How To Know When To Guest Post

How To Know When To Guest Post
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How To Know When To Guest Post

Everyone knows about guest posting and its benefits. But what isn’t often talked about is how to know when to guest post and when not to.

First things first, let’s quickly go over what a guest post is;

A guest post is NOT a low quality, quickly penned, poorly written short article that you submit purely for the sake of getting a backlink.

In fact, backlinks for SEO purposes shouldn’t be why you’re guest posing at all. I mean the links are beneficial to an extent, but it’s not the main goal here.

What a guest post should consist of is simply a high quality, highly engaging article.

Your motivation when guest posting should be so that when people read it they’re inclined to check the author (YOU) out and visit your site.

You want to give them awesome information, that’s well written and inspires them to keep reading. Most importantly, you want to whet their whistle and leave them craving more.

The content should be so good that it physically hurts you to be giving it to someone else. And for FREE.

Your guest post should be so good that it physically hurts you to be giving it to someone else. Click To Tweet

That kind of content is the kind that will drive traffic back to your blog all day long.

Think about it.

If you read a blog regularly and a new post goes up by an unknown guest author, and it sucks, you’re probably not going to want to read more from that author.

BUT, if it’s awesome, it’s highly likely that you’re going to scroll down to the author box and scour it for a link to their own blog.

With that being said, you probably don’t want to (and probably don’t have the time or motivation to) write hundreds of high quality, time consuming articles to distribute across a slew of sites.

So you have to be picky.

And what matters the most here is getting your awesome article in front of the right eyes, and in a place that makes sense.

But when someone approaches you to submit a guest post (or more likely you’re scouting out sites to guest post on) you need some criteria to judge your prospects on before submitting that precious jewel of an article.

It doesn’t have to be super complicated. It just needs to make sense for you, and for the recipient blog.

Some bloggers don’t fully understand this concept.

Some bloggers will literally take anything as a guest post.

And lets be honest, who wouldn’t want free content – right? The problem is that more often than not, the content is poor in quality and lacks in information.

It kinda defeats the point.

The blogs that take anything are not the kind you want to post on.

But, to get onto better blogs, you have to provide better content. Better content means being accepted more easily, AND also means (hopefully) a better connection with the reader.

When submitting your article, you want it to be absolutely perfect.

Why? Because most good blogs get hundreds of submissions a week – and they all suck. They’re just from lazy “writers” trying to get backlinks.

But you’re not a lazy writer, are you? No you’re not.

You’re a hard working blogger, and you’re going to do whatever it takes to get your work out there!

So by now you’re probably thinking “Okay Tom, we get it. We know we should only be submitting awesome content otherwise it’s a pointless endeavour (you use words like “endeavour” because you’re smart) – but how do we know where to submit the content to?

There are actually only a few questions that need to be answered when deciding whether to guest post on a blog.

These 3 simple questions completely determine whether it’s going to be worth it or not;

1. Is it relevant?

pea pod

The first thing to look at would be is whether or not the blog is relevant. This really is the most important factor.

You need to make sure that the audience of the blog you’re writing for is going to be interested in your article.

There’s no point delicately crafting a beautiful article on handmade jewelry… if it’s going to be posted on a blog about the Ghostbusters movies. Chances are, Ghostbusters’ fans aren’t going to be interested in your shiny goodies…

…Okay – bad example! But you understand what I’m saying.

I’ve had owners of beauty and fashion blogs ask me to write blogging tips articles to post on their blogs before.

And so, when this happens, I give myself a simple Q&A.

Q: Do their readers care about blogging tips?

A: No.

There, that was easy!

Right off the bat I know that there isn’t going to be a benefit in writing that article.

I’m not an asshole about it though! I’ll always politely decline and explain why I don’t think it’s the right fit for me.

Proper online etiquette is something I believe in strongly. Maybe it’s because I’m British, maybe it’s just because I’m not a dick. I’m not sure.

What I do know is, the nicer you are to people, the nicer they’ll be in return.

Maybe in a few months they’ll present you with a new opportunity that does make sense; who knows?

“As one door closes, another one opens” – why not keep all of them open?

'As one door closes, another one opens' - why not keep all of them open? Click To Tweet

2. How much traffic and what’s the quality of traffic?

traffic quality

It’s really hard to gauge the quality of a blog’s traffic.

The main points to focus on are:

  1. Mailing list
  2. Social media following

If you’re being asked by a site owner to write a blog post, the first question you should ask them is how many email subscribers they have.

Email is a direct message to your readers every time you make a post. If they have the same amount of subscribers or more than you, then it’s probable that the guest post will be beneficial.

The owner will likely share the article once it’s posted and so how many visitors it gets (and therefore potential visitors you get) also relies on their followers’ uptake.

A good way to know how engaging a blog’s readers are is to check the comments.

If their posts regularly get at least a few comments, you know that their readers are definitely into what they’re writing about.

This really just comes back to the question of; how many people are going to see this post?

If you want, you can straight up ask the blogger “how much traffic does your blog typically receive?”

But if you want to be more subtle and not risk offending the blogger, or you want to scope out new posting opportunities without alerting the prospective bloggers; a better metric to go by is social following.

Big social following is a good indicator of strong traffic.

How you gauge their popularity based on social media is going to be totally up to you.

Every niche is different, and so it’s hard for me to give a “one size fits all” benchmark.

I would recommend that you find 10 bloggers in your niche and compare all of their social metrics and rank them against each other.

That should give you a fairly good idea of how popular each one of them is on social media, and therefore how many people your article may reach..

The reason their social following matters is because it’s an indicator of how trusted that blogger is. If people trust a blogger, it’s more likely they’ll trust someone who has been allowed to guest post on their site (aka YOU).

3. Do you like the site and it’s previous content?

baby blogger

So lastly, and I’ll admit that this one isn’t as important, but something I still like to keep in mind, is the quality of the site I’m posting on.

When you guest post, it’s probably quite likely that you’ll also share the article with your own following.

You don’t want to send your trusting readers to some shoddy, twisted blog that could potentially give them completely the wrong idea about you.

This goes back to not wanting to post on blogs that allow literally ANYTHING as a guest post.

Quality of the content already on the site is really important, and if they already allow guest posts, make sure that the previous ones aren’t pure crap.

As a suggestion, I would go through and read at least the last 5 blog posts in full.

If you catch even a whiff of something fishy, I would politely turn down the opportunity.

After all, if you’ve already got a killer piece of content, the right place to post it is already out there waiting – you just have to find it!

Conclusion

Where you choose to guest post should never be based on “gaining a link”.

There’s so much more to it than that, and the lessons you should take away from this article are:

  1. Only ever contribute awesome content. Nothing less than amazing should be submitted.
  2. Make sure the place you’re guest posting makes sense as far as the audience goes.
  3. Don’t guest post just to get links.
  4. Do guest post to inspire new readers and encourage them to visit your blog.
  5. Be picky about where you put your content, and more importantly, your name.

Do you have any more tips on knowing when to guest post? Let me know in the comments!

Where you choose to guest post should not be based on 'gaining a link' Click To Tweet
Tom Watts
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Tom Watts

Blogger from England, living in Canada. I blog about blogging, SEO, Social Media, Web Design etc. Monday lover, coffee consumer. The glass is always half full. Read my full story here: Read More
Tom Watts
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8 Comments

  1. Michael says:

    Hey Tom,

    Great post! Concise reminders of what those of us with blogs need to think about on both sides, but particularly when spending hours creating unique content to be used as a guest post on other blogs…

    Aside from social media metrics, do you have any favorite tools (preferably free) to get some reasonable insights as to a particular blog’s regular traffic levels?

    For smaller, newer blogs it can be difficult to tell how much traffic they are really getting, much less if it is really all from the right audience. Of course, even new blogs may grow into strong authority sites in the future, so the relationships are always good!

    Thoughts?

  2. Hi Tom,

    I really appreciated you sharing your expertise here about “guest posting” Your 3 points really started to make me think and to be brutally honest I had never considered the quality of a site’s traffic previously. Still unsure how I could possibly assess this but at least you have given me a starting point.

    Relevancy and my overall impression of the blog site are factors I can quite quickly assess so thanks for the reminder nabout these critical factors.

    As a relatively new blogger the thought of guest posting is a strategy I would like to investigate further although I admit getting accepted by more established bloggers will be my major hurdle – irrespective of the quality of the post I could create.

    Thanks again for this share Tom and best wishes from a Thai village blogger

    Peter

    • Tom Watts says:

      Hey Peter,

      The best/quickest way to screen a site in my experience is to run it through majestic.com – you can get limited information with a free account, but enough to make a decision. Things I check are the backlinks – where they’re coming from, and what the quality of them is (i.e. no viagra or online poker sites) and whether the topical flow of the blog is relevant.

      Guest posting is definitely a strong tactic, but you don’t want to spend your precious content on a site that you aren’t going to see the benefit from!

      Keep up the good work, Peter!

      Thanks
      Tom

  3. Chris Thompson says:

    Great post! I found this post interesting because I had not given guest posting that much thought. Keep up the good work and I wish you all the best.-Chris Thompson

  4. Hey Tom,
    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post. I have recently started my blog and will definitely follow this blog for my future guest posts on onther blog.
    thanks alot.

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