Traffic, Video

How do I write a guest post that gets me traffic, readers, and sales?

When you first do outreach to other bloggers, you’re probably going to be nervous.

  • “Why would anyone listen to me?”
  • “Why would some famous blogger let me write for them?”
  • “Why would they link back to MY site?”

Oh, and by the way — these bloggers have hundreds of people asking them for stuff every single day. So how do you cut through the clutter and get them to say YES — without seeming scammy, sleazy, or self-promotional?

I recorded a special video that shows you how to make an irresistible pitch. Sign up below and I’ll email it to you right now.

SPECIAL VIDEO: How to overcome your fear of self-promotion

Today’s question is:

“How do I write a good guest post?”

Now, I love talking about this because I’ve written guest posts on sites like LifeHacker, Four Hour Workweek, even The New York Times. All of them have been instrumental in helping me grow my business.

So the strategy I’m sharing works and continues to work.

And I really want to share it with you because almost everybody does this the wrong way!

First, let’s talk about what a guest post is.

At a high level, you want to approach websites with more traffic and readers than yours and say, “Hey, I’d like to write something that I think your readers would love.”

Then at the very end of your guest post you might say, “Ramit Sethi is a writer who focuses on entrepreneurship. Click here to learn more.”

Assuming they like what you have to say, some of the people who read your post are going to click though, go to your site, and sign up for your email list. And suddenly you’re going to have a brand new channel of all kinds of subscribers.

That’s exactly how I grew my business. You can do this, too.

Here’s a few strategies to make guest posts work for you.

Strategy #1: Understand your niche

When I started out writing about personal finance, I made a list of all the different blogs in the space. Basically, I just opened up Excel and started listing them.

Some of them were more focused on investing, some on frugality, some on psychology. Whatever their focus, I wrote them all down, added their contact information, and started to understand who I wanted to pitch.

The key is, don’t aim for the stars on the first day. I know this is different than what you might be used to. American parents love to tell their kids, “Aim for the stars. You will be great.”

Wrong!

Don’t aim for the stars when you are doing a guest post. Start by targeting bloggers at the C level. Not the biggest websites, but still bigger than you.

Pitch them, build a portfolio, and then you can go to the higher level: the B-level bloggers. And you can say, “Hey, here’s something I wrote for [C-level blog]. I’d love to write something for your readers.”

Once that works, you move up to the A level.

That’s exactly the strategy that a lot of people have used to grow their blogs.

Strategy #2: Create a catcher’s mitt

Now, this is really important, yet almost nobody talks about it. A catcher’s mitt, as anyone who played baseball knows, is what you need if you want to catch the ball. You need a catcher’s mitt for your blog, too, or else you’ll lose all those visitors!

When you write your blog post on someone else’s site, the end of that post needs to say, “Ramit Sethi is a writer about [fill in the blank]. Click here to learn more.”

Then when those readers come to your site, you need a catcher’s mitt that says, “Welcome New York Times readers. I write about blank, blank, blank. Enter your email address to learn more.”

That makes all the difference.

Several times I wrote a guest post without having a catcher’s mitt. Can you guess what happened when those posts went live?

Nothing.

All these people came to my site, looked around, and left like a bunch of window shoppers.

On the other hand, when I set up a catcher’s mitt, they were like, “I kind of like this guy.” They entered their name and email address in my opt-in form. And suddenly I had an email subscriber.

That’s the way you build ongoing relationship with your subscribers.

Strategy #3: Put your best material into the guest post

A lot of people want to hold back their best material for their own blog.

My philosophy is: If you’re writing a guest post, write an AMAZING guest post. Study what I did in my piece on Tim Ferriss’s blog called “The Psychology of Automation, Building a Bulletproof Personal Finance System.

You’ll see video. You’ll see graphics. I basically put it all out there.

And that post was instrumental in helping me grow my business. So do what I did.

Don’t try to half-ass it or save the best stuff for your site. If you’re guest posting on a site with lots of readers that you want to bring to your website, give them the very best you have.

If you’re interested in more tips around writing good guest posts, I write more about it here.

How to overcome your fear of self-promotion and land guest posting opportunities
When you first do outreach to other bloggers, you’re probably going to be nervous:

  • “Why would anyone listen to me?”
  • “Why would some famous blogger let me write for them?”
  • “Why would they link back to MY site?”

Oh, and by the way — these bloggers have hundreds of people asking them for stuff every single day. So how do you cut through the clutter and get them to say YES — without seeming scammy, sleazy, or self-promotional?

I recorded a special video that shows you how to make an irresistible pitch. Sign up below and I’ll email it to you right now.

SPECIAL VIDEO: How to overcome your fear of self-promotion