By Nicholas Rubright
Every year, a big-name in the content marketing game declares that writing guest posts is a thing of the past. These claims can go as far as to say they are a futile way to invest your time.
One such article is Matt Cutts’ piece from 2014 when he ‘declared’ that guest blogging was dead. This article has been cited several times by those looking to make an argument against the use of guest posting.
Unfortunately, the core theme of this article seems to have got lost in the discussion it aims to contribute to. Cutts wasn’t anti-guest posting as much as he was stating that the strategy had been hijacked by black-hat marketers looking to exploit it for their personal gain.
Cutts’ viewpoint on the matter was backed up by Google when they publicly stated that low-quality, mass guest posting will be looked at disfavorably by future algorithm updates.
According to Neil Patel, a respected name in the SEO and blogging community, guest posting remains one of the best inbound marketing strategies for those looking to improve their presence online.
SEO isn’t the only benefit of guest posting, however. As an author, it’s a powerful way to get your name in front of your targeted audience.
As readers of larger publications start seeing your name frequently on the site they regularly read, they’ll start to recognize you as an expert on the topic you’re writing about.
By positioning yourself as an expert in your field, you develop trust with a large number of readers. This increases the odds that they’ll purchase your book—especially if the topics you’re writing about are discussed in the book you’re selling.
Not only that, but guest posting can actually drive sales depending on how you write the content. If you write a guest post for a large publication, you can provide just enough information about the topic to provide value, but leave readers wanting more. This way, when the publication blasts your article out to their newsletter and social media following, readers will actually click the link in your bio to learn about your book.
Below are 5 tips to help you write guest posts that will get published.
1. Find the right outlets
Now you have decided that guest posting will be one of your inbound marketing strategies, you have to find websites that will post your work. It is no use writing content and then pitching to outlets who are not currently accepting guest posts.
The first step to finding the right outlets for your work is to understand the niche or industry you best represent.
For example, if you are involved in cryptocurrency and finance, it would be ill-advised to contact blogs that have a readership dedicated to cooking and parenting. Don’t get tempted by low authority sites that seem to post anything and everything. You may get a do-follow backlink in the text of the article or your author bio section, but the traffic coming from that link will not be relevant to your industry.
To get started, it is a good idea to search in Google a keyword related to your industry + guest post, submit a guest post, accept guest posts, write for us, guest post guidelines, etc. Once you have found blogs in your target industry that are accepting guest posts, it’s time to get to know them.
2. Know the platform
This is pivotal to getting your guest posts published.
Your articles should be written for the outlet publishing them.
Take some time to go through previous posts on their blog. How are they formatted? What are they about? What are the readers commenting? Do a deep dive into what is unique about this blog and its readership. Take notes and strategize how you will provide content that aligns with what you have discovered about your target audience.
This is also the time you should study the guest posting guidelines if they have provided any. Typically, sites with high domain authority will offer guidelines for guest writers as they will be receiving requests daily. These are the sites you want to write for.
If you are just starting on your guest post journey, there is no shame in guest posting for smaller sites. This will give you the time necessary to hone your craft and make sure you are ready for when larger sites accept your pitches.
3. Don’t write for backlinks
This is what Cutts was referring to in his 2014 article. Your aim should always be to provide high-quality content that offers value to your readers, not to stuff articles with backlinks and irrelevant keywords.
Here’s where investing the time to find the right outlets pays dividends.
Let’s continue with the cryptocurrency and finance niche. If this is your area of expertise, and you are writing for a blog that publishes content relevant to these industries, it will be far easier for you to include backlinks that are organic and useful for your readers.
This will increase the readability and value of your article to the domain, increasing the chance your post will be published.
It is important to be honest in these give and take relationships. When reaching out to sites you wish to be published on, it is generally understood that in exchange for writing a high-quality guest post, you will be rewarded with an opportunity to include a backlink for your personal gain.
Be upfront with the outlet, and deliver on what you promise. Negotiate clearly from the start. There is no harm in saying you want 1 do-follow link in the article in exchange for providing valuable content to their readers. Pitch them your exciting idea, and do it with confidence!
4. Be a perfectionist
This should go without saying, but if the outlet has to edit, change or fact-check your article you are already one step closer to not being published. Before you send your article, make sure you have gone over it with a fine toth comb.
Under no circumstances should you have spelling or grammatical errors present in your guest post. Notice how the misspelling of ‘tooth’ in the paragraph before jumped out at you? If an editor of a high ranking domain is reading through your article and spots a spelling error, you will instantly appear less professional.
With the plethora of free tools available in today’s market, running your article through a grammar check after a few read-throughs is highly recommended. No matter how experienced a writer you are, there will inevitably be human error. Be sure to mitigate against these by getting another pair of eyes on your work—robot eyes.
When you think your article is ready, go over it once more. If a sentence doesn’t sound right, re-word it. If your point hasn’t come across as strongly as you would have liked, incorporate more credible sources.
Remember, the content you are creating now could be used for years to come—take the time to get it perfect.
5. Get creative, be original
Perhaps most importantly, you must be willing to put the time in to create original and useful content.
Be courageous in your writing.
If you are writing thought and opinion pieces, really try to provoke your readers to think about the messages you are addressing. If it is a guide-style post, make sure your writing is informative and concise. Always write with your readers in mind.
If you have a few ideas you want to explore further, research other keywords related to your topic, and see how the top-performing articles were written.
Pay close attention to what the audience is crying out for. When you were doing your research into the blog’s readership in tip 1, what were they discussing in the comments section of previous blog posts? Use this information to draft up ideas that will be a) original, and b) a solution/answer to these discussions.
Implementing these 5 tips into your writing will have you well on your way to getting your guest posts published!
Nicholas Rubright is a communications specialist at Writer—an AI writing assistant designed to make writing easier for teams. In his free time, Nicholas enjoys playing music, writing, and software development.