What I Learned About Guest Posting From Blogging at Entrepreneur Magazine, TechCrunch, and Mashable

guest blogging

I’ve had my content featured all over the web, ranging from sites like Business Insider and Entrepreneur Magazine to niche blogs like Copyblogger and Search Engine Land. Some of my posts did extremely well, while others didn’t do as well as I wanted.

Download this cheat sheet of 7 lessons you should know before guest posting at top class sites.

I’ve guest-posted over a hundred times and learned a lot over the years. If you are considering including this strategy into your marketing arsenal, here are a few lessons that will help you out:

Lesson #1: Relevancy is more important than traffic

When choosing which blogs to guest-post on, I used to pick the biggest names. For example, I would pick Huffington Post over Moz. Why? Because Huffington Post gets a lot more traffic than Moz.

But there is one big issue with guest-posting on popular content sites like Huffington Post that discuss every topic under the sun. They have very little engagement from their readers.

Just look at this article on Huffington Post. You’ll notice it has very few comments and social shares, while every post on Moz gets dozens of comments and hundreds of social shares.

It’s because blogs like Moz write only on one topic. So their readers are more likely to convert if your business is related to the topic the blogs write about.

When I look at my analytics, I see that over 93% of my leads come from guest posts written for niche, not broad-themed, blogs.

If you want to drive revenue from your guest posts, focus on writing for niche blogs. The readers of those blogs will be more likely to convert into customers because they will be more engaged.

Lesson #2: You need to be consistent for at least six months

If you decide to guest-post, be prepared to do it at least once a week for a period of six months or longer. You can’t expect great results from a few posts.

It really is a numbers game. When I first started guest-posting, I was hoping for great results, but my efforts drove little to no signups. I also didn’t see any improvement with my branding.

If you continue posting for a year, you’ll notice that business will start rolling in because the content you published six months ago will start ranking really well in the search engines.

The Buffer team had a similar experience. They guest-posted consistently for well over a year, and now they generate hundreds of signups each month from these posts. If they stopped guest-posting today, they would still get signups as their older guest posts rank well for terms like “social media tools.”

Jayson DeMer also experienced something similar. He got very few inquires when he first started off. After guest-posting for six months on sites like Forbes and Huffington Post, he started to get hit up by companies like Cisco, who were willing to pay him for his advice.

If you want to guest-post, you need to post at least once a week for a minimum of six months.

Lesson #3: Pick blogs based on engagement

Now that you know you should focus on niche blogs, which ones should you choose? The deciding factor should be the number of comments and social shares a blog gets.

It doesn’t matter if a blog gets a million visitors a month. If none of them share the content via the social web or comment on it, it means these visitors aren’t engaged.

Just think of it this way: if people aren’t willing to share an article or comment on it, do you think they are going to click through to your website and take the time to buy a product from you?

Chances are they’re not.

When picking blogs to guest-post on, choose those that have a lot of user engagement.

Lesson #4: Don’t forget to participate

Guest-posting is also about brand building. You may not get any conversions from a post, but more people will learn about you and your business.

So, how do you ensure that each guest post brings you the maximum branding benefit? You need to promote each of your posts on your social profiles, and you need to respond to every comment.

moz commenting

It’s a lot of work to engage with your readers, but if you are prepared to spend hours creating a guest post, you might as well put in a few extra minutes to respond to comments.

The beauty about engaging with people is that they will get to know you and your business and even start following your blog, if you have one. It’s one of the easiest ways to gain new readers, and it is the exact strategy Pete Cashmore from Mashable used to grow his audience – he would comment on his competitor’s blog.

Lesson #5: Don’t guest-post for SEO

One of the big reasons marketers guest-post is to manipulate search rankings. I know a lot of marketers who got link warnings in Google Webmaster Tools because of their guest posts.

I know it is tempting to use keyword rich anchor text within your guest posts, but you should avoid this. Also, when you are linking to your own site, consider nofollowing the link. It’s your choice if you want to do this, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

The good thing about some blogs is that they are starting to nofollow author bios. For example, if you guest-post on Search Engine Journal, it will automatically nofollow all links to your site.

Lesson #6: Make sure you are in good company

Do you remember how in high school the cool kids hung out with each other, the nerds hung out with other nerds, and the band kids hung out with other band kids?

As they say, you are the company you keep. I’m a big believer in this, which is why you should be picky when choosing blogs to guest-post on. Surround yourself with other writers who are known to be experts on similar topics.

If you do, eventually people will start seeing you as an expert too. Your posts will get better traction, which will help you generate more customers.

Lesson #7: Guest-post on partner blogs

We love blogging on partner blogs because it leads to greater conversions.

For example, when promoting Strideapp – a sales CRM software, besides guest-posting on sales-related sites, we guest-post on Strideapp as well.

Another example is INinbox. Because we have an integration with the platform, we guest-post on the INinbox site.

We’ve found that guest-posting on partner blogs drives more signups and revenue than guest-posting on any other channel.

I’ll be employing a similar approach with marketing Woothemes. I am currently working on releasing a free theme that is targeted at business owners and marketers. The theme will be created by Woothemes and optimized by me. Guest-posting on their blog will help generate more downloads for the theme.

Conclusion

I hope you find my lessons helpful. I remember when I first started guest-posting, I would publish my articles on any site that would accept them such as the American Express blog. After months of doing this, I wasn’t generating any signups and felt frustrated.

Luckily, I learned how to make guest-posting a profitable channel.

You too can do well at guest-posting. You just have to give it time and continually modify your approach until it becomes profitable.

What other lessons have you learned from guest-posting?

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Comments

  1. Lewis - Marketing Bees :

    Paying close attention to comments is ESSENTIAL once it’s published. If you can keep the chat flowing with readers of the blog in the comments section, that’s when I feel you really start to get noticed.

    Ultimately, I see guest posting as getting your name out there on more authoritative blogs and, these days especially, don’t even think about the potential SEO benefits (if any). If it helps, then great, if it doesn’t then that’s not why I did it in the first place.

    Great post by the way Neil, I think a lot of people have built up a stigma against guest posting nowadays but it’s certainly something that I still actively get involved in. I both accept guest posts on my blog as well as submit guest posts around the web to my favourite related blogs.

    • Lewis, glad I could help. Thanks for the feedback 🙂

    • Tom @ Raise Your Garden :

      Lewis you made some really good points about what guest blogging is all about. Getting your name or brand out to more people. What is your criteria for guests on your blog?

  2. Kumar Gauraw :

    Hi Neil,

    This is very interesting blog post. All other points are great. But, I am intrigued by the fact that we need to be engaged in guest blogging for over 6 months for proper results. That is definitely a lot of hard work 🙂

    Thank you for sharing these tips. I am planning to do it sometime and this definitely adds to my planning.

    Regards,
    Kumar

    • Guest posting for six-months is a lot of hard work – but it is work that will get you great results.

      Most of the time digital entrepreneurs spend lots of time working hard. It’s just that most of what they are doing doesn’t bring great results. For this reason many bloggers, digital startups and excited online companies lose steam and give up.

      Guest posting has one of the highest returns on your investment of time.

      • Lewis - Marketing Bees :

        It’s not supposed to be easy 😉

        You can of course outsource the organisation of guest posting to a VA if you have one you can trust. A huge part of guest posting is building up those initial relationships and getting your name out there.

        You need a VA who can interact with those bloggers and match the reputation you have.

    • Kumar, glad I could help. Looking forward to hearing more from you 🙂

    • Ram Kr Shukla :

      Time depends upon your networking skills; more you have the engagements with your co-expert bloggers less likely to have the timeline for your success.

  3. Nikhil Waghdhare :

    Hey Neil,

    These are some great tip. I love these tips.
    Guest posting is a great channel to drive traffic and build relations with other blog readers.
    Thank you for these great tips Neil. These tips will help me to improve my guest posting strategies… 🙂

  4. Michael Bely :

    Hey Neil,

    Some wonna-be-bloggers can find it discouraging that they need to make 1-year investment in guest blogging before gaining results 😉

    Thanks for this rule of thumb!

  5. Hannah Martin :

    Funnily enough, I was checking our stats on Google Analytics today to see which guest blogs produced the most traffic. And I noticed exactly what you highlight here – the big name blogs haven’t always generated the best or the most traffic. The more targeted and engaged a blog’s readers are, the more likely they were to click through (and spend time on our site).

    It’s definitely going to influence how I pick sites to blog for going forward! Thanks for another informative blog 🙂

  6. Farcas Gelu Danut :

    Good post. I don’t use this (guest-posting), i want to start now.

  7. Awesome post Neil. You’re seriously the only email I open/blog I comment on now when it comes to any type of marketing.

    Anyways, I agree on the relevancy and the comment engagement! I’d say the general press from huffpost is more for branding building/PR stuff (like padding your “featured on” graphic on one’s website :P) I did blog outreach for product reviews for a client of mine and I used comment engagement as a deciding factor, so I’m glad I was on the right track if that’s what you also do!

    Thanks again Neil and looking forward to your next post!

    Cheers,
    Pat

  8. Al-Amin Kabir :

    Another amazing post, Neil! Got a confusion clear!

  9. Trudy Van Buskirk :

    Great post Neil. Great timing! I intend to guest post as part of my marketing strategy. I want people to sign up for my webinar on storytelling (but my guest posts won’t necessarily be about that).

  10. hi, I believe guest posting is really imporant since most of the users are reading the comments left after a good article (like this one).

    for an instance, everytime I see a video on facebook, I try to find it on YouTube just afterwards since I like to see its comments and righ now most of comments left on facebook are stupid images, in the other side youtube doesn´t allow comments which is good… well, I hope you see my point here.

    thanks for the article, really nice.

    -Adrian

  11. Ujjwal Kumar Sen :

    Good article Neil

    But, this one is not that much impressive as earlier were, by the way looking for some other great content from your blog.

  12. Sarah Raniero :

    Good morning Neil,

    thanks for the tips about how to best guest blogging.

    When you talk about using no-follow links over follow links:
    What are the benefits of using no-follow links?
    Do no-follow links have any influence on search engine ranking?

    In general, what are the pros and cons of using follow links and no-follow links?

    Many thanks in advance

    • No follow links don’t help with search engine rankings. Just helps ensure you don’t get penalized from a Google Penalty.

  13. Thanks Neil! Very useful post. I’m just considering guest-posting as the next step in building my list. So all your advices are super helpful for me. Could you clarify what so you mean by ‘nofollow authors bios’ in lesson 5?

  14. Hey Neil,

    Do you think driving traffic from your guest posts to a dedicated landing page helps with conversions? Can you share some results if you’ve tried it?

    Smriti

  15. Janet Miller :

    Thanks Neil. Two questions: should I vary the text used for the author bio in different guest posts?

    Also, if I nofollow the links to my post, does that mean there will be no link juice?

  16. Hi Neil,

    Nice and awesome post. Guest posting is really tricky and outstanding way to demonstrate your writing skills, but nowadays author-outreach process is also very useful to learn something new and improve your writing skill very well.
    What you think?

    Thanks

  17. Haseeb Ahmad Ayazi :

    Nice Tips for guest posting. Keeping all these in view, can I carry on guest-posting when “Google Webmasters” says to avoid it. ?

  18. Mike Campbell :

    Neil, this is a great article, I have a question about seeking out writing on other blogs, do you suggest someone to have quite a bit of content on their own website before approaching guest blogging?

  19. Rahul Patgaonkar :

    Hi Neil!
    I am an avid reader of your blog
    Each time I visit your blog, I learn new , innovative things.

    Do the websites you mentioned allow guest blogging\?
    How to search high ranking blogs?

    Well keep up the good work and enrich our knowledge..

  20. Moumita Ghosh :

    Hi Neil,

    Got a lesson from your article. You have given all answers of the questions which are in my mind about guest blogging. Thanks Neil for this useful article.

  21. Mary Jaksch | A-List Blogging :

    Great advice, Neil!

    I had a guest post on Jon Morrow’s Boost Blog Traffic and have just been invited to write another one.

    That’s a perfect blog to guest post on because there is great interaction.

    I’ve taken your advice to heart that we need to keep on guest posting for a year. I’m always so busy that it’s sometimes difficult to keep going with it.

    But, after your post, I’m going to keep cracking on!

    Thanks, Neil!

  22. Very tempting topic “the guest posting” is and I’m thankful that your picked it to explore in depth, I also think that niche site would always be good to write upon to see the maximum results.

  23. Great Tips Neil, Maybe 6 month or a year long time for guest posting but you are always right benefits will come later. Thanks Neil 🙂

  24. I wonder if you have ever been tested for your psychic powers, Neil?

    Whether you are so gifted or not, you certainly always seem to anticipate my dilemmas so thank you for your perennially useful and timely advice.

    I do hope you have time for R and R because you seem so productive. None of my business but please look after yourself because you are an essential part of our days.

    Kindest

  25. Ryan Biddulph :

    Hi Neil,

    3 and 4 stand out so much for me. Post where people chat, and chat after you guest post. Form those bonds. Traffic means nothing, unless it’s targeted. Blog audiences mean little, unless people actually read the articles, comment on posts and share them socially.

    Neil, folks wonder sometimes why I leave comments like pieces of content on engaging blogs, even if the comments are 50 comments down on the page. In the last 4 weeks I’ve been interviewed 4 times on authority blogs in my blogging niche. Almost all were based on the comments I post religiously on these blogs, or on other authority blogs.

    Sue at Successful Blogging, one of the top “blogging” blogs out there, just asked me to do an interview which will go live in a few weeks. She specifically said how much value I’d shared in the comments section made here want to interview me, and because I shared my thoughts, here I am.

    As for guest posting, lesson learned. I write a few, here and there, because I know there are only a handful of sites that are hyper relevant to my niche. I also know persistence counts. Just like when you post to your own blog, you become memorable by being visible, over a period of months, not days. This is how we stand out in the minds of any interested audience.

    I ask myself before I consider guest posting anywhere: Does this audience mirror my audience? If so, great. If not – and I don’t care if it’s the Huffington Post or not – I don’t attempt to do the post, because taking care of each one of my readers, on my blog, means more to me than posting on a blog where the readers don’t care what I have to say.

    Huge resume builder, for sure, so you can choose to go that route but in truth….when you really build up your readership, you can become wildly successful and a branding dynamo by staying relevant, and by posting only on relevant sites.

    Thanks so much Neil, excellent post.

    Tweeting in a bit.

    Signing off from Fiji 🙂

    Ryan

  26. Shilpi Agarwal :

    Great advice, Neil! Quick question, though. Why should you have nofollow links to your website for Guest Blogging? I understand that SEO should not be the only strategy for guest blogging but shouldn’t it be one more reason to guest blog?

  27. Great post Neil,
    Quality over quantity, as long as people relevant to your area of expertise are getting exposure to your work you’re doing alright in my books.
    One of the first things i do when working on marketing for products i sell is to look at my main competitors blogs/social channels. Some of my competitors have large social followings with minimal engagement. I’d rather learn some tricks from a smaller company with solid engagement and real fans.

  28. Well really Good post.Some people are still use guest posting for Rankings.I saw when they focus on links they forget about quality of content they just need links links 🙂

  29. Karyn with a Y :

    Hi Neil,

    Thanks for the great post. I’m just starting my guest posting journey and have had a few articles accepted my next step was to decide who else to write for and this article has been a great help 🙂

  30. Ryan Bozeman :

    I thought your point about choosing blogs based on engagement was interesting. An engaged audience is definitely one that is more likely to seek out the blog writers own brand. Do you look at social media engagement as well?

  31. Fantastic post as always Neil. I keep making notes from all the articles that I read of yours. Hopefully setting me on the right path. Guess I shall find out in a few months!

    Awesome stuff about always being clear that it takes months and even years of hard work before you see the results you dream off. Very realistic.

  32. Great Post, Today i have visited your site for 3rd time and really love your writing style and the depth of knowledge you carry and share.

    I have been thinking of Guest blogging but didn’t approach any one tiill now but now with your inputs i clearly know the way i should be approaching the whole thing.
    thanks

  33. Deepak Chauhan :

    All this time, I was chasing the big sites to allow me to guest post on them, but what you have advised above makes true sense. I knew guest posting on niche blogs was more worth however the comparison here is eye opener.

    Thanks for the great piece of work Neil. I’ve started reading your blog more often now. Thanks a lot.

  34. Hello Sir,

    You are just awesome. Another extraordinary post. How did you get this idea like what is trending these days, audience to appreciate such posts.

    Whatever, I believe you beyond all bloggers.

    God bless you man!

    Akram Pathan

  35. I will try to implement your awesome tips for guest posting.

  36. Very good overview of the options. I just stumbled onto this, and it was a fantastic help.

  37. Cory Boatright :

    Awesome as usual Neil. You never disappoint!

    Appreciate you bro!

    Remember… be a servant,

    Cory

  38. Jabari Courtney :

    Great article!! Now if I could just get you to guest post on our new blog we’re launching 🙂

  39. Arsalan Hashmi :

    Great post Neil! perfect timing, it must have cleared a lot of misunderstanding people have these days about guest blogging after the Google update on guest blogging. It is always good to guest blog on relevant blogs instead of posting them just any blog. To see results it surely takes time but its proven slow and steady wins the race and in nowadays its all about writing quality content useful for the readers.

  40. Spot on! Thank Neil for your insight!

  41. hi neil ,

    great tips . I love your tips specially “Don’t forget to participate”.

    thanks neil for sharing such a nice article

  42. Neeraj Kumar :

    Hello Neil,
    As usual your post is interesting and good advice for me who is going to plan for starting guest posting.

    The point which draw my attention is *no guest post for seo*. But indirectly the posts will always help in seo- be it visits or social sharing. No?

  43. If there is one thing I do like about you the most, it has to do with how frank you’re with things.

    I recently embarked on a guest posting spree but with the high influx of comments I am getting on those posts, I think I need to hold with my guest posting agenda for sometime now.

    One post of mine on comluv is having 70 comments already and I do hope I see the expected results in no time.
    Thanks for sharing with us this great piece. I always say the likes of me, myself and I will always be following you always.
    Thanks.

    PS: I found this shared on kingged.com

  44. hello Neil Sir
    for me quicksprout is the best, for getting new Ideas, learning how to grow in the market. thanks for Sharing these lesson you observed in the sites above. thanks Lot 🙂

  45. Neil, it’s a great piece of advice. It would really help if you can write a post on how one with no branding (unlike you) with a good piece of content can get their posts published on A sites like Mashable, TC etc.,

  46. Christian Habermann :

    Great points here Neil and as always your posts are so informative and valuable, thanks! It’s definitely all about planting that seed, watering it and then doing it again and again….patience + persistence.

    Cheers!
    Christian

  47. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for the great post. I just started guest blogging and I’m glad to hear that my intuition to go for blogs that have a responsive audience was right. Any advice on how to avoid repeating, or duplicating parts of content when you send out pieces to many blogs?

    Thanks,
    Adam

  48. Ganesh Chaturthi :

    Publishing guest posts on partners blogs is what I am doing currently. And yeah, you’re right that we need work consistently for atleast 6 months to become authority in same niche.

    Thanks for such an awesome article Neil.

    Cheers

  49. I’ve had authors guest-posted on my blog. I haven’t done it yet. Hopefully, this changes soon!

  50. Nice information, really needed information for bloggers and business people like me. Surely I will remember these point while promoting my business via guest blogging. thanks for sharing Neil.

  51. Hi Neil,

    Great article also example for collective learning 🙂

    It show that I am going in wright way since I do guest post. And your tips every day to my mail is also good. Thanks for that too.
    Looking forward.

  52. Brett @ Virtual Assistant Services :

    Thanks Neil for sharing your firsthand guest posting experience. I’ve got a long road ahead. You’re a big help.

  53. This is a really great article. I have been thinking of guest posting on sites that my target audience visit. However, I don’t know how to reach out to them. Was there a specific style pitch you used when you started? Thanks

  54. Andre Oentoro :

    Love it Neil! Working on some guest posts right now and this is surely great to know.

  55. This is a great solution(s) piece. I never thought about guest posting. The idea of having to promote a blog is within itself interesting and eye opening. Perhaps when blogs were a new phenomenon more people would seek out the limited number of blogs in the market, therefore bloggers could get away with less strategic promotional efforts. Now that there are millions of blogs in cyberspace tactics like guest posting are crucial for anyone who wants to find a way to make their blog stand out.

  56. Valentin Radu :

    Hi, Neil and thanks for your know-how sharing.
    I agree on all the tips, but I am a bit intrigued about the one about nofollow. Cause here, for example, I don’t see a nofollow attribute for the links you’ve put to Woothemes and Strideapp.
    Although is not a guest post, there are links that are passing equity to them. Is it safe for them?

    Thanks in advance for the response!

    • Valentin, definitely. It’s all about promoting anything you blog about. As long as the subject matter is relevant you are in the clear.

  57. Julian Adorney :

    Great post, Neil!

    My question: why is #5 a problem? I thought guest-posting, on niche websites related to what your company/product does, was one of the main ways to build backlinks and SEO. Related question: why is it a good thing that most guest post bios have no-follow links.

    Thanks,
    Julian

  58. How do I check out another website’s engagement, shares, and traffic numbers? On engagement, am I just doing a quick look at the number of comments I see on their posts?

  59. Great stuff Neil, love this

  60. Hello Neil,

    Thanks a lot for awesome tips for Guest Blogging. My question is do you offer Guest Blogging services? If so, just get back at the given address.

  61. vito andolini :

    Relevancy should always matter in the guest post. If it’s relevant to your niche than it is fine as long as quality remains intact.

    Nice read Neil.

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