I have to admit, I used to see guest blogging as a necessary evil. Not only did I begin to think there were more blogs in the world than people, but I realized that encroaching on someone else’s carefully nurtured masterpiece could be construed as a violation of their human rights. If there was a bloggers supper club (probably is), I felt like I was hanging around in reception waiting for an invite.
I came across blogs demanding a literary prowess so unique that it may be considered worthy to cross the threshold of their squeaky clean web space. As a novice guest blogger this was both exciting and intimidating, something good needed to be rustled up! I quickly became a tutter of the ‘practice what you preach’ mantra though when finding said blog’s homage to quality was rather lacking. Cynical tip no.1, keep your good stuff for the deserving.
But although my initial introduction to guest blogging left me thinking the whole practice was a double edged sword at best and a virtual hunt through a few bargain bins at worst, I’ve come to see guest blogging as a nice little addition to my writing calendar. With content based marketing being constantly proclaimed the Holy Grail of SEO, it’s more important than ever to see guest blogging for the fruitful endeavor that it is, not just as an opportunity to sandwich a juicy link in a bit of so-so content.
The Elusive Hunt
Finding worthy blogs is undoubtedly an endeavor that’s easier said than done in the plight of the guest blogger and it goes without saying that a high ranking blog is worth your time and effort over a blog 3 pages down that accepts all content waifs and strays (and thinks a pink tartan background and New Times Roman is the pinnacle of design excellence).
Of course, the blogs and sites that almost effortlessly plonk themselves on the top ranking spots are difficult to crack, especially in certain genres, so investigating bloggers who’ve been deemed of sufficient magnificence to post on the big boy’s turf can be a good method of finding blogs with a strong influence in the industry. When exposure is key, you need to know that the blog your carefully crafted content will be calling home is a hub of activity, and simple indications can be a quick prediction of how far reaching your content will be.
Checking how frequently a blog is updated is a good hint into site activity and the volume of comments are a valuable insight into the blog’s following and scope. User generated content is sniffed out by Google too, so a nice level of engagement can only do more for your brand awareness. Pitching a great piece of content (and a valuable link) to a high quality site should also reap you a chunky piece of the follower pie, so a site with a high level of social media engagement can help push your content out to the masses.
Once you’ve got into the habit of recognizing good niches for guest blogging (and more importantly, flagging up quality) it’s worth exploring some of these tried and tested guest blogging tools to source bloggers and sites specifically looking for top content:
FollowerWonk – Brought to us by SEOmoz, Follower Wonk works alongside your existing Twitter account and allows you to identify bloggers in your industry with high levels of social media engagement.
MyGuestBlogger – A simple tool for sites and bloggers that allows you to search by industry.
PostJoint – PostJoint basically works by allowing the guest blogger to post their articles and sites will then offer to publish your work. The quality of the sites (and blogs) vary but some great finds can pop up with high domain authority and social media influence. Just be wary of sites that charge, often they’re low quality and irrelevant. Establishing that you won’t pay to have your content published can ensure you only get outlets looking specifically for useful content.
Google blogs – Rather obvious but still useful for searches specifically targeted at blogs, just click the ‘blogs’ category underneath the search bar.
BloggerLinkup – This site emails members 3 times per week with details of blog and sites looking for content.
Text-Link-Ads.com – A marketplace where advertisers can buy text links and blog posts from a big pool of publishers. TLA takes a cut out of each ad purchase.
Successfully Standing Out Above the Noise
So you have the know-how to find valuable sites for your content, now you need to make sure your content reaches lofty heights and quips the attention of the blogs with discerning readers. Sites that practically advertise guest blogging opportunities are likely to get inundated, so a great tip from SEOmoz is to successfully get your blog posted on a blog that typically doesn’t accept guest blogs. This is link building gold dust and will help create a really unique link profile.
Many sites will categorically state they don’t accept any sort of SEO input or promoting and claim ‘that is what advertising is for’ but I’ve managed to get around this and include a link based on a good piece of content. Most will allow you to include a link or two so long as the piece is informative, engaging and not an endless spiel of plugging.
Looking out for strict posting guidelines is also a good indication that your piece will be reaching relevant audiences. A guest blogger should be confident that the site hosts expect high quality pieces and require guest content to target the needs and wants of the audience. If the site is requesting amazing content but doesn’t quite deliver though, take your insightful contribution elsewhere and always check that any site asking for payment is well worth your investment. If the link isn’t going to do wonders for your business then don’t shell out.
Original content will always be valued and really insightful and engaging pieces are often a pre-requisite for a chance at the top blogs. Content that stands out and draws people in is often fresh and current and jumping on the trending band wagon can secure you valuable traffic, providing of course, you have something new to say.
Finally, it’s always worth chasing up guest blogging opportunities. Often their publishing schedules are demanding, but a great link destination is usually well worth a three week wait. Persistence and commitment to creating a good working relationship can be invaluable to the guest blogger, building up a bank of quality blogs that know you’ll deliver makes for a valuable network when you need to get your content out there.
About the author:
Victoria Browne is an SEO copywriter at Fluid Creativity, a full-service digital agency specializing in web design, development, SEO and content marketing.