If you only knew this before.
So much time you’ve put into finding good guest blogging opportunities.
And, after some of your pitches were successful, even more time went into crafting your first guest posts.
But now it’s weeks ago that your posts got published and still no considerable echo.
No jump in subscribers, no rise of traffic and no positive changes in Google’s favor for your blog.
Is guest posting all the wrong strategy to help your website gain traction?
But sometimes the blogs you choose for guest blogging don’t pass the test.
The test you should put all guest posting sites under before pitching them.
Why some guest posts are doomed well before they are written
Guest blogging is one of the win-win strategies in our business.
The host gets fresh content for his blog.
The guest writer can speak to a larger audience and funnel visitors back to his blog.
That kind of win-win strategy leads to many guest post opportunities in almost any niche.
But, not all options are suitable for you.
Blogs with huge amounts of traffic can be a surefire flop for your guest post (even if you provided an excellent post).
And blogs with a much smaller audience can be the source of huge guest blogging success.
In the end, the blogs you choose have to meet not one but a whole series of characteristics to be a promising target for your writing.
Traffic and a good match with your audience are not the only criteria to watch out for.
I’ve put together a checklist for you that helps you to easily pick best guest blogging sites in the future.
But before we go into it, let’s recap what exactly you expect from your guest posting efforts.
What again are you guest blogging for?
What a stupid question you might think.
“I guest post on blogs to bring more traffic, more commissions, more sales to my own blog!”
The easy part of that is to expose our content in front of that external audience.
The difficult part is to pick up that external audience and carry it to our own blog.
Without this transfer, guest blogging is a waste of your time.
Blogs that help you with that transfer are the only ones you should focus on.
Let’s see what profile these blogs have and how to easily detect these promising strong targets!
Checklist: 7 criteria to easily find the best guest blogging opportunities (and leave out the foredoomed)
Imagine you’ll never have to wonder if a blog you’ve discovered is a good or a bad guest posting target for you.
The following checklist will help you to quickly separate the good guest blogging sites from the bad ones.
So take the blog in question and check the following 7 things:
1. A good match for your audience?
Sometimes we are so in love with a blog for our own interests that we forget to check if it suits our audience’s interests.
Browse that blog from your audience’s point of view:
Would your visitors find ultimate help in that blog’s articles?
Does that blog answer burning questions of your target group?
A great tool to get a quick overview of what’s hot on a blog is Buzzsumo’s “Most Shared” search.
Read a couple of these most popular posts to see if the content would highly connect with your audience.
2. A good match for your strengths?
Do your fields of expertise match with the topics of these top posts?
What are the audience’s main pain points behind these topics?
Can you make a unique contribution to solve these pain points coming from a different angle*?
And just to be on the safe side: Is this unique contribution about something that would capture your readers too?
3. Accepting guest posts?
Not every blog that matches your audience (and you) is opened for guest blogging.
So, before you get too excited about a blog, you should quickly find out if it accepts guest contributors.
Some show they do by having something like “write for us” in their top navigation.
Varying author names in the blogroll can also be a good sign.
A quick Google search is the best way to find blogs that accept guest posts.
Search for the blog’s domain combined with words like “guest post, contribute, write for us, submission.”
4. Engaged audience?
An engaged audience is the driving force behind the success of your guest posts.
The more buzz in shares and comments, the better.
The posts on your target blog should at least have 50 shares and not less than 5 comments.
Engagement is so powerful that a smaller blog with a highly engaged audience can be a better target for you than a blog with bigger traffic of an unengaged audience.
5. Not engaged but mega audience?
There are some blogs with reach beyond your niche that are great targets although they don’t have a highly engaged audience.
These targets are major media like Forbes, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, Inc.etc.
An excellent* post on these big media targets (which each range from 20 million to more than 130 million visitors per month), can bring you in tons of traffic and subscribers.
6. Author Bio?
The author bio is where you make or break the crucial audience transfer.
It’s that little byline about you (and more importantly about your help-offers) at the end of your guest post.
It’s the most important part of your guest post, for two reasons:
- your call to action (the transfer part!) “come here to visit my helpful resources” is located here
- the link back to your blog (more precisely the link to your helpful free resource) is placed on your call to action here
In a perfect world, visitors click that link to land on your landing page. There, they are happy to leave their email address in return for your irresistible free resource.
Yes, growing your email list is still the most recommended way to benefit from your guest blogging.
But this strategy only works if an author bio with your call to action and your link is presented right below your guest post.
Without that author bio, the audience-transfer to your blog (and to your email list) will be much harder, if not impossible.
7. Regularly updated?
Oh, I fell in love with quite a few blogs who passed all the criteria on my checklist.
But then, after all my investigations greenlighted me, I found out that the latest post on my new guest blogging opportunity was older than 3 months.
This turns a great blog into a bad target. It may still gets lots of traffic. But if it’s not maintained and updated regularly, traffic is at risk to do down, as well as engagement.
If you hit a blog that doesn’t provide a publishing date next to its posts, then head over to Buzzsumo or Feedly to check out the latest updates.
Why you should pitch A-list blogs (even if you don’t have a track record yet)
I hope you’ll start with checking your list of potential targets right away!
Chances are that only the impressive, well-established blogs will pass that test.
And that’s what many new guest bloggers take for a reason to shy away from moving forward.
Instead of pitching these exciting, awesome blogs, they step back to approach smaller not-so-hyped blogs that don’t pass the checklist but are less nerve-racking for beginner outreach.
They do one or two or a couple of these “easy” blogs for writing their first guest posts.
Just for some practice.
Just until they are good enough to approach the “pro targets.”
But, for reasons, their posts on these “easy” blogs won’t result in significant success. So they think they need to practice a little longer…
See the vicious circle?
“Practicing” that way, you are very much at risk to never take the plunge for the big targets.
A very helpful information in this dead-end situation is this:
The big targets mostly don’t care if you are a rookie or a well-known author.
Most of them judge you solely by the quality of the ideas you send them.
If you come up with great ideas, they don’t even want to know if you have a following (or a blog).
So don’t back off from taking the most promising targets – including relevant major media – right from the start, you won’t regret it!
Ready to cherry pick?
Pitching, crafting and promoting a guest post that doesn’t result in some good amounts of traffic and subscribers is a plague.
Realizing that you’ve written an excellent but foredoomed guest post only because the chosen blog didn’t tick all the boxes of a promising target is even more frustrating.
With the checklist above you can protect yourself from these frustrations and rather make a confident choice about where to guest blog.
It helps you to easily pick guest blogging opportunities that give your posts a perfect forum.
With the best targets in place, you can fully focus on pitching and delivering mind-blowing posts that are followed by the strong hook of your irresistible lead magnet.
Your guest posts will have no choice but doing a great job in growing your audience.
So don’t wait and start cherry picking now!
Your happy days of guest blogging are yet to come!