Guest blogging can be a powerful method to grow your business. This article will show you how to find and process guest posting opportunities faster.
Why Guest Blogging?
Guest blogging (also called Guest Posting) can drive incredibly valuable traffic to your site, increase your market authority and boost your search engine rankings.
In case you are new to guest blogging it is important to understand what guest blogging is, why you should absolutely do it and follow a solid strategy to get the best results. (Also read this guide).
The dark side of Guest Blogging
The big problem with guest blogging is that it takes a lot of effort to do.
Generally, you follow these steps:
- Build a list of hundreds of potential websites
- Draft email proposals
- Email each website contact
- Follow up on emails
- Finally write articles for each site that accepts your proposal.
Continue reading and we will show you exactly how you can do each step faster – especially building a list of high quality potential websites.
Step 1: Find Guest Blogging Opportunities
The first step is to build a big list of sites where you can potentially guest post.
You will have better success if you find sites that you know already accepts guest posts. These sites already know the value guest posts add to their site. Often they will also have defined guest posting guidelines which makes it easier for you to write an article they will approve.
There are millions of sites on the internet but filtering that list down to only a few hundred high quality sites is the only way to get a real return on your investment of time and money. Luckily this is not so hard with the right knowledge and tools.
#1.1 Build big list of targets
Use Google to locate sites that meet two broad criteria:
(a) We want sites that are relevant.
(b) Sites that already accepts guest posts.
We use search strings like “<your market>” + “guest article”. If your website is about dog training you might search for “dog training” + “guest article”.
The “dog training” ensure the results that show up is relevant while the “guest article” part ensure the link is an article written by a guest poster. This way we know the site accepts guest bloggers.
Each website will use different words to hint that the post is a guest article so you will need to use a combination of search terms to find relevant sites. In fact, our search recipe has exactly 50 search terms!
As you can imagine typing 50 different search term into Google, analyzing the results and entering those into a spreadsheet can take some serious time! This is where DataGrunt shines – allowing you to execute your search recipes efficiently. Let me show you exactly how.
Open this Google Spreadsheet and make a copy.
Note: This spreadsheet is read-only, so in order for you to use it you first need to make a copy. You need to be signed into Google. Click on the “Sign in” link on the top right to sign in or create a new account if needed. Now go to to File -> Make a copy.
Now enter your market or niche into the yellow box . Remember you want to find the places where your ideal audience hangs out. So in our dog training example we might try “dog training", “dog competitions” or “dog costumes” as we expect people that are interested in dog training to view sites on these topics.
Note: Only enter one market or niche idea at a time into the yellow box. You can repeat the process multiple times to build a big list of search terms.
You will then see the list of search terms auto-generate. Select all the cells containing the generated search terms and use the “Copy” command.
Now for the real magic. Open up DataGrunt and make sure to check the “Bulk Mode” checkbox. Paste the list of search terms into the bulk import text area. Next click the Bulk Import button.
Note: Because we are after quality over quantity, keep the Results to 10 rows per search term. Increasing the number of results per search term will only cause us to have to filter out more sites later in the process.
You will see DataGrunt will be collecting the search results for each term and combine it all into one big list.
(You can also view the results for each term on its own by clicking on the term on the left).
Wait for all the search terms to complete.
#1.2 Filter out sites with low metrics
While many bloggers might take a scattershot approach – write a guest post and pray for readers to come – pro bloggers use a strategic technique. They find blogs with the highest potential for traffic, quality backlinks, and social media influence and target those sites only.
Don’t waste your precious time on sub-par blogs. Go all Darwin on your target list…and weed out weak sites.
The experts all agree – finding quality over quantity should be the focus. In this step I will show you how to quickly filter out the low quality sites. Let’s get started.
It is likely that the same website is listed multiple times under different search terms. So let’s first remove duplicates so we are left with a unique list where we can analyze each site only once.
Make sure you selected the “All results” view on left. Now right-click on the grid on right-side to bring up the context menu. Finally select the “Remove duplicates” command.
Now we will use metrics to filter out the rest of the low quality sites. Make sure you signed up for your FREE Moz account and then entered your API credentials into the DataGrunt -> Settings.
Click on the Fetch button () on the “Site Age” and “Domain Authority” columns.
Wait for all the data to be collected.
Next we want to get rid of any sites with a Domain Authority of 30 or less. So under the Domain Authority column put in a maximum value of 30. Now select all the rows (use Ctrl+A shortcut) and delete all the visible rows (Delete key).
I personally also get rid of any sites younger than 1 year. So I put in the max value under site age of 1 and then again delete all the visible rows.
Now remove the maximum filter values so you can see all the remaining rows.
If you have a SEMRush subscription I recommend at this point you also click the Fetch button on the “Organic Traffic” column. I don’t use this data to filter out any results, but it does help me evaluate the quality of the site and prioritize accordingly. A high organic traffic number means the site gets a lot of traffic from search engines and your article is likely to drive more traffic over the long term.
#1.3 Manually review remaining sites
Now that you have filtered out a good portion of the low quality targets we need to review the remaining sites in more depth.
To do this I set up my DataGrunt so I can review each site in turn and have it disappear from my view after review. I click on the “Star” button on the summary column until it shows the “gray” unselected star. This results in the view only showing rows where nothing is starred yet.
Now for each row I process I either delete it or star it. In either case it will immediately disappear from the view so I’m only left with the sites I still need to process.
For each site I click on the green Url link in DataGrunt to open up the page in the browser. I manually check a few things and decide if I wish to delete or star this site:
1. Is the site a place where my target audience will hang out, i.e. is site relevant?
2. Does the site provide original, high quality content?
3. Does the site allow do-follow links inside the article? Only if the site is really big should you accept the requirement of only no-follow links to your site - and even then put the site lower down your priority list.
4. Is site actively posting? If they have not posted in a few months it is a really bad sign.
5. Do they have proof of a large audience? Many sites display the number of users they have. If that is not available, you can look at social profiles. Also see how engaged the audience is. How actively are people commenting on blog posts and on social? Ultimately traffic from a highly engaged audience convert better.
6. Is the site design good? Does it provide a good user experience?
7. If you have any suspicion on a site, you may also want to check their backlink profile on SEMRush or Ahrefs to see if site users any spammy/blackhat link building strategies. Links from such sites can actually hurt you!
Continue this process until the list of visible rows are completely empty.
Once you are done click the Star icon again until it just shows the star outline icon which indicates the Star filter is disabled. You will now see your final list of filtered items.
#1.4 Export list of targets and complete data
Use the Export function in DataGrunt to save your filtered results in spreadsheet format. I usually sort my list according to either Domain Authority or Organic Traffic before I export to have my results prioritized.
Open this file in your favorite spreadsheet program.
(If you are looking for a free spreadsheet program give Libre Office a try)
Now add the following columns: Contact, ContactEmail, ContactForm, Size, Pitch Idea, Status, Notes.
I also tend to delete any data columns I do not intend to use so I can focus on only the important data. If you don’t want to physically remove the columns I recommend you just resize the column so it’s very small and barely visible.
Now go through the list of sites again and as you go through them complete the spreadsheet.
First find the ideal contact. On smaller sites it is easy as the site owner is usually the one you need to contact. On bigger sites you may have to figure out who the right person in the organization is to contact. On the spreadsheet enter both the name and email address of the contact.
Pro tip: What I love about big corporations are that if you fail to get a guest post opportunity from a specific contact after several follow-ups you can always try another person in the organization. If the site is worth the effort don’t give up so easily!
Sometimes no email information is available and you may have to resort to using a contact form instead. In this case fill in the ContactForm column.
Also complete the Size column – here you simply put Small or Big. A big site is a site with a lot of traffic and usually more than one person managing the site. It is important to know if a site is big or small because it changes the way you pitch. More about this later.
While you are looking at the site it is also the best time to think of some pitch ideas. Quickly jot down in the spreadsheet the titles of articles you think might work on the site. Believe me that after processing a dozen or more sites you will completely forget what each site is about and it will be harder to think of good pitch ideas.
Change the Status field to “Ready” and add any notes you might have to the Notes column.
Congratulations! You just completed the first big step which can often be the most time consuming. Luckily with tools like DataGrunt you can save hours of effort.
Step 2: Draft email proposals
Now that you have a list of quality targets the next phase is to start contacting websites and pitching them your ideas. Don’t rush this process. Your list of quality sites should be relatively short and you need a good acceptance rate to get enough guest posts. So make each pitch count!
The way you pitch will be different for small sites than for big sites.
For small sites you can usually directly email the site owner and pitch your idea immediately. They probably do not get as many pitches as the big sites and as a one-man-operation often jump at the opportunity to get high quality content for their site. They know it takes a lot of time to write and will be happy to get new content from you.
For big sites the process is a bit different. It is good to first slowly build a relationship before you make your pitch. The bigger the site, the more effort you should put into building a connection first. Start by commenting on blog posts, interacting in Twitter and Facebook and offer your help when you see an opportunity to do so. Once you are certain your contact knows who you are you can try and make your pitch.
The time saving tip here is to use proven email templates for your pitch. A good pitch usually has the same structure and email templates not only saves you time in writing the pitch, but also make sure you include the most important elements in your email.
Step 3: Contact each website
Once you have your draft pitch email ready (and you have “warmed up” your connection in the case of bigger sites) it is time to send your email.
You will be emailing hundreds of sites so keeping track of it all will become a challenge if you do not take proper steps from the start. First make sure you keep the Status and Notes fields in your spreadsheet updated so you know which sites you have contacted and in what stage you are in contacting them.
I highly recommend using some CRM software (Customer Relationship Management) which will not only help track all the conversations you have with each person, but also can automate many tasks for you – including scheduling follow-up emails.
Step 4: Follow up
Didn’t get a reply to your pitch? Don’t just give up on the site yet. Follow up at least twice before you put the site on the on-hold status (If its big enough you might want to try another contact later). You will be amazed how many responses you get after the second or even the 3rd email.
Following up might be one of the easiest things to do as it is usually a very simple email. In fact, if you use a good CRM solution it might even support sending out reminder emails automatically.
Step 5: Write articles
Congratulations! Your pitch got accepted at a few sites and now you have to get down to the business of writing the article.
I know for some people it feels like they are writing content for a “competitor” and might be tempted to hand in a rushed or sub-par article. Don’t make that mistake. The only person that will get hurt by this is you! Your brand will suffer and you won’t get the traffic you deserve.
Always give your best work. No exceptions. Do that and you will reap the rewards for years to come.
The only solution is to learn to write quality content faster. Neil Patel wrote an excellent guide on how you can create 2000 word articles in under 2 hours.
Here’s what to do next...
1. Leave a comment below telling me what in this article you found inspiring, surprising or helpful.
2. Download DataGrunt for FREE and start using this strategy today!
3. Share your success stories! Let us know what worked or did not work.