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Interview: Gregory Ciotti Revealing His Guest Blogging Secrets

Do you want to land on top blogs in your niche through guest posts?

Then this post, sorry interview is for you!

Last time when I had an interview with Ileane Smith, it got over 100+ comments! That shows indirectly this blog readers are also alike me! So, I’ll be happy to conduct more in coming days.

Gregory ciotti interview

This time, the interview with Gregory on guest blogging secrets. Lets welcome Gregory Ciotty from SparringMind.

[note]Two cents about Gregory from my side: Your scrolling fingers should sore after reading his blog posts ;) He adds IMMENSE VALUE not only on his blog posts, but also on his guest posts. Don’t believe me? Check out his recent post(4500+ words)[/note]

Greg (short name) is the regular contributor of Problogger, DailyBlogTips, BufferApp, FamousBloggers etc. You can check out few of his guest posts here. Today he is going to reveal few of his guest blogging secrets with us. Ready?

1. Can you introduce yourself & your blog ‘SparringMind’?

Sure thing: my name is Gregory Ciotti and my blog, Sparring Mind, combines content marketing + social psychology and makes them play nice together. :)

Basically, I wanted to approach something I really feel is important to all businesses with an online presence (content marketing), and create content that actually had some legs, as in it was backed by research studies and some actual data, rather than ‘gut feelings’ and best practices.

2. What tips do you have for those who want to get started with guest blogging?

I do love guest blogging, and still do it to this day.

A lot of people will say that guest blogging is “dead”, and while I will admit that it has become less effective over time, you still have to start somewhere (and it still can work quite well, it’s just going to take more effort).

The first thing I would recommend it to make a huge list of blogs that you would like to appear on.

Make sure you don’t just include blogs in your immediate niche, but blogs that you could also write for if you put your own “spin” on the topic.

For instance, I write for the Buffer blog from time to time. That blog focuses on productivity, social media, and start-up culture.

These things are directly related to content marketing, but they are fairly entwined, so I just have to create content that incorporates both, and I can get featured there and still have people be interested in my site.

Now, there are obviously some blogs you are going to want to stay away from since they won’t be worth your time, but don’t be afraid to get featured on a few blogs that aren’t directly connected to your niche, after all, the links won’t hurt either!

The other things I’d recommend could be summed up as follows:

  1. A guest post should funnel people to an outcome, not a home page (try to have an opt-in freebie or a landing page set up, just linking to your blog doesn’t work as well)
  2. A guest post should mention big bloggers in your niche (it gets more people to share the post)
  3. Each guest post should be part of an anchor text strategy (for SEO purposes)
  4. Guest posts should be aimed mostly at beginners (a larger audience base)
  5. Always write for the audience at hand, and always include a “twist” in the post that relates to your blog’s unique selling proposition.

Also, try to schedule two or more guest posts to get published on the same day, you’ll create this impression of “being everywhere” and you’ll get more clout as a result.

3. How do you approach the bloggers to guest post on their blogs (if it’s for the first time)?

Since I write guest posts regularly, these days, it’s usually me who gets approached.

Typically though, I just send out a quick email stating my personal connection to the blog (I don’t ever posts for blogs I’ve never read).

I then follow up with a quick pitch with about 3 different post ideas, making sure each one is original and specifically tailored to that blog.

This saves me time if the owner doesn’t like the original post idea or isn’t accepting guest posts.

After that, it’s all about delivering on your promises: people who accept guest posts usually make it known, and convincing them otherwise doesn’t go much beyond a very personal and genuine email, so don’t be shy!

4. Who is your inspiration in blogging? 

I observed ViperChill, SocialTriggers and Copyblogger’s pattern on your blog -> Writing as lengthy as Glen, Using short paragraphs throughout the post as Derek, and placing images right side in the beginning of the post, this is Copyblogger’s pattern

Oh man, way too many to list unfortunately. I subscribe to just about every decent marketing related site via RSS.

Instead of citing my regular reads that everybody already knows about (such as Copyblogger), let me recommend a few names you might not recognize just yet.

These aren’t necessarily marketing blogs either, I just take a lot of inspiration from them in one way or another:

I take inspiration more from how they do things rather than them being related to marketing.

5. What do you consider before writing a guest post? How much time do you take to create it?

I can answer the time question easily: it depends.

It depends on what the topic is and what blog the post is for.

As for things I consider, I usually break down the following aspects:

  1. How experienced is the readership? (Is this a blog of moderately experienced people or total beginners?)
  2. What style of content is most popular? (What’s the blog’s “greatest hits”)
  3. What kind of content hasn’t been covered thoroughly before? (If you can combine 2 + 3, you have a real winner)
  4. How can my post leave an impression if the blog accepts a lot of other guest contributors?
  5. Why do your readers come to this blog, what are they hoping to get out of each post? How can I leave them satisfied in this regard?

After that, it’s all about outlining and writing… then re-writing, and probably re-writing again. :)

6. How much time do you spend on blogging in total, every week?

I spend about an average workday, since content marketing & running websites (along with SEO work) is what I do.

The key is this: always write down a “gameplan” the night before.

That way, each morning, you’ll know what needs to get done and you can get started right away.

Staring at a blank screen or not knowing what’s next is the ultimate time-killer: having a big checklist to get through is what will keep you working productively.

7. Few guest blogging secrets to land on a popular blog.

Only secret I have is to make sure every post you put out is worthy of being read, and that you should start small and work your way up.

In the earliest stages of Sparring Mind, Problogger was the first place I guest posted for (it’s where most people in this space start).

You have to keep making moves though, Problogger posts don’t carry the weight they used too, they are just for warm-up these days.

I’ve made moves to places like KISSmetrics, SEOMoz, AWeber’s blog and many others, you have to try to land onto more difficult blog as you progress.

My next goal is to write a piece for both FastCompany and Forbes, just remember to keep your guest blogging efforts moving, and never become static!

8. Have anyone rejected your guest posts? What do you do if they reject? And what would you suggest to not being rejected?

Yes my guest posts have been rejected before, although this was earlier in my blogging career.

More recently though, a post of mine got rejected from KISSmetrics, I know they like quality content, and it was a good piece, it was just too “obvious” for the audience at hand.

That’s why I include the “know thy audience” in my guest blogging commandments: you may discuss something too basic for the audience you are about to write for.

That was the case with this post, luckily I was able to work out another idea with Sean Work and in no time, I had a different post approved and live on their blog.

My advice is to not get upset about it in anyway, it’s just a learning experience, nothing more.

Find out why the post didn’t work, understand what you may have done wrong, and then get back to the grindstone!

9. What is the secret behind your blogging success? How come you are creating such an awesome content? Please share some of your content creation tips.

This is tough.

That’s really what my blog is all about, proper content marketing, so this is a large question for me to answer.

In a nutshell though, it’s all about creating content that solves problems, or creating content that evokes strong emotions (preferably… both!)

Then you need to position your content in a way that is memorable.

Here’s a great example…

Steve Kamb is a fitness blogger. Big deal, right?

However, Steve incorporates an 8-bit gaming and “Average Joe” feel to his site NerdFitness and as such, it’s taken off.

Give people something to discuss, boring won’t do at all, even if the content is great.

Find an angle, find topics that get folks in your space fired up, and purposefully write about then to get people talking.

You need to find things that you can also piggyback off of, including popular topics in your niche, but at the same time, you should be creating “evergreen” content that will last far longer, authority content that people in your niche will cite time and time again.

Then you need to get the word out about this content, and that’s a whole ‘nother ballgame’ right there. ;)

10. Can you give our readers the top 5 guest blogging tips?

The best advice I can give is as follows:

  1. Try to land on blogs that don’t accept guest posts as often, or have a very loyal audience (tons of comments, personal interaction with the owner, etc.)
  2. Always funnel to a landing page or a freebie opt-in in your byline, I wish I would have started doing this sooner!
  3. Be sure to link back to individual posts as often as you can, although keep in mind you need to not come across as a spammer: do it where applicable, not just to get a link. These individual links will do more for your SEO than most things you can think of.
  4. Target keywords on bigger blogs: they have great rankings for most new posts, so if you can generate SEO traffic for them, it’s also good for you because it means more people will see your post.
  5. Mention other influencers often, they may not hear about your mention on your tiny blog, but they will hear about it on a bigger site.

Also, this one goes without saying: this is your introduction to an entirely new audience, make sure the post is so good you want to publish it on your own blog!

About the blogger: Gregory Ciotti is the founder of Sparring Mind and the author of the free ‘Conversion Psychology’ e-Book, which you can download instantly. Get more from Greg on Twitter.

Thanks Greg for the awesome interview

[note] Greg With His Family

Greg with his family[/note]

15 comments… add one

  1. Oh gosh that had tons and tons of info. Thanks for that.

    I was just losing out on my patience and energy levels to keep up my blog. I have a whole new perception of my blog after reading this. To put it simply, I’ve done nothing all these months. There is a lot to content marketing and promotion which I’ve come to know right after your interview.

    I must thank Greg for giving me so many tips. You’ve opened my eyes because I’m a very very shabby blogger and very lazy. I’ll make sure that I make a proper check list everyday and follow it thoroughly. Thanks for converting that push into Shove.

    Loved the Interview Rahul, I never got so much of info from one post not even from my blog posts.

    Aditya

    Reply
    1. Wow, kind words Aditya!

      Thanks for checking out the interview, glad you liked it. :)

      Reply
  2. Gregory is guest Blogging elite and an inspiration for every Blogger. His recent article on Daily Blog Tips (The one iron low of Blogging) was adorable.

    As Aditya said, This is very long and useful interview. A lot of great tips on Blogging from Greg.
    Thanks for sharing the awesome interview where.

    Reply
    1. Ah, glad you liked that one on DBT, definitely thought it was something that needed addressing.

      Many thanks for stopping by Ehsan. :)

      Reply
  3. ahhhhhh!!! This is an awesome post (interview) which covered a lot of things…This is not just a interview but a very informative words….Tons of thanks to Rahul for conducting interview and also to Gregory Ciotti for sharing his experience with us…:)

    Reply
  4. I must say this is first interview posts which is not just an interview but with lot of information for bloggers.

    Thanks Rahul & Gregory!

    Reply
  5. Hey Rahul,

    It’s very nice to read this interview.

    Hello Gregory,

    It was fun reading all this. You gave very nice tips. To be specific, I would like to mention, I liked your tip #2 about guest blogging, the most.

    Thumbs up for all the points you consider before writing a guest post. :D

    Thanks for all the tips you gave.

    Reply
  6. Thanks for a nice interview.
    I’m looking to start doing some guest posting and this tips will come in handy for me.
    thanks!

    Reply
  7. Hi Gregory,

    Very interesting conversation with Rahul, I really like question 2 and 8, my guest post has been rejected before and feeling really unhappy with it, but it’s alright now.

    Thanks – Ferb

    Reply
  8. Hi Rahul & Greg….both of you deserve congratulation……

    Nice Interview or I must say an inspiration for Guest Post….
    I always support that people must involve with other bloggers to help and grow blogging communtiy…medium could by anything…either Guest Post or Comments….but we should interct and helo each other……

    Thanks for such a cool and inspiring interview…

    Reply
  9. Wow great interview
    I generally don’t write guest posts as my main source of traffic is search engines and social networks but after reading the post it looks like I have to change my mind :P

    Reply
  10. Very Inspiring, Guest posts aren’t intended mainly for traffic, but it produces one of the best ways for high PR backlinks

    Reply
  11. This was a great interview. Wanted to get your take on using guest blogging social networks such as blogsynergy.com to find opportunities.
    I understood that many of the signed blogs are not of the best quality.
    Does it matter and if so how can I determine where to guest blog

    Reply
  12. what a interview it is by Gregory . Rahul thanks for sharing this interview with us , i will follow points told by him in future.

    Reply
  13. Hi Greg,

    Thanks for the great tips, I’m starting down the road of guest blogging so these help a lot. I particularly like the landing page one. Ideally have a standard landing page but change the title of the landing page so it’s more relevant to the reader

    Thanks,

    Ian

    Reply

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