7 Crucial Tactics for Writing a Wildly Successful Guest Post

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We all know that guest posts grow blogs.

But not many people realize that tactical guest posting grows careers.

Most bloggers I see pump out these articles while reciting the mantra “quantity over quality”; there’s no real strategy and there are no real long-term benefits.

In this post I am going to show you the seven crucial tactics for writing a radically successful guest post.

Done right, these strategies will get you more email subscribers, coveted Google ranking positions, and a big head-start on your content marketing goals.

Who am I to teach you about guest blogging?

It seems like the decent thing would be to start this article by flashing my “guest blogging badge.”

At least that way you’ll understand why I’m wearing these high-glare aviators.

For me, the proof was in the pudding, and the pudding was the sale of an 8-month-old blog for almost $20,000 while I was still in University.

Actually, I sold the blog after a year had passed, but I had mostly stopped working on it at the eight-month mark.

That baby was built on tactical guest posts. So were the other blogs I’ve sold for similar price tags, and I’m doing the same with Blog Tyrant.

It’s now almost a decade later, and despite being a mediocre writer I still have success with these strategies.

Hopefully they’ll give you some extra juice for your next guest appearance. With that, I give you the 7 tactical elements of a radically successful guest post

1. A guest post should funnel people to an outcome, not a home page

Every time you do a guest post, you’re given a little space in the post for a biography, with a link (as well as a few in-post links) that can direct readers back to your blog.

The mistake that most newbies make is they don’t give any thought to where they are sending those new readers.

Click away and you’re likely to end up on a home page or some nicely done but relatively unrelated post (usually with a good amount of tweets or comments).

What you need to do is funnel people toward a specific outcome.

Let’s say your goal is to get as many email subscribers as possible. A successful funnel would entail:

  • Creating a niche-specific free giveaway. You’d create an eBook that is centered around a very specific topic in your niche that will appeal to a well-defined group.
  • Creating a landing page or ad for that eBook. The next step is to add that eBook to your blog and give it away as a free incentive for joining your list, using a service like Aweber. If you don’t know how to do this I made a video.
  • Guest posting on closely related topics. Here’s the sexy part. You now go out and guest post on topics that are closely related to your free giveaway. Link back to your landing page/advert if you can, but even if you don’t you will be funneling and pre-selling people on the idea of your eBook.

Sending people back to random posts or a home page is just a waste of time.

Just like filling up your car with petrol, you need to put fuel in the gas tank, not pour it all over the engine. Use a content funnel to direct the flow of traffic toward your desired outcome or target.

It doesn’t matter what it is — a free eBook, product, etc. — as long as you are intentionally directing people there.

Don’t assume they’ll find it for themselves.

2. A guest post should mention big bloggers in your niche

Simply put, one of the fastest ways to grow a new blog is to mention other sites with big audiences in your guest post appearances.

This strategy, while obvious to some, has many benefits.

First, it associates you with those experts.

Second, if you drop a handy email or Tweet before the guest post goes live, you can harness the sheer awesomeness of their contact lists. Most of the time they will at least tweet out your guest post and thus associate themselves with your content. This is also a nice bit of promotion that your “host blog” will appreciate.

And third, it opens a door with those bloggers. When you send them a guest post, they’ll have an idea of who you are, and will be that much more open to taking a look at what you send them.

This type of professional networking is extremely helpful if you want to place guest posts on good blogs. I think of it as giving before receiving.

3. A guest post should be followed up by sister posts

One of the coolest things I ever learned about guest posting was that you can leverage the fame of your guest post to create buzz for your own blog.

I actually learned it in reverse, and a good example is when I did a post about the best About Us pages, and mentioned Copyblogger.

Brian Clark kindly Tweeted my post, which helped me land a big chunk of traffic and some super fast indexing at the top of Google for the key phrase “best About Us pages.”

Since that time Brian has been active on other posts I’ve done. For example, he stopped by here to leave a comment.

Not only does this make me feel all warm inside because Old Man Clark is one of my heroes and has a cool goatee, it also has some pretty obvious and ongoing benefits.

Mention big bloggers in your guest posts, then give them a reason to tweet or promote follow-up posts you do. Don’t just reach out once — create follow-up content that continues that relationship.

Think of it as the second date.

4. A guest post should be aimed at 10 years of results, not 10 hours

Sonia Simone once said that,

The rewards of guest posting are cumulative…. you build more momentum the more you post.

I used to write a guest post and eagerly await the flow of traffic and increase in subscribers that occurs after being published.

I’d to spend the whole day looking at stats and monitoring the progress of the article on all the social networking sites.

But I soon realized the error of my ways. A guest post needs to be a 10-year strategy.

While still important, I now place a lot less importance on the initial flow of traffic and tweets.

Why?

For starters, I am more interested in how the guest post matures. So now I ask myself these questions in order to judge the success of a guest post:

  • Does it rank well on Google< for a keyword phrase that is going to continually benefit my own site and goals?
  • Does it boost my reputation and credibility in the niche?
  • Did it make me any new contacts in the industry?
  • Did it create a discussion on the post or somewhere else?

If you want to write guest posts that produce results for years to come, you need to do some solid keyword research as well as creating an exhaustive post that covers issues — to the point of becoming a timeless resource.

Jonathan Morrow does this extremely well here on Copyblogger. He writes resource-rich, original content that will rank well and get people interested in his upcoming releases.

5. Each guest post should be part of an anchor text strategy

Anchor text is the text you use when you link to a post.

Just above you’ll see that “Jonathan Morrow” is the anchor text for that link to his articles here on Copyblogger.

Your choice of anchor text is hugely important for search engine rankings.

We all know that relevant backlinks help us to rank better on Google, but the anchor text of those backlinks also plays a big role in what exact keywords we rank for.

When you do a guest post, you should have already done keyword research and know specifically what phrases you want to rank for, based on how much traffic they bring and how competitive they are. Remember, you want your guest post to be bringing you love from Google for the next ten years.

Once that post is live, you can then link back to it in the future using the desired anchor text. This will help you elevate your own post on someone else’s website so that it matures well.

Just remember that SEO copywriting has to work for humans first, search engine robots second. Mix it up sometimes, and only link to your article if it is relevant and useful for real-life human beings.

6. Each comment should be answered or used as material

One of the really important things to do when you guest post is stick around and answer every single question that you get in the comments.

It’s in the comments section that long term relationships are built with the readers that you are reaching on the new blog.

It’s in the comments section that you enhance your branding as an expert or fellow traveler or mentor.

I have never tested it, but I would guess that at least half of the loyal readers I get from guest posts left comments that I answered on the day of publication.

If a comment or question is really good, you can take the idea and use it as the germ of a post on your own blog. Announce it in the comments section and see how many people drop on over to see what you’ve done with it.

7. Guest posts should be aimed mostly at beginners

It might seem a little counter-intuitive, but most of the readers who interact with content, subscribe to your list, and eventually buy your products, are newbies.

Think about the entrance paths for finding posts. Most of the time people either Google a question because they don’t know the answer, or click a referral link on Facebook/Twitter/Blog because it’s something they are unfamiliar with.

A lot of any blog’s readers are new to that blog’s topic. And that tends to be where new readers come from — newbies looking for a grounding in the topic.

After a while, the intermediate group often trails off and focuses on their own projects, as opposed to sticking around to learn more skills.

The more successful guest posts are the ones that focus on topics that are well digested by beginners, especially if you are aiming at getting that post indexed well on Google.

Try to write list posts and articles with an instructional tone, full of resources and links.

What guest posting strategies work for you?

I’d really like to hear about what guest posting strategies have worked or not worked for you.

Have you tried anything above with great success?

Please leave a comment and let me know. All ideas are welcome — especially the half-baked ones …

About the Author: Ramsay Taplin is known as The Blog Tyrant, a 25-year-old guy from Australia who has sold several websites for large sums of money and now shares his methods for growing your blog and dominating your niche. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or sign up for his email updates.

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Comments

  1. Guest blogging is like featured artists in songs.
    Added appeal but does not always work.

    • A strategic guest post is like featuring Akon in your song. It will steal the show.

      • Haha, I love that, Sharon!

        • Is Akon a good thing? I’m confused now. Ha ha.

          • My point exactly.

          • Yes, Akon is a very good thing, but if you don’t listen to pop, Sharon’s point still stands and could easily read:

            A strategic guest post is like featuring…
            Elvis in your song.
            The Beatles in your song.
            Radiohead in your song.
            Eminem in your song.
            Ravi Shankar in your song.

            Or for Mr. Australia…

            AC/DC :)

            It’s the blog-equivalent of celebrity endorsement/collaboration, and I’ve been kicking around ideas on how to actually collaborate on a post. I was talking it over with Danny Iny, but have nothing solid yet.

    • Granted, guest blogging won’t always work, but if you’re using it for the right reasons, 80% of the time you’ll be successful. It’s not all about the link. If you’re putting out legitimate content that will truly help their readers and you don’t over promote yourself, you’re golden.

      • This is how I have always looked at it. Unfortunately I can see that I have written posts pointing to the home page and other pages with no real strategy for optins etc. as a way of not being to promotional on someone else’s site. Now to find a nice balance between the two!

  2. “One of the really important things to do when you guest post is stick around and answer every single question that you get in the comments.”
    I love it when guest bloggers reply to comments. It’s especially good when you leave a comment on a very old post and then discover the guest blogger is still subscribed and still cares enough to reply. I’ve seen a few bloggers who do this and it leaves a very good impression.

    • Totally agree David. Its a nice feeling.

      • I have read many post about “guest blogging” before, on Viperchill.com or YoungProPro.com, and your post is the new on “how to effective guest blogging”, I realized that your #6 point, “Each comment should be answered or used as material” is the most thing that many guest bloggers had ignored. Thanks for showing the mistake and I believe many guest bloggers would be guest blogging more effective, thank to your “guest post”.

  3. A great guest post on guest posts…

    I love the relationship building part of it. Would just like to add that the person you’re including doesn’t have to be considered a “big shot” like Clark, Rowse etc. In fact people with a small audience that are up and coming will probably be even more happy about it as they’re not used to being blogged about. They can also go to even greater measures to spread the word.

  4. Hey Tyrant,

    Good to see you here :)

    I have never really thought about writing sister posts, mentioning other bloggers and 10 years of results. You really did put a new perspective on my mind. This would be really helpful as I am trying to get traffic and subscribers via guest blogging. I guess I should start experimenting with your techniques and see what works for me :)

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

    Jeevan Jacob John

  5. It’s essential to be able to have those lists and also being able to have another medium to get yourself out there a lot more. It is essential to also engage your community as well so it can better feel connected to your particular brand.

  6. There is no denying the power & influence of guest posting.

    The author definitely proves his point(s) about guest posing with this very well written guest post.

  7. Very key points here about guest blog posts. One of the tactical errors I see guest bloggers make is ignore the comments section. In a farming analogy, that’s like putting the seed on the ground and working away from it. Taking the time to visit the blog on which you have your guest post and replying each and every comment shows that you care about your readers. For me, it is that extra care which makes me click on the author’s bio so I can know more about the person.

    I’m considering guest posting this year so these points really come in handy. Thank you.

  8. I’m not a fan of guest posting, but knew of it’s advantages before reading your post, but now think I will need to dedicate much more time to it, specially to create a funnel/landing page to put in the author byline. Thanks B.T. for another great post.

    • How come you’re not a fan Jamie? I’d be interested to hear that one.

    • Jamie, I’m not a fan either, and I have finally figured out why:

      1. My training is to write on a single topic pretty much once, and only once. Maybe shingling over the material in a follow-on article. Writing the same article 17 different ways is Very Bad Science. But it’s Very Good Marketing. (Not making a judgement here, just observation).

      2. My best writing is behind paywalls (Elsevier, Balkema, etc.). I can’t even get it to myself. Sucks. So I’ve been reluctant to relinquish the ad hoc copyrights induced by “Publish only on the blog which accepts the guest post.”

  9. I think writing a very good article is important, too. If the content is unique and interesting people are likely to remember it more. I’ve just had one go out about 10 classic modern books that’s been a hit. I think people are also attracted to these “X number of ways to do this or that” lists as they’re easy to digest and interesting. So thank you for your insights; you’re certainly right about commenting on the comments! Very important practice.

  10. Yes, guest posting is ESSENTIAL… and should be part of a strategy.

    Will be printing AND sharing these tips. Thanks for the great post!!

    Jennifer

  11. Nice article! Really appreciate you boiling down guest posting to its crucial elements. Having recently co-founded a health/beauty/wellness blog (www.beforliving.com), and having only recently been introduced to the value of guest posting, I am finding that it is extremely important on multiple levels. But aside from the SEO potential, I think the real value (as you pointed out here) is in developing relationships.

    Thanks again! Your information was very helpful.

  12. Thanks for the tips. I’m fairly new in the blogging scene and this strategy is just what I needed. You posses great insight.

  13. As for me, I always try to monitor every blog before addressing its editor. It helps to better understand which content is preferable by readers. I guess it’ll work for everybody

  14. Old Man Clark? Hmmm …

  15. Love the post. But, um…how does one go about acquiring the *opportunity* to guest post?

    • First you have to decide on which blogs you want to guest post. Once you know where you would like to guest post, then you want to contact the organization/company’s editor or online editor (depending on the size of the organization). This person’s contact information is generally fairly simple to find if the site has a ‘contacts’ page. Once you have this person’s information, send them an email or give them a call. This is a sales call. It is important to show how you can contribute valuable content or a valuable name to the blog. Share a sample of work that you have already put together.

    • Hi Susanna.

      I wrote a post about writing those emails. Hope it helps.

      http://www.blogtyrant.com/how-to-write-successful-emails/

  16. Pity I didn’t find this before I sent off my first guest post last night!!

  17. I love love LOVE the fact that you pointed out how important it is for bloggers to respond to comments. Good, high quality blogs with good content are good… but high quality blogs where the author responds to every comment are GREAT. It’s a fantastic way to keep the conversation going. Sometimes I learn more from the comments then from the actual content of the article.

    Nice work!

    Tommy

    • Yes : ) like on this post! It’s great, and each comment and response is awesome too! Thanks!

    • Tommy, to be perfectly honest, most of the learning happens in the comments. At least on my blog anyway. I have such fantastic readers who write such incredible comments. I really love it.

  18. Well done. You just raise my bar on guest posting!

  19. “A guest post should be aimed at 10 years of results, not 10 hours”

    I think this could potentially be one of the best takeaways from this post- because it’s something that is highly overlooked. When we guest post, we get all caught up in the excitement, engagement and traffic, but then we forget about it and move onto the next post without really planning out what’s to come next, what made that post succeed, how does this open up doors for further posts, etc.

    Great post. :)
    Great post. Guest posting is certainly a skill that requires time and patience for a successful outcome.

  20. Quite well done. I was surprised to find that this post gave even more info than Jon Morrow’s posts.

    Just had a question, though. I’m not clear on the part about letting another blogger know you’ve mentioned them in your guest post. Do you just e-mail them and let them know? I assume you do that right when the post is published?

    Thanks!

  21. Excellent strategies, thank you for sharing! I especially like the first idea — I never would have thought to link something like a bio on a guest post to an offer on my own site. I guess that’s why you make the big bucks. :)

    Anyone have suggestions for how to land that guest post in the first place?

    • Amy. I would say having your own house in order is important (how are your posts? what kind of image does your blog give?). Then, get to know a couple of blog owners in your niche and propose topics that fit their blog and that you know you could nail.

      Another option – Jon Morrow teaches a guest blogging course that provides a strategic framework for the whole process that is really great too.

  22. Hi there,

    Those are really not the usual tips about guest posting as you see all over the places. Very specific and what is more, apparently something even a none above skilled writer can do. While guest posting is free it’s definitely an investement of time, so I want to make sure I get the most benefit for my spent time.

    Thanks for this,
    Sylviane :)

  23. That’s a great post. Very actionable and easy to digest. I’d add one other thought – strategically selected blogs. Getting posts on blogs that are frequented by your target audience that rank for similar keywords as your own will help for both the immediate traffic and subscriber boost and the longer term SEO benefits.

  24. Great tips, especially considering the fact that I have recently started guest blogging with some minimal success along the way. I definitely resonate with #6, as I think it is absolutely CRUCIAL to stick around and reply to comments and any questions that come up from that blog’s community. I recently landed a great guest post on a prominent blog, and this helped me nab nearly 50+ RSS subscribers (not much, but I found it impressive since I’m just getting started).

    One question – what is the best way to approach a blog owner for a guest post? Would you write up the entire post and send it over to them with a quick introduction? If you get no answer or get denied, do you cycle that post through other potential bloggers? Just looking at the most effective way to go about it. Would love any tips.

    Bryan

    • Hey Bryan.

      I almost never write the full post first. The reason is that I like to tailor my guest post to the audience of the blog I’m writing and also whatever is appearing on my homepage at that time.

      The best thing to do is to drop a link or two to them in your own posts and then build a relationship on Twitter. After a while send them an email with a subject pitch and maybe the opening paragraph and see how they react.

      That has worked well for me.

  25. Groovy post, Blog Tyrant! I love responding to commenters on guest posts I’ve written. If I answer within a short time, then sometimes we can even get a discussion going!

    I can only think of one tidbit to add to this at the moment, and it involves a bit of “creeping” (not in a dangerous way, don’t worry — haha). If a reader leaves a particularly interesting comment, I’ll follow their backlink to see where it goes. I couldn’t tell you how many wonderful blogs I’ve stumbled upon just from doing this! The guest post site serves as a handy little icebreaker (“Hi, there! I found your blog through my guest post today!”) and I get a chance to correspond with another blogger who has similar interests. Not to mention, I get to read blogs that I may have been unaware of otherwise. I’ve found many of my blogging buddies this way, and I’ll continue to do it. :)

  26. Thanks for the great post!

    Point 7 really got me thinking about the content I create and if it’s suited to my readers. It’s so easy to assume that your readers are at the same level as you, and that’s something I need to be reminded about now and then, for all the markets I’m in.

    I remember hearing Frank Kern say that 75% of his list are complete beginners, and that shocked me too.

  27. So, blog tyrant,
    This post was rockin awesome. Thanks for great content!

    Curious, what first attracted you to blogging, and how did you get started??

    • Hey Claudia.

      I was really into bodybuilding in high school and started a blog about that. I actually sold a fitness manual for $65 to a guy in Holland when I was still in school. That gave me the lust for it all!

      Then I sold a blog for $20k in college and was hooked forever.

  28. Great post very comprehensive! I’ve had some good results from guest posting including picking up a web design blog from a successful games developer in San Francisco (I have a web company in Australia) but I’ve never approached it so strategically.

  29. Hi there,

    I learned so much from reading this post! I’m glad I took the time to study it carefully. I haven’t done any guest posting – guess I’ve been too wrapped up in writing content for my own blog. A question that I’ve been wondering about, that came up whenI read Derek Halpern’s last post too, is how to find the right blogs to connect with.

    Where do I start? It may make me seem clueless about my industry, but I’ve been working so hard on making my customers happy and getting them the products that they want that I haven’t spent much time cultivating other bloggers.

    The tip that resonated the most with me in your article was about comments. It never occurred to me that answering them all was so important. I’ve seen bloggers who answer all, bloggers who answer some, bloggers who answer none. Doesn’t it take too much time? Where can I learn more about best practices for managing comments?

    I did a giveaway on my blog a couple weeks ago and got 300 comments. I answered about 10… Do people really come back and read the answers? I would like to learn more about this. Where do you draw the line? At the end of the publication day?

    Thanks,

    Liat

    • Hi Liat.

      Thanks for the great comment!

      Absolutely, people do come back and read comments. Especially if the blog has the “notify me of replies” plugin installed.

      I try to reply to every comment I get but sometimes it might not be necessary like if they are just entering a contest.

      The best practice for you will take some testing to see what works on your blog.

  30. Amen to all of this, guest posts were how I first found the actual BlogTyrant.com site (and now you seem to be everywhere! Haha)

    One question though, BT, my niche doesn’t really do guest posts the way that say, the meta-blogging niche does, but will all of these tips work for a post on my own site?

  31. Guest blogging is a great way to get your name ‘out there’. Sharing your knowledge with a whole new batch of readers could help you widen your market reach. Not only that, but it’s also a great way to gain vital backlinks and should therefore be seen as a vital part of your PR strategy.

  32. Hi mate!

    Cool post. Great insights. I think the last one was a new perspective I haven’t looked at before. Targeting the beginners and giving plenty of instruction and resources on list posts does indeed make sense.

    Have quick question, how do you divide your time between guest blogging and posting on your own site?

    Thanks! Great job!

    P.S. I sort of made a simple illustration (stick figures really) just to remember all the points. I think it is a great way to learn these tips… visually.

  33. I just started blogging last week so it may be awhile before anyone even knows I am in the world of blogging yet alone ask me to guest blog. However, when the day come I will be ready after reading your post.

    Thanks

  34. Great tips! I have started to guest blog only recently, but these are some killer suggestions that I will keep in mind and implement in my next guest blog.

  35. Thanks for the great insights and strategies!

  36. Wow. I usually skim past “guest posting” tips. There were 2 things that made me read this one. First, the people who tweeted it made the article seem like it was worth reading. Mentioning important people in your guest post is so smart. Secondly, when you starteed the story with, “I sold my blog for 20,000″ I couldn’t help but read the whole article.
    Thanks for sharing your tips. I think you have a really well thought out strategy.

  37. Blog Tyrant,

    I adore your sense of humour and thanks for writing such a great post. You, Brian and Sonia had me rolling in the hay. I just could not stop laughing until my pony kicked me out of his shed. No tresspassing for humans, although I look like the ET. With apologies to Steven Spielberg. Listen, I have been guest posting since time immemorial, but I did not think about any strategy until I read your post. I have a bird brain, which is not good for strategic thinking. I just contribute guest posts because I like to write. The rest I leave in the hands of my host and my growing poverty. The icing on the non-existent cake is that I don’t even own a blog. Now, if wishes were horses, beggars like yours truly would surely ride. Even so, I will take your wooly mammoth theories into consideration in the near future. However, I will have to figure out a way to start a blog or die trying. In my case, the latter seems more likely. Cheerio, dude.

    • Archan you are clearly an excellent writer. That comment contained more metaphors and similes than anything I have ever read before! Ha ha.

      I think you would do extremely well with your own blog. I have a guide on my site about how to get started.

      Good luck!

  38. Great tips! I submitted my first guest post yesterday: http://lnkd.in/n4UWaH

    I did two things you suggested, but not on purpose. I read your post after I submitted it because I was like, geez this works — better be more strategic about this, better look for tips ;)

    Anyway, I mentioned a popular blogger in my niche, and I blogged about a fairly general topic. What do you know — 89 retweets, 28 comments, 84 shares, and 65 likes in 24 hours! I got more sign-ups to my newsletter in one day than I did in the 3 weeks since I first introduced it.

    Now I gotta write another one! :)

  39. Found your post from Michaelhyatt.com and love the content. So many great ideas to get me started with guest blogging. Thanks!

  40. Great article. As a teacher for courses for start-ups in germany, i allways tell my “students”. If you start an internet-business: Be aware of the fact that your idea has to be posted also on othetr websites. Post comments to make your own website populare! In especial in start-up businesses the web-communication ist one of the basic “to-do-things”!

  41. This is BY FAR the BEST blogpost I’ve ever read on guest blogging! Thanks so much for sharing and I’ll definitely be employing these strategies asap!

  42. Hey Ramsay,

    Do you have any tips (that have worked for you) on forming a relationship with bloggers so that they are willing to accept guest posts? I know most sites have a submission guideline and it is up to the host to pick up your piece or not. But I thought forming a relationship with them prior to ‘pitching’ them your story could be helpful. I’m sure others are wondering as well!

    Also, what and how do you search for very niche-specific blogs?

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks!