I think you’ll agree that guest posting for business is one of the most challenging marketing strategies for entrepreneurs to master. If you’re considering entering the world of guest blogging, you probably have trepidations and questions.
How do I start? Is it worth the effort? How can I identify the best guest blogging opportunities?
These are all excellent questions. Smart and successful business professionals are constantly touting the benefits of writing for other quality companies to boost online exposure. But choosing the sites to submit content to can be tricky.
In this post, I’ll give you the low-down on what guest blogging is and how you give yourself a leg up from the start. Guest blogging is, essentially, the process of writing a post for someone else in exchange for publicity and a link (backlink) to your website.
Backlinks have, in the past, been a great method of building an online presence. However, Google no longer likes guest posts whose sole purpose is to rack up links. Guest articles need to be relevant and not stuffed with links to the same site over and over. If your posts get too spammy, your site AND the site hosting your article could be penalized and appear further down the list of a Google search. Not good! So, the moral of the story is to keep it relevant.
Know Who You’re Trying to Reach
First and foremost, understand your target audience. Who do you want to reach? What are the demographics of your ideal client? Once you have identified your niche, only write for sites with the readers in that specific group. You can often find a site’s audience and customer demographics in their media kit.
At this point, it’s time to brainstorm and do a Google search. Think of all the companies, blogs, and online magazines that have a similar target market to that of your business. Ask friends and family to think up a few names as well. You can also search the terms ‘guest post’ or ‘write for us’ or ‘submit your content’ and similar phrases.
Check out your competition. Do they have an ‘as featured in’ or ‘as seen in’ section? If so, voila! You can also perform a reverse image search on Google of each competitor’s profile picture. To accomplish this, right click on their headshot. A menu will appear with the option to search Google for this image. Now you know who they have guest posted for and who you should pursue. Sneaky, huh?
Know the Important Numbers
Most blogging experts recommend you only consider writing for sites with a domain authority (D/A) higher than yours. Some pros, like Brandon Gaille, suggest you should not guest post for anyone with a D/A lower than thirty. Domain authority refers to a search engine ranking score based on a site’s links, age, popularity, and more. All URLs are ranked from one to one hundred; the higher the number, the better. Popular websites like Huffington Post have a score of ninety-eight while new sites will have a score of one.
You should also steer clear of businesses with a spam score of five or greater. Writing for blogs with a high spam score will likely hurt your site’s performance on Google. Both these metrics can be found on Moz Open Site Explorer. You can research up to three sites per day on Moz before you will be required to open a free or paid account with them. Simply type in a company’s URL, and you will get their D/A. Their spam score can be found directly under the D/A.
Know What You Will Get in Return
You should get something beneficial in return for your hard work. After all, there is no monetary compensation for guest posting. Most business owners like you are looking for publicity and exposure to the hosting site’s audience. But, will you get it?
Just because a large or popular company wants you to write an article for them does NOT mean you should. Do they offer you a link to your site? Do they give you a bio before or after the post? How many words do they allow in your bio? Do they link to any of your social media accounts? How many words do they require per post?
You don’t want to put the time and effort into a fabulous post only to hear crickets after it’s published by someone else. And the fact is, you’re not going to get much love if readers don’t have access to your bio, headshot, and link. This is the truth even when you guest blog for a large magazine. Although, with a popular site like Huffington Post, you may get some credit for being able to say you are a ‘Huff Post Contributor.’
Track the Stats
If you’re serious about expanding your guest blogging opportunities, I suggest you make a spreadsheet of potential websites with the following information:
Name and web address – the name and URL of each site
Same target market (as you) – this can be found in their media kit
Contact name and email – usually found under ‘contact us’ or ‘write for us’ sections
Domain authority – the number is provided by Moz Open Site Explorer
Spam Score – the number is provided by Moz Open Site Explorer
Offers byline/bio – the answer is no or the number of words allowed in your bio
Offers headshot – yes or no
Offers link – the number of backlinks you receive in your post or bio
Offers Social Media Links – the number of your social media accounts linked to your bio
Words per post – sites may provide this in their ‘write for us’ section
By filling out the columns, you will be able to narrow down your top candidates. Some will stand out as the real front-runners. Go after them first. Putting in a little work up front could pay substantial dividends later and keep you from wasting hours every month on a flawed marketing campaign.
What I Decided to Offer
After completing my own research on guest blogging opportunities, I concluded there weren’t enough sites ‘compensating’ writers for their content in a meaningful way. I was shocked at how many big blogs and magazines gave guests almost nothing in return for their work. Further, I was more surprised at the number business owners who were willing to give their work away for almost nothing.
In response, I decided to accept relevant guest posts on my site here. I have been asked to do this repeatedly in the past, but now I feel it’s the right time to open my blog to submissions. I am offering writers a forum to showcase their expertise and help my readers, businesswomen over forty, create thriving companies that improve our world.
I hope you found this post informative and encouraging. Do you have any advice for uncovering quality guest blogging opportunities? If so, tell us about it in the comment section below.
Life is better when we lift each other up.
I'm Jen Monks. A small business strategist, a serial entrepreneur, and a steadfast optimist devoted to helping women over 40 create and grow profitable businesses within a community they love.