Reader beware. This is a long post. But I think it’s worth reading. Here’s why:
- You’ll understand the difference between old-school and new school guest posting tactics
- You’ll learn how to get published on huge authority sites like Mashable.com (even if you’re a “nobody“)
- You’ll get advice from guest contributors that have been featured on websites like BusinessInsider.com and Mashable.com. Trust me, you’ve never heard of any of these guys before.
Sound good? Let’s go.
Old School Guest Posting
Here’s the traditional way that we’ve been taught to identify a guest posting opportunity:
- Go to Google.
- Search you main keywords + guest post
- Compile a list of blogs that accept guest posts on this topic
- Check the PageRank and look at backlinks for blogs using a tool like OpenSite Explorer
- Write the bare minimum quality post that will be accepted by the blog as quickly as possible
- Submit post and move on to the next blog
- Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
This is exactly how I learned to guest post. It’s probably the same way many of you have learned how to do it as well. The problem with the old way of getting links from tons of lower-value blogs is that it doesn’t have the same level of rank boosting “umph” it did pre-Panda within search engines even as short as a year ago.
Traditionally, the whole point of guest posting (for me and a large percentage my ethically questionable internet marketing friends) was all about getting the link. Quality of audience? Who cares! Search-engines certainly didn’t seem to and neither did I.
But over the course of 2012 and 2013, search engines like Google do seem to care about quality and have begun to make real strides to filter out (and even remove) the spun-content I used to spray across article directories, web 2.0, press release sites, and anywhere else that would give me a link in return for 400 words. However, times have changed. It’s time to embrace these times, make an adjustment, and elevate your game to remain viable longterm.
Elevating Your Game
So how do we change our ways and elevate our guest posting game specifically? If you’re reading this post you’re probably a marketer or blogger. If that’s an accurate description then you’ve already browsed dozens of recommendations to begin pursuing higher-quality links in the form of guest posting opportunities. As a blogger myself, I’ve read these article too. But what exactly does “quality” mean?
My new definition of quality guest posting or link opportunity: a blog with a built in audience and topic similar to yours. That’s it.
Where should you go to find these opportunities? I believe it’s time to start viewing the biggest blogs on the internet as a guest posting opportunities.
I’m talking about monster blogs with tens of thousands of daily readers like Mashable.com, HuffingtonPost.com, and BusinessInsider.com. These are some of the most popular and influential blogs on the internet. Believe it or not, every single one of them accept contributions from guest authors. Here’s the kicker. You don’t need to be some A-list blogger to be published on these blogs either.
How to Get Published on Big Blogs Like Mashable.com
While you don’t need to be popular to guest post for the biggest blogs, you will need to be smart and a little bit strategic. To find out how to be featured on sites like these, I reached out to three super-smart bloggers you’ve probably never heard of–Sudy Bharadwaj of JackalopeJobs.com, Hillel Fuld of Technmarketing.com, and Frank Gulo of RavenWeb.net–that have collectively been featured on all three of the blogs mentioned above. Although none of them know each other, they shared strangely similar advice for getting published on major blogs. Advice that if applied, could garner some major press and authority for your blog.
The first challenge to getting published on a big blog is simply being considered. Writers and editors on the most popular blogs are extremely busy. As a result, your first few requests for a guest post may fall on deaf ears. If this happens to you, don’t take it personally because no one gets all their content published, no matter how good your writing is.
A couple ways you can increase your odds is by building relationships with editors/writers on Twitter before asking for a favor. The second is by having an in-depth understanding about the kind of content that’s usually published on these sites. In their own words, here’s the advice our experts gave for getting noticed:
First I need to understand my audience and their audience; then have the expertise to provide meaningful insight. Review their past work to understand their tone and/or posture towards a specific area. For example, some editors like data (The unemployment rate nationwide is 7.7%, but only 6.2% in Texas – why?), some editors like political commentary. All editors like to know that you have done your homework.
There really are no shortcuts. I have built relationships over a few years with leading journalists on Twitter. When I decided I wanted to guest post, I simply reached out and asked. From their point of view, it was really a question of “why not?”
Start with patience. Editors are very busy and often scrambling to revise copy and meet deadline. Sometimes it takes them a long time to respond to queries or unsolicited submissions. This isn’t intentional or personal. Respect their workload and move on if you don’t hear back. What’s worked best for me have been short, direct queries, with polite follow ups, but only after an appropriate period of time has passed since the original submission (I usually wait a week before checking in on a stalled query). When an editor does respond, be ready to deliver what you pitched and make sure it’s your best work.
Working With Editors
If you’re lucky enough to get the attention of a busy editor / writer. The next step is to work with the editor to create a piece of content that matches the interests the blog’s audience. This should go without saying, but any guest post you produce shouldn’t be about you or how awesome your brand is.
It’s absolutely essential that the content you submit is similar style and tone to the content of the blog. Remember, for the writers/editors that work at these major blogs, this is their full-time job. And they aren’t going to jeopardize their day jobs just so you can get a super-charged link for your niche website. Give editors the type of content they’ll need to get you published.
With that, here are some additional do’s and don’ts when working with editors to get your content published offered by Sudy Bharadwaj, Hillel Fuld, and Frank Gulo. Following their advice will go along way to getting you published.
- Follow all submission guidelines and don’t ask for exceptions
- Be respectful of the editor’s time and schedule
- Respect yourself and your work and move on if an editor isn’t interested
- Be persistent — they are busy so it may take more than 1 reminder.
- Understand the audience
- Move on to another editor.
- Keep communication short
- Don’t pester the editor with excessive emails or tweets
- Don’t complain or argue if your submission gets rejected
- Don’t miss a deadline
- Don’t try to impress editors directly — let your expertise, audience and uniqueness do the talking.
- Don’t be a pain — you will lose credibility.
- Don’t worry if they reject you, but do try to understand why and learn from it.
- Don’t write long pitches… No one has time to read them.
Old School Versus New School
If you decide to accept this challenge to elevate your game in 2013, one of the key differences between old school and new school way of guest posting is that you’ll need to learn how to work with editors and writers, instead of the owners of a blog. By giving editors what they want and need to publish for their websites, you’ll also be helping yourself get what you want. Classic win-win.
If you liked reading this you might also like to read my personal experiment in large-scale guest posting here.