Guest blogging has taken a few hits lately, but it’s still a popular method to get links, increase awareness of your content and brand and receive traffic to your site. (It’s just that these days, your guest post had better be one-of-a-kind in terms of quality.)
The first step of a successful guest blog is often the toughest – finding the right websites to reach out to. It all depends on your goals. Some bloggers will focus on the new relationships guest posting creates. Other bloggers are in it for massive shares of their content.
First, identify your objectives for guest posting. Then try these nine key methods and tools to help find the right websites to match your business goals.
Let’s say you’ve identified and stalked some influencers in your industry.
The “inpostauthor” Google query will help you find the blogs where these influencers have written.
Since influential bloggers are most like to submit articles to blogs where they’ll see the biggest benefits (traffic, readership, etc..), these are often highly targeted (and sometimes highly competitive) sites to proposition.
2. Blog comments
Blog comments are not only a good source for for link- and authority-building. They can also be used for finding guest post opportunities.
On your own blog: Take time to go back into some old posts that had a good amount of traffic and comments. Trace the smartest commenters back to their blogs. Are they quality sites? Would some of them be a good source for guest blogging? They’re already at least a little familiar with your site, which is a great start to a relationship.
On another blog: Find an authority site in your niche that has a large number of comments on recent posts. (Raven customer? Run potential sites through Research Central to see if they fit your criteria.) Identify active, smart commenters who have blogs of their own – the ones who aren’t just doing it for link building but actually want to participate in a community. These are the people that you want to engage with. Proposition them, noting that you enjoyed their thoughtful comments.
3. “Contributor to” section on Google+
Most active bloggers have Google+ pages which they use to verify their authorship.
If you’re honing in on a specific set of influential bloggers, add them to your Circles. Then be sure to look at the “contributor to” section of their Google+ page to see the websites where they blog now or have blogged in the past.
Bonus: For many industries, Google+ is still catching on – which could make reaching out to influencers and potential guest post sites here a little easier than on other networks.
Those who are publishing blog posts are probably going to let others know about it. How? By sharing the post on social platforms like Twitter.
With AllMyTweets, you can comb through the last 3,200 Twitter posts of anyone – including influentials bloggers in your industry to find opportunities for guest blogging.
Type a Twitter username in the search bar and you’ll get a list of the user’s recent tweets. From there, simply use the find functionality and type in phrases like “new post,” “my latest post” or “guest post” to find sites to prospect.
5. RSS feeds
A site with a large number of subscribers indicates a strong readership and community (which is a great sign as you prospect for guest blogging).
If number of subscribers is your main criteria, the search tool Instant RSS can help.
Type in your niche/keyword in the search bar and you’ll see a list of blogs ranked according to the number of subscribers.
From here, a Google site search like “site:SITENAME guest post guidelines” (or guest post, guest writer, etc.) will help you determine whether the site allows guest posting.
6. Forum profiles and Q&A
Members of forums and Q&A sites often have their own blogs – many of which could be good prospects for guest blogging.
Target the most active members of any given community as they’ll be the most receptive and also are the most likely to promote any content you end up writing with them. In the process of doing your outreach, you might also build reciprocal relationships by asking if you can help them by sharing their content.
7. About us pages
Brands often devote a page of their website to identify staff members working in the company with biographies and social profiles. These pages send brand signals to the community that there’s a team working behind the company and this would make people more attracted to the brand (as they can see how these team members interact/engage with their customers).
If you’re targeting a particular blog or have written there in the past,further extend your list of guest blog prospects by checking the about us page to identify individual team members who run their own blogs.
It’s much easier to reach out to another team member if you already have a relationship with the site. Don’t forget to include that in your outreach email.
8. Branded mentions
If you know at least one targeted site that would be perfect for a guest post, widen your prospects with this simple search gold mine that focuses on uncovering other blogs where that blog has been mentioned.
For instance, let’s say you’re blogging in the weight loss niche and you’ve got your eye on Annabel of Feed Me I’m Cranky.
By using the query “link:feedmeimcranky.com -site:feedmeimcranky.com”, you can see tons of pages that link to her blog.
By using the query “feed me I’m cranky” -site:feedmeimcranky.com”, you can see tons of pages that mention her blog.
Raven customers can set up a search for mentions of a key brand or phrase in Social Monitor, or even check for links to a specific site.
You’ll see lots of different types of results with this search – interviews, guest posts, reviews, list posts, etc. Then it’s up to you to identify the best opportunities for guest blogging.
9. Twitter lists
One of the best prospecting tools for link building and guest blogging is also one of the most overlooked: Twitter. This social platform allows people to create lists on all types of topics – including their favorite bloggers on nearly every subject. Not a bad place to search for guest blogging prospects.
Use this query to make your search easier: inurl:/list site:Twitter.com + “your industry” OR “your keyword”
When you find a list that’s in line with your interests, check through it to find members who have blog names or links in their Twitter bio. Visit promising websites to see if they’re a good match for your guest blogging goals.
For some additional insights, my friend Adam Enfroy put together an amazingly thorough guide to guest blogging that breaks down every step in detail. I highly suggest you read as soon as you finish up here.
10. Bonus gold mine: Site Finder
Now that we’ve gone over nine free guest post prospecting gold mines, it’s time for one last tool. This one isn’t free – it’s part of Raven Tools’ 30-plus-features toolkit.
Site Finder recommends links for your link-building campaigns by reverse-engineering the ranking results for any keyword to identify the best linking opportunities.
Put in a keyword or key phrase:
And Site Finder will diagnose the best links for ranking URLs.
See a prospect you like? Add target links to Raven’s Link Manager with a single click.
These days, guest blog posts have to be better than ever to be worth their while. To keep your focus on what’s most important – creating the highest quality content possible – use these resources to make finding guest blogging opportunities a little easier.