When done properly, writing guest posts can do wonders for establishing your own website as an authority in your field. Whether you want to direct more potential customers to your SaaS business website or expand the readership of your marketing blog, a carefully structured guest post plan can make all the difference.
So… how do you go about creating a guest post plan?
Below, you’ll find a comprehensive step-by-step guide to building a network of informative guest posts that act as a roadmap, directing audiences back to your site from a variety of sources.
➡ Step 1: Put together a list of reputable sources in the relevant industry
Before you can write a single word towards your first guest post, you must first develop a pool of established and reputable publications that regularly post content in whatever field you are knowledgeable in.
For example, an economist would form a list of well-known financial and business sites, while a tech expert would start with all the highly regarded tech magazines like WIRED and VentureBeat.
Depending on how niche your area of expertise is, you might find that someone has already published a helpful list of all the relevant online publications that accept guest blogs.
If not, it’s just a matter of boiling a fresh pot of coffee and spending some time tracking them all down yourself. This requires a lot of Googling, a fair amount of deductions and backtracking, and some common sense.
For example, if you’re compiling a list of the most popular websites for gamers, then it might be a good idea to start with software development companies’ social pages and work backward. Another avenue might be to see what blogs are being shared by brands that sell home and computer entertainment systems.
Considering that good content + good web design = good SEO, as an expert in your field, you will know within a few moments of visiting a website whether it’s worth contacting them or not.
Whichever way you choose to go about it, make sure you keep a spreadsheet with fields for:
- The name of the publication
- The website URL
- Submissions email address, plus a contact name if applicable (or a link to the online inquiry form)
- The date that you contacted them for a guest post request
- The date that you followed up with them (if they didn’t respond to your initial email)
- Comments (for example, every publication has different guidelines for what they will and won’t publish – some are obvious, but perhaps jot down the less obvious ones when you come across them)
➡ Step 2: Put together a list of article ideas that your sources might be interested in publishing
This step is self-explanatory. The reason I suggest finding the sources before brainstorming the article ideas is that, by starting with the publications, you’ll get a better idea of what they’re looking for, and what specific topics they’ve yet to cover.
There’s a good chance that you’ll start dreaming up great article ideas in the process of researching all of these publications, so my advice is to leave the article ideas until after you’ve formed the list.
➡ Step 3: Create a well-written “guest blog request” email template
Now that it’s time to start contacting people about writing a guest blog for their website, you need a “script” of some sort to work off. Here is one that I’ve found to work quite well:
My name is ___. I’m a freelance writer, with a lot of knowledge and experience writing about ___. I’ve recently been writing a few articles around ___, like these:
- [Paste three links to recent blogs you’ve written]
I’d love to write a guest article for ___. Do you think your readers would be interested in learning about any of the following topics?
- [Provide a list of article ideas for them to choose from]
If so, please let me know and I’ll get the article ready for your review. It goes without saying that the article would be 100% original, and would not be republished elsewhere.
Thanks, I look forward to hearing from you 🙂
If you’re not a fan of this one, there are plenty of guest blog request email templates available online. My advice is to take bits and pieces from various templates and put your own unique spin on it.
➡ Step 4: Contact your list of publications
When reaching out to websites with guest blog requests, it’s a good idea to contact them one at a time. By this I mean, wait for a response from one before you move on to the next one.
As tempting as it might be to fire them all away in one sitting, this method allows you to send a publication your entire list of article ideas. Once they agree to one, you can remove it from the list and move on to the next publication in your list.
If you contact everyone at once, you’ll end up with multiple websites wanting the same article, and this contradicts your promise to provide 100% original content (an important promise to keep, by the way, and easily verified!).
➡ Step 5: Write the guest blogs
When it comes to actually write the guest post, make sure you keep a copy of the publication’s submission guidelines handy. Refer to it during the writing process, and use it as a checklist when you’re proofreading the blog afterward.
Of course, your main motive for writing this blog (aside from creating informative content) is to promote yourself and direct readers to your own website, so don’t forget to link back to your website through anchor text.
There are other techniques you can employ to improve SEO, but that’s another blog altogether.
The important thing is to create a high-quality article that will exceed your contact’s expectations, engage their readers, and hopefully direct some of them through to your own website.
➡ Step 6: Share the guest blog on your own social media pages
Once your guest blog is live, the first thing you should do is share the link on all of your own social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other pages you have.
Another thing you can do to spread the word (and I stole this nifty trick from renowned marketing whiz Neil Patel) is to contact anyone you referenced in the guest blog. Perhaps you referred to statistics from a Harvard Business Review study, quoted an industry leader, or reported the findings from a recent survey.
Whatever it is that you referenced, it never hurts to shoot the source an email with a link to your guest blog and thank them for making this information public. You can conclude by suggesting that they might also like to share the article.
This strategy won’t always work, but there’s no harm in trying!
➡ Step 7: Link to this source in your future content
At this point, it’s time to move on to the next guest blog… but that doesn’t mean you don’t ever need to give this recently published article another thought!
Be sure to link to this blog in future content that you create (either for your own website or future guest blogs) to reinforce its status as a reliable source of information. Over time, all of these links form a sort of roadmap that constantly works to direct readers toward your website.
➡ Step 8: Update your old guest blogs to remain current and accurate
As any SEO professional will tell you, it’s important to regularly go back and update your older content. Why? As time passes, the industry evolves, statistics change, and new trends emerge.
As an example, a huge amount of research surrounding the global retail and hospitality sector immediately became redundant once COVID-19 transformed the industry at the beginning of 2020.
While it’s not as easy to update old content when it’s been handed over to another website, most publications will be happy to update your guest blog with newer information if you do all the legwork for them.
Depending on how many guest blogs you end up writing, it might be a good idea to create a “content update” calendar, where you go back through your guest blogs with a fine-tooth comb on an annual or even quarterly basis.
The above process is a tried and tested approach to expanding brand awareness, establishing expertise, and increasing website traffic.
One final tip – have fun with it! Whether you treat it as something you do occasionally when you can find the time, or as an integral part of your content marketing strategy, submitting guest blogs is a fantastic way to boost your website performance.