I love guest blogging. As a matter of fact, I got my first freelance writing inquiry thanks to a guest post on Social Media Examiner. I know how powerful guest blogging is for building your reputation and increasing your business.
If you have been looking for guest blogging opportunities lately, you may have spotted a discouraging trend. Here are some examples of what I mean.
Mashable’s former guest writer guidelines pages now goes to a cute 404 error page:
Copyblogger closed guest post submissions:
ProBlogger, well known for publishing a high volume of guest posts, just recently announced their halt on guest post submissions:
And they are not the only ones. If you search accept unsolicited guest posts, you’ll find 2,000+ results from sites that no longer accept them.
Why Blogs Are Closing Guest Post Submissions
I can’t speak for everyone else, but I can share some examples of why I closed unsolicited guest post submissions on my own blog. First, there were the bad pitches.
Then there were the unrelated submissions. This guy stole an image of Chase Crawford to “personalize” his Google account and auto-submits posts like this daily through my contact form. Yes, I said daily.
This one was about a taxi booking service.
Then there were the responses when I rejected submissions that didn’t fit the guest posting guidelines I had set.
You can see more bad examples in The State of Guest Blogging presentation. I can’t even begin to imagine what sites like Probloger, Copyblogger, and Mashable were receiving on a regular basis. I still get about bad five requests a day even after clearly noting on my guest post guidelines page and my contact form that guest post submissions are closed.
If bad requests weren’t enough, then there’s the video of the head of Google’s Webspam, Matt Cutts, talking about Google’s feelings towards guest blogging for links:
If Google doesn’t like the guest blogging for links strategy, they probably don’t like the blogs that post those guest posts either.
How to Increase Your Odds of Getting Accepted
So how do you increase your odds of having your post published on quality blogs? Here are some tips.
Be a real person.
If your business is outsourcing a guest blogging campaign, find real people to help you with it – not cheap link building services that are likely using $5 writers who use celebrity photos and fake names to pitch your content. Preferably real people who have an established reputation in the industry you want them to write for.
Work your way up.
Unless you are already an established, well known writer or have an amazing blog, you will need to start building your reputation. Most people can’t go from unknown to Mashable right out the gate. Start with smaller blogs in your industry, create great content for them, and then work your way up. Use your best guest posts as examples along the way.
Create a relevant portfolio.
Most blog owners and editors will want to see a sample of your writing beyond the piece you submit to them. The best place to create samples are on your own blog. You can even create a portfolio page that lists your latest contributions to other blogs to let people where else you have been published. You can create this page manually, adding links to your latest post as you go.
If you have a WordPress blog and regularly write for blogs that offer an RSS feed for your post, you can use the RSS Agregator plugin to publish your feeds into one page. You can see this plugin in action on my own portfolio page.
To make this work, you will need to find your author page on the blogs you write for by clicking on the link to your name in the author bio. Some blogs, like this one, have an RSS icon linking to the RSS feed for on the author archive pages. If it doesn’t, you can add feed to the end of the URL (http://domain.com/author/yourname/feed/), test it, and grab it as your author RSS feed.
Once you have a strong portfolio page, you can include it anytime you inquire about a guest blogging opportunity.
You might have noticed that while a lot of sites are not allowing unsolicited guest post submissions, they are still publishing content by multiple authors. If you want to be one of those authors, you’ll have to know someone on the inside to make it happen. The best ways to get to know a blog owner and its writers are the following.
- Actively follow the blog’s latest posts. Subscribing via RSS using Google Reader is one of the easiest ways to keep things organized and not blow up your inbox.
- Read the posts and when you feel you have something valuable to contribute, comment.
- Share the posts on Twitter and include both the blog’s main Twitter handle as well as the author’s.
- Interact with the blog owner and authors on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Aim for the network where they are active but get the least attention – usually that’s Google+.
Once you’ve built up a strong relationship with a regular contributor to a site, see if you can get them to introduce you to the blog owner or editor.
Look for golden opportunities.
If you can’t get an introduction, then look for golden opportunities to request a guest post spot. For example, if you get listed as one of Social Media Examiner’s top social media blogs or ProBlogger’s top bloggers to watch, that is the perfect time to approach the blog to become an author.
You can also take advantage of other opportunities. Say you find a broken page or error in a post. Submit a contact form and let the blog know. Sometimes, you’ll get lucky and get a response from the blog owner or editor themselves. They’ll know that you are familiar with their blog and that might be your in to ask if they are accepting guest posts. Better yet, say that you have this great topic in mind and wish the blog still accepted guest posts so you could submit it. Sometimes that works too!
Do you still accept guest posts on your blog? Are you running into lots of sites that don’t? What is your take on the future of guest blogging? Let’s discuss in the comments!