27 February 2018

How To Figure Out Where To Guest Blogging

How To Figure Out Where To Guest Blogging
If you’ve read this far, you know that guest blogging can produce great returns, in terms of traffic, backlinks, and email subscribers.

But what sites should you be guest blogging on?

Before you can hit a target you have to know where to aim.

Before getting published you need to know where you should be pitching in the first place. 

To get the best results, you want to guest blog on sites that your audience reads, that accept guest posts, and generate a lot of traffic. 
But how do you figure out what sites meet those criteria? 

This article post covers a 5 step strategy for determining the best sites to guest blog:

1. Who Are Your Customers?
You can’t know where to guest blog unless you know who you’re trying to reach.

For an early stage startup, it may take some testing to determine who exactly.

Here are a couple questions I like to ask to determine what the target customer segment(s) might be:
  • Who is most severely affected by the problem your content is solving?
  • Who would absolutely love to read your article?
Think very specifically.

For example, people who might find this post about guest blogging include beginner to immediate bloggers concerned with getting more traffic and backlinks and boosting SEO.

Another would be early stage software entrepreneurs who are using content marketing to acquire customers.

If Help a Reporter Out was solving the problem of link building, they might guest blog on an SEO blog.

An SEO blog’s audience is likely to be interested in link building.

2. What Do Your Customers Read?
The next step after figuring out who your customers are is to go where they go.

As it pertains to guest blogging, you want to get published on the sites that they are already reading.

It will be a lot easier to attract customers if you get in where they already are (instead of trying to pull them to you).
You want to figure out what sites your customers read, and are relevant to the product, service, and/or content you provide.

Here are a few ways to figure out what your customers are reading:

A. Customer Development Interviews
Customer development can be used beyond just validating business ideas.

Asking your customers what they read is a great way to figure out where to guest blog.

Here are some customer development questions I have asked to figure out what people read:
  • What are your favorite blogs?
  • What are your favorite news sites?
  • What sites do you read for news and educational content related to your industry?
Sometimes it’s as simple as just asking your customers.

B. Search On Google
Search for the words your customers are likely to be searching for.

For example, if your customers are content marketers, you could search “content marketing”, or “content marketing blog” to make sure you are finding sites that are blogs.

You could also search for the specific topic(s) of your article, such as guest blogging, email marketing, public relations, etc.

Before you search, make sure you’re searching the right terms - the terms that are being searched by your audience.

You might be surprised by what you find. I thought that “startup ideas” would be a common search term, but it turned out that “business ideas” was about ten times more common.

Start with SEMRush[RECOMMENDED] keyword planner to determine what those common search keywords and phrases even are.

Enter in some ideas and the tool will show you how much search volume it gets and make suggestions for other relevant and popular search terms.

C. Audience Intelligence Tools
If you have an email list and/or social following you can learn more about your audience and what they read.

There are some very powerful and expensive audience intelligence tools that can tell you a lot about who your customers are. I’m cheap, so I don’t have a lot of experience with those, but I have received much value from a couple of other free tools.
One simple, free and easy to use audience intelligence tool is analytics.twitter.com. Go to the “followers” tab.

There you can see what your audience’s interests are and who they are commonly following.

This can give you an idea of what kinds of sites specifically you might use to find similar people.

As you can see, there are a few blogs on my list.

Maybe the individuals on the list have blogs of their own.

Those could be great sites for me to guest blog on.

Using this strategy, make sure your followers are within your target customer segment (not always true because there is so much spam on Twitter hah.), and still do some qualitative due diligence on the sites you find.

3. What Sites Accept Guest Posts?
It’s important to find not just any sites, but sites that actually accept guest posts.

Not all sites accept guest or contributor posts. Here are two ways you can determine if a site accepts guest posts

a. Look for a “contact” page or “contribute” page. Look at the top headings or at the bottom footer of the websites.

b. Search the site name + write for us. For example, for http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/. I searched “Social Media Explorer writes for us” and found this http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/how-to-pitch-sme/. You can also try searching “site name + contribute.” For example, “Social Media Explorer contribute”
Take note of their policies on how to pitch, what to pitch, etc.

We’ll come back to that later. 

4. What Sites Have The Best Reach?
You might find a site that’s completely relevant to your topic and your blog audience, and accepts guest posts, but if they are too small, they might not provide a good return on investment.

To qualify potential places to guest post, there are a few metrics you can look at:

A. Pagerank
The higher the better. They provide better backlinks for you. Plus the post itself will rank higher on 

Google than the equivalent post on a lower page ranking site.

Also, a higher page ranking site is likely to have more blog traffic, landing you more reads and potential click through to your website. Two sites you can use to check a site’s authority are Moz’s open site explorer and CheckPageRank.net

B. Email Subscribers
Not all sites disclose this publicly, some don’t even disclose this privately. But the larger a site’s email list, the more views your post is likely to get.

C. Social Following
How many Twitter followers, Facebook likes, etc. do they have?

Some sites get a significant amount of their traffic from their social channels, so if they have a large social following, guest posting there can get more traffic to the guest post because they will almost definitely share it on their social channels.

D. Reputation

One benefit of being published on big sites is that it can improve your reputation.
What is your customers’ perception of the site?

If you are a B2B software company, publishing on Buzzfeed might not be viewed as favorably by your customers as being published on a site like The Wall Street Journal.

5. Pitch, Test, Track, Repeat
To briefly summarize, you want a site that is read by your target audience, has a lot of traffic and high page rank, and will accept your guest post.

You can never know for sure which sites will accept or produce the best results.

Like so many other aspects of business, it requires testing.

That’s why the next and final step is simply to pitch and see what sites accept and what produce the best outcomes for you.
After you’ve found some sites that meet the above criteria, see which ones will accept your content, and which produce the best results.

I certainly haven’t been published by 100% of the sites I’ve pitched to.

I probably haven’t even been published by half of the sites I’ve pitched to.

Some of my guest posts have landed me a lot of traffic, email subscribers, and juicy backlinks, and some haven’t.

But by testing and interpreting I can now double down on what’s working.

To increase your chances of being accepted by top sites, create awesome quality content and follow the instructions the site gives on how they preferred to be pitched.

If the big sites aren’t accepting your guest posts, you can start with smaller, but still relevant sites and climb your way up.

Good luck!
Before you go, I’d like to say “thank you” for reading this article.
So a big thanks for reading all the way to the end.
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Founder, BlogTechy

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