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Content Marketing 26 min read June 20, 2022

Personalization in Guest Blogging - From Prospecting to Publishing

Personalization in Guest Blogging - From Prospecting to Publishing

Head of Marketing at Hunter
Whether you’ve just started with blogging or have a competitive website that’s been around for years, guest blogging will most likely be a significant part of your marketing strategy. In fact, more than 60% of websites write up to five guest posts per month in 2022.

The reason is simple; guest blogging is one of the most effective ways to boost your website’s authority, improve your rankings, and ultimately attract new visitors.

In this article, we will look at what guest blogging is and examine its main advantages for different types of businesses.

But, the main goal of this article is to analyze why a hyper-personalized approach will allow you to get amazing guest blogging opportunities and help you publish on authority websites.

What is Guest Blogging and Why You Should Do it?

Think of guest blogging as a marketing approach that allows you to create content for an authoritative website while promoting your own blog/website. Usually, you as the guest author, have the right to include a backlink to your website, social media accounts, etc.

At the same time, as a guest author, you have the opportunity to create an author bio on this authoritative website. Through this bio, you can explain who you are and what you do, and of course, include valuable information about your website.
A great author bio contains the following:
  • Your full name and facts you want to share with readers
  • Some biographical details (job position, studies, etc)
  • Credentials and references
  • Information about your blog/website
  • A personal touch (like a hobby, where you currently live, etc)
It becomes evident that guest blogging allows you to promote your blog and compete with your niche leaders, at least when it comes to organic traffic. To be more precise, guest blogging has the following benefits for you as a website owner:
  • 1
    It allows you to build a voice as an industry leader: Creating valuable content for websites relevant to your industry allows you to showcase your expertise and become a relatable micro-influencer in your niche.
  • 2
    It helps you grow your brand and broaden your target audience: The more blog posts you produce, the more the backlinks you create leading back to your website. Do-follow links will expand your target audience and therefore grow your brand at the same time.  
  • 3
    It improves your SEO performance: Guest blogging is ultimately effective when it comes to SEO, especially if you get backlinks from websites with high domain authority.
  • 4
    It helps you build strong relationships with important people and websites relevant to your niche: This can easily result in long-term partnerships and new co-marketing opportunities. 
With all that in mind, we can safely say that guest blogging is very effective in 2022 and an approach you should at least try out. Still, the guest blogging process can be overwhelming if you don’t know the series of steps you should follow to make it more successful.

Why Guest Blogging Is Still A Powerful Inbound Tactic

How to Become a Successful Guest Blogger Through Hyper-personalized Approach

This is the main reason why multiple businesses lose time (and money) in guest blogging without getting the results they need. In 2022, constructing an effective guest blogging strategy is all about hyper-personalizing the whole experience.

This includes finding the best authoritative websites in your niche, connecting with their key decision-makers, and ultimately creating an effective pitch that’s tailored to that particular prospect.

Let’s have a look at what this means and how the following 8 simple steps will allow you to personalize and automate the process. From prospecting to publishing a guest post, nothing will be left out in this part of the article:

#1 Find Relevant Websites that Accept Guest Posts

The first thing you need to learn when dealing with guest blogging is what a quality backlink is. In a few words, a quality backlink is a link that leads back to your website and meets the following prerequisites:
  • It is posted in a domain that’s relevant to your blog/website’s niche;
  • The domain and page where your guest post is published have high authority (on a scale of 0-100);
  • The website where your guest post is published has a lot of traffic;
So, when you start seeking websites that accept guest posts, you should have two things in mind: relevance and authority. According to Helen Pollitt, the SEO special for Arrows Up: “The best source of a link is a website that is both considered authoritative and relevant to your website.”
Finding such websites isn’t as hard as you may think. You can do it in multiple ways. For example, a smart thing to do is Google search’s advanced operators. You can simply use advanced searches like “intext: submit guest post”. This will help you refine your searches and find authoritative websites that accept more easily.
Google Search Results Page you get when you use advanced search operators. It includes a list of websites that accept guest posts
At the same time, you can apply reverse engineering to your competitors (check their backlinks) and find some of the most active authors in your niche.

Finally, you can connect with guest bloggers and link builders through social media (e.g. LinkedIn), communication platforms like Slack, etc.

Creating a list of criteria is also very important and will allow you to filter out websites that don’t meet your needs and preferences. Generally speaking, you should always aim for relevant websites that:
  • 1
    Accept guest posts;
  • 2
    Have a DR (Domain Rank) and DA (Domain authority) of 70+;
  • 3
    Have organic traffic higher than 25,000 people per month;
  • 4
    Have a low spam score (5% or less, preferably 0%);
  • 5
    If you own a SaaS business, aim to publish on other SaaS websites or are relevant to your industry blogs.
After finding the websites you want to cooperate with for your guest blogging strategy, it’s time to connect with them. And, identifying the key decision-makers of such websites is the best way to start. Let’s find out why and how to actually do it.

How To Submit A Guest Post To Serpstat Blog?

#2 Identify Key Decision Makers

Let’s start with this; there’s simply no better platform to use than LinkedIn when it comes to finding the decision-makers of a business. LinkedIn is by far the best social media platform for building strong relationships with relevant, authoritative websites and their decision-makers.

First of all, the search filters of the platform are very helpful. All you need to do is find the official LinkedIn account of the website you want to write for. From that account, you can easily find the website’s SEO managers, Editors, Content Managers, etc.

Find persons that have content-related positions on that website and simply connect with them.

On LinkedIn, this is a pretty easy process:
  • 1
    Visit the website’s LinkedIn page;
  • 2
    Go to the Employees page;
  • 3
    From the results, try to find the employees that use terms related to content in their job description (SEO, Editor, Content Strategist, and so on).
LinkedIn search results: People that work with content
[Source: LinkedIn]
Alternatively, you can follow the same process on other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. But, chances are that the whole decision-makers search process will be faster and more effective on LinkedIn.

This is a crucial step of the whole process and frankly, a common mistake in guest blogging approaches. At this point, you don’t want to instantly proceed to the outreach stage. Instead, it is time to interact and engage with prospects.

#3 Interact and Engage with Prospects Before Outreach

Chances are that most editors, SEO Managers, and Content Managers receive multiple guest post pitches daily. This is why setting yourself from the crowd and building an initial relationship with prospects is crucial in guest blogging.

Once you’ve connected with the key decision-makers of a website on LinkedIn, you can start building this relationship. You can start by interacting and engaging with their LinkedIn or Twitter posts. Getting to know the person behind the job position is not only gentle but also an effective strategy that will come in handy once you get into the outreach stage.If you want to do it at scale, you can also use LinkedIn automation tools that allow you to automate the contact request, personalization, profile visits and drip messages.

The same is true for blog posts. For example, if one of the key decision-makers you have identified just posted a new blog post, read it carefully and share your honest opinion with them. This may sound like a lot of work, and it is. But, if you want to aim for authoritative, high-quality websites, it is something that needs to be done.

You can think of this bonding process as the initial step of your outreach. Once you’ve built an initial relationship with your prospects, it is time to collect and verify their contact information.

#4 Find and Verify the Contact Information of Key Decision Makers

By this step of the guest blogging process, you have already:

  • Found the best websites that have high DR and accept guest posts.
  • Identified the key decision-makers of such websites on LinkedIn and/or Twitter.
  • Interacted with prospects on social media and blogs.
At this point, there are only a few things left before sending your guest post pitch. You can start by finding and verifying the contact information of your prospects. This will help you create a list for your cold outreach. By contact information, we mainly mean the emails of your prospects.

Usually, key decision-makers include their email addresses on their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. But, such email addresses aren’t always valid. To avoid sending a personalized, well-crafted pitch to an invalid email you should always perform email verification to ensure your emails get delivered.

On the flip side, if your prospect doesn’t include their email address on social media, you can either ask them for it or use an email address lookup tool. Such an online tool is very easy to use. In fact, the only information you need is your prospect’s full name and their domain name (where your guest post will be published).

For example, if you want to write a blog post for, let’s say the Hunter blog, you can simply find the prospect’s full name (e.g. Irina Maltseva) and add the into the domain name.
Email Finder service that helps you find the professionals' email addresses
Before you create a highly-personalized outreach sequence, there’s only one step left. And that is identifying potential topics for your guest posts based on each website’s niche, content, and audience. Doing that is much easier than you may think.

#5 Research Potential Guest Post Topics Based on Prospects’ Audience and Content they Cover<H3> Підзаголовок

Keep in mind that adding value to the guest website should always be your first priority. This is why researching for high-quality guest post topics should be done before you create your pitch. By doing that you can ensure that you will create a strong relationship with your prospects while increasing your guest post’s chances to be approved.

Start by visiting the website you want to write for. Have a look at the content they cover and spend some time understanding their target audience’s main interests and values. At the same time, seek the main keywords their blog is aiming at when it comes to SEO and create a list of possible topics that you could write about.

Let’s explain that with an example. If the guest website is all about SEO tactics and you can add value by combining that with your website’s services, which is about digital marketing automation software, this is where your pitch should aim at.

In any case, you should opt for topics that aren’t saturated on the website you are about to write a guest post for. Once you’ve come up with a few topic ideas it is time to polish them and share them with your prospects.

Another smart thing to do in this step is to find the technical requirements the website has when it comes to guest posts. Usually, these include:
  • Specific word count (i.e. 1000+ words);
  • Tone (friendly, business, authoritative, etc.);
  • Internal and external linking;
  • Backlinks.
Although this could be done, later on, doing this research now can be very helpful in optimizing the topics you are about to share with your prospects. For example, if a topic can be covered in approximately 900 words, but the website only accepts pieces of 1500+ words, you should keep this topic idea for another prospect.

In a few words, you should always make sure that the topics you come with:

  • Don’t already exist on the prospect’s website;
  • Have a high SEO value (include keywords that drive a lot of traffic);
  • Match the website’s audience values and interests;
  • Are relevant to your website content and your area of expertise.
You can discover relevant topic ideas based on the target audience's interests with the Serpstat Search Questions tool. It'll provide you with the list of actual questions users ask on Google:
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#6 Create a Personalized Outreach Sequence

Following all the steps above will ultimately help your final pitch be much more effective. But, personalizing and automating your outreach sequence is equally important for the success of your guest blogging strategy.

We have already explored how sharing your top topic ideas is the best way to contact a prospect. You can also use links to your blog or website and showcase your best content. This way you can ensure that the prospect gets an overall idea of your expertise and understand what your webpage is all about.

At the same time, you should treat the personalization of your pitch as a series of specific steps. First of all, you can utilize some of the best cold email templates. This is a smart way to craft your own pitch from scratch, depending on the decision-makers you are about to contact and their website.

Let’s start with the subject line. It is crucial for your subject line to be short, urgent, and personalized. You need your email’s subject to explain exactly what your pitch is all about, but also help the prospect understand that this isn’t a spammy email and thus a waste of time. The same is true for follow-up emails to prospects that didn’t respond after your initial contact.

Your subject line could look something like this: Hey (John), it’s (Mark) from (your website) | Link Building and Content Creation for (their website).

Ok, now you’re done with the subject line, and it’s time to start crafting a personalized email. In this stage, you can think of all the data you’ve gathered during your initial relationship with this prospect on social media and utilize them. For example, if you’ve had interesting discussions with this person for a while on LinkedIn, make sure to mention it.

Here are a few tips on how to personalize cold emails:
  • 1
    If you are looking for a blog owner’s email using a dedicated service, most likely the tool will show the name of all company members as well as emails. So, use the prospect’s name in the beginning: “Hello Name”, for example, Hello John.
  • 2
    Mention where you found their email, for instance, I read your article on Forbes about B2B sales and it’s very helpful.
  • 3
    Mention some tools that they use on their website: I saw you are using Hotjar on your site, do you find it useful?
  • 4
    You need to do some research on the blog beforehand and find content relevant to your niche. Say something about their prominent post, for example, I read your article about email automation, great job on this piece of content! Or write something more specific about the article to show that you really read it.
  • 5
    Prove you did a research about the company, maybe they were featured in the news: Great work on getting a 5-star rating on Glassdoor!
  • 6
    Bring your relevant case studies: I worked with the (company name) and helped them bring 10% more traffic to the site with Facebook Ads.
Remember that there will be times when a prospect would like to cooperate with you, but won’t like any of your ideas. This is why, after numbering your topic ideas, you should follow that by mentioning something like this: “If none of the above meet your needs and preferences, I’d be more than happy to come up with new topic ideas for (their website).”

This is a smart way to personalize the outreach sequence even more and increase your response rate.

Let’s take a look at a few email templates and discuss why they work:
Template #1
This email template is good for a few reasons:

  • It’s personalized;
  • The person tells that these companies share the same audience or their services/products are similar;
  • They offer flexible partnerships;
  • They explain what their company does at the end of the email.
Template #2
Why does this email template work?

  • The email asks about the relevant problem of all businessmen - it’s link building;
  • Asking questions is a good idea to make someone reply;
  • Featuring statistics means a persona did research and knows the topic. It’s proof of your expertise;
  • Talking about your experience is also a good point.
Template #3
This email works for the following reasons:

  • A person mentions an actual article from the blog and says that they love their content and find it helpful;
  • A person offers a few ways for the future cooperation;
  • It shows that current content partners would be glad to work with the company.

#7 Negotiate

If you receive a positive answer, that’s perfect! You’re now just one step from publishing a blog post on an authoritative website. Usually, such websites have quite specific technical requirements when it comes to guest posts. Yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate about technical things such as the number of words or the number of internal/external links.

On the contrary, most prospects appreciate it when you provide them with an outline of your blog post. Let’s explain that with an example: Suppose your prospect really loved a topic idea you suggested. Yet, their website’s guest post requirements mention that the accepted length is between 1000 and 1500 words.

If you think that your blog post needs to be longer for the topic to be fully covered, let your prospect know. Accordingly, say that the guest website accepts only 1 backlink per guest post. If you believe that 2 of your website’s blog posts will be really valuable for this topic and they need to be included, explain why and negotiate about it.

By the end of your negotiation, you should have a comprehensive list of everything that you have to take care of and include in your guest post.

Guest blogging: main technical requirements to be discussed before publishing:
  • Word count;
  • Tone (friendly, business, authoritative, etc.);
  • Number of internal links;
  • Number of authority/external links;
  • Number of backlinks;
  • Tone of voice;
  • Target audience;
  • Visuals and Graphics (e.g. images, infographics, etc);
  • Tables, bullet lists, numbered lists.

#8 Publish & Promote

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that actually writing the guest post is one of the easiest steps during the guest blogging process. If you’ve followed all the steps we analyzed above, you should now have everything needed to write the article:
  • 1
    The technical requirements;
  • 2
    The expertise needed to write the piece;
  • 3
    Data about the blog’s audience;
  • 4
    Keyword research and link-building strategy.
While writing the guest post, you can follow some basic rules of content writing:
  • Create an outline to make sure that the result meets the word count requirements you discussed with the prospect;
  • Make sure that the blog post is broken into headings and small paragraphs;
  • Optimize your content for SEO (include keywords, quotes, lists, and so on);
  • Insert the links needed (internal, external, backlinks);
  • Include visuals and graphics;
  • Proofread and double-check your content before you submit it.
That’s pretty much it. You now have the perfect guest post. All you need to do is send it alongside a photo and a few information about yourself for the guest author bio.

Yet, after your article is published, the guest blogging sequence doesn’t have to stop there. On the contrary, a brilliant tactic is to promote your guest post on different social channels and therefore build some new backlinks. Utilizing social media marketing is a must during this step.

Make sure to promote your guest post on your Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts. On the same account, you can share the link of your guest post on forums, other blogs, and so on. This won’t only allow your guest post to attract more visitors but it is also the perfect way to build long-term relationships with editors.

Wrapping up

In this blog post, we examined all the steps you need to follow to construct a highly-personalized guest blogging strategy for your business. Keep in mind that creating valuable content is always the best tactic. No matter how personalized your outreach is, content is what matters at the end of the day.

In 2022, more than half of content marketing strategies focus on improving the quality of the content. And that’s reasonable, considering how competitive the market (and therefore ranking) has become. Still, don’t be afraid of the mistakes you might make in the beginning. Noone created the perfect pitch or the best guest post instantly. Guest blogging is a complicated process. Yet, as with most SEO-related strategies, practice makes perfect!
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