It’s not that I want to sound negative or anything, but sometimes I feel really bored reading some guides on how to write guest posts.
And it’s not even that the advice is inaccurate or anything, but it’s just way too general, and mostly discussing concepts that are fairly obvious when you think about it.
“Always make your guest post related to the blog where you want to publish it.”
Well, duh(!); far from groundbreaking advice, if you ask me, and we can do a lot better here. I mean, it’s not like we have much choice. After all, the name of the site is Guest Blogging Tactics.
So let’s get started with some groundwork.
What this guide is about
This is about learning how to pick the best topic possible for your guest post that’s meant to be published on a particular site. In other words, how to make the topic a 100 percent hand-in-glove fit.
This is not about writing a good overall article – although it’s a byproduct. Our first goal is, again, making the post work on a particular site and for a particular audience.
1. The art of the pitch
I’m not going to focus on this one here because most of my recent articles were about this very skill. Feel free to check these out:
- Pitching a Guest Post – You’re Doing It Wrong! [Case Study]
- 10 Steps to Building the Crappiest Guest Post Pitch That’ll Never Get You Published
- Sending a Guest Post Right Away vs. Sending the Pitch First
They will give you a good insight into what makes up a great pitch and how to replicate the process so you can apply it to any blogger and site.
2. Picking the bird’s-eye-view topic
Picking the exact topic – headline – for your guest post is a two-step process. Step no.1 is about setting the general idea for the article.
The way you do this is by trying to find a possible connection between what your site / business offers vs. what the site you’re targeting has to offer.
For example, if you want to promote some kind of a weight loss product on your end, and the site you’re targeting is, for some reason, a blog in the “how to blog” niche then one of the possible ways to pull this off is to write some kind of “how to launch a weight loss blog” post.
The main idea is to make both topics – yours and the blogger’s – connected. This is your bird’s-eye-view topic.
Now, the example I gave you is a very tough one. Both niches are really unrelated at first sight. However, if you want to promote an, say, SEO tool on the same blog then you have hundreds of possibilities to do it. Just a thought.
Now we’re closing in on your actual final headline that would be a great fit.
Here’s the process I like to go through:
3.a. Examine the popular content
Trying to be all-in creative rarely pays off. Unfortunately. And I learned it the hard way multiple times over. I should have known better after the first, say, four or five cricket-silent articles.
The thing is that we always think we can come up with something really creative and innovative for the blog we’re targeting. In our mind, this is going to be awesome and the blogger will love us for introducing something fresh.
In reality, though, following this strategy will lead you nowhere 8 out of 10 times.
On the other hand, following what works and mimicking it will give you a reverse situation: 8 wins out of 10 tries.
In short, examine the popular content on the site you’re targeting.
You can find this popular content either somewhere in the sidebar of the site, or by using a tool like ahrefs.
Here are the things to look for:
- What kind of topics get popular? For instance, when dealing with a social media blog, maybe posts about Facebook are more popular than those on Twitter?
- What type of posts get popular? Some possibilities: lists, tutorials, infographics, ultimate guides, series.
- What type of narrative is popular? Some blogs are high on personality driven posts, while others are all for fact-heavy tutorials with clear step-by-step advice reinforced with some case studies.
- What length is popular? Short vs. long posts.
- Is visual content popular? Many images vs. little to no images.
In other words, pay attention to any characteristic that stands out among the popular posts.
3.b. Check what’s popular on Google
Chances are that you want to get something out of your guest post. You want the post itself to obtain a good ranking on Google, so then your site can get some of the benefits through your backlink.
What you can do is use one of the spying tools like the aforementioned ahrefs and look for posts that rank well for a keyword that looks attractive to you.
The idea is that since the site ranks well, the domain has some authority and maybe Google “likes” that kind of content from that site.
4. Picking the laser-targeted topic
Now that you have all the knowledge about what gets popular, you can pick the final topic of your post – the final headline.
Of course, you can’t just re-write what you’ve found to be popular on the site or on Google. No blogger will ever approve this. So what you need to do is introduce some improvement in one way or the other.
There are a number of things to achieve this:
4.a. An intersection
First thing you can do is intersect your bird’s-eye-view topic with some of the topics that are popular on the site.
Going back to the extreme “weight loss” example. If posts related to Facebook are popular on a social media marketing site, you can write a post titled “How to Use Facebook to Promote Your Weight Loss Product and Not Annoy People Along the Way.”
4.b. Stealing a content type
This one’s straightforward. If, say, tutorials are popular on the site, write a tutorial too. If it’s list posts, write a list post.
Nothing more to explain here really.
4.c. Writing a follow up
This doesn’t always apply, but it can be very effective if your bird’s-eye-view topic is very related to the content that’s popular on the site.
What you do is simply write a follow up to one of the popular posts. The blogger might be interested in this because they too know that the original post was popular, so they can probably expect the follow up to achieve similar results.
4.d. Reverse the angle
(Again, only if your bird’s-eye-view topic is highly related.)
If one of the popular posts is “Why Facebook Is the Best Online Promotion Tool Ever,” write a post titled “Why Facebook Is the WORST Online Promotion Tool Ever.”
5. Write it already!
Okay, so going through the above, you’ll surely end up with an exciting topic that the blogger will be just as ecstatic about.
In a way, we are following the basic “always make your guest post related to the blog” -advice, but we’re taking it much further, which will likely deliver much better results.
All you have to do now is just write the darn thing! If you went through this whole hassle just to pick the topic, you really have no choice but to deliver on your final work. Your guest post needs to be stunning!
After all, the whole idea of guest posting is to make it your best work.
So here’s a question for you: What’s your main challenge with guest blogging recently? Can we do something to help you with it?