Guest blogging might seem like a walk in the park, but it’s actually a process that needs to be taken seriously – if you want real results. It requires a fair amount of your time and a number of activities ticked off your to-do list before you manage to get your desired post published on a relevant website.
We can all agree that the beauty of the Internet lies in its uncompromising accessibility, but this also implies there are tons of different websites offering different levels of quality to their users. And you may be surprised to realize you really do not want to be associated with many of them.
That’s where the cherry-picking steps in. Choosing the best from the best.
I have already explained in great detail how to come up with a list of relevant sites from which you want to get links in my A-Z guide for finding link building opportunities. Now it’s time to come up with some great topics that will make webmasters and editors want to read and eventually publish your content on their websites.
Take it from someone who builds links for a living – if you want to get published on a certain site, you need to send the editors content that actually speaks volumes to their audience. During these last couple of years, I’ve managed to get my articles published in top publications like HuffPost, Forbes, TheNextWeb, SEMRush, etc.
Here’s how I’ve managed to accomplish this. And how you can, too.
Before we get started, I always like to underline the importance of these three things when trying to come up with guest blogging topics:
- Know the audience and its knowledge levels: If you want to write a perfect blog post, you need to know whom you’re writing it for. I’m not talking about the editors, I’m talking about the people who visit that particular site. For example, if you’re trying to do a guest post for Copyblogger, you cannot just write a piece about basic copywriting techniques. Nope. Copyblogger is followed by people who have a rich knowledge about copywriting and content production, so you need to step it up and provide some pro-level insights.
- The Speedy Gonzales method: Speed is often a decisive factor on the Web. If, for example, you want to get published on a site that writes about digital marketing and there’s a major Google update happening – you should do everything in your power to be the fastest one to cover the topic.
- The stale content approach: A lot of popular and relevant sites are full of outdated content. All of them have lists like “Best SEO tools for 2017” that still generate a lot of visits, but haven’t been updated. If you possess the necessary know-how to create fresh, better and updated versions of such content, you could easily earn yourself a link.
Another thing to note: a slight shift in your mindset will get you far. You need to treat your guest blogging efforts as more than just tools for earning links. Instead, take a holistic approach to this way of promoting your brand and business online, and only guest blog when you have an original idea to share on a subject that you have truly mastered. For instance, if you have, like me, been working in SEO for more than a decade, go ahead and write a guest post about your expertise or anything that’s currently happening in your industry.
Guest Post Brainstorming Hacks
You have probably heard it a million times before: you have to be authentic, unique, and relevant. But let’s dive in a bit deeper to understand what these notions mean.
The web is overwhelmed with recycled articles and so are the users and editors. But if you manage to provide value that cannot be found elsewhere, it will be a positive signal for the editors. Even if your post just provides a fresh perspective on an existing topic or has something that hooks the attention of the readers, it will be perceived as a powerful strike at the core of the issue of content saturation.
In this case, editors will feel lucky to have you as their contributor, and that’s how you turn the tables around. Write so good (or hire writers that good) that they can’t help to see you as someone who truly enriches their website with unique content. That’s how you seal a firm collaboration in the long run.
So, how to get started?
1. Focus On What You Know
Sharing the results of your research or through case studies that give fresh insights is a good idea. Writing about tactics that have worked well for you is even better.
People want to read about personal experiences, they are interested in shortcuts and hacks. Editors always lack this type of content and it’s easy to understand why: it’s way simpler to rewrite existing content than to share the conclusions you’ve come to on your own by writing from scratch.
2. Follow Trends and Build Your Idea around What’s Currently Trending
To explore current trends, you have to keep up with both industry news and the conversations happening among Internet users. That’s how you stay relevant.
You can use communities like Quora, Reddit, or Facebook groups to find the questions bugging users, and then create a post that will provide a consumable answer. Tools like answerthepublic.com can also get your creative juices flowing and assist you in getting into the minds of users. It is kind of like the market’s supply and demand dynamics, where you position yourself as a relevant supplier. Editors will be thrilled to work with you.
3. Play with Different Articles to Generate a Fresh Idea
When you’re writing high-quality content, one of the best ways to come up with something truly valuable is to leverage the power of relatable subjects to create one omni-powerful one.
For example, if you’re writing about SEO or content marketing, your job is to create a topic where you can cover the best qualities of both of these forms of marketing. That is how I came up with the idea for my Elevate Digital blog post: “What Makes SEO and Content Marketing the Ultimate Combination”.
4. Follow Statistics
One of the best ways to come up with killer content ideas is to keep a close eye on industry statistics and then do your best to add value to them. For example, a couple of months ago, I came across an alarming piece of data. In their big study, the guys at PageFair have found out that around 200 million internet users have some sort of an ad-blocking device installed in their browsers. But that’s not all, The Wall Street Journal reported that these blockers have cost publishers more than 22 billion dollars in the year 2015 alone.
I thought this was a solid foundation for me to start building my post. That is how I came up with the “How to Promote Your Business Online in the Ad-Blocker Era” post, which was eventually published on HuffPost.
This is just one example. You can apply this principle to every niche or industry. The goal is to find relevant numbers, that actually cover something that speaks about the state of the industry you operate in, and expand on that. Provide relevant answers to real scenarios, and you’ll surely come up with desirable content every time.
The Recipe for Charming Webmasters
However, this is how you come up with a topic that will gladly be read, but not necessarily one where your link will fit perfectly.
That can be the tricky part. While brainstorming about your topic, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:
- The tone of previously published articles on the website (more often than not, you will be expected to adjust the tone of your article to fit the overall feel of the website)
- A topic that is well aligned with the link you want to insert (the link has to fit in organically and enrich the content)
- Guidelines for contributors (these include the word count, formatting, any explicit prohibitions, etc.; reading through the guidelines before doing the outreach is mandatory, especially because some editors openly state they do not publish links in posts – so why to toss a perfectly good post away for nothing?)
Of course, it’s always a good idea to check what your competitors are doing. See what topics they have focused on within their link building strategies and pick up a thing or two.
The three things I’ve mentioned in the previous section (having the audience in mind, the Speedy Gonzales method, and the stale content approach) are the foundation upon which I base my guest post topic brainstorms and alter their angles along the way.
It’s sort of a cyclic process: I think of a topic, then always check if it’s relevant for the audience of my targeted website. I follow the news and do a bit of research to see if something hot has been the talk of the town lately, but hasn’t been covered in detail yet.
Depending on the site I am targeting – comprehensive, long-form posts that are up-to-date might work best. People love having unique resources about the topics they are interested in, mainly because this type of content saves them the most precious resource they have – time. And if users see it has been written by someone who is an expert in the industry, you have hit the bullseye.
Be Patient and Know Where to Pitch Your Ideas
An important thing you need to have in mind here is that guest blogging gets easier over time if you work on your portfolio.
You cannot just come out of nowhere and shoot for the moon.
The more you do, read, and work on your name, the less difficulty you’ll have with coming up with ideas that webmasters will love.
You need to build your reputation from the ground up. If you’re interested in getting published on top domains, you will need to have a sample of your work to show the editors. You will need at least two or three quality guest posts published with respected publications. Editors won’t let just anyone publish a post on their site, regardless of how good their idea might be. They’ll want to acquaint themselves with the quality and style of your writing before they even consider your pitch.
If you’re just taking your first steps in this guest blogging world, my advice would be to start from your own niche and get published on sites run by people whom you’ve already collaborated with. Test your ideas out on them. You don’t have to look for top domains, medium quality is fine. Your goal here is to go after something people read and recognize.
Guest blogging is a complicated process that requires a lot of effort and dedication. That’s why a lot of people don’t really do it.
Even though most people understand the value of guest blogging, I’m willing to bet that a lot of your competitors don’t have the patience or resources to get their content published on various quality domains across the Web.
Having said all that, I think this underlines why you should guest blog. Apart from earning you those quality links that will influence your rankings, a solid guest blogging strategy can turn your whole business around. Follow these steps, work on your ideas, and I promise you’ll see some significant ROI in a couple of months.
Thank you for reading this post from top to bottom,
That’s it for now,
Rad @ Dibz.me