How to come up with good ideas for guest posts

Bryan Harris —  Bryan Harris - November 5th, 2014

Have you ever written a guest post before?

“Just write a guest post,” they say.

“It’s great for growing an email list,” they say.

I have a confession to make.

I am 4 months behind on writing guest posts.

Why?

Every time I go to write a post, I freeze up. Writer’s block. Procrastination. Call it whatever you want. But if you’ve ever TRIED to guest post regularly, you know exactly what I mean.

The last two guest posts I’ve written have generated over 1,000 new email subscribers to this site, but for some unknown reason it’s incredibly hard for me to produce them on a regular basis.

Writing for my site is easy. But writing for someone else is terrifying.

  • What should I write about?
  • How detailed should the article be?
  • Can I backlink to my site from the article?

…you know the drill.

Well, recently I stumbled upon an interesting little hack that’s helped me get back on track and avoid all of these paralyzing questions.

Whether you are a guest-posting pro or have never written one in your life, use this to come up with killer ideas for your next article.

Here it is…

Next time you go to write a guest post, ask yourself this question:

So, if the person whose site you are writing for were hosting a conference and you were invited to speak to the audience, what would your speech be about?

Asking this question removes writing from the equation and forces you to focus on the audience you are “speaking” to.

Let’s workshop a quick example.

Imagine you are a food blogger invited to speak at a marketing conference that Noah Kagan is putting on. Those are two seemingly unrelated industries. Food and marketing.

What would you talk about?

Could you still teach the audience something that would be interesting and relevant? You bet!

Here are a few different headlines you could use:

Headline 1: How to market your business like a restaurant

Headline 2: How I used incredible pictures to 5x my sales and how you can do the same thing

Headline 3: I work 80 hours a week. How about you?

Headline 4:  Why I hate my job and how you can avoid the same trap

Headline 5: Time management for restaurants

Combine your industry of expertise with the topics that your audience is there to hear about.

Make sense?

Quit thinking about writing and start thinking about speaking.

Conclusion

A few days ago I had a coaching call with my friend Tony.

He was struggling with coming up with topics to guest post on, so we spent 45 minutes going over exactly how he could use this method.

In the call we covered:

  • How to brainstorm a list of ideas to write about on other people’s blogs
  • How to outline your post
  • How to ensure the post is incredibly good
  • How to do all of this in less than 30 minutes

I’ve included our entire coaching call as a free download inside the free resource center.

To download it, click here .

  • Terrance Collins

    Great stuff, Bryan, as ever. Thanks.

  • great visual tool
    We are creating some content at the moment (based around the email1k advice) and thinking of it from this perspective should really help
    I mean, I can see the ideas already!

    • Weird how thinking about things from different angles can help you come up with fresh ideas.

  • jeketee

    Just how well you have broken apart a seemingly tough question. As always great stuff. http://www.jitendratiwari.com

  • Great thoughts and great presentation as usual, Bryan. Is there a trick to asking for guest posts? Or do you simply find blogs in your industry and ask the owner if he/she is open to guest posts?

    • Sup Brian!

      A few things I look for:

      1) Do they currently run guest posts on the site?
      2) Do they have engagement on the site? (at least average 5-10 comments on their posts)
      3) Is their industry semi-related to yours?
      4) If #1-3 are checked off then, just ask. I usually structure my email something like…

      “Hey Bryan,

      I’ve been following your blog for the past 6 months and have really enjoyed reading your work. Great job!

      Recently, I read your post on XYZ and implemented that into my business and had awesome results. In fact, I was able to [insert result].

      Anyhow…

      Just wanted to shoot you a quick note. I’ve written all of my results up into a case study that I thought your readers might benefit from.

      [insert link to google doc of case study]

      I would love to publish it on your site as a case study. Do you think your readers would benefit from it?

      -Brian”

      • Ok, so similar to the strategy around using BuzzSumo that you described some months ago. Thanks!

  • Frank

    Thanks for the awesome post, Bryan! By the way, if I hover my mouse pointer on the big download button at the end of your post, I can see a nice animated effect. How did you get that done? Did you use your own script? Or was that taken care of by the LeadBox feature of LeadPages?

    • I think it is a theme thing. Although there is probably a way to do it with a wordpress plugin via an onmouseover() function.

  • Hey Brian, great example of how to make your mess your message!

    What I’d like to add: Don’t panic about the regularity of your guest posts. As long as you are regularly creating content, you’re good. Why?

    You can always turn the content you generated for your own site into a guest post by rewriting it slightly.

    Take the content you already have to a blog that attracts a similar audience, or that might profit from you.

    Maybe update it, add bonuses, or offer a short summary of your long-form content. This way their audience will profit from getting something extra and they are also likely to come back to your original post.

    Just a thought that crossed my mind, hope it helps.

    Thanks for the insight!

    • Good thoughts. Now there is just the ‘doing it’ part. 🙂

  • Great post! I use these tips in my guest post writing and pitching, thanks! Would love you to check out our site https://gwazoo.com