How to Find The Best Blogs – Guest Post Mastery (Part 2 of 8)

By Gary Korisko | Blogging

Sep 06

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

So, you’re sold on guest posting. You’re in. You’re going to do it.

You envision yourself writing your best work, sending it out to the world, scoring a post on a major blog – and then watching your new fans roll in like a big ol’ tidal wave.

11_How to FInd the Best BLog to Guest Post On (B)Not so fast!

Cool your heels. All in due time.

Like most good things in life, guest blogging success doesn’t come quite that quickly or easily.

In this series, I’m going to teach you step by step how to successfully launch your guest blogging campaign.

And successfully launching a successful guest posting campaign doesn’t start with cheering crowds and paparazzi. It starts with targeting the right blogs.

What Are Your Guest Blogging Goals?

When you’re taking on any project, it’s important to understand the whys before you start focusing on the hows.

Begin by asking yourself WHY you want to guest post. There are actually several reasons someone might start a campaign.

  • To Build Credibility

When you’re already fairly established, guest posting on major authority blogs can help further solidify your reputation as an authority in that niche too. But we’re talking about driving traffic to a young blog here – so while credibility will definitely be a byproduct benefit of our efforts, credibility isn’t really our primary goal at this stage, is it?

  • To Get Backlinks and Improve SEO

Some bloggers live for SEO. They figure the more links they can generate back to their site, the better. There’s some truth to that – but only until, as Leslie would say, “Google has a mood swing.” SEO will bring people to your site but it won’t keep them there. Your quality content and your community keeps them there. So SEO is not our main goal in guest posting either.

  • To Generate Traffic and Build Your Community

Now we’re talking! If you’re just now starting a guest posting campaign, your top goal is to expose your killer content to as many new faces as possible, introduce them to your content, and convert them into subscribers. So there you have it – our goal is to build our community through capturing new subscribers.

How Not to Waste Your Time Guest Posting

Wasting timeThe wrong way to guest post is to jump in without a plan and start firing proposals all over the internet to any blog in any niche.

Remember that your goal is not only to be seen by as many new people as possible – but to be seen by as many new people who are likely to become fans of your content as possible.

For example, let’s say you blog about fitness. While you may have the knowledge and expertise to write an awesome guest post about popular music for a music blog, I would advise you not to.

The reason is that dedicated music fans read music blogs – and you’re trying to connect with people who want to read about fitness. Even if readers love your post and follow it back to your blog, your average popular music fan isn’t actively on the hunt for fitness information. For a fitness blogger, a music site is not targeted enough.

Sure, some hardcore music fans are bound to be interested in fitness, but hoping for that one reader out of a few hundred isn’t an efficient use of your time. It’s like shooting in the dark.

If you run a fitness blog, you want to guest post on blogs that are read by people who are searching to find answers to their health and fitness questions.

Three Steps to Laser-Sharp Targeting Focus

If you’re going to put in the time and effort to write guest posts, you need to get as much out of them as possible. There are three important steps to targeting the right blogs for your niche.

1: Identify Them
2: Size Them Up
3: Qualify Them

#1: Identify Them

We’ve already decided that if you’re going to get the very most out of your guest posting campaign, you’ll need to focus your efforts on related, well-targeted blogs. So how do you know if you’re targeting the right blogs?

  • How to Identify The Right Markets and Niches

You’ll want to focus your attention on blogs that come from your same market, your same niche, an overlapping market, or an overlapping niche.

For example, Become a Blogger is a site about how to build a thriving blog. So if Leslie were to launch a guest posting campaign, he would likely start by targeting blogs in his same market, his same niche, and then blogs in overlapping markets. Let’s take a look.

BAB_Mkt_Niche

The idea here is to identify blog topics that the people who would be most interested in what you have to say would also be interested in.

In this case, Leslie would be wise to find other blogs in the blogging market and the “starting a blog” niche.

Those types of blogs are smart targets and make a lot of sense since virtually every reader would be interested in the type of content Leslie produces.

But take a look at the list under overlapping markets and niches.

When you’re targeting, don’t overlook those overlapping markets. People who read blogs in overlapping markets have overlapping interests – so are also good potential audience members.

  • Finding Target Blogs

Once you have the right target markets and niches in mind, it’s time to start building your list of potential target blogs.

The easiest way to start building your target list is with blogs you’re already familiar with. If you blog about cooking, for example, you’re probably already familiar with many cooking blogs, so start with them.

Make a visit to those blogs to look for mentions of other related blogs. Some of these blogs may even be kind enough to post a blog roll in the sidebar for you!

After listing the blogs you’re already familiar with, it’s time to do some research and find even more blogs in your target market. A simple Google search is your best friend when it comes to target blog hunting.

An easy way to start finding blogs in your market is to type: (Keyword)/blog into the Google search bar and press enter. For instance, if your keyword phrase was “web design” you would type: web design/blog into the search bar.

Search_2

Scroll through the results to find listings like the ones in the picture.

You might also try searching some exact match phrases. Exact match means that you place your keyword phrase in quotations when you search “like this.” When you place quotations around your search phrase, you will get results for that exact phrase exactly as it is written – not similar phrases. For instance…

“top web design blogs”
“best web design blogs”
“list of web design blogs”

As you experiment with these searches, you’ll come up with other ideas for new searches. Try them all.

When you have identified a large number of blogs (25-50) in a relevant market, it’s time to move on to the next step…

#2: Size Them Up

When you’re guest posting, you want to post on blogs that have a larger audience and more traffic than you do. There are some time consuming, detailed ways to find out how many subscribers or how much traffic another blog has.

You can poke around on Alexa or Alltop if you want to, but most of the time you can get a good feel for a blog’s traffic by looking at the following clues…

  • Comments

Take a look at the average comment counts on the blog’s posts. If it looks more active than yours, it probably is. But comments alone are not always an accurate indicator. That’s why we also want to consider…

  • Social Shares

Most blogs have social sharing features installed that show you how many times a post has been shared on various social networking venues. This one is from Become a Blogger. Again – if the social sharing is significantly busier than it is on your site, the blog is probably larger than yours is.

Shares
Some blogs get a lot of social shares and few comments. Some get many comments, but little social sharing. Some get a lot of both. Pay attention to both factors – it’s a good sign if either or both are active!

  • Social Media Followers

Many blogs will proudly display the number of followers they have on various social networks. Here’s Leslie’s Facebook widget that he displays here on Become a Blogger. If someone has a large number of social network followers, they likely receive significant traffic.

followers

  • Subscriber or Reader Counts Displayed

Some sites will even post the number of page views, email subscribers, or RSS feed subscribers they have. Look for these statistics on the blogs you’re targeting.

Sub_Counts

A combination of these factors will give you a fairly accurate picture of what kind of activity your potential guest post targets are experiencing. If your target appears to be around the same size or smaller than you, it’s not an optimal target. Cross it off your list.

#3: Qualify Them – Do They Accept Guest Posts?

After choosing appropriate target markets, identifying blogs in those markets, and then determining the size (or traffic) of your target blog, you’re on the right track. But not all blogs accept guest posts – so now it’s time to go down your list one by one and find out whether your targets do or not.

Most of the time, you can find your answer right on the blog you’re targeting. There are four main areas on a blog where you might find information on guest posting. We’ll start with the easiest and most obvious – and work from there.

  • The Main Menu

Many blogs will make your search easy on you by having a main menu item in or near the header of the site that tells you that they accept guest posts.

Main Menu1

Although the examples shown above use the words guest post in them, you may also see phrases like write for us or contribute to… instead. If you see these things in the main menu, you’ve found a qualified target!

  • The Footer

If you don’t see a clear indicator in the main menu that your target accepts guest posts, scroll down to the very bottom of the home page and read the footer. Often, a blog will have extra information in the footer that isn’t included in the main menu. Again, check for phrases like guest post, write for us, and contribute.

  • Playing Detective

If you pay attention to the content here on Become a Blogger, you know how important it is to make finding information on your blog as easy as possible for your readers, right? Well, just because you know it doesn’t mean that your guest post targets do!

You’ll be surprised at the number of larger, popular blogs that bury the fact that they accept guest posts. I don’t know if it’s an oversight, or if they do it on purpose, but sometimes you’ll have to go sleuthing a bit to find the information you’re looking for.

So when you don’t see guest post information in the main menu or in the footer, don’t give up just yet. Make sure you check the About page and the Contact page as well. Read each page completely, because many times you will find information about guest posting there as well.

  • Putting Good Old Google to Work

After you’ve scoured your target’s blog for the obvious signs that they accept guest posts and come up dry, you have one more trick you can try. Well, it’s not really a trick, but there is a little more work involved.

It’s time to consult Google. Below are 6 suggested searches you can run substituting your target blog’s name for NAME OF BLOG or EXACT BLOG NAME.

 Searches

If your target blog accepts guest posts, one of these searches is bound to confirm that fact for you. You can experiment with different phrases as well.

If after checking their menu, footer, About page, Contact page, and performing these Google searches, you still haven’t found any evidence that your target accepts guest posts – cross them off your list. They are not a viable target. At least not right now.

After following this process you should have a smaller, but more focused list of target blogs. Now you're ready to take the next step in the process… researching.

The next post in the series will teach you everything you need to know about researching your target blogs and becoming familiar with what kind of content has been successful for them – so you know which direction to take with your guest post pitch.

Until Next Time: Homeworkseries

Until the next post, – you have a fun and easy assignment.  Spend some time getting to know the target blogs that remain on your list. Read a few posts, subscribe to them if you like, and read any free eBooks they offer. Start to get a feel for their personality and the ways they communicate with their audience.

It’s important information for our next step!

So what do you think?

Are you starting to see the value of this focused guest posting approach? Do you have any questions? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

  • Minhajul Islam says:

    I was Just surfing on Facebook and suddenly got the post that Leslie wrote on facebook.
    I am a Guest Blogger too. So quickly i landed on Become a blogger.com and read.
    It’s midnight now in India While I am writing this comment.
    Really Really awesome article.I am lucky I found it.
    I do guest blogging for past several years but I didn’t find any post like this. I do guest post randomly without plan. I had no clue like it. planing who to write,Sorting them, Searching them- It’s really very effective way of guest blogging.
    Thanks Gary Korisko and Leslie Samuel too for bringing such a great person on BecomeABlogger.com. I am a big fan of it too.

    Generating traffic and building community is my guest blogging purpose.
    I like the “three steps to laser-sharp targeting focus”. I will use these steps next time to find my target Blog.
    One question Gary, Is size really matter? Sometimes big Blggers does not accept Guest blogging and sometimes they are very strict. It is easy to target some mid size blog who has Audience slightly more than me (Guest Blogger). What do you think?
    Thanks.

    • Gary Korisko says:

      Thanks for all the nice comments, Minhajul!

      To answer your question… yes. Size matters a bit. You want to target people who can bring traffic to your site, so “bigger than you” is always a good idea.

      However – that doesn’t mean you should only target the REALLY big guys either. Mid sized blogs are good, too. But push yourself a little bit – take a shot at some of those big boys.

      I had guest posts on major blogs within a month of launching my blog… so they need good content too. You can learn a ton about writing, blogging, and online business from some of those bigger people (for free) by guest posting.

      So yes – mid sized is good… but don’t ignore the big guys either. mix it up. Occasionally take a shot at the big guys. The worst thing that can happen is they say no, right?

  • Marianne says:

    guest blogging is not something i have tried out yet but it’s something i really need to do, so thanks for this because i have been struggling with figuring out who to write for.

    • Gary Korisko says:

      You really should, Marianne. You would do very well. And I happen to *know* someone who offered you a guest post… so what’s stopping you? 🙂

      It’s like anything else – get yourself a good plan (provided by this series), and then jump in with both feet.

      You can do it!

    • Marianne says:

      Busted! lol
      Yep I know Gary! I am going to get working on that asap now that my guest course lesson for someone else is done 🙂

  • Your Writer Platform says:

    *long, slow whistle of appreciation*

    Awesome, Gary! Shared with all my peeps!

  • MaryJaksch says:

    Excellent article, Gary! I would like to add a sneaky shortcut to finding great guest

    • That is an EXCELLENT tip Mary. I love it. Thanks for sharing it with our community here. You rock!

    • Gary Korisko says:

      Yes – that search works really well, also. Great point, Mary.

      With regard to pitching… you’re right. The Become a Blogger contributors did a Google Plus Hangout a while back – and Leslie asked me what I thought was the most important part of guest posting.

      While the whole process is important, I answered that the #1 thing I felt most aspiring guest bloggers did poorly was the pitch. It’s not incredibly hard – but still it seems to be the easiest part of the process to mess up 🙂

      And as you might guess… it’s the focus of one part of this series. Coming soon! 🙂

      Thanks, Mary!

  • Jane Robinson- Art Epicurean says:

    Wow Gary – another home run. Your strategy and advice is great. I have not made the plunge although I know I need too. I seem to be running so fast it seems overwhelming to enter that territory. I am committing to build my list of potential sites to build a relationship with and eventually offer a guest post. Thanks.

  • Arlen Miller says:

    Thanks, Gary for writing. I like that perspective. I’m just a young buck in terms of the blogging trenches… and just gearing up for my first guest post. You are giving helpful tips to guide me through it. Thanks for the homework. 🙂

  • Jim Bessey says:

    I’m enjoying your series very much, Gary.
    One of the things your comprehensive guidelines makes clear is that guest posting is not a “magic pill” that will provide instant benefits. Doing this right takes time, attention, and research. “Work”!
    Thanks for all of the great graphics you included in this installment. Those illustrations are easily worth another few thousand words. Your search tips are extremely helpful.
    I look forward to reading all of your upcoming installments. Taking notes!

    • Gary Korisko says:

      I’m glad you’re enjoying it, Jim. Some of this material is new to you I know – but some you and I have discussed before.

      Jim’s a great example of someone who took some of this very advice, came up with a good plan, and landed a couple of excellent posts on major blogs.

      You’re right, Jim. The “magic” is in a smart, targeted approach… which is no magic at all 🙂 It’s just good planning and smart execution. More to come!

  • Laura Leigh Clarke says:

    Hey briliant post Gary. I’m about to share it with a bunch of my clients. Thanks so much for outlining the process so clearly! 🙂

  • kavitha says:

    Thanks for sharing ,i hope that it will work out really well,Thanks

  • >
    Share16
    Tweet24
    Pin27
    Share1
    68 Shares