehensive guide for me.
Commentary: I was not insulted here because the post in question was thin, it was written pre-SEO days. Naturally, you need to take this route cautiously, people don’t always like having mistakes pointed out to them. Ego, remember the ego!
7. Make Suggestions: Nick suggested a guest post idea, but if I had keywords in mind he would write around that.
Commentary: BINGO, Nick has shown me he knows SEO. Now I am really interested.
I have a problem – thin content and no time to update.
Nick brought a solution – the possibility of an optimised SEO post.
8. Provide Examples: Nick backed up his claims with two articles links that he had written.
Commentary: I’m happy with the content so we go ahead and agree. He closes the email with a polite sign-off and a note that he is about to take a trip to Taiwan with his two kids but will be checking emails in the evening – he’s letting me into his world.
He’s showing me he’s a real blogger (and person!) I like Nick a lot by the end of this email and want to buy him a beer.
Now when other bloggers are looking for content writers to hire I suggest Nick. You can contact him here if you are shopping for solid writers:
Thanks for letting us include you in the post, Nick, we wish you every success in your SEO journey. Do keep us updated in the Facebook group.
Writing Your Guest Post
Before you dive into writing or even pitching you need to know what angle you are going to take in your content.
The best way to approach a guest post is to choose a topic you are familiar with that gives you a chance to market key themes you want to promote.
However, you don’t want to write the same thing you already have. You want to create supporting content, or go bigger with the topic you are writing about.
After all, you don’t want your guest post to outrank the content on your site!
Do Thorough Research
When writing, be sure you’ve thoroughly researched the topic and are offering more in-depth information that can already be found quickly on the internet.
Basic information doesn’t cut it these days.
Be sure to include authoritative links to support your content.
For extra points, you can even throw in a few related links from the blogger’s own content.
That always makes me happy.
Edit, Edit, Edit
Be sure you’ve edited and double checked your content for errors.
Have someone else proofread it.
Put it through Grammarly and read it in mobile version with fresh eyes.
Do whatever it takes to be sure you’re delivering 100% clean content.
After You Publish a Guest Post
Once the guest post is published you want to do the following things.
- Share on your own social media channels. This is professional and also helps with brand signals.
- Pin the Pinterest image to your Pinterest board.
- Keep coming back to see if there are any comments on the post and reply to them (if the blog has a comments field). This will help build your authority on the topic.
- Track the post. Go to your Google Analytics > Acquisitions > All Traffic > Channels and then select Referrals from the table. Are you getting traffic?
→ New to Google Analytics? Take our free step-by-step guide.
How to Find Guest Post Opportunities
We’ve made life easier for you!
Here’s a list of all the bloggers in our Make Traffic Happen Facebook group that accept guest posts.
Some have stipulated rules so you don’t have to waste your time pitching if it is not something that they are interested in.
Remember to say that you found their details on Make Traffic Happen, so there is more chance these bloggers will consider your proposal.
Some bloggers, brands and outreach SEO companies, use guest posts as a form of link building.
This means building links back to their homepage or a specific post so that Google follows the link from the original site to the new site.
It’s seen as a vote on confidence when a follow link is used between sites.
Please read this guide to follow and nofollow if you are unsure of these terms.
As discussed in our article on ways to strategically build backlinks, Google has openly discussed that they see guest post links as manipulation so if you decide to use this strategy, be aware of the risk.
Guest Posts and Backlinks
If you plan to use guest posting a means of building backlinks consider the following:
- Discuss expectations before you create content.
- Do not write content you plan to rank for.
- Write around your guest post topic or go more niche or broader.
- Strategically place your backlink near the top of the article.
- Avoid using the exact match keyword in the anchor text.
Is There Any Point In Gaining No Follow Backlinks?
Search Engine Land states that “nofollow links definitely help your SEO, although most of the benefits are probably indirect.”
These indirect benefits include exposure (getting your brand in front of another audience’s eyes), direct referral, and improved brand reach.
They also confidently say that it is ‘almost undisputed’ that nofollow links help pages get indexed.
Google says that in general, they do not crawl nofollow links or attribute PageRank or “link juice” to nofollow links.
Also to keep in mind that the majority of the time when you gain a backlink from a large media-based website the link will be no follow.
Why? Who knows.
The blanket answer I received from the Daily Record (Scottish national newspaper) is that’s how links are added.
If you have enjoyed this guide to guest posting consider enrolling in our SEO the Easy Way course, a video course with over-the-shoulder video examples and detailed lessons on how to increase traffic to your website today.
Alternatively, sign up for our free 4-part SEO mini-course to see if search engine optimisation is right for you.
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