Guest blogging has become an important tool for most search marketers, and despite concerns that it’s being overused or employed as a sole link building strategy for many SEO’s, it still has enormous worth and potential.
Besides writing great content that will be relevant to and be able to captivate an audience, one of the most difficult parts of guest blogging is sourcing the blogs. There are many ways to do this and many tools, both free and paid, exist to make the job easier and more manageable.
The tool I wish to discuss in this article is BuzzStream. BuzzStream is much more than a link prospecting tool – it is a way to manage relationships, keep track of unique projects and tracks, and keep track of links. The last feature is actually one of the coolest things about BuzzStream as link tracking can become a painful process without a good tool to manage it for you.
All of these features make it ideal to source fantastic guest blogging opportunities and help you keep track of them, but as is the case with every new tool you start using, there is a learning curve while you get your head around the features. Well I will make that curve slightly gentler for you by taking you from start to finish on your prospecting journey!
1. Start Researching Guest Blogging Opportunities
Once you’ve setup your account (and filled in the relevant details, although some of this can come later) you’re ready to get researching. Click “Research” from the “Link Partners” tab.
You will be prompted to set up a new Prospecting Profile – you can organise your profiles anyway you like, they will simply be separate lists containing prospects based on the searches you’ve specified; I am going to pretend I’m setting up a profile to look for opportunities to guest post about SEO.
You will now need to enter search terms into “Prospecting Searches” to help you find opportunities. There are a number of different ways you can do this and a number of different search operators you can use – for the purpose of this example I’m doing to show you some basic search terms you could use:
SEO “guest post”; SEO “guest author; SEO “guest blog”; SEO “guest posting guidelines”; SEO “guest blogging”; SEO “guest blogger”; intitle:”guest post” SEO
The first six searches will bring up any page that contain both search terms, so you have quite a bit of ‘noise’, i.e. websites that may not offer guest blogging opportunities at all, but I have gotten good results using similar searches. Also, just because a blog doesn’t specifically mention they are open to guest posts doesn’t mean that they couldn’t be persuaded to change their mind. The last intitle: search will bring up examples using “guest post” in the title which will give more targeted results, however not all websites do this for their guest posts.
This is what my final Prospecting Profile looks like:
Within a few minutes you’ll receive an email and your prospecting search will be complete; now it is time to filter out the good opportunities!
2. Finding the Good Opportunities
You’ll be presented with a long list of all the opportunities BuzzStream has found for you, with the URL, discovered contact information and a choice of metrics.
I like to add Domain Authority and MozRank to that list, and you can customize the columns anyway you like by clicking on “Columns” in the top menu:
The next part can be a little time consuming – you need to visit each opportunity individually and decide whether they’re a good match or not. Clicking on the name of the opportunity will take you to a more detailed screen where you can enter many more details, especially useful as you get further along the outreach process. But by clicking on the “links” tab at this stage you will see some of the pages BuzzStream found matching your queries, so you can quickly find why the site might be relevant.
I could write a whole blog post about how to filter out the good opportunities, but for now, these are some important things to look out for:
- Do they accept guest posts at all? If not, do they seem like they’d be willing to do so. I have found blogs which don’t explicitly state they accept guest posts, but after getting in touch with the owner they have been more than willing to publish my content.
- Link and domain metrics such as Domain Authority and MozRank. There is much more to a guest blog than a link or two, but it doesn’t hurt finding chances to write for really strong sites.
- Do they seem authoritative and well-established? One of the best things about guest blogging is that it is a great way to build your brand, but writing on spammy websites or ones which are plastered with ads isn’t going to do much for your reputation. This also doesn’t mean you should exclude newer websites – if you like the look of the site and enjoy what they’re already doing, they could be worth building a relationship with, particularly if they grow into something bigger in the future.
- Do they have an audience? One key principle with a link is that if it doesn’t have the potential to bring you referral traffic, it probably isn’t worth your time building. If the site doesn’t look like it’s got a decent reader base then your content isn’t going to be seen. Are people actively engaged in the comments? Do they have a following on their social media accounts?
Once you’re happy with a website, click the ‘approve’ button next to their name and they will find a permanent place in your Link Partners list. Alternatively, if they’re not a good fit, you can either ‘dismiss’ or ‘blacklist’ the site; dismissing them simply removes them from that particular Prospecting Profile, while blacklisting will prevent them from ever turning up in a search again.
The Next Steps in the Outreach Process
Now that you have your list of potential guest blogging opportunities, what do you do with the information and how can BuzzStream simplify the process? In the last part of this series I will show you how to contact your prospect, manage relationships and tasks for them, and should all go well, how to keep track of the links in your newly published post.
Editor’s note: Peter Meinertzhagen is in no way affiliated with BuzzStream. His thoughts and opinions are purely his own, and not necessarily the views of SEJ.