Feel free to share you own opinion on this one, but it seems that the blogosphere is a lot like the traditional newspaper publishing market nowadays. Or at least, it shifts towards such a model.
What this means in plain English is that getting a guest post published is no longer as easy as jotting down a piece and sending it over.
Unfortunately, those days are done for the most part – at least when we’re talking quality guest blogging, and not just shallow guest blogging for SEO.
Speaking of SEO, a week ago, I talked about Matt Cutts’ recent opinion about guest blogging and how a number of popular blogs decided to shut their guest-blogging doors to the public. Reading that piece will give you a good bird’s-eye-view on how to treat guest blogging in 2014 and going forward. Don’t forget to check it out if you haven’t already.
Wait, wait… what was it about the blogosphere being like the newspaper market?
Okay, let’s break it down in detail.
There are many similarities between guest blogging and getting your article featured in an actual magazine.
For instance, if you send an article to your local newspaper, you might get lucky and get it published with little effort (provided your article is a quality one). But on the other hand, sending it out of the blue to someone bigger will rarely work.
That’s because those bigger agencies have no shortage of content and they don’t necessarily need you to write for them.
As content quality becomes more and more important, getting published on top niche sites will force you to go through a standard recruitment-like process that strongly resembles what you’d have to go through when targeting a newspaper.
This, in short, means that you will have to convince the publisher that they want you to write for them, not that they need you to write for them – subtle difference. Or, to put it in slightly different words, you will have to know someone who calls the shots at the place where you want to guest post.
For example, if you look at ProBlogger, despite their official “no unsolicited guest posts” policy, there are still loads of guest posts published there. So apparently, you can still get in, but you will have to do much more than just send a template outreach email.
So yeah, that’s out there and the situation forces us to adjust our play-book a bit. Here are two ideas to utilize:
1. Go with small niche sites
Small niche sites are far from bad when it comes to guest blogging. In fact, it’s often on those small sites where you will find the most engagement and attention.
I’ve been doing guest blogging for a while, and there were countless situations when I was disappointed about the traffic, the number of comments, or the number of shares that a seemingly well-known site gave me. But at the same time, I experienced countless nice surprises too – when a small site turned out to return more than worthwhile results.
So that’s one reason why you should not count them out. The other reason is Google.
Think about it, if you have your guest posts only on top domains, with no coverage on some less popular sites then it looks very strange in Google’s eyes. Something that Google is probably thinking when they see such a link profile is “Hey, why do all these big guys keep linking to that site when none of the smaller guys bother to do so? There must be something not right here.”
How to find those small sites? I have two methods:
- Google (duh). Quite straightforward. All you do is just search for something like: “YOUR NICHE blog”
- MyBlogGuest (a community that connects guest authors with blog owners). The way it works is simple: (1) you submit an article, (2) blog owners who signed up for the service see your pitch along with a sample of the article, (3) if they find it interesting, you get an offer, which you can approve, then (4) eventually, your post gets published. My personal experience is that every post I submit gets around 5-10 offers on average, with some going as high as 20.
2. Go with mainstream sites
When it comes to mainstream sites, the surprising thing is that getting your work published is often within reach, as long as you can craft an article that’s really exceptional.
In fact, some mainstream sites have quite extensive infrastructures set up just for receiving, reviewing, and accepting/declining guest articles.
For example, if you want to get featured on Cracked.com, just sign up for a standard account and then take a look at the writer’s section – the Cracked Comedy Workshop – in the forums.
There are tens of threads there, each at a different stage of advancement, featuring a separate discussion about a specific guest post. There are guidelines, hints, FAQs and so on. In a word, Cracked is serious about guest contributions.
They follow a really strict editorial process. The articles go from “pitches,” to “ready for editorial,” to “pitches we’re considering,” to “accepted,” to published – at which point you get paid. And speaking of paid, they even have payment tiers; you start at $100 per piece, and then move up to $200 per piece.
(This goes back to what I’ve been saying about websites shifting towards the traditional newspaper model.)
Another example is ReadWrite. What you have to do is first visit their official guidelines and then you can show them what you’ve got through the submission manager. Unfortunately, they don’t pay for guest posts like Cracked does, but you still get a bio, plus you can add “writer for ReadWrite” to your CV, which is always nice.
The great thing about mainstream sites is that there are really more of them than you can shake a stick at, so if you’re willing to put in the work, you’ll have no shortage of opportunities waiting for you.
The action plan
So, what to do if you’re a blogger and you want to expand your reach starting today?
- Search for small niche sites that are relevant to your brand. Reach out to them and connect. They will help you get the word across in small communities that often end up to be the most engaged.
- Send articles through MyBlogGuest and see if you can make it work for you personally.
- Target mainstream sites. Even if only one in 10 attempts results in a guest post, it’s still worth it.
- Craft great content every week (or every day, if you can).
I’m really keen to get your input on this. Have you tried experimenting with some mainstream sites yet?