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Become a Guest-post Ninja in 5 Steps

This guest post is by Timo Kiander ofProductive Superdad.

There you are with a big smile, after slapping together another 400-word post. It took you 30 minutes to write, and now you are ready to submit it to some random blog.

Although you didn’t really put your mind to the post, it got published anyway. Quite soon after this you start to wonder why you aren’t getting any great results in return: no visits, no subscribers, no nothing.

You make the conclusion that guest posting is just a waste of time. You also decide to move to other, more compelling traffic methods that have the potential to drive massive amounts of visitors to your site.

In fact, a certain marketer just published a course that shows you how to get floods of traffic to your blog—by spending just ten minutes per day with his technique.

You figure that’s a much better use of your time than the overhyped guest posting thing, which isn’t working for you anyway.

I’m sorry to hear that you feel this way about guest posting. However, if you let me, I can at least try to change your mind.

Guest posting is more than a simple list post

Too many times people think that a great-performing article is just a simple list post that, after being submitted to a blog, will bring a lot of traffic and subscribers. Then they become frustrated when they fail to get the results they wished for.

This frustration is caused by a lack of persistence. Guest posting is a long-term strategy that requires commitment—not just doing a random post here or there.

You’ll also need the focus properly when you’re doing the actual writing. Your goal should always be to produce as valuable and meaningful stuff for your readers as possible.

Unfortunately, if you are not focused enough, you end up offering some superficial advice that has been said elsewhere many times over.

The more time you spend on guest posting, the more certain you can be that you’ll get the big rock rolling—and you’ll get great rewards in return.

On the other hand, if you expect the results fast or you are not willing to put enough hours in, then you should definitely start figuring out some other promotional strategy that suits your better.

Mindset and success are connected

The lack of success is traceable—to your mind. In other words, you might lack the proper mindset to succeed at guest posting.

To succeed, you’ll need to be consistent and persistent with your efforts. You also have to be ready to test and tweak different things related to guest posting: headlines, landing pages, and the blogs you submit your posts to.

Unfortunately, guest posting is not for the person who wants to reach the big figures in this very moment: the traffic, the subscribers now, and the sales. Sure, you’ll get those, but only with enough commitment and intense work.

If you don’t own the right mindset, guest posting is just another way to get some random traffic to your site. A lack of focus is going to give you a lack of results.

Becoming a guest-post ninja

Do you want to become a guest-post ninja? Well, I have good news for you—it’s totally doable!

Instead of jumping around like a real ninja warrior, I want you to develop a proper guest posting mindset. You can do this using the steps I’m about to tell you.

First, don’t hold back on anything!

I remember the time (when I started writing guest posts) when I was always thinking, “Is this post too good to be given away, or should I publish it on my own blog?”

If you are feeling like this, then stop. Don’t hesitate to give your best stuff for other blogs.

My blog doesn’t have tens of thousands of readers (at least, not yet!), so it’s useless for me to publish all my best content over there.

Instead, I try to get my content published on those blogs which already have those tens of thousands of readers and who will (at least partly) come back to my blog for more.

Second, writing is just one part of guest-posting.

Guest posting is also about interacting with the readers of the guest blog’s audience. If you think that your job is done after getting your post published, you are wrong.

The worst thing to do is to stay quiet during the conversation. This just proves to the blog’s author that your posts are not worth publishing in the future.

Third, the biggest fear in guest posting is about rejection.

I can totally understand this—especially if you are just starting out. However, the more posts your write, the less you’ll experience this feeling.

You can always offer the rejected post to another blog and, unless it’s badly written, it’ll be published elsewhere.

Fourth, systematize your work.

When you start writing posts on a regular basis, a good system will help you a lot. This means that you have certain guidelines to follow whenever your write a guest post, and you’ll be able to produce great posts easier and faster.

Finally, plan ahead.

Never start writing your posts without outlining or planning them in advance. This becomes especially important if you are building your blog while you have a day job and a family.

Every minute counts! The more effective you are, the more you get done with your available time, and the better the results you are going to get.

Put that black mask on, and become a guest-post ninja!

Now that you understand the guest posting mindset, and how to become a guest-post ninja, it’s time to look at the action steps that you can take next.

1. Give away your best stuff

Don’t save the “good stuff” for your own blog—give it away, especially if you are just starting out. Your blog gets more exposure that way, and so do you.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be writing awesome stuff on your own blog—of course you should! But you should publish your great content where the people are, rather than posting it only to your blog.

2. Reply to comments

There are really two parts to this piece of advice.

First, I batch process all post comments at once, on a daily basis. This way all the comments get a reply. This is also what the author of the blog you’ve been a guest on expects.

As soon as I know that the post is live, I’ll let the author know that my comment policy is to reply to all the comments once a day. I also let the blogger know if I’m travelling and I can’t reply to comments right away. This way the blogger is informed and knows that eventually the comments are going to be replied to.

3. Kill your fear of rejection

To feed your fear of rejection, write your first guest post and try to get it published on a big blog.

A much better way to kill that fear is to get your stuff published on smaller blogs first, and then, once you’re more confident, to go after the big fishes.

This is exactly what my strategy was in the beginning, and the fear of rejection is nowadays pretty much non-existent.

You should use this strategy too: start on the lowest steps of the ladder and then proceed upwards, one step at a time.

4. Create your system

You can create your ownguest-post system from scratch, or borrow a system from someone else.

I have a certain way of writing posts and this system works for me. On the other hand, you’ll definitely want to put your own tweaks to existing systems, so that they suit you better. It’s the best way to create quality guest posts that get results on a consistent basis.

5. Plan and execute

Finally, there is the planning part, which shouldn’t be underestimated. In fact, the planning is critical part of my system, but I wanted to bring it up as a separate step.

Every Sunday, I outline my posts for the coming week. This ensures that I’m ready to start writing as soon as I wake up.

Mornings are technically the only part of the day when my home is quiet enough for writing. Besides, writing stuff after getting back home from work is not practical for me as I want to spend time with my family or with my hobbies.

Like me, you’ll have to find the optimum time for you to write. Then, plan and write around that schedule.

Are you a guest-post ninja?

Guest posting works, but you have to concentrate on it properly if you want to get good results. To get that concentration, build a strategy and a system for your guest posting efforts. Take these steps as a starting point or implement your own system if you want.

Have you done any guest posting? What is the most important lesson you have learned so far?

Timo Kiander, a.k.a. Productive Superdad, teaches WAHD superdad productivity for work at home dads. If you want to improve your blogging productivity, grab his free e-book, 61 Ways for Supercharging Blogging Productivity.

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Comments

  1. Good advice. Overcoming fear of rejection is probably the hardest for most people.

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Hi Fredrik!

      Yes it is. At the same time, everyone gets rejected when writing guest posts – at least at some point. If this happens, then move on to next blog and submit your post there :)

      Cheers,
      Timo

  2. Creating your visibility on this crowded cyberspace is increasingly difficult. By guest posting, you are in effect standing on the shoulders of your host blog owner. This is great advice on how to do it. You have to follow all ths steps to make it work.

    • True friends, with millions of blogs are born every day, and all want to be number one in the search results, making us work harder

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Hi Barry!

      Sure, guest posting is a great way to be seen. Especially if you blog’s audience is small, then getting your message visible on the big blogs is really beneficial for your blog’s growth.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  3. David Boozer says:

    Loved this post, thank you Timo. I have been asked time and time again by those I teach online about guest blogging, this helps…thank you again…

  4. Luke says:

    Publish a guest-post is a big responsible. I hope i ready for that. The advice begin posting on a smaller blog is good for me.

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Hi Luke!

      Yes, start posting on smaller blogs first and then move on to bigger blogs. That’s the strategy I have been using.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  5. Tom Clark says:

    I write for a web agency and my own guitar tuition site, and I have to agree with your points mentioned here. My advice for anyone looking to guest post professionally would be to understand your niche and look at how you can use your guest post prospects for multiple projects to save yourself time. Always keep relevance in mind though. Great stuff! My question to you guys is this; how can I get more guest poster’s coming to me?

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Hi Tom!

      Understanding your niche is important. At the same time, it’s important to think outside of your niche. In some cases, the topics you cover can be applied to other markets as well – not just yours.

      For instance, if I write purely about time management, I can also write what time management means for athletes.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  6. Dylan says:

    Awesome post. I really should focus more on guest posting. I’ve been setting it aside for awhile now, but it could really help me and my blog.

  7. Tom Southern says:

    Great post Timo! I’d add a 6th step: Know why you’re guest posting on each blog that you chose because you’ll be able to better deliver the outcomes that readers joining your community from these blogs are looking for.

    It all comes down to researching what’s missing for these readers on the blogs they already frequent.

    If you’re serious about your business, you’ll realise research is vital to your guest-posting strategy. Perhaps more so than your blog, your guest posts are your shop window. Do you want people to walk passed, stand and stare in awe, or walk in and buy? Write for the result you want.

    Tom

  8. Betsy Talbot says:

    Guest posting is the single best thing we’ve ever done for traffic on our blog. We also get pitched for a lot of guest posts on our site, so I’ve seen it from both sides.

    One thing that stands out above everything – key to getting your foot in the door – is to follow the blog owner’s criteria for submitting a post. If they don’t have criteria posted, make it as easy as possible for them to use your post by submitting it in HTML and offering a picture for them to use. Thank them afterward for hosting you and stay in touch with industry news or introductions to people you think they should know.

    While it is great to get the exposure to other audiences, it is also crucial to develop those professional relationships with other bloggers so you can leave the door open for other joint activities in the future. Guest blogging can be about way more than recruiting new traffic if you take the long view.

    Thanks for a great post, Timo!

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Hi Betsy!

      I agree with you: it’s not just traffic, it’s more importantly building relationships with others.

      Unfortunately, I had to take down my guest post page, since I started to get a lot of low quality submissions. I hope to put that page up again with some refined rules which kinds of posts I accept and which kinds I don’t.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  9. Hello Timo Kiander!

    It is great to have an opportunity to read such a great content! Yes, this is very informative especially for people who are serious about marketing and want to get invovled in guest blogging. Actually to tell you the truth the more valuable your blog post is, the better your results will be. I know people who reached an amout of 35,000+ visitors from a single blog post but in a very demanding niche (health) and in a popular blog with about 200k unique visitors per month. I believe that if anyone want to be a guest-post ninja then he must provide only value!

    Thank you,
    Zouras

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Hi Zouras!

      Yes, it’s all about providing value for your readers. If you can do that, then the results can be phenomenal as well :)

      Cheers,
      Timo

  10. Jon says:

    The 400 word special on a blog with little traffic may be fine for some low grade SEO linking (effectiveness is questionable, but that’s another topic); whereas guest posting on a A-list website with tens of thousands of readers is a potential traffic goldmine (short and long term). Not to mention the potential credibility boost.

    I’ve done both and while I must invest more time in writing for A-list websites and be patient for my post to fit the guest post schedule (often there’s a 2 week to 2 month wait), it’s always been far more worth it to post to A-list blogs. Always. I invest 4 times the amount of time in an A-list guest post (to avoid rejection), yet reap 100 or more times more traffic and SEO benefit.

    I don’t know if I agree that your guest post work must be your best work. That’s not how I approach it. I approach it by ensuring the article is a great fit for the site and that it offers something valuable and informative for that site. Quality is a given and I don’t hold anything back (but I don’t hold anything back on my blog either).

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Hi Jon!

      Guest posting with quality in mind can bring you great results.

      At the same time, I always tend to offer top-quality posts for others, but I also write top-quality posts for my blog too.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  11. Saskia Bader says:

    These tips are really good and in-depth. I like guest posting and I have held a webinar about guest blogging strategies, but still there were some great things I have learned here.

  12. Thanks for the tips Superdad! I think of each guest posting opportunity as my one chance to make a good first impression, so I’m always trying to improve.

  13. Tania Belkin says:

    Timo,
    Very well said. I agree that your mindset and your success is related. It is so important to work on your mindset at the beginning of the guest posting process.

    Also, I like when you said: “Guest posting is a long-term strategy that requires commitment—not just doing a random post here or there”. It is a commitment indeed.

    Do you write an outline and pitch it as a guest post or you have the post ready when you pitch it?

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Thank you Tania!

      Well, it depends. Most of the time I have the post ready when I offer it, but if the author specifically asks for a pitch, I send him/her the one before the actual post.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  14. I recently did a guest post at basic blog tips about being a guest posting genius. Your points have given me more food for thought. However I do not agree with giving the best stuff away as if i do that they will not come back for more

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Hi George!

      Well … I try to give good stuff away. That’s how they come to look for more.

      It also means that I write best stuff on my own blog too.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  15. Okto says:

    I guess we should not afraid on being rejected since each blog has their own standard on accepting guest posting.

    So when you getting rejected in one blogs it may not happens on other blogs. But when you are determined to success a guest posting on one blogs only that will require more efforts

    Nice posts

    Thanks

  16. Steve Faber says:

    Never worry about rejection. In fact, it can sometimes be your best friend; leading to even better opportunities.

    I submitted a guest post to a popular Internet marketing blog, only to have it rejected. The owner, however, gave me some great feedback on why she didn’t think it was a good fit for her readers.

    I used her input to do a mild re-write. I then submitted it to another, much more popular blog in the same niche. The editor (yes, they were large enough to have a staff) published it and I subsequently landed an additional article in their print media magazine.

    In short, as Timo said, give away your best stuff. You will most likely find blogs that will publish it. If it is rejected, ask for feedback. It wil help you improve your writing and/or your targeting in the future.

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Hi Steve!

      That’s a very good point: asking feedback.

      Sometimes my post has been rejected by then I was able to get it published on another (big) blog. And yeah, rejection is part of the game.

      Congratulations for landing a spot in their print magazine, that’s awesome!

      Cheers,
      Timo

  17. Guest-posting sounds much less intimidating to me after reading your post. Thanks for the well-thought-out information!

  18. I did not even know that this was a major area to be able to promote a blog. Cool info.

  19. DJ says:

    Definitely some nice and helpful tips in this post. Doing more guest posts is actually one of my goals for 2013 so this post was a perfect read for me :)