Practical Guest Blogging Guide Part 2: Effective Guest Posting Preparation and Research Tips

Practical Guest Blogging Guide Part 2: Effective Guest Posting Preparation and Research Tips Featured Image

In Part One, we explained why guest posting is still integral to any content marketing campaign. Now we’ll outline how to properly determine your particular reason for guest blogging and how to find relevant, high-quality sites to target.

Ask most people what their guest blogging process is and they will say something like: “I look for a blog I like, submit an article to it, and wait for the results.” That seems like a very simple way to go about it. Unfortunately, when it comes to marketing, the activities that deliver strong results aren’t always that simple.

The key to guest blogging success lies in the preparation and research stage; most people who fail at guest posting fail because they simply aren’t aware of this stage, or because they don’t go through it.

Part two of our practical guest blogging guide will focus on helping you prepare for your guest posting campaign and teach you how to conduct essential research to make your preparation fruitful.

The Preparation Stage

To succeed at guest blogging, you must first view it as a part of your overall marketing strategy; in other words, there has to be a reason behind it. Guest blogging shouldn’t be something you “just do.”

The guest blogging preparation stage can be broken down into three different steps:

1. Identify Your Goals

The first step is to identify your guest blogging goals; what’s your key reason for using guest blogging as a marketing tactic?

In part one, we identified some of the key benefits that come with guest blogging; often, your reason for guest blogging will influence your approach. For example, if your aim is to get a massive surge in signups to your newsletter every time you guest post, your approach will be significantly different than someone looking to earn high-quality backlinks. The kind of content you write will be different, the page you link to on your site will be different and the kind of blog you target will be different.

Once you have determined what you wish to get out of guest blogging, you can identify your tactics.

2. Identify Your Tactics

Your approach to guest blogging will vary depending on your goal. There are two main ways to go about guest blogging, and they are:

  • Quantity
  • Quality

Now, of course, it’s possible to go for BOTH quantity and quality but most people fall generally fall into one of these two camps; it’s very important to note that “quantity” does not necessary denote “low quality”; it simply means that you are willing to forego some of the attributes that define the best guest posts.

Here are some tactics you can use depending on your goals:

  • To increase traffic and subscriptions to your site. Focus mainly approaching blogs with high readership.
  • To build targeted, often contextual, backlinks that can improve your search traffic. Focus on a combination of blogs with a lot of readership, and blogs without much readership but significant domain and site authority.
  • To boost your brand image and improve your credibility by associating yourself with quality publications. Focus mainly on publications and media sites, and occasionally niche-specific leading publications and blogs. This might not translate into a lot of traffic, but will help to boost your credibility and brand image.
  • To create more awareness and increase exposure for your business. Try to get published on as many publications as possible, with a focus on publications with high readership.
  • To keep your brand fresh in the mind of people in your niche. Focus on bigger, authoritative publications and occasionally use a large number of smaller publications.

As you can see, your approach will differ depending on your goals and you’ll often find yourself focusing on a combination of quality and quantity; but what matters most is that your tactic aligns with your goals.

3. Identify Your Targets

Once you’ve determined your goal and tactics, the next step is to identify your targets.

If your goal is to build backlinks, you might have some flexibility; e.g. 1. “Focus on authority blogs, publications, and media sites without regards for readership” or 2. “Occasionally consider the idea of bridging topics between niches if the site is authoritative enough.”

With option 1, readership is not a factor as long as it’s an authoritative blog with high Domain Authority. With option 2, the niche of the publication is not a problem so long as the topic can be bridged; e.g., if you deal with iPhone apps, you could link to a writing website by crafting a topic like “Top 10 iPhone Apps for Writers.”

If your goal is to get signups, your approach will be slightly different because you’re looking mainly for blogs that will send you qualified traffic; as a result, the blog has to be relevant and have a lot of readership.

Once you’ve gone through the above three steps in the preparation stage, the next step is the research stage.

The Research Stage

The research stage mainly involves two steps, and they are:

1. Finding Blogs and Publications That Will Accept Your Guest Posts

There are several steps you can use to find blogs and publications that will accept your guest posts, here are some favorites:

a) Google and other search engines: You can also find sites that accept guest posts in Google with a slew of guest blogging-related terms:

  • “guest blogging + {niche}”
  • “guest post + {niche}”
  • “submit guest post + {niche}”
  • “write for us + {niche}”
  • “contribute article + {niche}”
  • “submit article + {niche}”
  • “guest blogging guidelines + {niche}”
  • “guest post submissions + {niche}”
  • “contributor guidelines + {niche}”

You can come up with variations of the following keywords and you’ll find even more sites.

b) Blog directories and aggregators: Below are some very good blog directories that can help you locate relevant blogs to publish on:

c) List of publications that accept guest posts: Below are some valuable lists of blogs that accept guest posts:

d) Similar blogs to publications of your choice: Another tactic that you can use is to find blogs similar to blogs you want to contribute to. You can find similar sites with the following sites:

What to Do When There Are Few Blogs in Your Niche

It isn’t unusual to find niches with very few blogs, or a low concentration of relevant/targeted blogs; if you happen to fall into this category, all hope is not lost. There are three ways to go about this:

  1. Identify the umbrella category of your niche and look for blogs in this niche: For example, if your blog is dedicated to moms who have to deal with kids suffering from sleeping disorders, you can easily cater to several umbrella categories. You can target blogs on sleeping disorders, you can target mom blogs, and you can target parenting blogs.
  2. Write for mainstream publications: When you think of big publications like The Huffington Post, you know that they cover every topic imaginable; there’s a high probability that they will publish an article about your niche. In fact, the more unique your niche is, the higher chances you have of getting published on these publications. Look for publications of this nature and focus on them.
  3. Bridge two different irrelevant niches: Going back to my earlier example of iPhone apps for writers; the iPhone niche is an entirely different niche from the writing niche, but you can bet there’s a good number of writers reading iPhone publications. Bridge both topics and you just could draw a large number of writers who are iPhone enthusiasts to your blog.

2. Analyzing Blogs You’ve Found to See What Kind of Content They Can’t Resist

Finding blogs and publications is half the battle; once you’ve found these publications, there’s still no guarantee that they will accept your article.

You can significantly increase the chances of publication by carefully analyzing each blog. Most publications can’t resist articles that fall into the following categories:

  • Articles modeled after a format they’re using with their most recent articles
  • Articles modeled after their most popular articles
  • Articles modeled after their most common articles

Analyze the blogs of your choice to see what kind of articles they are publishing a lot lately:

If you notice a common trend with their recent articles, perhaps there is a change in their editorial policy leading towards that trend. Key in on this aspect to get published.

If you notice a common trend with their popular articles, there’s a good reason articles following that format keep becoming popular on this particular blog. You can be sure that their editors aren’t oblivious to this fact, so key in on this to get published.

If you notice that they commonly publish a certain kind of content (maybe list articles, or maybe in-depth guides), then there’s a good chance they’ll accept something modeled after that kind of content.

Stay Tuned for Part 3: Execution

Now that you have completed the preparation and research process for creating guest posts, it’s time to actually execute. Part three of this guide will explain how to come up with strong, relevant content ideas; write an irresistible pitch to sites; and optimize the content to see the best ROI.

Read Part One and Part Three of our Guest Blogging Guide.

Schedule Your 1-On-1 Guest Blogging Consultation Now

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