How to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities…and the Answer Ain’t Google Search

Guest blogging image - How to Find Good Guest Blogging Opportunities

Go grassroots to find good guest blogging opportunities

After launching The Write Place late last summer, I quickly started considering ways to generate reader interest in my blog. Guest blogging turned out a big one, at least that’s what the blogosphere was saying.

So I did what most normal people do in a situation like that and Googled “Guest Blogging Opportunities for Writers”. Reasonable enough, right? I tried a couple keyword variations in my searches to get a broader picture of what my options were and came up with a list of several bloggers who I immediately thought would be good to reach out to.

The only problem–and I should have thought about this from the get go–was that the bloggers whose names came back on page one search results were on page one for a reason. They’re the big time. They’ve made it, they’re accomplished, they’ve won the SEO battle and they have tons of people guest blogging and commenting on their blogs already. When you sign up for their e-newsletters, their drip marketing campaigns launch on steroids and you’re getting something delivered to your inbox, like, every day. That’s quite impressive.

Look, if you’ve just learned to play the guitar, you don’t tap Keith Richards on the shoulder and ask if you can jam. If you’ve just learned to sing, you don’t ask Norah Jones for a duet. If you’re new to blogging and you’re looking for guest blogging opportunities, stay away from Google search results because the suggestions you’ll find are the names of highly established, successful and SEO-savvy bloggers. Even if they’re still open to receiving guest blogs–and many of them aren’t because they get too many requests already–they don’t know you and may not feel inclined to respond. They likely won’t be Kelly Blazek rude, but don’t expect a set of open arms.

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Does that mean give up? Fear not, intrepid and aspiring guest blogger. Of course not.

Once I realized what WASN’T going to work for me, I decided to channel my inner Peace Corps volunteer (which, by the way, I was in the late 1990s), and go grassroots. Read on.

1. Research your Twitter connections for opportunities.

It’s not difficult to build a community of followers on Twitter. Tweet regularly. Make them interesting and intriguing. Incorporate high-value hashtags into your tweets (such as #write or #writing), include other users’ handles in your tweets so they know what you’re up to and, within little time at all, you’ll accumulate a long list of followers.

Most Twitter users include the URL of their blog or website in their profile description; check out your followers’ profiles on a regular basis then check out their websites and, once you find users whose blogs resonate with you and your interests, jot them down for future reference. You literally can find dozens or hundreds of blogs this way, which may require a huge investment of time to sift through. But once you start scanning blogs, you’ll inevitably develop a decent filter and be able to determine which ones you should engage.

Besides, if your blog is targeted (and it should be), you’ll quickly find that, within the very large community of blogs, only a select number will be worth your time. Reach out to the bloggers who host those, explain how you found them and begin a dialogue about your goals for guest blogging to find out if they’re willing to work with you.

2. Meet people while commenting on other blogs.

It’s the ultimate compliment to a blogger that you would take the time to read their posts and comment on them. So the very act of leaving a comment will ingratiate you to the blogger and, potentially, ingratiate you to the point of having a decent shot of guest blogging in the future.

But that’s not my suggestion at the moment.

More immediately, and especially if you’re commenting on the posts of a reputable blogger, you can equally engage others who are commenting on the same post. Or, you may find a comment someone else has left that you find particularly interesting. Click on their name in the comment section to visit their blog or website, which should then help you determine whether their online presence is similar enough to yours to warrant dialogue about guest blogging opportunities.

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I recently found a guest blogging opportunity while commenting on a Google+ post by Jane Friedman, a well-known blogger about writing (and a former publisher of Writer’s Digest). Another writer/blogger made a good point in a comment on the same post. We ended up taking our own dialogue away from Friedman’s post, recognized we were both looking for guest blogging opportunities and offered to trade.

3. Reach out to other guest bloggers.

There is the same potential hazard here that you might face reaching out to well-known bloggers. If you reach out to guest bloggers whose posts are associated with those reputable bloggers, they may also be operating at a level that makes it difficult to connect if you’re relatively new to the field.

But check out the blogs you’re discovering through your Twitter research. As you discover blogs similar to yours, you may also discover guest bloggers published there and who might appreciate the chance to connect with others. They may have submitted a single guest blog, or they may be looking for new connections and opportunities. You may be able to work out something (if they host a blog as well) to your mutual benefit.

4. Check out

I got excited when I discovered It seemed like an ingenious idea to create a market where bloggers could trade opportunities to both submit and offer to publish blog posts on a variety of topics. A quick online search of Ann Smarty, who developed the community, highlighted her affiliation with Search Engine Journal, demonstrating she has strong online cache.

When I first set up my membership and had some questions, I submitted an online query and received a quick, outstanding response. Ann and her team will occasionally recommend posts I might publish on my blog. Really, there’s quite a lot to like about this resource.

What I found pretty quickly, though, was that the Creativity forum (where writing-related exchanges takes place) doesn’t always have the most solid requests for guest posts. And when I submitted an offer to guest bloggers to publish on The Write Place, a gentleman approached me who offered a salesy post and linked that proposed post to his sales website. That was a little discouraging.

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However, I chose to include here because the godfather of excellent blogging (my term) Neil Patel, supports it. And he does mention that you have to spend some time weeding through chaff to get to some real wheat, so the likelihood is that I need to invest more time on, potentially connecting with some of the users who seem reputable (and yes, there are many of them) and building a community with them.

And finally…

Before you publish your guest posts on other blogs (with one or two links back to your own blog), you’ll likely want to check out the quality of the site where you will publish. How is the quality of the inbound links? Does the blog have a halfway decentPageRank? All these factors may impact how well your guest blog impacts your search engine results.

Or will it? While the above advice gets touted from everyone from newer bloggers like myself to established bloggers like Mr. Patel, Matt Cutts of Google recently published an interesting post called “The Decay and Fall of Guest Blogging for SEO” (January 20, 2014). He explains how spammy a lot of guest blogging has become and that Google may begin rethinking how effective it will be in the future for search engine optimization purposes. Whether this comes to pass, I suppose, remains to be seen. And he does encourage high-quality guest blogging for other purposes. So, as is often the case, Google doesn’t quite spill the beans or spell everything out in exact detail. Mr. Cutts’ post may just be something to keep on the back burner for the time being.

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And none of this should discourage bloggers from seeking new guest publishing opportunities. You don’t have to feel intimidated by the accomplishments of established bloggers such as the above-mentioned Jane Friedman and other notables like Jeff Goins and The Creative Penn. A little research, some online socializing and a strong understanding of your blog’s intent can take you a long way toward finding fantastic chances to write for other blogs and find new audiences for your writing.

About Joe Kovacs

I write literary fiction and am currently pursuing literary representation for my novel, Billy Maddox Takes His Shot, which is about a young Border Patrol agent in southern Arizona. Subscribe to The Write Place Blog by submitting your email address in the box in the right column of this page.
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  • Terence Brown

    Nice article, Joe.

    You have some real tips here that I have yet to discover, such as the exchanging of posts with other bloggers.

    You mentioned in this post, that you offered someone to guest post here – what sort stuff do you envisage guests posting on your blog?


    • / Joe Kovacs

      Thanks for the comment, Terence. Because I’m a relatively new blogger, I’m going to be flexible with people’s offerings for guest posts. In a nutshell, I describe my blog–The Write Place–as a publication that examines the intersection of writing and life. But that can mean many things and can be interpreted various ways. It won’t be for a while, until after I’ve developed more content, for example, that I’ll start sharply drawing lines in the sand about what I will and won’t accept. Until then, I’m simply open to partnerships. I’m expecting to post my first guest blog here within the next couple weeks here. Thanks, again, for stopping by. See you again online soon enough, I’m sure. :)