Guest posting is the cornerstone of high quality, modern day link building. Writing emails to blog owners is time consuming and can reap little reward if you’re not doing it right. But if you’re doing it like a pro then you could be achieving over 50% response rate to your guest blog requests.
Target the right sites
There’s little point in spending days emailing every single blog on the internet. It’s the filtering and fine tuning that plays one of the biggest parts in better response rates. Below are some criteria that you can use to fine tune your list of prospects:
Target blogs that state they are looking for guest posts. Sounds like a no-brainer but worth covering this point in case any rookies are reading.
That said, sometimes you’ll come across a blog that’s so complimentary to your own site that you’ll just ask for a guest post anyway to chance your arm. Mostly this won’t pay off so avoid it as a general rule of thumb.
There are three great ways to find blogs accepting guest posts.
The first is to scrape a list using Scrape Box. For example if looking for mobile phone tech sites, set Scrape Box to ’Platforms’ ensuring all blog platforms are ticked and search queries like
- inurl:“Keyword” + intitle:”write for us”
In the example above, remember to replace ‘Keyword’ with a word or phrase that you expect to find in the domain name of the blog.
In other words use very broad words that are commonly used in blog domain names. For example if you wanted to find mobile phone related blogs you’d use words like tech and mobile because these words are commonly incorporated into brand names of a lot of these blogs.
Below are a few other search queries that you can use to find blogs not necessarily specific to your niche but that already have some content related to your keyword. In each example below insert a Keyword that you’d expect to find in the heading of a typical guest posts related to your niche.
- Keyword + intitle:“write for us”
- Keyword + intitle:“contribute to”
- Keyword + intitle:“submit” + inurl:blog
Use PR as a metric
Most SEO people will tell you that DA is the best metric and I would have to agree. But when it comes to scraping lists of sites you’ll want to narrow your results quickly. Scrape Box only lets your sort by PR. As a general guide I would say you should target sites between PR3 and PR7.
Any less and they’re hardly worth writing a great article for. Any more, and it’s highly unlikely that they’ll even give you the time of day.
Another method is to explore your competitor’s back link profiles using Majestic SEO or similar back link analysis tool. You’ll find that some of your competitors have got lots of links through guest blogging.
Blogs that have already published guest posts from your competitors are quite likely to accept guest posts from you.
Use Guest Blogging Platforms
Last but not least you can join guest blogging platforms. Don’t’ worry, I’m not suggesting you’re going to find great prospects listed in any of these crappy platforms because most sites listed here are fairly new with low PR. But there is another sneaky method that you can use with great success.
If you sign up to some of these guest blogging sites as a person looking to both submit and accept submissions of guest posts you actually get approached by people who are soliciting links on high PR sites. Yes there are people who actually make a living from finding websites accepting guest posts and unearthing corrupt contributors to major news sites. They then try to sell posts on these sites to you and me.
These guest post brokers usually hang out in guest blogging platforms looking to do buisiness with people who need links. They contact you to try and sell guest posting, sometimes charging in excess of $50 per published post.
Once you have a copy of their blog list all you need to do is approach all the webmasters directly yourself. You’ll probably find that an overwhelming majority are happy to accept guest posts from you at no cost if you can make a good pitch.
A word of caution would be to always check to ensure that sites you are interested in, are in fact indexed in Google and have a natural back link profile. The reason being that sometimes they have been spammed to bits by SEOs who are trying to build spammy link pyramids.
You can easily check a back link profile in Majestic SEO. It takes no more than two seconds. Discover how below.
Just take a look at Majestic’s link profile graph. It’s a square picture with a diagonal line going through it and some pink dots. You’ll notice that natural profiles comprise of lots of pink dots in a flame-like shape going diagonally upwards form the left bottom corner towards the top right corner with the concentration gradually weakening.
Unnatural link profiles typically have the larger concentration of dots right along the bottom of the graph.
Think outside the box.
Sometimes it’s easier to get guest posts published on sites that are not in your niche but are still closely related to your topic.
You don’t need to focus exclusively on finding blogs in your own niche. With a little creative thinking you could discover opportunities from other niches. For example why not target business and SME blogs where you could submit articles about your experiences building your business. Or why not explore your niche from a stocks and shares perspective and target finance blogs. Your imagination really is the only limit.
Know what sites to avoid
Avoid Personal blogs. These are typically maintained by one person who often writes in the first person. These guys don’t feel compelled to produce great content every week as blogging is more of a hobby to them. They typically have a small dedicated audience. It doesn’t make sense to guest post on a personal blog because their audience expects all posts be come from them but these guys are very often the best candidates for link bribing cough* (if you’re into that kind of thing).
Target the right people
So you’ve already compiled a great list of relevant sites that are accepting guest posts. Now you need to contact the right person to pitch your idea to.
Some blogs have a list of writers and editors with their names and email addresses. I suggest approaching an editor where possible. For those blogs that don’t, you can use Whois information to find the name of the person who registered the domain and is in most cases the owner.
Once you know the name of the individual you wish to target it’s normally quite easy to find their email address.
All you do is first find the email of any person at the blog and then replace their name with that of the person you want to approach while using the same convention. For example if you wanted to contact Matt Cutts from Google and you knew that one of his colleagues’ email addresses was Jenkins.tim@Google.com then it would stand to logic that Matt’s email address would be firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you can’t find anyone’s email address on the blog itself, then try using an advanced search query in Google. For example you want Rank Fishkin’s email address from Moz. Use the following query to find the email address of anyone from Moz.
- “@seomoz.org” “email”
You’ll notice in this instance I used Moz’s old domain name because they would have set up all their email addresses before their recent big re-brand to moz.com.
The search query actually turns up email@example.com so we know that this is Rand’s email. It appeared on a bunch of sites. Poor guy must get spammed to bits.
But what if we wanted to know the email of Sarah Bird, Moz’s CEO? Well, based on Rand’s email, we’d assume that her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use common sense
You don’t always need to email the website owner. In most cases where a blog is looking for guest posters they set up a process for you to follow. For example if you wanted to write for Moz you wouldn’t need to email Rand or Sarah. You would only need to apply using their dedicated page here.
Be an expert
When you’re emailing bloggers with guest post requests, tell them what they want to hear. Be mindful that bloggers generally don’t want articles by SEOs. They want articles by experts in their field. So you need to be an expert in your field or at least pretend to be one.
I know it’s hard to be an expert when your client sells some weird service you can’t even understand but that’s the name of the game. Learn your client’s product inside out. Salesmen cannot sell something they don’t understand. The same goes for SEOs.
To come across as an expert, you’ll really need to know your product/service inside out and radiate an enthusiasm and confidence about subject through your email.
Be fluent in English
If you’re targeting English speaking blogs it is always worth mentioning that you are from England or the US. No offence meant, but with English language blogs, nobody wants articles from a writer whose first language isn’t English. We’ve all been there and 9 out of 10 times it’s bad news.
Keep it casual and fun
Make your email sound casual and fun. Here is an example of a crap guest post proposal that I actually received for one of my blogs:
“I’m Chris, a professional Blogger. I would love to contribute to your Blog! I would like to give you a unique informative article of around 450 words on Gadgets and Technology Topics”.
Does this guy sound like he has something great to write about? No. He sounds shite. Needless to say I ignored it. I’ll be posting a full example of what you should write here soon. If you’re not a regular reader its fine. But I recommend you sign up to my newsletter if you don’t want to miss it.
Can you even write?
Always cite the top well-known blogs you have written for in the past. If you wrote for Examiner even once, that makes you a writer for Examiner – why not.
If you haven’t written for any well-known blogs then don’t worry, just mention the best that you have written for.
There’s no need to link to every article from within the email. It’s more important you just link to articles that are well written, researched and relevant to the article topic that you’re proposing to write for.
Very important also is spelling and grammar. Just one misspelled word or poorly constructed sentence in your short email will make blog owners question your competency in writing a whole article.
Who are you?
A social profile in your email footer is a good idea.
It allows blog owners to see what you’re really about, discover your previous guest posts and delve into the content that you deem share-worthy. So it’s important to have an active social profile that gives the right impression. If you havnt got one, set one up now. Just look at the profiles of some revered bloggers in your niche and loosely copy them.
One in every 5 posts you share on social should be written by you. The other four should be great articles by other writers that you deemed to be interesting because the content is relevant to your subject matter.
Make sure you don’t have a public email address. When I get a guest post request from a Hotmail or Gmail address I know it’s from either a complete amateur or and SEO agency.
On the other hand, if I get an email from an address associated with a private domain I tend to check out the website or blog on that domain to see what it’s about. If I find a company website or blog focused on a niche similar to mine it proves that the person requesting a guest post from me, actually is an expert in his field, and not just another time waster.
So if you do work for an SEO agency then ask your client if you can set yourself up an email address on his domain. Most clients don’t have a problem with as long as you sell them the benefits.
Always ensure that the name in your email address tallies up with that in your social profile.
There are lots of online resources on NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming). You can utilise some of these subtly in your approach to guest blogging.
It would take me a whole other post to explain in detail how to go about implementing NLP into your guest blogging. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do soon. Please follow me on facebook or sign up to the newsletter to get updates on when this post goes live.
Don’t waste time
Time is money and you don’t want to waste your time writing individual emails for each blog you approach for a guest posting opportunity.
The trick is to write an email template for each campaign. From here you simply personalise a small number of variables in each proposition.
Variables within your email that you might want to consider personalising in your email at a minimum are:
- The name of the person you are addressing with your email
- The web address or brand name of the target blog
- The reference to a pre-existing post on the target blog that you really liked. This should be similar in topic to the one that you’re proposing
If you plan on including NLP in your email you’ll end up with more variables than this.
I suggest keeping a list of target blogs and their unique variables in an Excel sheet so you can just copy paste as you go to semi-automate the whole process.
The more unique variables you use the more personalised your email will be. But the bottom line means finding a careful balance between time and value.
You can use automated mass mailer tools too to do your bidding if you wish. If you go this route I would suggest ensuring that the system you use can be programmed to dynamically customise each email based on the three variables bulleted above at the very least. I know Market Samurai’s Mass mailer allows for dynamic variables but it’s somewhat complex.
Personally I don’t use mass mailers for this kind of stuff so I can’t really say much more about them. What I do know though, is that by manually doing this work you can reach blog owners that a mass mailer system cannot.
Mass mailers rely on a predetermined list of email addresses which are usually scraped from websites. Scraping email address can mean you miss some golden opportunities because many blog owners don’t publish their email address on their website. Those that do usually disguise it by replacing the ‘@’ symbol with ‘AT’ or ‘[at]’ or some other variation, which basically stops scrapers from identifying and harvesting that address.
As a human you can decipher an email address even when the ‘@’ symbol is missing. Therefor you’ll be able to contact almost any blog with your proposal.
Of course, if using a mass mailer you could manually go through all the blogs where email addresses were not retrieved and type the email addresses manually into your mass mailer system. This might prove the most efficient way for large campaigns.
However, in cases where blogs do not provide any email contact information what so ever, you’ll have the extra option of submitting your guest post proposal to the blog via the contact page of the comments section of a relevant blog post as a last resort if you simply cannot get an email address through any other means.
With the mass mailer approach you won’t have this option. There are other software solutions like Scrape Box that could do this for you. But you don’t want to risk getting your IP and domain name blacklisted by Akismet do you? That’s what could easily happen if playing with automated tools. Best to play it safe and do it manually.
If implementing NLP into your manual approach it will really pay dividends to do it manually particularly for small to medium sized campaigns.