How to write great guest posts
How to make a compelling guest post suggestion
Everyone knows blogging is important.
And that since 2017!
A study by Michael Stelzner published on Social Media Examiner shows that 68% of all marketers blog.
But if you run a blog, you also need traffic.
You need backlinks and organic visitors looking for answers, products or services on your blog.
All of this is possible with guest posting and I'll show you how to do it.
I myself regularly write guest posts for various websites.
I have a page on Inc providing marketing advice.
My picture is published in popular journals and that is a great achievement.
I've been in business for a long time.
I've already written articles for Forbes and Fortune.
My posts have also been published on Huffington Post and Entrepreneur.
These websites are extremely big and well known, so getting a spot was not easy.
Not everyone has what it takes and many authors work their entire lives to get published there.
Although it's hard to believe, I also started small.
I've published articles on small niche blogs about SEO, social media, blogging, and other digital marketing topics.
I have a profile on HubSpot.
You can find my articles on all known sites about SEO and online marketing.
This is my specialty.
I know what you are thinking now.
"Neil, it's great that you can post so many posts on all sorts of sites, but how do I do that?"
I wrote this article to help you do just that.
I'll show you how to host guest posts on popular websites.
Every article is different and I'll show you how to tailor each proposal to the specific website.
Each proposal consists of four main components: the publication, the pitch, the contribution and the application.
Before I go into each of these components, however, I would like to briefly explain the differences between a blogger and a journalist.
If you want to propose a guest post, you have to consider different things in both cases.
The difference between a blog and the press media
Before the Internet existed, we used magazines, newspapers, and reports on radio and television for our information.
The channels are referred to as “mainstream media”. These include major news organizations Fox News, CNBC, the New York Times, and more.
Although these news organizations also have websites, they are counted among the press media.
There are other online platforms that are now also part of the “mainstream media”.
Websites like the Huffington Post, Google, and Yahoo! are well-known sites with a variety of news and current coverage.
I have an author profile on HuffPost.
Although HuffPost does political reporting, it has a rather small team of permanent employees.
Guest authors like myself (along with select RSS feeds like the one from the Associated Press) are responsible for much of the articles and content.
Independent reporters have blogs, and these blogs are often part of a larger network.
The Gizmodo Media Group is a good example of this.
It consists of a network of smaller, popular blogs, including but not limited to Deadspin, io9, Jezebel, Jalopnik, Kotaku and Lifehacker.
Gawker was also part of the group, but was then withdrawn from circulation due to Hulk Hogan's lawsuit.
These blogs feed each other with traffic and are stronger together than alone.
They are also run like traditional media companies.
Some blogs, like mine, run under the real name of the operator and do not hide behind a brand.
If you want to make me a suggestion for a guest post, you have to proceed a little differently than with a large media company.
While most mainstream media has a standardized process, many bloggers just act on their gut instinct.
I'm relatively open and don't have a standard process, but I seem to be an exception.
If you want to suggest a guest post to a blog and they may not even be aware that it is being placed for a certain keyword, you have to take a different approach.
However, the press media are constantly getting new article ideas suggested.
You can even submit your suggestions directly on many websites.
This includes B. Help a Reporter Out, also called HARO.
On HARO you can find press inquiries from blogs, podcasts, magazines, TV channels and radio stations.
If you register with HARO as a source, you should check your e-mails at least three times a day, preferably in the morning, at noon and in the evening, so as not to miss a great opportunity.
Most of the time only one of your quotes is used, but sometimes an interview or a performance is included.
However, this is only the introduction to the world of guest posts and guest appearances.
Now I want to go into why guest blogging is so important.
Why is guest blogging so important?
I could spend all day writing the great results I've got from guest posting. I was able to generate a lot of traffic with this strategy.
In this way, I have not only established myself as an industry expert, but have also been able to build backlinks for my blog.
According to SEMrush, my website NeilPatel.com has 164,000 backlinks.
Most of these references came from guest posts.
But I am not the only one using this strategy.
Guest blogging has long been used to gain credibility and show relevance.
Developer and entrepreneur Silvio Porcellana recently conducted research on guest blogging and found that this strategy enabled him to increase his traffic by as much as 20%.
He published 44 guest posts on 41 different platforms in 5 months to achieve this result.
Due to the positive result, writing guest posts is now an integral part of his marketing strategy.
HubSpot's State of Inbound report shows that blog post creation is one of the top marketing priorities for 60% of respondents surveyed.
Media companies and bloggers also revise your articles.
Very few websites would publish your article without revising it.
You can use this chance to collect constructive feedback and get better.
Don't let this chance pass you by.
Now you can search for the ideal websites and media for your guest posts.
Find the perfect platforms
In order to achieve the desired effect with your guest posts, you need to find media platforms that have the ideal target audience that would otherwise be unreachable.
Of course, that requires a bit of research.
The best thing to do is to make a list.
You can of course also proceed according to your gut instinct, but I'll show you now how you can create such a list from scratch.
We need SEMrush for this, because we first want to identify our strongest competitors.
My main competitors are Backlinko, QuickSprout, Wordstream, Kissmetrics and Moz, so these sites would be great for guest posting.
But there are other pages that we should look at.
So next, I'll do a search query for “the best SEO blogs”.
Google suggests the Digital Marketing Institute, Search Engine Land, and SEO Book.
That's three more websites.
Now I could dig into the world of SEO blogs even more, but I want to appeal to a broader audience.
When I do a search for “the best content marketing blogs,” I find a list from the Content Marketing Institute of websites that are also great for guest posting.
Now I have tons of good marketing blogs to suggest. But I'm not done yet.
News agencies (especially those who specialize in the tech or entrepreneurship industries) are also best suited to my endeavors.
So now I'm looking for “the best business blogs” on Google to find even more pages.
TechCrunch, Business Insider, Inc, and the Huffington Post would definitely be interested in a good article on online marketing.
I could also check out Time's new list - The Most Influential Online People of 2017 - and then find each person mentioned on that list's blog or page.
I found a lot of material to work with.
Now all you need to do is find the guest posting guidelines for each of these blogs and pages.
Here you can find out how and where to submit your proposal, what the site expects from you and what else is important.
Some agencies pay authors for published articles, which is usually mentioned in the guidelines.
However, always keep in mind that if you don't follow the guidelines exactly, then there is a high probability that your proposal will be rejected.
However, the guidelines are not a guarantee of success either.
In order to increase the chances of your guest contribution being published, you have to prepare the perfect pitch. I'll go into that in the next step.
Prepare the perfect pitch
So-called pitching is an art in itself.
I used to joke about it because I pitched what felt like 10,000 words per 1,000 words in the article.
If you are not careful you can waste a lot of time here.
The Content Marketing Institute is currently not accepting new guest posts.
You can still propose your idea, but you will have to wait for them to accept guest contributions again.
Some media houses want to get a finished article, others want to see a formulated pitch beforehand.
Wired accepts both.
They also provide an email address and information for the subject line.
If I stick to the guidelines, my subject line would be "Op-Ed Pitch - How to Put Together a Compelling Guest Posting Suggestion".
If I do not adhere to the specifications for the subject line, my email will be lost in the mass of inquiries and will not be opened.
The subject line of your emails is important because it determines whether your message will be read.
It is also possible that your email is opened and read on a mobile device.
You should always keep this in mind when writing your email.
The email should be short and sweet and to the point.
Usually in the first section you briefly explain who you are and why you are an expert in your field.
Then you present your article (and upload it as an attachment or follow the instructions of the respective media agency).
Then, if your proposal is accepted, you need to submit a great article.
How to write a guest post that knocks everyone off their feet
It's not that easy to write a good guest post.
Even if you are an expert like me, it is always a challenge to organize information and present it skillfully.
However, if you follow a fixed work process, you can write a great blog post that is guaranteed to land in the top ten search results on Google.
It is best to start with the topic that has already been accepted by the media publisher.
If you can't think of a great topic, you can use HubSpot's Blog Topic Generator.
Enter your best keywords or categories to find new blog ideas and topics.
I write regularly about content marketing, blogging, and article writing, so I'm putting these terms into the program now.
Listicles seem to be very popular.
There are sites that love list items, others hate them like the plague, so find out if you can suggest a list item beforehand.
You can also find great ideas for new blog articles on Quora.
I am listed in this forum as a person and as a topic.
My readers always have questions for me and they like to post them on Quora, so I can find great ideas here.
I could even start my own “Ask Neil Patel” column.
When you have found a suitable topic, you need to research three to five main points.
These will be your headlines.
Here is a small overview:
I myself always find a so-called hook and a magnetic introduction to captivate my readers.
Then I take my ideas further, always putting the most important point up front to keep the readers going.
Finally, I will write an inspiring and motivating summary.
When your outline is ready, you have to research each of your sub-items and fill them with content.
Also add the hyperlinks of all sources, statistics, images and data that you use.
At this point you can also wonderfully refer to other of your articles.
I regularly refer to my profiles on HuffPost, Forbes, and other blogs as it is an excellent link building strategy.
I can improve my rankings this way because I am building a large network of links on many platforms.
Placing backlinks on credible websites is a great strategy to improve your SEO rankings and you can easily set these links with your guest posts.
Every article is a little different depending on the requirements, but there are always a few similarities that you should pay attention to.
On the one hand, you should stick to the number of given words.
It is always said that articles should be around 2,000 words long to get the best SEO results.
Many media companies are not interested in this requirement, because these companies are run by journalists, not marketers.
Many of these sites accept 1,000 words or less per article, some less. On average, the articles are between 600 and 1,200 words.
This also means that an article that you actually wrote for another site may not be suitable for another platform.
You need a new article. If you are allowed to republish an already existing article, there are often certain time limits to be observed.
Your tone and perspective are also very important. Many blogs and websites prefer articles written in first, second, or third person.
If you don't follow the guidelines, your suggestion will likely be rejected quickly.
Once the article is ready, you need to submit it.
That was not all.
Once published, authors are often asked to share and promote their article on their social profiles.
Even the sites that don't ask you for this favor will appreciate the additional traffic.
Don't forget to share your guest posts
Social media is a very important advertising channel for many blogs.
Facebook, YouTube and Messenger services are used several times a day by the vast majority of users.
That is why you absolutely have to advertise your articles and guest posts on these channels.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and StumbleUpon are great networks for sharing blog posts.
A lot of my blog posts get their traffic from Facebook.
I also always share my articles on Twitter.
On Twitter you can use more hashtags but also fewer characters, so you have to tailor your post to each network.
You can make your social profiles more visually engaging with blog posts so that your fans can read your articles.
The Digital Marketing Institute found that posts with images get 90% more views.
So you should definitely share your content on social media.
You cannot expect any direct SEO advantage from this, but you can expect referral traffic if you link to your website.
If you share your guest post on social media, you can hopefully gain more readers and impress the media platform.
You may then be asked to write a guest post again or even get your own column.
And if you get paid for your efforts, so much the better!
Writing articles for your own website is one thing, being published on a well-known and large media platform is quite another.
But it's not impossible, because other authors have done it too.
I am one of them.
Writing guest posts is an important part of my content marketing strategy and has helped establish me as an industry expert and strengthen my brand.
Users who find one of my articles on Forbes have a completely different impression of me than if they read the article on my own website.
The strategy is therefore ideally suited to share your thoughts and gain new readers.
Guest blogging is particularly suitable for B2B companies.
You can take full advantage of this strategy by following the directions in this article.
On which pages would you like to publish an article?
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