8 mind-boggling secrets to guest blogging success

Guest blogs have become mainstream.

It is one of the best inbound marketing strategies.

There are many benefits to strategic guest posting, including:

  • Drive more traffic.
  • Attract backlinks.
  • Generate tons of leads.
  • Build brand authority.

However, because it’s such a popular strategy, everyone is doing it now.

Site owners are inundated with sites.

It is becoming more and more difficult to achieve tangible results through this.

But with the right tactics, you can still make guest posting work and reap great benefits for your business.

In this article, we’ll reveal eight secrets to guest blogging success.

1. Develop relationships with niche influencers beforehand

Developing relationships with influencers in your space now rather than later can give you an edge over your competition when you pitch.

Most sites typically receive thousands of placements. If a host blogger knows you, the likelihood of your email being opened increases dramatically.


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Most website owners these days won’t watch a complete stranger’s pitch.

Here’s how to get on the niche influencer radar:

  • Comment on their posts.
  • Write them a thank you note.
  • Share their posts.
  • Contact them on social networks.

Do it all and you’ll be instantly recognizable when you launch. You will be one step ahead of your competition. When you do this, some really amazing things happen.

For example, Kevin Duncan of Be A Better Blogger was invited to the Smartblogger guest blog because of his prolific comments.

Conclusion: doing good to influencers triggers reciprocity that reinforces goodwill towards you.


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2. Carefully select your target sites

Many companies claim that guest blogging doesn’t work for them.

Often the reason for dismal results is targeting the wrong sites. Jumping on the guest blogging bandwagon without choosing your target sites correctly only leads to failure.

The secret to success is to choose your targets carefully. Choose blogs that match your business goals.

  • Target popular sites in your space that are frequented by the audience you are looking for.
  • Focus on general sites that are likely to be interested in your topic (for example, if you are a web designer, you can contribute to a marketing site and explain how to design a stunning marketing site).
  • Download this useful list from nearly 500 high ranking websites that publish guest posts, grouped by niche.

Aaron Orendorff of Iconicontent quickly built a successful business within months using guest blogging as the backbone of his strategy. It was mainly targeting top-tier business websites.

Check out his Twitter profile:

Aaron Orendorff's Twitter Profile

Its target is obvious: first-rate commercial sites.

3. Pitch like a pro, not a clumsy hobbyist

Without a stellar pitch, your guest posting campaign falls flat.

The key to winning throws is to avoid rookie mistakes such as:

  • Do not include hostname or be wrong: Check the about target site page to get the correct name.
  • Without including links to your previous work: Add at least three links to your previous posts to show off your writing skills to the host.
  • Pitch of subjects unrelated to the site: Make sure your topic fits the blog perfectly.
  • Obvious grammar and spelling errors: Use editing tools like Grammarly to enhance and refine your post.
  • Do not read and follow writers’ directions: You can find the editor’s guidelines in the main menu, sidebar, or footer. These common phrases are used to describe the instructions page: “editor’s instructions”, “write for us”, or “contribute”.

4. Submit a fully written, personalized article

Every site looks for quality content to run its content marketing engine.

If you give a site owner a personalized post that’s ready to go, you’ll likely get a yes.

To succeed with this approach, follow these steps:

  • Use a tool like BuzzSumo to analyze and model the top performing posts on the site.
  • Look for a content gap to fill. To do this, browse the comments of popular posts to find out what the public wants to know more.
  • Make sure to link to other related posts on the host site. Webmasters like this because it saves them time.
  • Include their favorite sites in external links. To find out, look at the sites’ backlink profile using Link Explorer or Monitor Backlinks. This shows the host that you know their site and their mission.


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5. Offer an additional resource in addition to the publication

To increase your chances of getting your pitch accepted, go further.

Provide the host with a valuable resource that complements the message.

Here are some very simple types of content upgrades you can offer:

  • A checklist.
  • A model.
  • A memory aid
  • A case study.
  • A list of resources.
  • A PDF version of the message.

For example, let’s say that the host post is about camping. You can create a PDF checklist for new campers. The host can offer it to readers as a free download and grow their mailing list.

It shows the host how serious you are about adding value to their audience. Seeing this unparalleled commitment, they will say yes.

6. Include a relevant contextual backlink

Usually blog owners do not allow links in the post itself.

They only give free rein to the author’s bio.

Does this mean that it is impossible to get a bond in the body? Not at all. What webmasters want are relevant resources that add value to an article.


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Here is the information on getting a contextual backlink.

  • Ask: When you are upfront about the links, the site owner will see that your motivations are right and will accede to your request.
  • Relevance: As long as what you link to adds value to the post, you will be successful.
  • Natural: If the link isn’t forced, but fits naturally into the context of your topic, you’ll get the green light.

Here’s a great example of a contextual link from Brian Dean from Backlinko.

8 mind-boggling secrets to guest blogging success

This was a guest post for Buffer where Brian showed how he dramatically improved signups by offering a laser-targeted content upgrade unique to the post itself. The link is neither spam nor natural.

7. Optimize your author’s biography for maximum conversions

Probably the last thing guest posters think of is their bio, if at all.


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This is a big mistake.

The hidden weapon of successful guest posts is an optimized author bio.

  • Statistics LinkedIn Reveal the power of including a photo on your social media profiles. You get 36 times more messages, 21 times more profile views, and 9 times more people reaching out to contact you.
  • Show your personality so that readers will be drawn to you.
  • Avoid using a one-size-fits-all organic. Adjust it to suit the specific audience you’re writing for. You will connect better with the public.
  • Massage your keywords into the copy.
  • Add social proof to get readers to take you seriously.

Check out this optimized bio below.

Marcus Ho - Example of SEJ Bio profile

Bio covers all the bases.

It includes a professional-looking photo, links to my site, shares my company’s unique selling proposition, and emphasizes my authority by showcasing my book.

8. Link to a dedicated landing page, not to the home page

When writing a guest post, do all you can to maximize the warm traffic gains you get.


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To do this, link to a special landing page.

Here’s how to do it.

  • Design a specific page targeted at your host site visitors instead of sending traffic to a generic page.
  • Complement your guest post by giving users a relevant giveaway that suits the campaign you’re running.
  • Use interchangeable language on your author bio and landing page to make it easy for readers to connect the two pages.
  • Remove the page from anything that might cause readers to leave without converting or taking the desired action (for example, don’t add a link to other pages).

Jacob McMillen does a good job linking his author bio and landing page:

8 mind-boggling secrets to guest blogging success

A guest post he posted for Crazy Egg takes his readers to the landing page below.

8 mind-boggling secrets to guest blogging success

Note that the title of the landing page matches the title of the free guide he promised readers in the last part of his bio. This allows for a smooth and seamless experience for the readers.


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Because it directs traffic to a landing page where readers can sign up or go, it’s likely to get more conversions.


With these eight new strategies, you will make your guest blogging campaigns a resounding success.

More resources:

Image credits

All screenshots taken by author, January 2019

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