Guest-Posting on Steroids: A 4-Step Blueprint That the Top Guest Posters Use

guest posting

I’ve seen many try and many fail.

Yet time and time again, others (including myself) get wild results from the same tactic.

We’re talking about guest posts, of course.

You’ve, no doubt, read that guest-posting is a tactic that can send you traffic, improve your search engine rankings, and establish you as an authority in your niche.

But most who try guest-posting for any (or all) of those reasons never see any real success. At best, they see a trickle of traffic and deem guest-posting worthless.

You’re on the right track but are missing a few key principles of effective modern guest-posting. But don’t worry, I’m going to show you exactly how I and many others achieve their goals with guest-posting.

What kind of results can you get?

I’ll show you my results throughout this guide, but there’s one case study in particular I’d like to highlight upfront.

Have you ever heard of Danny Iny? He’s the guy behind Firepole Marketing, which is a blog that now generates 7 figures per year. I bring this up because he literally built his business through guest-posting.

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He wrote over 80 guest posts in his first year to take the blog from zero visitors per month to over 23,000.

If that doesn’t showcase the power of guest posts to you, I don’t know what will.

Follow this 4 step action plan that the top guest posters use.

If you are interested in learning how the “big guys” guest-blog for success, settle in and take some notes. 

Guest-posting can give you fame and fortune

Traffic is one potential benefit of guest-posting, but not the only one. I still regularly guest-post, despite getting over 500,000 visitors per month already. I’ll tell you a secret: I don’t do it for the few hundred or thousand of additional visitors I get from each post.

Here are the reasons why you should guest-post:

1. Traffic and subscribers: If you’re starting a brand new blog, guest posting is the most important tactic at your disposal. If you’re a good writer already, it won’t even cost you very much.

There’s one thing, however, I need to warn you about. While it is possible to generate a ton of traffic and subscribers with a single post, don’t set unrealistic expectations. In reality, it will take you writing several quality guest posts on a regular basis to generate the kind of traffic needed to build a business.

However, if you take it seriously, you might be able to hit a home run every once in a while.

For example, blogger Giles Thomas was able to get 408 subscribers from a single guest post.

In addition to short-term results, if you do everything right and get a bit lucky, your article might take off and continue to send you tons of targeted traffic over time.

Take a look at the effect one guest post on Hubspot had on Will Blunt’s list over time:

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Finally, the guys at Groove were able to get thousands of visits from multiple guest posts on big name blogs:

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2. Branding: Call it what you want, but your brand or reputation can be a valuable asset over time. In fact, I’d say that it’s more important than any short term traffic gains.

The main reason I continue to guest-post is to build my personal brand. Every guest post either exposes my work to new potential clients or reinforces my status as a leading marketing expert.

You won’t see the results from building your personal brand overnight. But if you consistently do it for years, you can leverage your reputation to generate revenue and help build 7-figure businesses. Consulting fees, mainly generated from my personal brand, make up approximately half of my income.

3. SEO: Go back 4 or 5 years, and guest-posting purely for SEO benefits was actually a viable tactic. For example, Nigerian blogger Bamidele was able to increase his search engine traffic by 38% by writing 31 guest posts in a week, back in 2011.

First of all, 31 posts in a week is a lot. Even if you could replicate that volume, the link value of a guest post has been devalued significantly. It’s pretty easy for Google to identify the authorship of any given guest post, considering it’s usually in a bio box at the end of an article:

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In January of 2014, Matt Cutts confirmed Google’s attitude toward guest-posting in a post on his personal blog:

“So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.”

Here’s where we stand today: guest-posting can have a positive effect on your search engine traffic, but you won’t see huge results from any single post. In addition, links from guest posts on low-traffic and low-authority sites will count for barely anything at all.

Don’t guest-post because you want more search engine traffic—you have far more efficient tactics. But you can expect some SEO side-benefits from guest-posting if you do it right.

The problem with typical guest-posting strategies

Before we dive into how to do guest-posting right, you need to understand why most people get weak results or none at all.

The fundamental problem is that most bloggers want to guest-post on a site to siphon off its traffic and convert those visitors into subscribers.

You might think, “What’s wrong with that?” Didn’t I just say to use guest-posting to generate traffic? Yes, but there’s a difference.

When your only motivation is to take visitors from a site, you approach guest-posting from a selfish angle.

You’ll write an okay post because you don’t want to spend more time or money than you have to. Right?

But think about it from the point of view of a regular reader of that site. Most will see a fairly standard post and might skim it. Very few are going to read the whole thing and then be impressed enough to care about who wrote it and click through.

This is why you barely get any significant traffic or new subscribers from a post. From here, most bloggers either continue this cycle of weak results or give up on guest-blogging all together even though they know it can work.

So, what’s the solution?

You may have already figured it out: provide value.

Your post needs to stand out on a site to such a degree that its readers would feel that they need to read more from you. That’s when they’ll happily share the article (more traffic) and click through at the end to subscribe to you.

That’s the answer in a nutshell. Of course, though, it’s a little more complicated than that.

Next, I’m going to break down the process you need to follow for successful guest-posting, step-by-step.

How to get traffic, subscribers, and rankings from guest posts

In order to get great results from guest-posting, you need to have a system. If you don’t, you’ll end up wasting time and getting inconsistent results.

Here’s what I recommend starting with for anyone who is serious about achieving long-term sustainable traffic and exposure:

  • Step 1: target the right sites. If you don’t guest-post on sites with sufficient targeted traffic, you won’t get great results. Most people do this okay, but I’ll show you how to do it better.
  • Step 2: get approved for a guest post. Gone are the days when you can spam out a templated request to guest-post. I’ll show you what you need to do to convince top editors and site owners to let you post.
  • Step 3: produce epic content. The definition of “epic” is important here, but it’s safe to say that most guest posters don’t know how to do it right.
  • Step 4 (optional, but highly recommended): promote it. There are a few big reasons why promoting your guest post like any other post is a good idea. I’ll show you why and how to do it.

Step 1: Identify high-quality sites for guest-posting

Many low-quality sites look for free content by offering to accept guest posts. Obviously, these are not the sites you want to guest-blog on.

The number one aspect of a good target for a guest post is traffic. Without traffic, there’s really no benefit to posting.

The second aspect is that a significant amount of that traffic must be made of your target audience. Otherwise, no one will care about your post, no matter how good it is.

In general, there are two types of quality sites to target:

  1. Broad authority sites: These sites are often household names (think Forbes, The Huffington Post, or Business Insider). They have tons of traffic, and even if only a small percentage of that traffic is your target audience, it’s worth it. My regular posts on Forbes have generated a lot of business for me.
  2. Leading industry blogs: These blogs are much more niche-specific but are mostly made of your target audience. For me, that includes sites such as Search Engine Journal and Moz. But don’t post too frequently as most of these readers will already know you. I recommend one to three times a month.

Now, let me show you how you can find these sites.

Method 1: Broad search

To find those general massive authority sites, you need to think in broad terms.

For example, while I blog mostly on generating traffic and revenue through blogging, all these topics fall under the main niche of business.

Simply searching Google for “business” will bring up the biggest business authority sites on the Internet:

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Not all of these sites will be suitable targets for guest posts as not all of them will accept guest-posting.

Others may require you to first be a leader in your field before writing for them. To demonstrate your authority, you’ll send them links to your other guest posts on industry leading blogs.

So, while you should start by making this list of the big sites that you eventually want to contribute to on a regular basis, it’s typically best to pursue the more realistic niche blogs first to build up a bit of a reputation.

Method 2: Search strings

This is likely what you’re already doing. It’s a good method to start with. You simply search for “[your niche]” + “[a guest-posting search string]” to bring up topics.

Here are some search strings you could use:

  • “guest post”
  • “contributing writer”
  • “this is a guest post by”
  • “contribute to our site”
  • “guest posting guidelines”
  • “suggest a post”
  • “contributor guidelines”
  • “guest posts wanted”
  • “writers wanted”
  • “write for us”

You can find more here. Your niche or keyword doesn’t need to be in quotations, but the search string does.

For example, I could search for SEO “write for us” to find SEO blogs that accept guest posts.

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Start adding these potential guest-post targets to a spreadsheet, if you haven’t already.

After you have a complete list, it’s time to start trimming out blogs that want your content without providing any value in return. These blogs have little traffic and only want your content to attract search engine traffic to build their sites.

Make a column next to each blog with the heading “Comments.”

What you need to do is go to each blog individually to see what their average comment count is on each recent article. No more than 5-10 is needed. The best blogs for guest posts have 50+ comments per article, but even blogs with an average of 5+ are usually good targets.

Alternatively, you can look at the number of social shares each article gets as a way to measure the traffic and engagement of the blog. Most blogs display the share count on each article with a widget, but you can always use a social share count tool to calculate it.

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Eliminate any blogs with a low number of comments or social shares.

Method 3: “Steal” your competitor’s target list

This might be my favorite way of finding lots of great guest-posting targets quickly.

First, you’ll need to find an influencer in your industry. You probably know many off the top of your head. If not, just search for “top [your niche] blogs”, and you’ll likely find many large lists of them.

Most influencers regularly guest-post. Pick one on your list for this method, but if it doesn’t work, just move on to the next.

So, for SEO, you might think of Brian Dean. He guest-posts a lot.

The idea here is to compile a list of all the places where he has guest-posted. Why? Because they are pre-vetted. Influencers won’t waste their time with low-authority sites.

All the sites you gather here will:

  • have sufficient traffic
  • accept guest posts
  • contain your target audience

To compile your list, search for: “[name of influencer]”.

Really, that’s it.

Note: If there are too many other people with the same name, just add a major keyword to your search (like “SEO” for Brian).

The first few results will bring up personal blogs and social media profiles. Obviously, these aren’t your guest-post targets:

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Once you scroll down, you’ll start seeing guest posts. Keep going through the pages until you have a list of all their guest posts. For many influencers, you’ll be able to compile a list of 50+ blogs in 15 minutes.

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If the influencer is prolific enough, this method will be enough for you to identify good sites to guest-post on for the time being.

Step 2: Don’t let them say no

Now that you have a list of sites that accept guest posts and meet all the conditions we talked about, it’s time to convince them to give you a shot.

Remember, these aren’t your ordinary blogs—they are very picky. If they aren’t convinced by your headline and your article description that your idea is great, they won’t give you a chance.

Here is how to increase your chances of being accepted:

Tactic # 1: Follow guidelines to the letter

Major blogs get dozens, or even hundreds, of requests to guest-post every day. To encourage good submissions, they often post guest-posting guidelines. If you don’t follow these exactly, your email will be automatically trashed in most cases.

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To find out what the submission guidelines of a particular blog are, search for “[your target blog] + [guest post guidelines]” to see if they have any:

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Those guidelines will usually tell you:

  • what the site expects in a post
  • how to pitch a post
  • what you’re allowed/not allowed to put in your post (e.g., links)
  • what you get out of the post

Study them, take notes, and then make sure to follow them for all the rest of the steps in this guide.

Tactic #2: If no guidelines are published, email the site

Not all sites publish guest-posting guidelines, especially if it’s a personal blog. They rarely accept guest posts and don’t want to encourage others to submit pitches.

This is where it gets a bit tricky. These bloggers typically have the mindset that no one else cares about their readers as much as they do (and they are usually right). This is why they only accept guest posts from very big names or friends.

If you contact them with a typical guest-post pitch, it’ll likely get shot down unless you already have a reputable blog.

Instead, if you’re relatively unknown, you’ll need to build a bit of a relationship.

First, you’ll need their email address (contact forms are the last resort).

I recommend signing up for their email list. Look for a signup box in the sidebar or at the top of a page (usually on the home page).

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You will then get emails from that blogger, which you can reply to.

Here are the emails you will need to send:

Email #1: Get personal

The first time you email an influential blogger, try to stand out as much as possible. The simplest way to achieve that is to tell them how much you liked one of their recent posts (and mean it).

Tell them that you took advice from that post and actually applied it. Almost every blogger loves when someone actually uses their advice.

You’ll likely get a response thanking you for the kind words and asking for more specifics about the results of implementing the advice.

Email #2: When you get the results, share them

Yes, this means that you actually have to do some work first! But if you want to land spots on exclusive blogs, this is how you go about it.

At that point, the blogger might offer to write up a case study on you if you had good results. Or you can pitch a case study yourself.

Email #3: Wait a while, and ask if you can guest-post

Sometimes a case study won’t be appropriate. But the good news is that the blogger knows that you not only read their blog but that you also take action.

So a week or two later, you can send an email that looks something like this:

Hey [Blogger],

The [outcome from taking advice] is still producing great results.

I seriously appreciate all the hard work you do to create useful, actionable advice about [topic].

I know it’s difficult to produce top-notch quality consistently, so I was wondering if you’d like a hand with it.

I’ve already brainstormed a few ideas that I think would really resonate with your readers:

  • [Idea 1]
  • [Idea 2]

I’ve written a lot in this niche. Here are some examples of my articles that capture the quality of my writing:

  • [link to a guest post or your own blog article #1]
  • [link to a guest post or your own blog article #2]

I know you don’t accept guest posts often, but I’d be honored if I could contribute to [site name].

If not, no worries—I won’t stop reading your posts :p.

Best Regards,

[your name]

No, you won’t be successful at getting your guest-blogging opportunity 100% of the time, but you’ll get a fair number of responses. Of course, this takes a lot of work and planning upfront, but that’s why it works.

Tactic # 3: Come up with a killer idea

For most guest-post proposals, you’ll only submit one or two ideas. This will include both a headline and a 50-100-word description.

First, you’ll need a topic before you can write a headline or description.

For your post to do well, it needs to resonate with the readers of that particular site. Not only will this maximize your benefits from the post but it will also ensure that the editor or owner of the site will love you, which will allow you to post again in the future.

In order to find out what types of posts resonate with the site’s readers, you need to analyze its most popular posts. Ideally, look for posts that were written in the last year as they’ll reflect the current audience most accurately.

Some sites will have a list of the top posts of all time in the sidebar, but if a site doesn’t, use BuzzSumo to find out which posts have been shared the most.

For example, if I wanted to guest-post on Boost Blog Traffic, I would search the domain name and sort by total social shares:

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This gives me a list of the most popular posts on the site:

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Make note of the types of posts that did best. In this case, it’s big list posts.

You can pick any topic from this list—it’s up to you. But it’s best to pick topics that are related as closely to your blog’s topic as possible in order to attract the right kind of visitors.

The next step is to write a headline that stands out. A great headline can make or break you, so spend as much time as you need on this step. Read The Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Powerful Headlines if you need help.

In the example above, the topics that are closely related to my blogs are traffic generation (the case study) and being mentioned on popular blogs.

Here are a few examples of headlines I could pitch:

  • 101 Networking Resources That’ll Take You From Unknown to an Interview Superstar
  • Case Study: How I Was Able to Get Mentioned by 5 Top Internet Marketing Bloggers
  • 51 Ways to Promote Your Next Blog Post and Get 403% More Traffic
  • Case Study: How to Grow a New Blog to 100,000 Visitors per Month in under 1 Year

See what I’m doing? I’m taking proven headlines and topics and putting my spin on them.

I strongly recommend pitching list posts whenever possible. List posts are the easiest to write and generally perform the best.

Finally, you need a description. While it’s not the most important part, this is where you close the sale, so don’t get lazy.

Your description needs to be long enough for your angle to be clear but not so long that you’re rambling on about important details.

Remember the 5 Ws:

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • Why
  • When

Not all of the Ws will be important for every article, but always go through that list. For example, my description for “101 Networking Resources That’ll Take You From Unknown to an Interview Superstar” would be:

  • Who: Newbie bloggers
  • What: Networking resources
  • Where: On blogs and podcasts
  • Why: To get interviews, which will lead to traffic and exposure
  • When: Strategies that can be done within one year

Put it all together, and you get something like this:

I want to put together a comprehensive collection of the best networking resources for newbie bloggers.

These resources will help your readers get interviews on blogs and podcasts, which will lead to exposure and traffic for their sites. To top it off, all of these strategies will be doable in less than one year.

Make it clear and concise. If you picked your topic and headline right, that’s all you’ll need.

Tactic #4: Pitch your idea

With a great headline and description in your arsenal, you just need to present your idea in the right way.

Here’s a template I’ve shared with you before:

Subject: you should blog about [insert your guest blog post topic]

[insert their first name],

As an avid reader of [insert their site name], I would love to read about [insert guest blog post topic], and I think your readers would as well.

Your content on [insert existing post from their website #1, insert existing post from their website #2, and insert existing post from their website #3] is great, but I think you can tie it all together by blogging on [insert guest blog post topic].

I know you are probably busy and won’t blog on it, so I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse.;-) How about I write it for you? Don’t worry, I’m a great blogger and have had my posts featured on [insert previous guest post URL #1] and [insert previous guest post URL #2].

Let me know if you are interested. I already know your blogging style, plus I understand what your readers love as I am one of them.;-)

Look forward to hearing from you,

[insert your name]

And here’s another solid pitch by Alex from Groove:

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Note that they are fairly different. Good pitches come in all shapes and sizes. But you’ll notice that they both:

  • are fairly short
  • demonstrate experience (other guest-post samples or big blog names)
  • pitch a specific topic

You can choose to pitch the headline or omit it for now. If you think you have an amazing one, include it.

Don’t just copy these templates; tweak them so that they reflect your personal voice. If you send the same templated pitches as everyone else is sending, you’re more likely to get ignored.

At this point, you might be thinking: “But I have no other guest posts to use as samples.”

Don’t worry, everyone starts somewhere. Omit those parts of the pitch, and instead include a link to your best blog post on your site. Start by pitching to some of the smaller blogs so that you can use those guest posts as samples for the bigger ones. In other words, work your way up.

Step 3: Produce epic content for your guest post

You sent out a few pitches, and one of the sites you approached told you to go ahead and write your post—success!

Now you need to deliver.

Remember I told you that the definition of “epic” is important?

The reason why it’s important is because it changes based on the site you’re pitching to.

An epic post for a particular site is one that is clearly better than 95% of other posts on that site.

In other words, epic is relative.

If you went to a general site like Forbes and posted a short article about 7 things entrepreneurs should do on Twitter, it’ll do well. But if you post it on an industry-leading blog, such as Moz, it’s going to get laughed at for being too basic.

On the flip side, if you wrote a super in-depth post on technical SEO, it’d do well on Moz, but it would go over the heads of most Forbes’ readers and go unnoticed.

Create an epic article for the particular site you’re posting on.

That being said, if you follow Step 2 of this guide to the letter, you’ll already have a great topic and headline.

Now, let’s talk about two parts to writing effective guest posts.

Part 1: Write a great post

Without a really readable and well-written article, you might not even get published. Even then, not many readers will go through the whole post, which you need if you want to see any results. Here are some things you should do:

Part 2: Create an offer for readers

I’ve mentioned content upgrades before. They’re one of the best ways to convert blog post readers into subscribers. While it’s typically used for posts on your own site, you can also use it for your guest posts.

Create a free bonus that is highly relevant to the guest post you write. Offer it at the end of the guest post.

For example, if I wrote a post on 101 networking resources, I could offer a case study on how I used one or more of the strategies in the resources to land a big interview. Anyone interested in that article will be highly interested in that bonus, and I could expect high conversion rates (upwards of 5%).

On top of the offer, you’ll need a simple landing page for it. Use to explain what’s in your bonus and how it will help your visitor.

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If you’ve never created a landing page before, learn how to here.

Finally, you need a call to action. Tell your readers to click through to get their free bonus. Ideally, you will have the call to action at the end of the post itself, but the bio will also do a decent job:

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Step 4: Do everything in your power to make it explode

If you complete the first 3 steps, you’ll get great results.

But you can take the results to the next level by promoting your post.

If you promote your post, it will get more traffic, which will lead to more readers clicking through and subscribing to your blog. It could also lead to better search engine rankings for your guest post (if any of those extra readers link to the post), which will send you consistent, long-term traffic.

I won’t go into advanced promotional strategies here, but I’ll talk about a few simple but effective things you should do:

  1. Post to aggregators sites: Find a relevant subreddit or a niche-specific aggregator like Inbound.org, and submit your post. If your content is really great, it should be able to send at least a few hundred more visitors to your guest post.
  2. Email anyone you mention in the article: It’s one thing to mention someone on your own blog, but it’s even more special if you do it on an authority blog. Send an email to anyone you mention, letting them know you featured them and linked to their site. Ask them to check it out, and invite them to share it or comment.
  3. Email your list: If you have any list at all, no matter how small, email it. Tell your subscribers about the post, and ask them to leave a comment on it.
  4. Share on social media: It won’t drive a ton of traffic, but it could drive some. In addition, every share acts as social proof if it’s shown on a share counter on the post itself.

Finally, respond to every comment. I do this on all my blogs even though it takes time. You’ll have a double benefit: the editor of that blog will appreciate it, and it will make your post look more impressive as it will double the number of comments the post will have.

Conclusion

Guest-posting is still a great strategy to build a blog with, but it takes time.

It is a long-term tactic. You will have to send pitches on a continuous basis so that you can write a couple of guest posts per week. Don’t get frustrated if a few get rejected or ignored as it’s normal.

Once you start getting consistent opportunities, your traffic and subscribers will start to really grow.

It will be slow at first, but over time you will have a flood of traffic generated by all of your guest posts out there:

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Repeat the four steps in this article over and over, and you’ll achieve similar results to those that I, or any other niche influencer, have had.

Leave me a comment below telling me what your goals with guest posts are. How many pitches do you plan on making per week? How long will you commit to pitching and writing guest posts?

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Comments

  1. Rohan Bhardwaj :

    Hi Neil,

    You always dive into the basics. Guest posting is indeed a great way to attract the attention of many to be readers and generate revenue.

    Correct procedure and right mindset will often lead to amazing results.

    Let me put those things together and work on it. Amazing as always. Take care of yourself. You are awesome.

    Regards,
    Rohan

    • Rohan, glad I could help. Let me know how it all works out – I look forward to hearing about your progress and success!

      • Neil, do you allow guest post on quicksprout? And why not? 😀

      • Hi Neil,

        I just published a page on my site. It feels like it is taking too long to be ranked.(Ideally, it takes two days or less)

        Will I be punished if I publish the same page as a post?

        Thanks

  2. Justin Temple :

    Thank you Neil for this mind blowing value on guest posts. I heard that it was good when I first started blogging but then heard it wasn’t so good so I never really dove into it. But your post really cleared my mind about this blogging strategy.

    Thanks again Neil. Have a great day.

    • Justin, it’s easy to be skeptical about the process. However, I know from personal experience that it really works! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Justin McGill @ LeadFuze :

    Love me some guest blogging. 🙂

    I have found great success just by going to the big dogs and asking. I find out who the editor is, follow them on Twitter and engage them a bit. Then shoot them a topic via email. Landed me spots on Hubspot, Buffer, Business.com, etc.

    • Justin, great to hear. Sounds like you hustle in the purest form of the term. Keep up the great work and let me know if you need help with anything else.

      • Yeh I find starting a convo on Twitter and RT gets you on anyone’s radar first and is pretty easy to do. Your info is always in depth, and actually studying how you write it and the links out– the whole methodology of your posts is helpful.

    • Wow Justin! That’s awesome! Impressed.

  4. Eduardo Cornejo :

    Hey Neil,

    Funny story. So I started guest posting for this popular blog in my niche, and so far have 3 posts. For the first post, even though they usually write 600-700 posts, I tried to make it Neil Patelish (things I learn from here), and made my post 1,200, with many external links, pictures, etc.

    Turns out, the guy is like you’re doing too many links to other sites and that’ll drive traffic away, the pictures make it look less aesthetic, etc. To top it off, he decided to cut it into 3 pages, as it would improve the reader experience…

    It was the first time I said to myself, “wow, reading QS actually does make me wiser”. I could see where he was coming from, but I also knew what you would do instead, and realized he wasn’t necessarily correct with most things.

    Well, lesson here is optimize your own blog with things you learn from the pros, and for guest blogging just stay with how they write, and make the most out of it.

    • Eduardo, a great host and blogger will recognize the smallest details. Glad you found the previous posts helpful — it’s all about following optimization guidelines and promoting great content. Keep up the great work!

    • Hi Eduardo,

      I too now realize, reading quick sprout has made a much miuch wiser blogger as compared to many ither. Although, I’m a total newbie but I can already tell where they’re going wrong, their loopholes, lack of strategic writing and so much more! And many of the websites that have a good traffic have pathetically structured blog posts.

      Hail Neil!

      You’re write on the point that to guest post one should follow their writing style, but whatever little experience I have, I’ll say that all industry leaders/influencers write very in-depth how-to posts at least up to 3000 words. Usually it goes up to 5000 words or more. If you go to websites like Coschedule, Moz, Grow and Convert, etc etc they have such detailed posts just like the ones at QuickSprout.

      P.S* Neil “Patelish” hahaha 😀

      • Keep the content on the topic, and lots of it. The moment you lose that focus that’s the moment Google devalues the content.

        Thank you for the lovely feedback Anam.

  5. Maham S. Chappal :

    BEST.GUIDE.EVER

    I’m a huge fan of guest-posting! I landed a guestpost on Huffington post in my first month as a freelance blogger. It was such an awesome, heady feeling. Even though my website needs a ton of work (hence generating traffic isn’t anywhere in my agenda), I write guest posts just to get my name out there in front of potential clients.

    I’m going to implement your tips when I start pitching to the bigger guns out there (Forbes, Business Insider, Copyblogger). Bookmarking this article!

    Thank you, Neil!

    • Maham, great to hear. Sounds like your strategy has provided some great results. Keep up the great work and let me know if you need help with anything.

  6. Thanks for this detailed guide, Neil. I’m not a fan of guest blogging but this guide is surely actionable enough for anyone who fancies it. ;-(

  7. You can’t expect wild success immediately with this type of strategy. Even if you were able to nab guest article opptys at Forbes and NYT, it’ll always be hit or miss on how much each post brings in for conversions. As always, it depends on the quality level of the content you’re publishing. There are a lot of “good enough” writers out there without the right platform from which to broadcast their voice. If you’re a good writer, find the platforms (beg, borrow or steal to get there). If you’re a bad writer, keep writing. Practice makes perfect.

    • Nate — great point. At the end of the day your content is going to speak for itself. You want to ensure that you provide the best quality material to your audience — even if you’re just guest post.

  8. Thank you, Neil,

    As always: clear, reason-based, memorable and encouraging.

    You always clear a path through the jungle for us – thank you.

    Kindest regards, Zara.

  9. Harshit Bhootra :

    Neil as usual you give out awesome information.
    I was willing to know how do you take out so much time for writing. As you are a big marketer and you might be having some big projects going on always. I’m a regular reader of your all blogs and have found that you post 2-4 articles per week (all blogs together). And your posts are so long and so informative. It might be a big task. So do you hire people for writing or anything + you always reply to even the 500th comment. Man this is something awesome. giving this much time as a big marketer of the industry is a difficult job. can you share how do you work and manage your time (a bit in detail) in one of your upcoming posts. An me and many other wants to know. also Me and many others want to know how do you stick to your tasks. Because as a rich man and an informative person your mind must always produce ideas in a huge quantity (obviously uncontrollable) so how do you stick to your tasks avoiding certain distractions. 🙂 m a big fan of yours 😉

    Harshit 🙂

    • Harshit — I just have a lazer focus when I do things. It’s tough but something I have learned along the way.

      • Harshit Bhootra :

        will have to learn “How to focus” from you, cause if i decide to work 3 hours, i spend 2 hours i don’t know where.

      • Harshit Bhootra :

        reading your article about focus on entrepreneur , it will help me i think.

  10. William Zimmerman :

    Neil,

    Great stuff bro!

    Didn’t realize how important guest posting is!!

    Sounds like how mint.com got successful.

    Have a great week!

    Bill Z

  11. Cathy Goodwin :

    Wow …. thanks for a mini-course in guest posting! I’ve just started recently and your tips resonate with my experience. Re effectiveness for SEO traffic, in some fields, you get clients from getting out in front of them; you’re more like a billboard than a craigslist ad. Guest posting is a great way to stand in front of your audience in all your glory!

    • Cathy, thanks for the feedback and glad you found the post helpful. I look forward to hearing much more from you.

  12. DR. Muddassir Ahmed :

    Neil,

    Do you think there is opportunity to get paid for guest post or is it too much ask?!

    Regards,
    Dr Muddassir

  13. Hi Neil,
    Great article indeed. I haven’t tried my hand in guest posting. Yeah but guest posting looks great if you wanna be a brand name. So, any one reading my comment can ping me @ geekgyd.com/about Using feedback form to drop your invitation. Well, I can’t ask for more Neil. The post itself is awesome. Keep going brother.

    MS Qureshi

  14. Karen Dimmick :

    Thank you for this! I’m still reading, but I’m taking action as I go, hence why it’s a little slow going through it…
    Awesome content – so timely too – so just wanted to say thanks for putting all this info out there (and all your other content) – it’s much appreciated
    I will be getting some guest posting going asap

    Karen

  15. Excellent post Neil. Just getting ready to launch my blog and I know I will benefit from your practical advice. I like your advice to be strategic and to build relationships. Thanks.

  16. Sherman Smith :

    Hey Neil,

    So far a few bloggers approached me to do a guest post. Ain’t nothing wrong with this right! But this post had some great detail on how to search for great blogs to guest post on as well as giving some insights on how to pitch. This is definitely worth a bookmark for later reference! Thanks for the share Neil!

  17. Hey Neil,

    I love these longer posts – jam packed full of valuable tips.

    Without guest blogging I’m not sure I’d have any traffic or recognition. Without a doubt my favorite growth tactic.

    Thanks for the kind mention too 🙂

    Will B

  18. Ayodeji Onibalusi :

    Guest blogging is still one of the most important forms of content marketing, not minding what Matt Cutts once said about it. Not only will it establish your authority as a writer/author or expert, like Neil Patel has rightly outlined, it will also beef up your content arsenal.

    Thanks for the detailed article on guest blogging, Neil!

    -Ayodeji Onibalusi

  19. Ethan Greys :

    Neil, Thank you for this blog post. My company have spent too much on spamming on ther Internet. I think it is the time we must change, respect the customers. The number is not important, quality is a more vital factor of success.

  20. Hi Neil Patel:
    Thank you very much for the detailed article; you have clearly explain all the things from basics.

    Love your article 🙂

  21. Neil How Do You Write Such Excellent Posts??
    Nice Thoughts And Nice Tips . Really Enjoyed Them! 🙂
    Good Luck 🙂

  22. Hii Neil,

    I just wanted to start guest blogging, but I didn’t have any idea that how to do well?. I am going to follow you for my first guest post. Thanks for such a wonderful Blog that will help many. Keep it up bro.

  23. Hi Neil,

    Can you please some of the best SEO & WordPress niche blogs which accept guest posting. I am about guest post on an authority site.

    Thanks

  24. Neil, another great post as always. These are very valuable tips. Yes, guest Posting is a great and a useful way to get new readers & followers to our blog. Thanks for sharing…..!!!

  25. If guest posting is so useful, I can try to create some original articles for my blog in order to post them on the blogs that accept my work.

  26. Thank you, Neil for guest blogging tips! I love your ideas and gonna try few of them.

    Have a nice day!

  27. Hi Neil, Thanks for your instructions!

  28. Acquaintances do better than Strangers.
    Knocking on a complete strangers door and expecting them to be warm and welcoming is a bit of a stretch.
    Try building a little bit of a relationship by commenting (positively) for a period first.

    Proof of knowledge.
    Everyone is an “expert”, and everyone is “great” at what they do … especially in SEO.
    Rather than just saying it – prove it!
    1) Commenting not only gives you an opportunity to get your foot in the door,
    it also gives you plenty of chances to show what you know.
    2) Have a small sample of content that you can show or send them. It doesn’t have to be multiple complete articles – excerpts from several that pertain to their preferred topic will do.
    3) If you’ve been else where, tell them and link to your prior works.

    Sell yourself.
    It’s all about Traffic and User Satisfaction.
    If you aren’t going to please their users, satisfy their needs, align with their goals…
    If you aren’t going to bring in new/additional traffic, increase their user/reader base or otherwise get them more views…
    If you aren’t going to improve their reputation or status, make them look good or raise their awareness…
    … then you aren’t really going to be bought.
    So – sell it to them! It’s a hot topic. People are lapping it up. There’s little real information out there. You have an inside scoop, a leading edge or confirming/damning proof.
    You have X followers that are likely to come read it on site. You usually get X shares when you post, so you can bring in a little extra traffic.
    etc.

    It’s not the size that counts.
    I don’t think it has to be “epic” … not in regards to size.
    It has to be “epic” in regards to value/benefit to the reader (and site owner).
    It could be a short (400 words) piece … so long as it does something special.
    A 500 word write-up of a quick conversation with secrets from a Googler will kill any 2K word piece with pretty pictures.
    A 300 word piece leading into a strong infographic with lots of relevant and accurate data will be more than fine too!
    There are plenty of repeat guesters that post short pieces very regularly – things like little news updates, heads up based on reads from other sites … the work the site owner may not want to bother doing. So long as you do a good job of it – you may find they are thankful for that smaller but regular contribution.
    So don’t think it has to be a huge amount of words.
    Check out what they have accepted before, what was more popular – and use that as a measuring stick.

    And on a slightly different note…

    Be Responsible!
    If you guest-post – anywhere – and you have comments enabled … respond to those comments in a timely fashion. Nothing is as of putting as someone that posts-and-runs.

    • Rogerson, thanks for all the extra tips. Do you have a blog where we can find you? You always provide in-depth content here.

      • Believe it or not – no.
        I’ve always meant to … but never had the time before.
        But, I’m kind of known for commenting/reviewing articles and looking at them from differing angles ……. just not under this name 😀

  29. Robert Giacomell :

    Hi Neil ! Again a great guest blogging post. Guest Posting is an important activity which can give your quality backlinks and your content can be more wide-spread than other activities. Doing it efficiently is the best way we can our guest posting target.

    Thanks for this article Neil.

  30. Hi Neil sir,
    Awesome post. I am new blogger. In my city there is no one who knows about blogging so its very hard to learn things related to it. I wanted to gust posting but i was not understanding how to start , how to find out best websites. Your post really helped me so much.
    Thank you very very much.

  31. Saulo Segurado :

    Strategic guest posts are my secret weapon! =D

  32. To borrow a frequently used marketing cliche: This blog post is a veritable “paint by numbers” guide to growing blog traffic and building one’s personal brand. It’s a perfect example of providing “epic content” and going the extra mile to deliver value to readers. Really helpful stuff, Neil, Thanks!

  33. What a comprehensive post on guest posting, I’ve picked up some great tips. Does it matter if the site owner only offers no follow links or how can you negotiate for a do follow link on your guest post?

  34. Wow, just freaking wow.

    I can’t get over how great this post is.

    I truly believe that guest post are just as important as they was 2-3 years ago. Prolly more so now.

    I wrote a post about guest post http://titanium-businesssolutions.com/22-guest-blogging/ it’s pretty good love for you to check it out.

    Thanks for the great read, i will be reading more of your stuff

    Jason

  35. Joyce Grace :

    This is useful. I love that you get in depth about stuff. I am curious to know two things though that may seem unrelated:

    1) How long does it take you to produce posts like this one, or the guest posts you do? I find that my articles can take a very, very long time because of the research needed, screenshots to prepare, and even just thinking about how to structure the article. So what would you say is a reasonable amount of time to spend on this activity, let’s say in a weekly or monthly sense?

    2) Do you think it’s ok to pay writers to guest post under your byline?

    3) I really want to know what program you use to make those arrows on the screenshots. I use Preview on a Mac, but the arrows are not as cool, or maybe I don’t know where to find your style of arrow in there 🙂

    Thanks!

  36. Hey Neil,

    I have yet to submit a guest post and my traffic is very limited. But I have seen a few link referrals from feedly and social-buttons just like on your screenshot. Where are those coming from? I have never even been on any of those sites? How are they big referrers on your screenshot?

  37. Ommy Panchal :

    This is really nice, guest post idea with deep information . I really loved to read it

  38. Dorcas Nduati :

    Guest posting can give you fame and fortune. Really true. Make sure you start on a low note then the rest will history.

  39. A.F.M.Tanvir Nabi :

    Hello Neil Patel
    It is great to go through your writing on guest posting. The way you have described the tips, tricks, techniques as well as strategies is worth mentioning. It has opened a new avenue for me to use those advantages. Your tips on e-mail techniques have grabbed my attention. Most importantly your focus on the quality content for reaching the target audience is immensely important . It needs significant amount of dedication that you have clearly hinted. Your niche on guest posting from professional approach touches exact view that I really feel now. Thanks for the useful content.
    Best regards
    A.F.M.Tanvir Nabi

    • Glad you found it helpful. I look forward to hearing much more from you. If you need any help along the way let me know.

  40. Hey Neil, great allround article for this topic. Thanks!

    I think you do need to add a filter to your analytics though since the social-buttons referral is unfortunately spammy 🙂

  41. Preeti Mittal :

    Thanks for a mini-course in guest posting! I’ve just started recently and your tips resonate with my experience. Re effectiveness for SEO traffic, in some fields, you get clients from getting out in front of them; you’re more like a billboard than a craigslist ad. Guest posting is a great way to stand in front of your audience in all your glory!

    • Preeti, glad you found it helpful. Thanks for the feedback. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  42. Play Buffett :

    Hi Neil!

    First, I’m joining the chorus of praise here: Wow. Phenomenal, in-depth, ultra-actionable tutorial. (As usual.) Thank you!!

    Second, couple of questions:

    (1) I just got up the bones of a site/blog and was initially planning a formal launch on July 1st. But now I’m wondering about a strategy that I’ve been seeing more commonly recommended — i.e. Before you start posting into the void (“lone voice crying into the wilderness”), build up at least the base of an audience/fan club through guest-posting. Then (as you note at the end of this post), send them to landing page on your site with a lead magnet. I’ve even heard some top-tier bloggers argue that you should wait till you have at least the touted 1,000 True Fans on your email list before you launch your own blogging efforts … What’s your take on the issue?

    (2) There are a few guest blogging courses out there that aim to teach you the ropes and claim that, if your work is good enough, they might even hook you up with some editors at the major publications in your niche. Jon Morrow’s “Guest Blogging” course, for instance, even offers a certification of course completion that he says is likely to help you “go to the front of the line” with your pitch to editors of many premiere publications … Do you think these sort of courses are worth the expense? Or would you recommend saving your dough and following your awesome blueprint instead?

    Cheers!
    Play

    • Great questions and I am glad I could help:

      1. I would start from the get-go why wait? There is no harm in going hard from the beginning and trying to get as many opportunities as possible
      2. I would stick to the blueprint and ditch the gimmicks.

  43. Thanks for great tutorial on guest posting. I really appreciate the portion on pitching posts.
    If you do a follow-up, it would be great to see some more example pitches.

  44. Arjun Kaushik :

    I’ll try one more time to submit guest posts to good authoritative blogs, cause last time i got rejected. I hope you methods will work well for me.

  45. Hi Neil,
    As a new blogger with a website that’s only just gone live, I’ve got a lot to learn. Of course guest blogging works – that’s how I recently came across you :). I like that all your articles are in depth and share a lot of information that even us newbies can make good use of. They take me a while to read with all the links too, but I don’t want to miss anything!
    Thanks alot for the time spent writing your articles.Appreciated.

  46. I have come to the conclusion that you can read my mind. Just when I think about something allot, you write about it – it’s awesome.
    I also like R.Rogerson’s advice, so insightful.
    Keep well till next time

  47. Hey Neil,

    Great tips for guets posting. But I do have a question for you: In my niche (fashion blogs, more specifically high heels) there are
    First: Almost no important blogs that specialize in heels only.
    And second: Nobody writes opinion pieces or big articles, it’s always about posting some pictures of people wearing the pieces or just the advertisment pictures themselves.

    Do you have an idea how I could get my foot in the door on some relevant blogs?

    Thank you

  48. Sahil Verma :

    Dear Neil

    It is really great how you explain “absurd” SEO stuff with so much of ease and compassion.

    I have taken notes of this post (I actually have them written on a Notebook with me) and from tomorrow, I’ll be using them actively!

    Hopefully I will return here after a month (or two perhaps) to share with you the progress I have made!

    Thank you so much for this.

    Best!
    Sahil.

  49. Hello Neil,
    I am very new to this technique.. i have read you entire blog but i have some confusion or i can say i have to clear some points regarding guest blogging.
    I have got all the things like how to write the guest blogs but i need to know how i can submit the guest blogging to the website.. like if you provide step by step video or images for writing the guest blog then it would be very much helpful for me and also for the newbies..

    Hope i will get answer to my question…

  50. Great article.

    What really stuck with me is:

    Step 3: produce epic content. The definition of “epic” is important here, but it’s safe to say that most guest posters don’t know how to do it right.

    Epic is big word, mostly people misuse it.

    • Nicolas, I agree — epic is always going to resonate with your readers and make things go viral.

  51. Brillian tips! Thanks for step-by-step introduction to the topic, Neil.

  52. Great Article,

    we can use this information

    Thanks for your contribution

  53. Murali Sajja :

    Hi Niel, Much grateful to all the knowledge you share. It is just amazing and inspiring the value you provide. I read each and every one of your articles and saved this one to come back for reference. Thank you.
    Quick question. When you guest post an article do you also post it on your own blog.

    Thanks
    Murali

  54. Great post! Another guide that explains everything clearly. I’ve been guest blogging for a long time and what I have found is one easy but useful strategy. When you message authors send them your article with your first message. Keep your messages short and straight to the point (tell directly what you want – your guest post published …). Mention the title and give very brief description on the benefits of your article. For example, how the article is different. If the title is great, I guarantee that you significantly increase your success rate. I got many great guest posts for my new site that way. In addition, you are not a good writer, no problem, go to Odesk and purchase good articles, there are so many specialist in all niches … Hope that helps.

  55. It took me a whole hour to read and fully grab the most important points on this article, but it was worth it. I guess I’m still a little far away from being able to do any guest posting, but hey, knowledge is power, and I bet not many, if any, of today’s authority bloggers that do guest posting on a frequent basis had access to this kind of information when they started 😉

    Great post as usual Neil!

  56. An Eye opener for me. I am trying to find a resource to learn how to guest blog. I have not done that traffic generation technique before and I am planning to do sometime in the future but as the post said above, guest posting is dead. That word even came from the mouth of a highly esteemed Google employee.

  57. Thank you.

    I’ve never not gotten value from your posts.

    I’m going to spend an entire year guest- posting. The goal is 5 posts a week.

    Excited and terrified to get into it.

    Nazreen

  58. This served as a perfect guide on getting started with guest posting. As a part of our marketing strategy, We at GreyB decided to do a lot of Guest posts in order to be well-acclaimed in our field.

    This in-depth post revealed a lot of tactics to employ while getting started with Guest posts. Keep the good work going.
    Thanks,
    Anjali

    • Anjali, glad you liked it — let me know if you need help with anything else. Sounds like you are already doing a lot of great things 😉

  59. Thanks alot for the great list. please update this list as i want more sites like this

  60. I just had a brainwave I wanted to share!

    Step 2, tactic 3… When researching your host’s most popular content, you could go and check out their readers comments. If there are any questions that come up (and haven’t already been more fully addressed in other posts) you could suggest blogging about that topic.

    Would take some more time but I’d bet it would show the host blogger how keen you are!

    • Cat, that definitely is a great idea. I should have touched on that portion a bit further. Essentially, it’s wise to check out what the conversation centers around so you can better engage your audience 🙂

  61. I’m going to implement your tips when I start pitching to the bigger guns out there. Bookmarking this article!

  62. Thanks for the intro Neil. We’re going to start this process so wish us luck! In your experience is there any difference in approaching this strategy when you’re B2B rather than B2C?

  63. Hi Neil,

    Your stuff really useful to me and I still learning on your tips. Can you put some guest posting formats here? I am running a certain website for my client and I really need to obtain some good traffic on it. Please provide me some email’s intro to convince a blog owner to accept a guest post.

    Thanks!

  64. What a comprehensive post on guest posting, I’ve picked up some great tips.

  65. Hi Neil
    If you can clear below doubts than it will be a great help.

    1. Guest Posting will get us DoFollow Contextual backlink?

    2. How many high quality backlinks we should create per day? So that website will not be panellized by google.

    Thanks a lot!

  66. Hi Neil!

    I’ve been reading your articles for the last month and I find you give consistent value with no babble! Love the work.

    I have a question I’d love to get your take on:

    When you say actionable content, what would that translate to in the health niche? Ie. In an article about treatment options for X condition.

    Thanks again for the insights you provide 🙂

    • If they are coming to your site because they have a specific problem, actionable content would inspire them to solve that problem using what they’ve learned from you.

  67. What a great article, Neil! The 5Ws is such a nifty trick!

    I find that if I can’t describe what a post is about and what’s unique about it in one sentence, the topic tends to be too big. Working through the 5Ws brings things into focus before I dive into research.

    Quick questions: How many clones do you have hiding in the basement, putting out 5000 words a day? 😉

    Thanks again for this resource!

  68. Thank you so much for this post Neil. I will constantly reference it.
    By the way, I noticed a broken link: http://www.firepolemarketing.com/seven-figure-blog/
    Could be worth removing for better SEO.

  69. Bhupendra Sharma :

    I was reading another post of yours about blog syndication when I came across this post. I am glad I did it. Guest posts worked in the past and they are gonna work in the future as well, no matter how many times Google updates its policies. Great post. Keep it up 🙂

  70. devenir riche :

    I’d like to find out more? I’d want to find out some additional information.

  71. Neil, it’s a great plan!

    But what I can to do if I haven’t lead magnet for start a guest posting. Can I rite a link on my Facebook fan page in this post.

    Thank you.

    Best regards,
    Nick.

  72. Hey Neil,

    As always you left me speechless. Insane Value Neil ! Can’t thank you enough for giving insanely detailed how-to’s on guest posting.

    I’m about to start pitching in this week and this post came across as the Bible of guest posting.

    I wanted to ask you a few questions:

    First, how often did you use to pitch for guest blogging when you were starting out?

    Secondly, how did you overcome the fear of execution? I have been procrastinating for months just because of this fear.

    Thirdly, When you started out how did you manage writing for your own site and guest posting? As in , writing guest post is a very time taking process and managing to write on your own authority site (especially when you write 3000 to 5000 words blog post) along with guest posts which again are at least 3000 words with a lot of screenshots , infographics and other imagery (that in itself is SO time consuming – I recently realized).

    Do you mind if you share your newbie-days writing schedule?

    Sorry if I asked you too much.

    Take good care of yourself and family.

    Bless you.

    Anam 🙂 🙂

    • 1. Guest posting you need to pitch a lot intially until you find the right way to approach the editors.

      2. Overcoming procastination is mainly down to just starting the work. Lock yourself into doing the start and hopefully the rest follows.

      3. Writing is something you need to embrace all day long really. And I write all day long 😉

  73. John McDougall :

    I have 5 pages of notes…

    This post is enough input to then just go do it. I have some nice ones under my belt but not nearly enough and I need a bit of your laser focus Neil:) I’d buy a course from you on how to focus at your level…

    I am also going to dig through my “rolodex” of marketing peers and ask for some intro’s to editors as that may also be a good way to start with a small leg up.

    I love that you write all day…Gives me one more reminder to at the very least write an hour a day. I would love to hear more of your daily structure.

    Your prolific writing and tips are always an inspiration.

    Dhanyavad

    • All sounds good John, make sure you take action as it is lovely to read the insights and another to apply them 🙂

  74. Rencontre serieuse :

    Excellent pieces. Keep posting such kind of info on your blog.
    Im really mpressed by it.
    Hey there, You’ve performed a fantastic job. I will definitely digg it and individually suggest to my friends.
    I am confident they will be benefited from this web site.

  75. Lokesh Kumar Sharma :

    This is a fantastic article. I learnt so many things about guest posting today. But do you think guest blogging to biggest of sites will work? I mean why would a newspaper would want to link to a newbie when they have almost every big backlink possible.

  76. Benjamin Davis :

    This is one of the best posts I’ve read on improving views through guest-posting.

    BTW Neil, would you accept a guest post from me? I am not taking a no for an answer 😉

    Best

  77. Kuldeep Kumar :

    Hey Neil,
    Happy to read this post, finding guest posting its not an easy task but you made this simple for me. Do You Also Give Training on Blogging? When You Came India

  78. hey You’ll Done best in market (y) Keep going

  79. info@mbilalshaikh.com
    Do contact me for SEO

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