Guest posting on popular blog is a great way to increase your brand awareness.
And I like to think about it in those terms. Yes, you can build links for SEO, but focusing on that usually leads to subpar blog posts.
You want to think about how you can provide value to the audience of whatever blog you’re targeting. And providing value usually means either educating or entertaining. Even better, it usually involves both.
How do you get your guest post published on popular blogs?
Here are some tips…
1. Just Ask
Let’s get this one out of the way. It’s the obvious one, but worth pointing out. You’re never going to get a post published on a popular blog if you don’t ask.
A good friend of mine gave me some good advice in college. He said that a guy will never get the prettiest girl to go out with him if he never asks. That was his philosophy. And he dated some wonderful girls. I’m sure he got turned down plenty, but he also had some great experiences.
2. Work Up The Chain
It is challenging to go right to the top when it comes to guest blogging. It can certainly be done. You can always write the post and be turned down. Some of the biggest sites will let you write something and won’t feel bad about turning it down.
But they’re more likely to accept your pitches and posts if you’ve proven yourself before.
To do that you just start reaching out to less popular blogs. Still relevant blogs for your industry and expertise. Still blogs that have a nice design.
Start at the lower end and work your way up. Use your previous posts as examples of your work. The popular blogs like to see proof that you can be trusted to turn in something worthwhile.
3. Identify Hot Topic, Pitch 3-5 Ideas
Identify a top site you want to post on. Look through their popular posts.
Sometimes they’ll have a sidebar list of top posts. But you can also look for other indicators like sharing numbers and comments and things like that.
Identify common themes that are popular on the site. Then look for gaps that haven’t been covered on that topic.
For example, maybe it’s an NFL blog. The Packers seem to be a popular topic. But nobody has written about a specific Packer player yet.
That topic pitch would be something the site would probably be interested in. They want things that are likely to do well, but that are also new.
Try to pitch 3-5 of those kinds of ideas.
When you email titles the site owner or editor can imagine the title on their site and it makes them want it more than if you were just to ask if you can write an article.
The popular sites have more riding on their content. They want it all to do well. And they can afford to be picky because they have a lot of great content and a lot of demand from writers.
They may not take a chance with a new writer. It’s too much risk. Risk that the new writer won’t do a good job.
One way to lessen the risk is to find a co-author that has already published on the site. Reach out to authors, pitch them ideas and offer to do the bulk of the work while putting both of your names on it.
Even if you do 100% of the research and writing and split authorship you’re still getting your foot in the door. You’re kind of giving up credit in exchange for their clout. That’s a good trade if you can find it.
5. Promote Existing Guest Posts
By now you know that the popular blogs are looking for proof that you’re going to provide a good post. Another way to show them that proof is to really promote your existing guest posts on other blogs.
Push them on social media. Reply to every comment you get. Try to really boost those sharing numbers and engagement. If someone shares them on social media reply to their social post. Ask them what they liked about it.
If you’re really serious you could try some paid promotion on social media for your guest posts. Blogs would love that.
The better your existing guest posts do the more likely you are to get approval to do more.
6. Get A Referral From An Approved Author
Find an author on the popular blog. An author that has already been approved and that has written at least one post. See if you know an author. If not, look for a way to connect with one. Read their posts. Comment. Follow them on social media. Connect on LinkedIn. Promote their posts. See if they have a blog and offer to write a guest post.
Write a post. Send it to them and ask for their thoughts. Don’t ask them to share it. Just ask for their thoughts. Do that a few times. Make revisions based on their feedback. Prove to them that you’re a good writer.
Then after the relationship is established, ask them to refer you to the popular blog. Their referral will definitely stand out to the editor of the popular site.
7. Use Internal Linking
Just a little tip here, but it works. For every guest post you do on a small blog or a popular blog, make sure to include internal links. Any blog owner or editor loves internal links. Take the time to search through their archives and links to previous posts. Aim for about 3-5.
It’s a little thing, but it goes a long way.
8. Follow Every Expectation
The popular blogs will usually have a list of expectations for their guest authors. If you can find it, read through it before you make your pitch. Some will have specific pitch procedures.
And if they do approve a title for you to write make sure you follow every expectation for the post. The less editor they need to do the better.
It’s a little thing, but this can derail some guest blogging efforts real quick. Just by not reading instructions.
9. Do More Than The Expectations
Internal linking would be an example of this. That’s not always in the expectations, but I have yet to find a blog that doesn’t like when you include internal links.
Anytime you can go beyond the expectations without going too far the better. 3-5 internal links is great. 100 is probably too much.
If they ask for two photos, 3-4 would be great. 10 might be too many.
If they ask for 600 words. 700-800 might be great, but 1,200 is probably too many.
10. Keep Pitching New Pitches
Finally, you might read that it’s good to reach out with followups. That’s fine. Maybe one or two. But in the case of guest blogging I’m not a fan of following up on the same pitch.
I prefer starting over. You can pitch the same site, but come with new ideas for posts. Come with completely new ideas and don’t mention the previous emails you’ve sent. Just keep trying to win them over from scratch.
If they didn’t respond to your initial pitches it’s usually just because they’re busy and didn’t have time to tell you that they weren’t interested.
But you can keep sending ideas until the right one trips their trigger and gets them interested.
Guest blogging is a great way to raise brand awareness. The ultimate goal is to get your posts published on the really popular blogs. And it’s certainly possible. The tips above have worked well for me over the years and I know they can work well for you too.