Best Practices

The Definitive Guide to Guest Blogging: 6 Steps to Your Success

30 November, 2017
8 min read
Ariel Rule

9-minute read

Want a site that ranks better?

Looking for a way to establish your credibility?

Need to market a new book, course or blog?

If this sounds like you, then you probably know what the answer is to all your woes: Guest blogging!

Oh, yeah. Guest posting/blogging is all the rage these days.

When done correctly it can dramatically shift your online success into the winner’s lane.

We’ve put this guide together to help get your guest blogging campaigns out of the gate and into the winner’s circle.

Ready? Here we go.


What is guest blogging?

The simple answer to this question is obvious:

Guest blogging is posting on a blog as a guest author.

However, the longer answer dives in a bit deeper than that.

The truth is that guest posting has evolved over the past few years. After Google’s Panda update, just about everything we knew about SEO went to pot — including link building.

Back in the day, SEO specialists used to take a link, put it on a site with a high PageRank, and then sit back and watch their website rank higher.

Today, that method is old hat and one to be avoided.

Link building is still one of the most important metrics that Google uses to measure the authority of a site, but simply placing a link on a site with high PR isn’t going to cut it.

Blogs now needed to have links in them that were actually relevant by topic, industry or theme.

Thus the new age of guest blogging was born.

Granted, guest blogging has always been around, but now the way of doing it correctly has changed.

Today, when someone seeks to land a guest post on another blog in their niche, most do so for three reasons:

  1. To land a link back to their site
  2. To build authority in their niche
  3. To get more followers and signups to their newsletters

Every serious, tried-and-true blogger understands the need for all of these, and the power of guest posting.

But there is a right way to do it, and a wrong way that will get you virtually high-fived in your face for lack of morale.

If you want to be the person that does it correctly, then this guide will help.


How to do guest blogging correctly: 6 steps to get you there

Okay. Time for a quick and honest love-in:

This guide can help you land posts on other blogs, but it’s not a bulletproof serum. That is to say, not every person you reach out to will want or accept your pitch.

That doesn’t mean this guide will fail you, but that is just the reality of the situation.

With that being said, this post will walk you through the steps for landing a guest post and the big no-no’s when you start to reach out.

Let’s dive in.


1. Prepare and define your goals

Find the reason why you want to start guest blogging

First things first: What do you want to accomplish with your guest post?

Everyone has a goal in mind when they do this so you should have yours set in place.

Do you want to:

  • Land a link back to your site?
  • Build up your subscribers to your newsletter?
  • Are you hoping to create and build awareness about your product or brand?
  • Build your authority?
  • Make powerful and meaningful connections?

Chances are that you’ll want to do all of these things; however, the most important one to focus on is probably the last one.


You’ll have to keep reading to find out.

In preparation for this, you should also work hard to create and publish top-notch content on your own site to show influencers that you know what you’re talking about.


2. Find blogs in your niche

Find a suitable niche to blog for

Now that you’ve decided what your goal is, it’s time to find blogs in your niche that you can pitch a guest post to.

There are three tools that you can use to make your life a whole lot easier:

All three will make certain elements of the process easier, but the best one for this is Ninja Outreach.

This tool was created to do exactly what you’re setting, out to do and it makes the entire process a whole lot easier.

Using the app, you can search for a keyword in your niche and then narrow down the results to things like:

  • Visitors per month
  • PageRank
  • Alexa Rating
  • Various social shares or followings

The list goes on, but point is that this tool is powerful. I know because I personally use it.

They even have a 14-day free trial that you can use before you pay anything and it comes full of all the features.

If you’re familiar with other tools like BuzzSumo, then you can use that to find blogs with the keyword you’re targeting, but Ninja Outreach is a huge help and worth a look.


3. Get your email template together

Write brilliant emails to improve your guest blog pitch

In the world of outreach, your email can either make or break your campaign’s success.

However, you probably don’t want to spend an hour on every email.

The best way to get your campaign emails ready to go and sent in a timely manner is through the use of email templates.

A template acts as a simple structure to your post which you can customize and tweak as needed.

They’re a huge timesaver and well worth using.

One of the other great things about Ninja Outreach is that it comes packed with pre-made email templates that you can customize and send from within the app.

Even if you don’t use the tool, you can check out their compilation of over 30 outreach emails which are free to take, tweak, and use on your own.

As a side note for this point, remember to try and get to the point quickly with your email and to not come off as super promotional.

That can kill your email faster than a turtle on a five-lane highway.

And if you’re going to be using a template like the ones above, be sure you personalize them and rework them so that they’re not the same as what download.

The best way to view these email templates is that they are a framework; they give you a good structure of an email, but you need to personalize them and make them unique.

Many bloggers know of these templates and can spot duplicates that can land your email and future emails in the spam folder.

To understand more about this and to really up your game, be sure to read Adam Connell’s post about how to write outreach emails that get responses.


4. Work at building a relationship first

Build relationships with other bloggers

A couple of points prior to this, I mentioned that building a relationship with bloggers and influencers should be your priority. Know why?

Because when you guest blog, the people that you’re reaching out to are going to be (drumroll please):

Influencers in your niche! (Tah-dah!)

These people have the audience you want. Not just right now, but in the future.

Therefore, instead of thinking about a guest post as a one-and-done deal building relationships with them will produce long-lasting fruitage.

Many of the top bloggers that you know of not only know each other personally, but many of them are good friends.

Pat Flynn and Chris Ducker are best buds. Chris Lema and Syed Balkhi can often be found chumming it up too. Noah Kagan and Neville Medhora are another two great examples.

These guys might seem like internet gods (and they sort of are in their own right), but they are just people.

They’ve built businesses that rock, yes, but they like connecting with other real people. I know this because I’ve had the chance to chat and work with some of them.

In short: whatever your goal is for your guest post, just remember that building relationships is just as important if not the most important part of all of this.

The relationship you build now could pay off ten times as much in the future even if you don’t get that dofollow backlink today.


5. Focus on delivering your best content

Create high quality posts to attract attention

There are various schools of thought on this, but here is why your guest post should contain your best stuff:

Imagine you’re about to go on a blind date. Your friend’s set you up, and they say all sorts of great things about the person who is going to be sitting across from you at the dinner table.

The moment of truth comes, and you’re sitting across your date for the evening.

Now let’s say that this person, though cute and appealing was sort of dry, didn’t have much anything to say and didn’t really seem to try or even act like they wanted to be there.

Do you think you’ll be setting up another date?

Not even in their dreams, buddy.

Now flip that and say that this same person starts talking and you feel an instant connection.

Listening to them talk was comfortable for you and they didn’t come off like they were trying too hard. They were just themselves with a dash of something extra to help the interaction go smoothly.

Think you’d hand over your digits then?

Mmm, probably, right? A guest post is just like that.

You’ll either be that drab and dry date that left a less than stunning first impression or you’ll be the one who hits it out of the park.

So just like a first date, you have to bring your A-game if you’re going to get a pleasant interchange. This means that you need to strap on your little digital black dress or best suit and aim to impress. You can learn a lot from how blog managers pick great guest bloggers, so make sure that you tick all the boxes when sending in your pitch, topics or first draft.

Yes, put your best content in that guest post.

Brian Dean did this on Pat Flynn’s blog. Not only did this post become the 2nd most popular post on Pat’s blog with over 2k shares and 300+ comments, but it undoubtedly helped him gain a ton of traffic to his site and establish his authority on the topic he posted about.

If you know Brian Dean and his site, Backlinko, then you know that his blog has some seriously impressive content.

However, Brian obviously understood that Pat had a massive audience and that he really needed to wow them to (1) make Pat super happy that he let him guest post, and (2) funnel some of that audience so that they were now his audience too.

And if you read that post, it’s safe to assume that he killed two birds with one stone.

The lesson is this:

Don’t hoard all your best content to your site.

Your site’s traffic and audience are likely to be very small, so your content won’t catch fire there.

Instead, create a masterpiece and get it on a blog that has a lot of traffic. Many other bloggers find success with doing this, so follow their lead.

That doesn’t mean that the content on your site should suck. That would be stupid, and that’s not the advice I’m giving.

No matter what, all your content should be awesome. But when you’re creating a guest post, really try and polish it up and make it shine to make a lasting impression.


6. Optimize your site to funnel in subscribers or sales

Optimize the pages you are sending your new readers to

Now, obviously, one of your goals for guest posting is and should be to maximize the results of whatever traffic comes your way as a result of it.

As that is the case, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got your ends covered for collecting emails or for boosting sales.

If you have the chance to link back to your blog from that guest post, then see if you can link back to a landing page or whatever page makes the most sense for you to link back to.

This will give your traffic laser focus and push people down your conversion funnel for better overall results for whatever your goal was in the first place.

It also means that you should have this setup before you even start your campaign so that you’re not rushing to create the copy for this, so consider this last point in our list to actually be step one in the entire process.

Depending on your goal(s) that you defined at the outset, you will want specific pages and popups ready and optimized on your blog so that you can get the best results:

  • Email autoresponders
  • Landing pages
  • Popups and/or multi-step opt-ins (i.e. Optin Monster, Thrive Leads, etc.)
  • Lead magnets or content upgrades (ex: swipe files, PDF’s, and checklists)
  • Notification bars linking back to the desired page

Have these things set up and in place so that your efforts are not wasted.


The final say about guest blogging

Guest blogging is a great way to help rank your site, but it should be about so much more than SEO.

In general, people as a whole really love instant gratification.

We’d love to just write a guest post, submit it to whoever will take it with a link back to our blog and then move on to the next one.

However, you have to be strategic to really get the most out of this. And don’t underestimate the power of relationships.

In 2011, the Huffington Post was sold to AOL for $315 million. Want to know the secret to that success?

It wasn’t blind luck.

Arianna Huffington built solid relationships that took HuffPo to that level. She was even affectionately named “The Connector” because of how well she did that.

The lesson is not to focus on the short term. Have some insight and see past your nose on this stuff.

SEO is important, sure. But solid friendships and connections can still make you more money in the long run.

I can attest to that fact, as can other bloggers and online businesses I know.

To wrap this up and to be the cornball I am:

Welcome to the guest blogging games. And may the odds be ever in your favor.