What is Guest Posting? + 10 Steps to Maximize Your Strategy

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Most people looking into guest posting are looking for more traffic and exposure to new audiences.

There are a number of ways to generate traffic and guest posting, while it isn’t the quickest, can still be a very important part of a good SEO strategy.

But it’s also SO much more than that!

It is one of the most effective ways to build your blog and brand through networking and connections with other bloggers and website owners.

Guest posting is an excellent way to reach new audiences, establish yourself as an expert in your field, and generate more leads and revenue for your business.

In this blog post, we will discuss what guest posting is, how it works, and why you should consider guest posting as a main part of your overall blog marketing strategy.

What is Guest Posting?

Guest posting is writing a blog post and having it published on another person’s blog — usually within the same or similar niche or industry.

In most cases, the guest blogger will write a post for free in exchange for the exposure they receive from having their work published on a popular blog — and also usually a backlink.

Backlinks are great for SEO, so this is a great way to start building your own SEO traffic strategy.

Guest posting can also be a really good way to build your network and make connections with other bloggers and creators in your niche. We have certainly built great and useful connections through guest posting.

But it’s not just about what you can get out of writing guest posts. It’s important to remember that guest posting should be mutually beneficial.

It’s also about what you can give — and the more value you give, the more this new audience and exposure will benefit you. This is your chance to put your best foot forward and showcase your best first impression on a new audience.

Why It’s Important and How It Affects SEO

The main benefit of guest posting beyond audience exposure is the backlink that we mentioned before.

Guest posting is a strategy used by many bloggers to help grow their blog and audience at a more accelerated pace.

You can absolutely build a successful blog without guest posting and sometimes it’s better to start with this strategy a little later.

It’s not that it’s not beneficial at the early stages, but it’s kind of like dieting and losing weight. You can hit the gym every day, but if you take the right steps to put a healthy diet in place first, your results will be much greater.

Guest posting on already-established websites can give a huge boost to your existing growth. The more credibility your blog already has, the more your traffic and overall reputation will continue to improve.

Those backlinks back to your website signal to search engines that your blog is a reputable source.

The more backlinks you have from high-quality sites, the better your blog will rank on Google, and the more likely people are to find your content when they search for terms related to your niche.

And as we mentioned before about building connections, you never know where those connections will take you.

Networking opens up doors to new business opportunities, affiliate marketing strategies, content and product promotion opportunities, additional guest posting opportunities, and so much more.

The Right Time to Start Guest Posting

The answer is a little complicated. You technically can start guest posting as soon as you launch a blog, and we wouldn’t ever consider getting a guest post opportunity a BAD move.

But, ideally, you should wait until you have at least a few really solid blog posts published. You need something for people to check out if that exposure pays off, right?

And more importantly… those backlinks… You should be building backlinks back to the posts on your own website.

These links should take a reader to your most important or best pieces of content. If someone enjoys your post on another platform, they will more than likely follow a link to your own site and check that article out.

Ideally, you get backlinks to the most important posts on your website — the ones that bring in subscribers, sales, or something else valuable to your growth.

Sometimes, it’s helpful to have these posts published for a while and to monitor their ranking. This can help you decide which backlinks to ask for and help you determine if your guest posting strategy is working.

You also want readers to go to your website and continue to enjoy what you’ve written enough to be a subscriber or become a more consistent reader.

As we like to tell our students in our course: begin with the end in mind.

It’s important to think about your blog like a business and create a plan for your guest posting strategy. Otherwise, you’re just writing blind and wasting your own time.

Most businesses make the majority of their money from their “staples” and blogs are no different. You will find that most bloggers make the majority of their money from 5-10 REALLY important blog posts even though they may have written hundreds of them.

You want to create that “staple” content and make sure not to spread your resources out too much so that those posts can get the attention and work they need to make you number one for those.

All of that being said, when you write guest posts, you should focus on promoting just 3-5 of your best posts that will help your business succeed.

Now that we have covered the basics, let’s dive a little deeper!

10-Step Guide for Maximizing Your Guest Posting Strategy

Use the following steps to find the right guest posting opportunities and maximize the success of your own guest posting strategy.

Step 1. Identify and write the most important content for your business as soon as possible.

This is the content that will make you money and help you succeed. It’s the “staple” content we just talked about.

Make sure you have a mix of content types, including:

  • How-to posts
  • Posts with lists
  • Product reviews
  • Guest posts from other bloggers in your niche

Letting others guest post on your blog is actually a great way to get started with guest posting and making those initial connections in your niche.

In addition to having a good mix of content on your website, it’s important to be able to identify what posts are going to actually affect your overall income.

There are two main ways that we do this.

1. Pay attention to what posts have the most buyer intent and are most important to your blog.

For example, if you had a gaming or tech blog focused specifically on laptops, one of your best or most essential posts would be “The best laptops for gaming”.

This post could potentially bring in thousands of dollars every month because:

  • Affiliate commissions are high on expensive products
  • People searching for this term are likely planning to purchase something (intent on buying)

If you can be the one to help them make an informed and sound decision, you will build trust and likely make a great sale.

Affiliate marketing is one of the best and easiest ways to monetize your blog posts if you have the right strategy behind it.

2. Look for the keywords in your niche that get the most traffic.

ubersuggest keyword research tool

It’s not just enough to think of ideas for a post like we just discussed above. You need to do some keyword research to see where your biggest potential lies related to the keywords you’re thinking about.

i.e. Your keywords could be “best laptops for gaming” OR “gaming laptops”.

This is important because writing a post with the potential for more traffic will help you bring in even more income.

Step 2: Determine your goals for guest blogging.

This is an important step because it will help you save time in the long run and help you avoid pulling yourself in too many directions.

Begin with the end in mind, remember?

You should ALWAYS have a purpose for what you’re writing or creating in your business. Period.

Do you want to use guest posting as a way to build relationships with other bloggers?

Do you want to use it as a way to get your name out there?

Do you want to use it as a link-building strategy for ranking your posts more and increasing your website’s overall credibility?

All of these are valid goals and they also impact how and why you write your guest posts, so it’s important to think about this.

Choose one or two main goals to focus on for each post so you can measure your success and determine what guest posts are actually going to be right for your blog.

Step 3: Find guest posting opportunities.

The next step after having your content written and getting clear on your guest posting goals is to start looking for guest posting opportunities.

There are a few ways you can do this:

1. Use Google to search for guest posting opportunities within your niche.

For example, if you have a lifestyle blog, you could use the following search terms:

  • Guest post lifestyle bloggers
  • Guest post opportunities for lifestyle bloggers
  • Accepting guest posts from lifestyle bloggers

This is perhaps the best and easiest method, although you may have to do some digging to find the right opportunity.

2. Check out other blogs in your niche to see if they have a guest post submission page or if they’ve published any guest posts recently.

This is another good option, especially if you can see that they are already posting guest posts on their blog. If you see that they are, send them an email.

3. Use platforms like Ahrefs to identify where competitors in your niche are guest posting.

Ahrefs referring domains for guest posting

Try and reach out to possibly provide your own guest post and see if they’re open to it.

This can definitely help you identify where some of the best potential opportunities lie, but be prepared for some competition.

If you’re writing to top blogs or websites with millions of views, your email is likely to get lost in the other 50+ they receive each day.

Still, it’s worth a look, especially if you’ve already built up some credibility and traffic on your own site.

4. Collaborate with other bloggers.

This is our favorite method because it helps you succeed in an otherwise very competitive space and build lasting relationships along the way.

Pay attention to other successful bloggers in your niche, collaborate when you can, help them unselfishly when you can, and hope they’ll try and do the same for you.

If there is an opportunity you are too busy to take, refer them. If there is something you have already done, but you know someone in your niche who deserves it, suggest them instead.

We have had countless guest posts come through people in our niche and community and they continue to refer us to other people and constantly help us grow our own presence.

Try taking the road of collaboration over competition and you might be surprised how much of an impact it can have on your business.

Step 4: Perfect your pitch.

Once you’ve found a few guest post opportunities that make sense for your blog, it’s time to start working on your pitch.

I almost hate calling it a pitch because it sounds overly salesly and often is — coming from someone who is on the receiving end of these pitches on a daily basis.

We don’t accept guest posts except in rare cases of collaboration as we just mentioned, so I delete 99.9% of the email pitches that I receive for this website.

I tell you this not to discourage you but to put things into perspective. Most people won’t respond to you but you’re looking for the few that will.

And working on a good pitch (because there really isn’t a better word for it) will only help you.

Your pitch should be short, sweet, and to the point. It should answer these three main questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you want?
  • What can you offer?

Anytime that you can also include some personal details in your pitch, you will greatly increase your odds of getting a response.

If you noticed on the blog it was their birthday a few days ago, mention that.

If they helped you in a Facebook group you’re in, bring that up.

The thing is… Many blogs worth posting on receive a lot of inquiries and most of those inquiries sound salesly and like they were written to send to 100 different people (because they were).

Don’t just use a run-of-the-mill quick copy-and-paste email or outreach. Take your time to try and really connect with the person you’re reaching out to and see if there’s any way you can help them as well.

Make sure your pitch is tailored specifically to each website or blog you’re reaching out to. Guest posting and email pitches aren’t a one-size-fits-all strategy.

Be personal, be yourself, and always remember what’s in it for them. It’s not just about you. In fact, as far as they are concerned, it’s not about you at all.

Step 5: Write high-quality content.

Preparation is key here, and if you have already done steps 1-4, you’re probably already better prepared than a lot of others.

First things first… Make sure that their submission guidelines are clear and that you follow them to the letter.

It’s amazing how many people skim over submission guidelines and then wonder why their guest post wasn’t accepted. It’s important to remember that when you’re guest posting, you are a GUEST on someone else’s website or blog.

Again, it’s not about you.

One of the best ways to crush your guest posting opportunities is simply to provide quality content.

Seems like a no-brainer, right? It should be but a lot of people suck at this one. They put in sub-par effort for blog posts that appear on other people’s blogs because they aren’t their own.

We’ve seen a lot of guest posts that are nothing more than fluff pieces or self-promotional garbage.

Sure, this might get you a quick backlink, if you’re lucky enough to actually get posted. But that backlink won’t be worth as much if it never gets clicked on, which is what will happen if you write sh*t content.

Backlinks are so much more powerful when they’re included in quality content that makes people want to click over to the original source of the content.

Google is watching and they know when you’ve posted bad or good content. They’re making a list, checking it twice (or 23947 times), and you’re not going to get on it.

santa not rank

Corniness aside… Be proud of the work that you’ve written. It takes more time but the results are far more rewarding, which saves you time in the long run.

And remember one of our favorite writing tipsYour piece isn’t about you or your business. It’s about the audience and how you can help them.

If you are sure to do these things, you will put yourself in a great position to work with some amazing blogs and websites that will help grow your own blog or website’s traffic, leads, and sales.

Step 6: Get in the right frame of mind for guest posting.

Let’s expand upon the last point that we just made. When you are guest posting, you should be thinking of the audience you are addressing.

What will they find value in and what information could you provide that may be missing in your niche?

Take the time to look at other guest posts on the site you’re writing for and consider asking if there are any specific guest posts that have performed really well that you can take a look at.

You should not be guest posting for the sole purpose of driving traffic back to your own site. If that is your only goal, you will likely not be guest posting for long.

Here are some words of wisdom that you’ll find in every single one of our courses and a common theme you’ll see in all of our content:

Focus on providing value and building connections with the person who is allowing you to post and their audience — first and foremost.

The traffic and sales will follow. We promise. This has served us VERY well in our journey to success.

Step 7: Know (and reassess) your worth and avoid wasted time.

When you first start blogging, anyone with a blog that has been around longer than yours is going to be an opportunity for you.

But at a certain point, you have to be aware of the law of diminishing returns and apply it here.

If you have 30,000 visitors a month, then guest posting on a site that has 3,000 probably won’t make a lot of sense.

It might be more valuable to just write that piece of content for your own blog and/or save it for when you can work with a business that will make that time and effort worthwhile.

Now, if you have other reasons or goals for an opportunity like that. For example, building a relationship with a smaller brand, that’s totally okay.

Just make sure that each opportunity that you find aligns with the goals we discussed earlier and be mindful of where and how you are spending your time.

We recommend using a platform like Ahrefs (paid tool) or Ubersuggest (which is paid and free) to get an idea of whether it is worth it or not to collaborate with another blog or business.

If they get a lot of traffic or have a high domain rating, then you know it will be a good opportunity for your business.

Step 8: Be organized and overdeliver.

Now, I won’t repeat what I just said about delivering value first. This step will likely come more naturally to you if you are already following steps 1-6.

But just make sure to always ask yourself how you can make your content better. Is there something missing? Look at other places that have published a piece of content like the one you’re going to submit.

Is it better than yours? Did you provide more value? Do you think you would want it on the front page of your successful online business?

If not, keep working at it until you have something that you are confident in and that you KNOW will crush it. Consider adding images, infographics, or even videos where it makes sense, although you might want to ask if it’s okay first.

Make sure to also write a really solid bio about yourself to give to the website owner (if it’s permitted).

Overdelivering also means managing expectations. Don’t miss deadlines or not answer questions they have.

Guest posting is a business transaction, even if money hasn’t been exchanged. Value is still being exchanged.

Act professionally and take the opportunity seriously and you’ll more than likely have much more success with your strategy.

Step 9: Share your guest post.

If your guest post is as awesome as we told you to make it and also related to your niche, your current audience should also love it, right?

If your guest post is relevant to your audience, share it with them!

It’s extra exposure and a chance to send more great content their way. Send out an email to your audience or share it on social media or other platforms.

Many website owners will let you know when your guest post is live and also provide you with a link. They usually do this in hopes that you WILL share it to increase the exposure.

It’s a great way to say thank you to the website owner for giving you the opportunity.

Step 10: Track your results.

The cool thing about SEO is that there are SO many awesome SEO tools that you can use to help you build and grow your strategy.

Our favorite two tools that we personally use are Ahrefs and Surfer SEO. They are both paid tools but pay for themselves with the value that they bring to our SEO strategy.

Screenshot of Surfer SEO home page

A couple of other great options are Ubersuggest (free, limited option available) and SEMrush.

These tools can help you monitor how your posts are doing and whether your strategy is working as a whole. Monitor their performance and consider reaching out if you think you can provide a valuable update.

You can use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to watch your own posts and pages you’re promoting with guest posting and try and determine over the course of six months to a year if you think those efforts are worth it.

Data is everything, and if you’re not monitoring your results, you will never know what is and isn’t working.

Final Thoughts

Guest posting is a great way to get your blog in front of a new audience, build relationships with other bloggers, and grow your business.

It’s a tool we think every good blogger should have in their toolbox, but it’s also not always the easiest.

Finding good opportunities and fostering good connections takes work, but it’s really worth it for the right guest-posting opportunities!

If you’re ready to take your blog or SEO strategy to the next level, consider guest posting. Just remember to follow the steps we outlined above and you’ll be on your way to guest-posting success.

For further reading, check out these popular articles:

Also, what are your thoughts on guest posting? Have you tried it? Let us know in the comments below!