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Guest Posting [Ultimate Guide]

Guest-Posting-Ultimate-guide

This is the first in a new series I’m starting on “Ultimate Guides”. The goal is to provide a fresh and comprehensive look on an often times stale topic. If you like what you see please subscribe to my blog, share this article via Twitter or link to it from you blog.

Why you should guest post:

Guest posting is one of the best free ways to drive traffic, get new subscribers and free links. In fact this is one strategy I’ve used on this blog a lot and I’ve shown my traffic graphs below, but before we get to that I want to cover the basics and essential knowledge you should know to make the most from guest posting. By guest posting you can get the following for free:

Traffic: Without traffic you can’t get visitors to your blog and in turn make money. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend setting up your blog because at the end of the day if you don’t have traffic you have nothing.
Subscribers: When new visitors come to your blog you have the opportunity to turn these visitors into subscribers. These subscribers are the people that will comment on your blog, become your true fans and help spread your message to their friends.
Links: The links you get from guest posting are used to help improve your search engine rankings. You often get a choice of a free link back to your own blog with your desired anchor text within the content of the blog post.

Bloggers like guest posts because it’s free content for them from a fresh perspective. The readers get to see something in a style not usually offered by the primary blogger and used correctly guest posts can help breathe new life into an established blog. The guest blogger in return gets free traffic, free subscribers and a free link. Win Win!

How to find blogs to guest post for:

Guide Update: I always felt this section was a little weak and that finding blogs to guest post on manually was too slow, so I had Guest Post Hunter built which allows you to find blogs to guest post on much faster.

Watch the demo video here

Here’s the older slower methods…

Know Your Niche: If you haven’t reached out to other bloggers in your niche start doing it now. I probably know 30 other bloggers in my niche both large and small. I make it a habit to follow their blogs so that I can see their style of writing and adjust my writing style to better fit their audience when I submit a guest post. But first, I contacted them via email to get to know them (without being annoying) or I start commenting on their blog. I never lead out with a request to guest post without having gotten to know the person behind the blog first.
Google Search: Another source is to simply search in Google for related blogs using the keywords you’re targeting and look at the blogs that come up in the search results. Visit these blogs and then look for a phrase like “Write for us” or “Become an Author” and start interacting with them via an intro email and/or blog commenting (more on why and how I do this later).

How to write posts that get published:

Spending a lot of time writing a guest post only to have it denied is the last thing you want to do so in order to avoid that I’ve outlined some general principles you should keep in mind while writing a guest post.

Tips for Success:

Write unique high value content that hasn’t been shared on the target blog before
Follow the same format the target blog uses for their posts (i.e. Do they use an h1 tag, h2 tag or no tag, bullets and/or numbered lists, bold text and/or italics, certain number of images etc.)
Send the post via email in a .txt file that is pre-formatted so the author can simply copy and publish
Use a closing byline that gets people to click through to your blog – Pitch yourself! i.e.

If you have interacted with the author before sending in your guest post they are more likely to remember you and less likely to turn you down. Even if you have spoken to the author before it’s crucial that you keep your email pitch to the point. Some authors will get back to you within a couple hours and others can take weeks. I usually wait at least 10 days before sending a follow up request for an answer.

Real example guest post pitch email:

This is the exact email I sent to Darren Rowse and he in turn agreed to publish the guest post on Problogger.net June 7th. This specific guest post pitch email was longer than most that I send because it was on a topic that was time specific as Amazon was running deals on Father’s day starting June 7th. (Usually my emails are about half that length)

How to get the most from your guest post:

There are some key elements that are crucial to provide the best results from your guest post:

Write Amazing Content: I’ve said this before but it needs to be said again. If you want to get more traffic and subscribers you must write unique amazing content that almost forces the reader to want to find out more about you. For many of the readers this will be the first time they’ve heard of you so be sure to make a good impression.
Link To Your Own Content (Only When Applicable!!!): Most bloggers don’t like to publish guest posts that include self promotion, so if you do try and promote yourself within the guest post only do so when it helps to better tell the story (i.e. see the links in the first paragraph of the Problogger.net guest post).
Write A Strong Byline: I’ve also said this before but it’s important enough to repeat. The byline is your last chance to get the reader to come through and visit your blog. Even if your article was amazing people still need to be convinced that it’s worth the time to check out your blog. If you don’t write a strong byline you’ll get significantly lower results.
Respond to Comments: If you don’t respond to the comments on your guest post than you miss out on an opportunity to connect personally with the readers that took the time out to comment on your post. I make it a habit to reply to any comment where a question is asked or if I need to help clarify some point to the reader (i.e. see my comments in this post as an example)
Welcome New Visitors To Your Blog: I use the WordPress plugin What Would Seth Godin Do to provide a welcome message to new visitors. It only displays once but I link to some of my best content and briefly tell my background and why they should subscribe to my blog. For guest posts that go live on huge blogs I’ve also done a “best of my blog” post to do an even better job of getting brand new visitors to subscribe.

My Guest Posting Results:

Now after reading my guide you may be wondering how well guest posting has been working out for me. Well, I’ve taken a sampling of some of the bigger blogs and smaller blogs I’ve written guest posts for and shared them below along with the traffic they sent. I also calculated the “Engagement Ratio” (as I like to call it) which is the total number of visitors divided by the total number of RSS subscribers over a 2 week period. Some of the big blogs didn’t send as much traffic as I thought they would but this could be because the guest post I shared wasn’t as good as the one I shared on another blog or any other reason. It’s impossible to draw the conclusion that one blog is better than the other because there are too many variables to factor in, but regardless it’s still interesting data worth sharing:

Traffic Graphs:

5 Symptoms of Blog Failure published on FamousBloggers.net March 29th when the blog had 838 RSS readers


Engagement Ratio: 5.72%

Why I won’t follow everyone on Twitter published on BlogGoDown.com March 26th when the blog had 1951 RSS readers


Engagement Ratio: 3.02%

Is your bounce rate killing your blog? published on JohnChow.com April 14th when the blog had 77,102 RSS readers


Engagement Ratio: .07% Yikes! In all fairness though the article should have been better and I didn’t link to myself very well (I also think a ton of these RSS readers are actually newsletter subscribers)

You’re a full time blogger, now what? published on DavidRisley.com April 29th when the blog had 12,239 RSS readers


Engagement Ratio: .4% Like JohnChow I believe many of his RSS subscribers are actually newsletter subscribers and perhaps my article just didn’t resonate well with his audience?

The Simplest Way to Create Unique Content published on SmartPassiveIncome.com June 2nd when the blog has 6,755 RSS readers


Engagement Ratio: 5.79% Very nice, thanks Pat!

Why you need a blogging business plan published on MaxBlogPress.com/maxblogger/ June 5th when I was told the blog had 70,000 email subscribers (no counter on the website)


Engagement Ratio: .67% Fairly low ratio, but the sheer numbers make it a worthy guest post

How to Make Money on Every Holiday published on Problogger.net June 7th when the blog had 130,000 RSS readers


Engagement Ratio: .3% These results were also lower than I expected, perhaps the primary audience doesn’t care to make money via Amazon’s affiliate network? I think they should reconsider. I do know again in this situation many of the RSS reader numbers are newsletter subscribers. Still worth it though of course.

Closing Thoughts:

The traffic, new subscribers and brand exposure brought about by guest posting can be huge if performed correctly. What I shared above is just a small sampling of the results from guest posts I’ve published so far this year and I still plan to do more in the future. I also think it could make for an interesting case study follow up to guest post on the same blogs again and see how the engagement ratio changes. In either case, I hope this helps you in your guest posting efforts and if you did find this interesting I’d love for you to take the time to retweet this article, link to it from your blog or share it with your friends. Lastly, you should subscribe to my blog – but only if you want more awesome tips not shared on my blog.

Oh, and did I forget you should follow me on Twitter too? Well, you should.

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45 comments… add one

  1. Snap! I wrote about guest posting this week too and have also had a guest post on Problogger. Copyblogger can net you a few lovely new readers too. They have a top blog posts thing on the right of their blog and my post sat at the top of that for a while which kept people coming to my blog for weeks after the post was first published.

    Go Chris Go! Lovely to meet you:)
    .-= Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot´s last blog ..How to Score a Guest Post on a Top Blog =-.

    Reply
    1. Hey Annabel that’s great news. I actually was reading your post on Problogger yesterday and then stopped by your blog. Will be back again :D

      Reply
      1. It was meant to be:) Funny how once you bump into someone online somewhere you notice their name popping up all over the place!
        .-= Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot´s last blog ..How to Score a Guest Post on a Top Blog =-.

        Reply
    2. I loved both posts! I guess I’m the real winner here. I think that you both had dynamic approaches. I mean there is a little overlap but that just means that’s where the successes are. Chris I liked your use of Google Key Word searching and your presentation of the results. I guess Financially Digital and I have some work to do now – the “get on my guest post” bug has officially bitten and is now being scratched :)
      .-= Nunzio Bruno´s last blog ..Epic Foreshadowing And Things To Come =-.

      Reply
  2. Hey Chris,

    Thanks for sharing this. I also like the idea of guest posting, in fact I’ve already made 4 guest posts in other blogs and I really had an excellent result when it comes to traffic and adding subscribers to my list. Good thing that you also brought responding to the reader’s comments., That’s very important to make the post more interactive, fun and lively.

    cheers

    Gary

    Reply
    1. Indeed, and I’ve found that that also gets more traffic back as you can tell by my results from posting 13 comments on Pat’s blog smartpassiveincome.com via my guest post.

      Thanks for coming by Gary!

      Reply
      1. You’re welcome Chris. I’ll look forward to your future valuable and useful posts.

        Cheers!

        Gary

        Reply
        1. I have done a lot of guest posting in the past. I find that it is best to post on blogs which don’t have guest posts too often. The readers are more likely to follow your profile links back to your site… In my experience at least.

          Of course it is also much harder to get posts published in such blogs…

          Reply
      2. Hey Chris – if you do a guest post does the blogger set it up so you can get notice of any comments on the post or do you manually go back and look yourself? I guess after you do one you can subscribe to the comments but how do you get the first one?

        Thanks
        Darlene

        Reply
        1. I just ask the blogger to email me when it’s published and then I just check the article a few hours later.

          Reply
  3. Hi Chris,

    Great article. It’s good to see that you have a strategy about what you’re wanting to achieve from guest posting, and you’ve thought through where you want to focus your efforts. I especially love that you’re tracking your results. It’s interesting that you got a good success rate from Pat’s blog, but not from John’s or Darren’s. It’s hard to track the reasons though – is it because the article didn’t appeal to the audience, does your last paragraph on the posts sell your value enough or are there other reasons?

    Allan

    Reply
    1. Hey Allan yes those are some good questions I’ve asked myself and I will adjust any future blog posts based on some of my assumptions. In fact, perhaps the post about making money would have been better on John Chow’s blog because of his type of crowd and my post about bounce rate may have been better on Darren’s blog? In either case it’s good to just get your feet wet with guest blogging :)

      Reply
  4. Hi Chris, you mentioned writing this post before and I was looking forward to it. It really is the ultimate guide to guest posting, and I’m sure you’ll get a lot of links back to it!

    The only thing I would add that has increased my chances of getting approved by blog authors significantly is to provide a couple of links to writing samples in the form of OTHER guest posts you’ve written (your best, obviously). Yaro Starak named that as one of the reasons why he accepted my guest post… and I noticed most guest authors on his blog were members of his coaching program (I was not).

    I really like the ‘short synopsis’ idea though, so I’ll definitely use that in my future pitches.

    Thanks a lot for sharing your traffic stats. I received similar traffic levels from a couple blogs I’ve also guested for (Bloggodown and Pat Flynn’s SPI–btw, I can’t believe how much traffic I got from Pat’s blog!). I was also surprised that you got a better response from Pat’s blog than Darren’s.

    Thanks again for sharing this awesome resource Chris, I’ll surely direct my subscribers and visitors here if they have any questions about guest posting.

    It has been one of my single best sources of traffic since I launched my blog, so anyone who is blogging and isn’t guest posting… START NOW!
    .-= Jonathan Beebe´s last blog ..How to Really Improve Your FREE Offer =-.

    Reply
    1. Hey Jonathan, thanks again for your comments you consistently offer a great perspective when sharing your comments and I’m glad you chimed in here as well. I think that the writing samples idea is a good one for sure. I’ll definitely use the links to some of the bigger blogs I’ve guest posted on with my pitches to larger blogs (thanks for the tip!)

      Reply
  5. Great post Chris, good to see specific results and specifics on how you go about your guest posting.

    Definately an exciting traffic source and still very underrated i think. I will be sending anyone who wants to know about guest posting here!

    ~James Dyson
    .-= James Dyson´s last blog ..Why You’re Crazy If You’re Not Using Upsells In Your Business =-.

    Reply
    1. Hey James thanks for stopping by and yes I agree that people still don’t really use it as much (probably because of the time it takes to do it).

      Reply
  6. By far the most surprising thing was the lack of traffic from John Chow. I would have put that much higher, I thought his site had a very loyal following.

    But, there is no doubt that guest posts can bring in some traffic and the backlink authority is very high.

    Problogger is rather low too considering the amount of followers.

    I would have thought many readers there would be interesting in earning from Amazon. Interesting stuff.
    .-= Dave´s last blog ..Buying Keywords: What Are Buying Keywords =-.

    Reply
    1. Hey Dave, yah I specifically sent that post to Darren because of his past posts on Amazon.com’s affiliate program. I looked at the posts before and after mine on his blog and mine actually got the least comments and retweets (doh!)

      Reply
  7. Hey Chris,

    This post is really helpful – I’ve only done one guest post previously, but I plan to do more in the near future. I like how you shared one of your actual “pitch” emails, and it’s cool that you’ve had the opportunity to guest post for many of these high profile blogs. As a side note, I’m a bit shocked that a very high traffic blog like John Chow’s sent you such little traffic.

    Keep up the good work, and I’d love to exchange guest posts sometime if we could find topics that fit both of our blogs.

    - Eric
    .-= Eric | My 4-Hour Workweek´s last blog ..Making Money with Twitter – Review of Sponsored Tweets =-.

    Reply
    1. Yah I’m still confused as to why John Chow’s results were so low but I think it just comes down to poor linking from my own post and the fact that it wasn’t the best topic for his readers.

      Reply
  8. Chris, this is an AMAZING post. I’m not a heavy guest poster, but from looking at those stats that you posted up, I’m getting a strong impression that constantly guest posting can really stack up!

    The truth is that the percentages can be ridiculously low (like .3% :(), but adding those numbers up, you could have exposed your blog to potentially 1467 new viewers and I think that’s awesome!

    So, now I follow that contact form above and send you an email like the one you showed me, right? ;)
    .-= Static | ahnternet´s last blog ..Setting Daily Advertising Goals =-.

    Reply
    1. Yah sometimes the effort doesn’t pay off but the secondary benefit is the links that are sent to my blog though. So I believe everything weighted together can add up to an effective tool worth implementing (as long as you have a clear strategy of what to do with the readers once they come to your blog). Hah hah – yes you should send in a guest post. I haven’t really set out to ask for guest posts but if I do publish any I will almost require that they come via case study format or show off some type of real life results (no fluff allowed :D)

      Reply
  9. Really great and detailed guide Chris!

    What makes this post more unique is you breaking down the number of traffic these blogs sent you.

    I have written over 160 guest posts this year but I haven’t been trying big blogs (and i will begin to do that now).
    Expect a guest post from me soon :)

    Thanks a lot for the great post,
    -Onibalusi

    Reply
    1. BTW: I just read your post from my computer, I think the traffic was as a result of your post, maxblogpress sent me far more than that and maybe you should also note your overall increase in traffic that day because I discovered many of their readers would copy and paste your URL in their browser instead of visiting through your byline.

      Thanks a lot,
      -Onibalusi
      .-= Onibalusi Bamidele´s last blog ..21 Powerful Ways to Make Money Online =-.

      Reply
  10. Great Findings. A must see for every blogger. I am happy that engagement ratio is better than probloggers. Now, I have to just get as much traffic as he gets
    .-= Gautam Hans @ Blog Godown´s last blog ..How to build trust in your Blog? =-.

    Reply
  11. Killer post !

    You are right, it’s quite a long mail you sent to Darren, but the topic itself is quite remarkable, and that’s one of the reason he published it.

    I also luv the way so you display your stats. Lol, I have never seen that before.

    Reply
    1. Thanks Mars. Yah, I prefer to show examples of the things I discuss on this blog when doing so helps people better learn the information I share :)

      It also helps to build credibility too. Who wants to read a guide on guest posting if there is no documented evidence showing what the author writes actually works? :D

      Reply
  12. This post (and style) look very familiar ;)

    Reply
    1. I just read your post after seeing it mentioned on smartpassiveincome.com and I agree there are some similarities, but if you’re suggesting I copied you then that would be disappointing (I’m pretty sure this is what you are suggesting, but I’d still like to hear what you have to say as a response).

      This topic has been beaten to death and so my goal was to write something that would be a resource where someone completely new could look at it, take what I’d learned and apply it to their niche. I also wanted to show real numbers from my experiences of guest posting so I figured that explaining how and why I chose to guest post and then the results of my efforts would be well received. This is a format I’ll be using in the future when discussing a topic in a comprehensive fashion (who wouldn’t explain all the ins and outs of something if you’re going for comprehensive?).

      In any case, my goal is to create numerous free comprehensive guides on entry level blogging and internet marketing topics that are helpful for beginners (I’ve found based on the emails and comments I’m getting that most people are still struggling to earn money online). My next topic is on Blog Commenting and I plan to do one or two guides per month.

      Perhaps if I had already done several topics and then eventually did guest posting you wouldn’t think that I was copying you. In any case, I wasn’t and I’m sorry if you think that I was.

      Reply
  13. Hi Chris!
    I just found your website through SmartPassiveIncome.com and this guide to guest posting was just what I’ve been looking for! Thanks so much for the tips – this is great info for someone who is new to guest posting. :)

    Reply
    1. Thanks Jess let me know how it goes for you :D

      Reply
  14. hi chris how we can find another website who provide feature guest posting thx please reply thx a lot ^^

    Reply
    1. Have you already tried Google / the other methods I described?

      Reply
  15. Sorry Chris but you have blatantly copied exactly what Glen Allsopp has put on his blog… and you deny it. Good Job!

    Reply
    1. Hmmm, so because he wrote about guest posting before me I’m not allowed to write about it? Yah that makes sense.

      Reply
  16. Chris,

    I’m a new reader but have read Glen’s guest posting article and still got much value from yours as well. Thanks for writing this. One question that I have for you is how many of those guest post visitors would you estimate you converted into subscribers. I think this is helpful for planning sake.

    Reply
    1. It’s really tough to say because if you’re truly going all out with blog promotion often times you’ll have things overlap. But I do know those visitors spent more time on my site so odds are they also have a better chance of subscribing as well.

      Reply
      1. I’m relatively new to guest posting but have had three come out in the last 30 days. I am having things overlap though, so I get your point about it being hard to tease out. Thanks for the help.

        Reply
  17. I like the use of tracking, never did that when I did my guest posting, but I’d say it has been the most worthwhile activity for increasing traffic from link juice, and direct traffic from the blogs I’ve posted on. How many guest posts have you done for this site?

    Reply
    1. Probably only like a dozen, but I had plans to do even more; however, I always end up getting busy lol…

      Reply
  18. Guest posting is by far the best way to get traffic, backlinks and most importantly network with other bloggers on your niche but it’s difficult to get your posts accepted by bloggers with high traffic if you just send emails randomly so it is very important to comment on these blogs regularly and network as you said before sending your guest posts

    Reply
  19. As a regular reader of some blogs I’ve noticed that guest posting works wonderfully for bloggers. The uniqueness of this technique is that it shares information with the readers at the same time promotes ones blog as well. Also, while some guest posters interact with he commenters, some never interacts which I feel is negative.

    Reply
  20. Thanks for this great information, but i wish you could share how exactly to find a good authority blogs from guest posting .. thank you

    Reply
  21. Thanks for this article Chris, you write in a way that noobs to blogging like myself can understand and follow through on the advice. Guest posting is part of my strategy for the blogs I’m starting up, appreciate the effort you go to with your articles.

    Reply
  22. Great guide, Chris! I learned a few things I never knew before, so that’s always good.

    Reply

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