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How to Make Guest Posting a Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy

This is a guest post. And we’re going to see precisely how it will be leveraged to boost the stakeholders’ content marketing strategy. 

Now I am pretty sure that this is not the only guest post you will have come across, and maybe you’ve found yourself wondering whether there’s a reason websites get guest authors (like me, yay) to write for them. Or perhaps you’ve not. Either way, the short answer to that question is because guest blogging is super beneficial

Want to find out why you need to start guest posting and how to get around to it?

Read on!

What is content marketing?

The most agreed-upon definition of content marketing goes something like this:

“A way to market your business, brand, and product/service by creating and publishing content across defined and distinct channels.” 

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of how valuable guest posting can be for your business’ content marketing program, here’s a refresher on what content marketing truly entails.

There are three main facets of content marketing as a whole:

1. Content

No surprise there. Content marketing quite literally survives on the kind of quality that you put out. 

Your content writing must be easy to understand, readily accessible, and should be high-quality, actionable content. 

Since content marketing can provide you with metrics that can be tracked, try incorporating data in your content (statistics, data points, case studies), to give it that added quality boost for better performance. 

When you put effort into creating your content and editing it, you are already a step above the rest.

2. Channel

All forms of content marketing take place over the internet, i.e., online. But of course, there are specific channels of distributing your content to ensure you’re publishing for the right audience.

These channels include all kinds of mediums on your website and off-site, such as blogs, social media posts, online ads, and search engine results.

3. Audience

Who is going to read your content? Who comprises your audience? These are questions you should have answers to before you start drafting your A-star content. 

For example, if you’re writing for a cloud computing company, writing about IaaS is more relevant than writing about content marketing. 

Your audience is the most important stakeholder in your content marketing strategy. Focus on understanding what they are looking for and how you can provide knowledge and information on their topics of interest. 

Your content marketing strategy is essentially a roundup of all of this good stuff:

  • It creates a plan to push out good content relevant to your audience consistently;
  • It can help you build your brand image and voice, establish you as an industry leader;
  • It can turn your readers into customers. 

What is guest posting?

Guest posting or guest blogging simply refers to the content collaboration between two different websites to increase authority, get external insights, and improve search engine rankings.

Let’s break that definition down one by one.

  • This specific post is a collaborative effort between Surfer SEO (the website you’re a loyal reader of) and G2 (the site you will hopefully visit after reading this). 
  • By allowing me to write for them, Surfer SEO is enabling both of our businesses to work towards increasing our domain authorities. 
  • Since I specialize in guest posting, I am deemed a credible source for writing this topic. This allows you, as the audience, to get external insights and education on a subject matter and helps me get through to a different set of readers as well. 
  • This guest post will also help improve our rankings in search engine result pages (SERPs) through link building and organic SEO practices.

If all of this still sounds confusing, here’s a short recap of what I mean:

Through guest posting, websites work with third-party sites to help drive traffic, establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry, and increase brand awareness and exposure to a new set of audiences.

Here are some examples:

  • According to Problogger, a domain was able to increase its traffic by a whopping 340% simply by ramping up its guest blogging campaign. 
  • Buffer grew to over 100,000 users within 9 months thanks to guest blogging.
  • Groovehq managed to reach almost 1 million visitors by guest blogging.
GrewHQ traffic thanks to guest blogging, source: https://www.groovehq.com/blog/guest-blogging

Are you convinced now?

How to start the process of guest posting: 5 steps

If all of what we’ve spoken about so far seems like something you want to do for your own business, this section is going to give you all the information you would possibly need.

Like in any business or marketing strategy, the first thing to do is outline a process that will be unique to your guest blogging requirements. It could either be a summary of the steps you will follow or a more comprehensive document mentioning everything from tasks, goals and achieved outcomes.

Once you’re ready with an outline of your guest blogging program, follow these 5 steps:

Step #1: Set goals

Guest posting can help in many ways, but knowing what you’re looking to do with guest blogging can create an effective content marketing strategy.

We have already discussed the main benefits of guest blogging, and now you can leverage the concept to achieve one or more. However, when setting goals, make sure to go after ones that are on high priority and relate with your overall content strategy.

Some of the goals you can set for your guest posting strategy could be:

  • Building authority and positioning yourself as a subject matter expert;
  • Increasing web traffic to your website or blog page;
  • Creating brand awareness and marketing your brand for better credibility;
  • Getting more backlinks as part of your link-building strategy.

For example, if you’re only focussing on building niche authority through guest posting, you should identify websites with a huge following and a wide range of audience groups.

Similarly, if your primary goal is to gain backlinks from unique domains through guest blogging, you might have to give more weightage to looking for websites that are open to link exchanges within guest articles.

Step #2: Identify prospects 

Identifying websites to pitch to and write for is the most crucial part of guest blogging. 

This is why: when you put work into looking for a site that is relevant to your industry, you will be able to get your content out to an audience that genuinely cares about what you are writing. 

This, combined with consistent publishing of high-quality content, guarantees that your business will be seen as an expert in your industry. 

Not just that, your new audience will also want to know more about your products, and who knows, you might earn yourself several fresh, interested, and loyal customers!

So how do you identify websites to write for?

This is probably the most enjoyable part of the entire guest blogging process for me. Even though many people see this step as taxing and time-consuming, I think it’s a great way to increase brand awareness and form new and long-lasting relationships, even if you may not collaborate with every website you reach out to.

There are three ways you can find guest websites:

1. Trusty ol’ Google

Google searches are the easiest way to find websites that allow other sites to write for them (a major challenge). All it takes are some specific google queries to create a list of sites that accept guest posting opportunities. 

Note, each of these queries must contain a keyword. Therefore, keyword research is the essential first step of guest post googling, as it helps you discover topics relevant to your niche. Pick a few keywords you want to focus on, and Google away.

Let’s look at some of these queries.

  • {keyword} “guest post”
  • {keyword} “write for us”
  • {keyword} “submit guest post”
  • {keyword} “guest article”
  • {keyword} “accepting guest posts”

2. Get social

Social media is a reservoir of resources and prospects that you can write for. While the results aren’t as reliable as the ones you would get from Google, it is worth a shot. 

Identify a few social platforms where your industry is heavily followed, such as Twitter, Facebook, or Reddit (not Tik Tok, no). Simply run a search for {industry name} “guest post,” and you should be able to find blogs that will allow you to write or, if you’re lucky, the handles of people looking for guest authors. 

3. Make tools your friends

While both of the sources mentioned above are excellent for finding websites, I am a little biased to this one as well. Why? Because it’s easy and gets a thousand results at once. 

Tools like Ahrefs are perfect for carrying out this kind of exercise because they help find a thousand sites and understand what websites your competitors have written for and you haven’t. This makes it simpler to filter through domains that have not linked to your domain (potential backlinks). Surfer and BuzzSumo are also great for finding the content gap, topics, and keywords the sites haven’t written for yet. 

Here’s one idea:

You can use Surfer SERP Analyzer to check your competitors’ common backlinks.

Check which ones you’re missing… and then try to find an opportunity to pitch a guest post to these sites.

Since these backlinks are relevant to your competition, they are likely to be valuable to your domain strength and rankings.

Common backlinks in Surfer SERP Analyzer

Step #3: Make your pitch

Once you have a list of about 50-100 websites depending on the extent of scalability you are looking to drive with your guest blogging efforts, it’s time to reach out to the people who can take your collaboration forward.

I must mention that looking for points of contact can be a bit difficult, but if you are mindful of the best practices, you should succeed with a lot of your pitches. 

Find out who to contact

The first thing to do is a quick overview of the website itself. 

If there is a dedicated ‘write for us’ page with a form asking for details and a pitch, you’re good to go. 

Many websites also have ‘contributors’ or ‘our writers’ pages listing down the individuals who write blogs for the website. If you find this page, you’re fortunate because this page will most likely include those individuals’ job roles, which will help you understand who is the right person to contact.

Look out for titles such as: ‘Content strategist,’ ‘SEO strategist,’ ‘Guest Program Manager,’ ‘Content Writer,’ ‘Content Marketer,’ and ‘Marketing specialist.’ These are the most relevant people for you to contact. Do not go ahead and pitch to any CXOs, engineers, or sales reps; they will not respond and will not be able to help you. 

In case there isn’t a page like the ones I described, fret not. Navigate to the blog page and peruse the articles written for the authors’ names and their bios (if included). Be careful not to have any guest authors on this list and only focus on in-house writers that work at the particular company. 

Find out how to contact them

The next step takes a little more time and patience. Now you’re going to have to find basic information such as the email address and social media handle of these individuals.

I prefer to reach out to people on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn since it allows the opposite person to know a bit of you. But personal preference doesn’t go quite well with pitching for guest blogs, so you take what you get. 

To find email addresses, use a tool like Hunter. What I like about it is that it provides emails based on domain names which is helpful.

However, you might not always get an email of the person you’re looking for and might have to sometimes resort to a quick google search of the individual to see whether they have any online information whatsoever (fingers crossed!).

Actually make the pitch

Now, you channel your inner sales guru. Not really. 

One of the most critical things about wanting to write for someone else is convincing them to let you write for them. 

So how do you enable your hidden powers of persuasion? By following a few best practices.

#1: Catchy subject line.

I know you don’t want me to tell you to write a catchy subject line - but do it. There is something about ‘Hi Aayushi, I’d read this if I were you that stands out way more than ‘Guest posting query.’ Right?

Your subject line doesn’t have to have complex words or twisted metaphors; it simply has to guarantee a second scroll.

One tip that works well for this is asking yourself whether you would open an email with the subject you wrote for someone else. If you would, ship it out; if not, go ahead and make it a little more personal and fun. 

Begin by asking whether they are accepting guest posts at the moment. I emphasize the last part because several sites that allow guest posts may sometimes have their editorial calendars filled and can’t take on another project, even if they might want to. It doesn’t hurt to be respectful of the other person’s timeline. 

#2: Stay relevant

I cannot stress this enough, stay on point and focus on relevancy. The more you can say with fewer words; the more effective your pitch will be. Don’t drone on about what the company means to you and how ardent of a fan you are. Stick to 3 paras (or less), and get to the point.

When I say relevance, I mean answering the following questions within your pitch:

  • What is in it for them; how is this going to help their business?
  • Why are you a person they should consider working with?
  • What topics do you frequently write about; what does your company do?
  • How will either of you benefit from this collaboration; will it be a guest post swap?

Guest blogging pitch examples

Here are a few examples of guest blogging pitches. Use them as a reference, but try to stay original every time! 

I loved your piece on XYZ, the data points you mentioned are insightful and apply to all kinds of marketing. It’s great to be able to get a comprehensive outlook into something as challenging as XYZ.

That being said, I would love to write a piece for your blog page on a topic that is relevant to your audience. I have been a guest blogger for x number of years now and specialize in writing about marketing. Is that a collaboration that you would be interested in?

Let me know; looking forward to hearing from you (and reading your weekly blogs!)”
I came across your resource page for X ways to simply product marketing and was surprised with how actionable and easy to implement they were! My product marketing team is definitely making strides in the right direction now.

I work with XYZ and am intricately involved with the Product R&D department and would love to share some personal insights or stories in the form of a guest blog; if you accept guest posting opportunities. Let’s talk more if this is something that excites you.”

Step #4: Write the draft

So you got a positive response from your new friend, and you can’t wait to jump on writing the content. But wait. 

Here are some things to be ready with before writing:

  • Make sure you have all the guidelines. These include the editorial standards required to be upheld by the site and include many other requirements: SEO-optimized headlines, word count, tone, number, and kind of link insertions permitted (if the collaboration also involves links exchanges), use of images, etc. 
  • Have your author bio ready, along with a suitable image. 
  • A mutually agreed-upon timeline for reviewing the draft and publishing the final content.

Then, write your stellar, high-quality content. Follow these best practices:

  • Integrate your personalized writing style with practical examples. 
  • Write for the audience, engage your prospective readers with use cases that they can relate to. 
  • Keep your content structured; break it down into easy-to-read lists and bullets.
  • Cite sources wherever necessary.
  • Carry out a thorough spelling and grammar check 
  • Ensure your content is SEO optimized: it will make you look professional and serve your goal of better rankings and visibility. This step is best carried out with the help of tools. 

For example, in Content Editor you will get a list of guidelines to follow (about article structure or most important words and phrases to use) to make sure your content is high-quality and free of the content gap.

Writing in Surfer Content Editor

And if you didn’t receive an outline and are tasked with writing one yourself, you will find a list of topics to cover for your keyword. It will help you considerably shorten your research phase. 

Topics and questions in Surfer Content Editor

Step #5: Social sharing and long-term relationships

Hurrah! You have finally done it; your article’s now live. You’re officially a guest author (hi-five) and:

  • You have an external article linking to your website or blog page
  • Brand new audience getting acquainted with your brand
  • Improved chances of being recognized as a credible writer
  • Or, in some cases, ALL of the above.

So go on, share your glory on your social media:

Tag the website your guest post appeared on and your point of contact, and enjoy the beginnings of a new relationship. 

I have found it extremely helpful in my guest blogging journey to want to form long-lasting partnerships. Put this into action by connecting with your points of contact on LinkedIn or Twitter to show that you are willing to continue a wholesome collaboration. 

Don’t dismiss guest blogging as a one-time opportunity for a few benefits; leverage it to grow your professional network and create relationships that are mutually beneficial in the long run. 

Guest blogging in itself is a marketing game

I’ve had a blast penning this down, and I hope you had a little fun too. 

Guest blogging can be a solid backbone of your content marketing strategy if done well. It gives you a chance to explore new industries, curate more detailed and well-informed content, improve domain authority, and rank higher in search engine results.

If there is anything you take away from this article, let it be this:

Ever since I began guest blogging, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. It helps me create a personal brand, it is beneficial to my business, and it gives me tons of opportunities and people with whom I can share my work and skillsets. 

I hope you see guest blogging as the viable and valuable asset that it can be for your inbound marketing efforts. 

See you on the guest blogging train soon!

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Screenshot of Surfer SEO Content Editor interface, displaying the 'Essential Content Marketing Metrics' article with a content score of 82/100. The editor highlights sections like 'Key Takeaways' and offers SEO suggestions for terms such as 'content marketing metrics