• How can I get started with guest blogging?
  • How can I submit a guest post to the leading business blogs?
  • How can I get more clients and work via guest posting?

If you’re looking answers to these three questions, this article’s for you.

Because that’s exactly what this article’s about – how to get started with guest blogging and accelerate your way to contributing to the top publications.

But first, there’s one important question that needs to be answered:

Is guest blogging even worth your time?

Around 2 years ago, I wrote my first guest post for a small business blog.

Fast forward to 2017, I’ve become a contributor to some of the top-tier blogs that once seemed like a distant dream: Entrepreneur, Content Marketing Institute, Social Media Examiner, and many more.

Here’s what I’ve learned about guest posting after contributing more than 50 articles to more than 15 blogs.

Part 1: The benefits of guest blogging

Believe me, I’m highly sceptical about the ROI of guest posting.

This said, I’ve seen both value and time wasted when publishing in third-party blogs.

If you want to get the maximum value out of guest blogging, you need to know your goal.

Here are some common reasons for guest blogging:

  • Getting high-quality backlinks for your website
  • Establishing yourself as a thought leader
  • Increasing the awareness of your brand
  • Finding new clients and potential partners
  • Building new connections within your industry

The reason I started guest blogging was to get quality backlinks for Scoro’s website – my employer at the time. I also loved the challenge of getting accepted to some of the top blogs I had myself learned from.

Guest blogging can be a highly efficient strategy to improve your SEO results.

Ahrefs studied the correlation between the number of backlinks and keyword rankings on Google. They found that those two metrics have a high correlation between them.

google rankings' correlation

Backlinks = more organic traffic – Image source

While I personally believe that guest blogging didn’t contribute much to our blog’s growth, I still believe it had some effect on the rapid growth of our organic blog traffic thanks to quality backlinks.

guest blogging benefits

Scoro’s blog traffic growth over time

Key takeaway #1: You need to know why you’re guest blogging.

Alright, we can say that submitting guest posts to other websites has the potential to increase your Domain Authority in the eyes of Google and bring you more website traffic in the long term.

But there’s also a caveat: not all guest blogging is equally beneficial to your SEO results.

There’s a big difference between a backlink from a popular blog and a website with low authority.

Compare this to creating your brand’s showroom in the middle of the woods or a royal castle.

backlink from a popular blog vs website with low authority

Where would you rather be seen?

Guest blogging on a low-authority site with a few readers is likely going to have a smaller impact on your long-term website traffic than writing a high-quality blog article for your own blog.

Key takeaway #2: It’s worth guest blogging on high-authority sites.

Popular blogs also get more traffic which means higher visibility for your post, you, and your brand.

P.S. If you’re looking to increase your blog traffic, check out this article: 18 Hacks for Promoting Blog Articles on Facebook

If you’re hesitating whether to write a guest post for a particular website, use an SEO tool like Mozbar to check how high Domain Authority that website has. Mozbar will show you the Domain Authority (on the scale of 1-100) of any website you’re interested in.

Try to find guest posting opportunities on websites with the DA higher than 60 points.

domain authority measurement

Look for websites with a high Domain Authority

But what if your goal for guest blogging isn’t to improve your website’s SEO? What if you’re interested in building your personal brand?

Guest blogging is a great way of establishing yourself as a thought leader in any particular industry.

However, it’s not always as efficient as you might think.

For example, when I published an article in Entrepreneur, only nine readers looked up my profile and website.

It looks like guest blogging isn’t going to bring you much fame after all… Even a small’scale Facebook advertising campaign would bring you significantly more results.

generating traffic through guest blogging

Guest articles bring little traffic to your website

Tim Soulo, Head of Marketing at Ahrefs, conducted an extensive analysis of 273 guest posts and their ROI.

Here’s what he had to say about referral traffic from guest posting:

guest blogging doesn’t bring you much website traffic

Tim seems to agree

Out of 239 guest articles Tim wrote, 35% generated less than 10 visits and only 15% generated more than 100 visits.

average referral traffic from a guest article

That looks pretty bad… – Image source

Alright, so now we have data from two marketers saying that guest blogging is a terrible way of getting more traffic to your personal or branded website.

Key takeaway #3: Guest blogging is an awfully inefficient way to increase website traffic

Does this mean you shouldn’t be guest posting at all? ????

Not necessarily.

Here’s another finding from Tim’s research:

guest posts with links

You can make your guest posts work!

If you’re able to include a relevant link to an article or research material on your website, the guest post will bring you a lot more value.

Key takeaway #4: Increase your traffic from guest posts by linking to your other articles/research.

Another cool idea is to create a content upgrade, e.g. an eBook with additional insights, and offer it to your guest post readers in exchange for their emails. This way, you can collect the readers’ emails and reach out to them in the future.

free e-book for your guest post readers

For example, an eBook with relevant material

I’ve also learned that the topic of your guest post matters a lot.

For example, if you’re a marketer looking to get hired, it makes sense to write guest posts on marketing, not productivity or management.

When I wrote an article on Facebook advertising for Content Marketing Institute, it was picked up by other marketers.

9 brilliant tactics to promote your blog content on facebook

Article I wrote for Content Marketing Institute

Compare to the nine website visits I got from a guest post in Entrepreneur, writing for a marketing blog had a significantly higher ROI.

The guest post brought me 30+ visitors. While it’s not much, some of those people were interested in collaboration or hiring me.

some guest posts have a high ROI

This guest post had a high ROI

Look for blogs where your potential customers hang out and write guest posts that show your expertise on the right topics.

Here’s another question people are curious about:

Can you get hired via guest blogging?

Definitely!

More than once did I write a guest post to a marketing blog and got made an offer to keep writing to them as a paid contributor.

I’ve also had several people read my guest contributions to leading marketing blogs and reach out to hire me.

sometimes you get hired via guest blogging

Guest blogging can bring you cool job offers

Key takeaway #5: Guest blogging can be an efficient way to attract new customers.

However, don’t get too excited about writing one or two guest posts and seeing all the business to come in…

pokemon gif

It’s not THAT easy – Image source

You also need to have a strong landing page / personal blog to land a job. People who love your guest post will check out your website.

Having a website to back up your expertise will help to convince people to hire you.

Key takeaway #6: You need a personal website for people to find out more about you.

For me, guest blogging has always worked hand-in-hand with my personal website – Aggregate blog. The best job offers never even came via a guest post, but thanks to people reading my blog.

However, guest posting helps to strengthen your personal brand and establish you as an expert in your field.

Here’s an example of a Twitter profile belonging to marketing influencer Aaron Orendorff – having published in so many well-known publications helps him to increase credibility.

Aaron Orendorff twitter cover image

That cover image definitely creates trust

To sum up the first half of this article, here’s how you can benefit from guest posting:

  1. It’s worth guest blogging on high-authority websites and the blogs your potential clients read.
  2. Guest posts do not usually bring much traffic to your website, even not the articles published on high-authority sites.
  3. Sometimes, it’s worth skipping a guest posting opportunity and write an article in your own blog instead.
  4. Guest blogging works best when combined with a personal blog or a branded website.
  5. Look at guest posting as a way to increase credibility and connect with other people in your field.
guest blogging on high-authority websites takes time

It takes some time to get there

If you find the goals above worthy of your time (it takes around 8h to write a 2000-word article or even more) and you’re willing to put in some hard work, keep reading.

In the second part of this article, we’re going to explore how you can become a guest blogger to world-class blogs like Entrepreneur, Content Marketing Institute, and The Next Web.

 

Part 2: How to get started with guest blogging

I wrote my first ever blog article in 2015.

I had just joined the software startup Scoro as their Content Marketing Manager.

My first week at work, I wrote the first blog article I’d ever written in English.

Looking at it now, I feel slightly embarrassed, would like to rewrite the entire article, and prohibit my past self from publishing any more content.

embarrassed gif

Never re-read your first articles – Image source

However, if I hadn’t started to publish those blog articles, I never would have learned to write.

Key takeaway #7: The best way to learn to write is to write.

Your first articles are 99% sure to be poorly written and will fail to attract many readers.

But that’s just fine.

The worst thing you can do is to give up and never take on writing again. Keep blogging on a regular basis until you get better and start attracting some readers.

A good litmus test is to show your articles to your friends and ask if they’d read that.

I started to write and publish a blog article on Scoro’s blog every week. After six months, my articles started to improve and I kept learning from my colleagues that helped to edit my work.

I was super eager to start guest posting in some of my favourite marketing blogs. Yet some of my earliest outreaches got negative replies.

I still needed to grow as a writer.

early pitches will be rejected

You’re going to get a lot of those emails

Key takeaway #8: Your early pitches will be rejected. Don’t give up.

Reaching the level of expertise and writing skills demanded by top publications takes time.

If you submit the first article you’ve written in your life as a guest contribution, it probably won’t get accepted. You’ll first need to gain some credibility as a writer.

So here’s what I did next: I started by guest posting to small blogs.

Here’s how I looked at it: If I get accepted to some mid-tier blogs, I can put in hard work, publish some amazing articles, and then pitch larger blogs based on that experience.

I sent out 10+ pitches to some of the blogs I considered to be reachable, pitched them highly relevant ideas and was given a chance by a couple of editors.

Here’s the thing: Instead of pitching your ideas to 1-2 blogs, reach out to more than 10. There’s a lot higher chance that one of your pitches will get accepted.

One of the first guest posts I wrote was for the HubSpot blog.

6 ways to transform a hectic office into your personal haven

Thanks HubSpot for the opportunity!

It even had a decent amount of social shares that made it possible to pitch myself as a guest blogger to additional blogs.

number of social shares

71 LinkedIn shares is pretty good

Key takeaway #9: Start guest blogging in small or mid-tier blogs and work your way up.

Don’t expect those first guest posts to bring you fame and new customers.

However, you’ve got to get your snowball-effect snowball rolling from somewhere. So look for blogs that accept articles from less-experienced writers like yourself.

Here’s one more highly important tip: Write relevant and original pitches.

Here’s how NOT to get your guest post pitch accepted:

example of a bad pitch

Don’t write these kinds of pitches

Here’s what’s wrong with this pitch:

  • The blogger did not introduce herself.
  • The blogger made no pitches for articles she wanted to write.
  • She didn’t refer to her previous work to prove she can write.

That’s worse than not sending any email. It’s sending an email and wasting the editor’s time.

Here’s another one: the regular guest post pitch I saw when working as the Content Marketing Manager for Scoro.

Generic pitches get rejected

Generic pitches get rejected

What’s wrong with that pitch?

All the three topics they pitched are generic, and there are probably 10 articles with the exact same titles already published. This pitch is a no-go.

Key takeaway #10: A bad pitch is worse than no pitch at all.

So what makes a good guest post pitch – one that gets you accepted to the leading blogs?

CopyHackers has a funny and insightful guide to writing an awesome pitch. Here’s what they suggest:

  • STEP 1: Be awesome.
  • STEP 2: Choose a topic you know shit-tons about.
  • STEP 3: Work on that headline some more.

In fact, their guidelines make you almost too intimidated to send over a pitch.

post guidelines by copyhackers

Would you dare to send in your pitch?

But these guidelines also push you out of your comfort zone, nudging you to be creative and put in some hard work.

That’s exactly how writing a good pitch should feel like.

As I’d always wanted to be a guest blogger for CopyHackers, I decided to take my chance. It took me 22 minutes (instead of the 3 minutes most people put in their pitches) to write an email to the blog.

I’m still proud of myself when looking at this pitch.

engaging and original pitch

Write engaging and original pitches

A couple of hours after sending over my email, I got a reply from CopyHackers’ founder Joanna Wiebe, saying she loved the pitch and would like to see the outline or first draft. ????

In a few weeks, my article was published and got tons of positive feedback.

guest post for copy hackers

This pitch turned into an article

Which leads us to the next lesson…

Key takeaway #11: Work on your pitches like your life depends on it.

Here’s what a good guest post pitch looks like:

  • It shows personality – your introduction should differentiate your from other contributors
  • It’s original – the ideas you pitch have not been written about before or you’re offering a unique angle to the subject.
  • It’s practical – you’ve done your research on the blog and suggest topics they haven’t published yet.
  • It’s convincing – you explain to the reader why you’re the right person to write on the proposed topics and also link to some of your previous articles.
  • It’s entertaining – use interesting wording and create a good flow, so that the reader will enjoy reviewing your pitch.

Yeah, that’s a lot of things you need to get right. It’s a lot harder than creating an Instagram campaign or brewing the perfect espresso.

But… The more you practice the art of writing pitches, the better you’ll get at it.

How to become a guest author in top blogs

If this question’s the reason you’re reading this article… Well… Here comes the answer!

After I had written for some notable marketing blogs, I felt ready to approach the big players – blogs I had only recently dreamed of writing for.

By this time, I had tens of articles and referrals to prove my expertise.

I had written 30+ articles for HubSpot, Kissmetrics, CopyHackers, AdEspresso, KlientBoost, InfusionSoft, Duct Tape Marketing, The Next Web, and many more blogs.

More importantly, I had set in motion the growth of my personal blog that was seeing high readership from fellow marketers.

First, you need credibility. Only then can you start pitching to the high-level blogs.

 

supermario gif

You need to level up – Image source

Key takeaway #12: Before pitching to top-level blogs, build up your personal brand and credibility.

Look at guest blogging like a game – you need to level up in order to get accepted to high-rank blogs. Coming up with original ideas and pitches that get accepted gets harder once you start approaching the leading business blogs.

Becoming a contributor to leading publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur and the top industry blogs is not easy, but definitely a goal that you can reach.

Did something remain unclear? Do you have additional questions regarding guest blogging? Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you! ????