Guest Blogging: Getting Gigs
Guest blogging has some real benefits. You gain exposure to a new audience, you get a high-quality backlink, and you can increase your authority and visibility on line. In return, the site for which you guest gets high quality content for free.
What’s not to like?
Getting the gigs is the part that takes some effort. There are guest blogging sites where you can sign up, but my experience with them has not been encouraging. I prefer to guest blog for sites that are a step up in stature from mine, or from that of the client for whom I’m blogging. Here are the steps I take:
1. Find the sites you want to write for.
Right now, we’re looking for sites where we can write good things about furniture management and upcycling used office furniture for sustainability. The first step is a search for sites on the subject that accept guest blog posts. Here are some searches that turn up good results — just substitute the subject you want to write about:
- guest blogging guidelines “used office furniture”
- guest blogger “facilities management”
- guest post “green business”
I figure a site that already accepts guest blog posts might accept one from me, and one with guidelines is likely to have higher standards — plus I can save time by knowing just what they want. I’ll use lots of different searches because I know I can write anything from “A Businesswoman’s Guide to Choosing Used Office Furniture” to “How Upcycled Cubicles Lead to LEED Certification,” but you can be very specific and still find lots of options.
I visit the sites and find the ones that are of the quality I want. If there are excessive ads, poorly written posts, or other bad signs, I don’t consider them. If I’m not sure, I’ll run them through a quick website grader to get a fast sense of how trustworthy they are. Obviously, I go with the best ones first.
I read enough to know the kind of material they publish. I get lots of guest posts offered to me which are not really for my audience, and I don’t consider them, so I figure other webmasters feel the same way. The I look for instructions for guest bloggers.
Here’s a site which has a clear set of instructions and guidelines:
When there are instructions, I follow them precisely.
Here’s a site that doesn’t have posted guidelines, though I can see that they accept guest blog posts:
If there are no instructions, I find the contact information, and I make a strong effort to find the name of a person I can write to.
2. Send a query.
Some bloggers write a post and then shop it around, but I want the best value for my clients, so I query first. You should be upfront with your query: this is basically a link request, and the person receiving the request knows that. On the other hand, you’re offering them something of value — good free content. You don’t have to be shy.
The precise approach you’ll take should depend on the situation. You’re writing to a human being, and form letters are never as appealing as something written directly to someone. Make it short and clear.
Subject: Guest Blog Post Proposal
Your blog has so much great information about how start-ups can save money, I’m surprised you haven’t written about upcycling used cubicles yet. Companies can save as much as 70% while doing something good for the environment. We’d like to write an article for you on this subject.
Below you’ll find links to articles our team has written on similar subjects so you can see the quality of our writing, but we would write your post entirely for you, with your readers in mind.
- [links to great published posts and articles]
Thank you for considering this proposal!
[real name and website]
3. Write a great post.
A couple of times I’ve accepted an offer for a guest post on the basis of excellent links, and then had delivered to me a poor quality post by a junior team member rather than the writer I enjoyed reading. Don’t do that. Send your best. Send it as a MSWord file, since most people can open those, and make sure that your link is at the end, in an author note, rather than in the body of your post. Never send a “spun” article, or something you’ve published elsewhere.
4. Once it’s published, promote it.
Tweet the article, link to it at your own website, and generally spread the word. It’s good for your visibility and for the visibility of the blog where you’re guesting.
Be sure to put plenty of great content at your own website first, by the way. Your content does you the most good on your own website, and of course you want people to find great stuff there when they click through from your guest post.