6 Reasons Every Serious Blogger Should Blog for the Big Dogs

6 Reasons Every Serious Blogger Should Blog for the Big Dogs

“You’re nobody ‘til somebody loves you,” sings sexy crooner Michael Bublé. He ain’t wrong. You’re nobody in the blogosphere until you’ve been shown a little love by the influential sites that serious bloggers read, Tweet and flock to.

You know the ones – they boast six-digit subscribers, have a cult following on Twitter, and bring celebrity and name recognition by association.

Don’t get me wrong; you can have a totally groovy experience at lesser-known sites and accomplish many valuable blogging goals through those avenues.

But think of it this way: If you had the chance to stay as a guest at a three-star hotel or a five-star hotel, which would you choose?

It‘s a no-brainer. You’d choose the 5-star option. It has better amenities, a reputation for excellence, and a more attentive and highly trained staff to see that you have everything your heart desires during your stay.

Given the choice between blogging for the big dogs and blogging for the little dogs, the benefits of going for the higher-ranking option are obvious. Take my own case in point: When I recently had a guest post published at Problogger, I got:

  • Nearly 400 Tweets (more than I’ve gotten collectively in the last two years of blogging)
  • A slew of comments and Facebook mentions
  • Several new commentators and visitors to my own blog
  • A request for a guest post at a popular business blog

You can do it too. Here are six compelling reasons why you should blog at top sites – and six ways to make the most of the opportunity when you land a guest post.

  1. It saves you time. If your objective is to market your blog successfully and make the most of your efforts, one guest post at a top site could yield more exposure and potential connections than publication on a dozen sites with smaller followings. View it as a way of working smarter, not harder.
  2. Advance your blogging swagger: Check to see if the site you are targeting has an editorial calendar. Why? Often these calendars provide valuable clues to future themes and designated deadlines – which gives you a better chance of getting the right article in front of the blog owner at the right time.

  3. It puts you in a different league. Think of it as success by association. Just about everybody blogs, but not everybody blogs well enough to appear at top blogs. It shows that the big dogs who run those blogs value what you say – and if they value it, their readers understand they should value it, too.
  4. Advance your blogging swagger: Make sure to cite your former “top-dog” guest posts in your bio and pitches when approaching editors with your request. Those credentials help you stand out in a sea of other would-be guest posters, since your blogging chops have already been established by one of the big dog’s peers.

  5. It looks good on a writer’s/blogger’s resume. With the fierce competition out there, anything that gives you a competitive edge is worth pursuing. Even though it’s not a paid publishing credit, getting an article on one of the top blogs is still impressive and can give you a leg up when trying to land a new client.
  6. Advance your blogging swagger: Use your writing experience of guest posting at top sites to negotiate a higher blogging rate when applying for paid work.

  7. More than your “15 minutes of fame”. I kid you not. Some time ago, when I posted at Daily Blog Tips, I was still receiving and responding to comments to my post four months later. Trust me here: The top sites’ archives are accessed at a rate that your personal site typically will never be.
  8. Advance your blogging swagger: Make sure to reserve quality time to respond to comments from readers and to answer related questions for as long as people choose to comment (it’ll likely go beyond that first day). Taking the time to comment shows courtesy and respect for the readers. It also increases the likelihood that you’ll be well received by the blog owner for future considerations.

  9. It breeds confidence. A guest post at a prominent site does more for your ego than positive affirmations or compliments. The better you feel about your own abilities and desirability as a guest blogger, the easier it is to approach other blog owners or aim for more ambitious blogging goals.
  10. Advance your blogging swagger: Once you’ve established yourself and gotten some experience under your belt, consider targeting sites that pay for your guest posts. The Work From Home Blog offers a list.

  11. It puts your work before readers that are outside your niche, exposing you to a much larger audience. Numbers aside, blogging giants like Problogger, Copyblogger, Men with Pens, and Daily Blog Tips have readers that span multiple niches, demographics, industries, and even geographic regions. You’d be wise to tap into that power.
  12. Advance your blogging swagger: Enhance your visibility even further by posting your guest posts to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Stumbleupon. This can potentially lead to new networking opportunities and broadened horizons.

Now that you know the “whys”, here are a few tips on the “hows”.

  1. Speak you-nique: Say something different or put a new spin on an old topic. Infuse your own personality and style of expression in your work. In today’s competitive environment, both online and off, it’s important to stand out, stay relevant and be memorable. Learn to identify and capitalize on your individual strengths and gifts. Naomi Dunford at Ittybiz.com is a great example.
  2. Consult the archives: Check the list, and check it twice. No matter how well you write, if what you’ve created has recently been covered at the targeted host’s site, chances are your efforts will be in vain, and you’ll have wasted everyone‘s time.
  3. Be strategic in your efforts: There are literally thousands of blogs out in the blogosphere. Of those, probably hundreds accept guest posts. As a good rule of thumb, you should target those that have a good following, a PR ranking of 6 or above, and excellent content. As they say, you’re judged by the company you keep.
  4. Remember that you never get a second chance to make a first impression: This is more than a cliché; consider it a cardinal rule for success. Watch for typos, grammar and spelling errors. Have a second set of eyes go over your post before submission as well.

On a final note, make sure that you leave your readers with great take-away value. This ensures that your blog owner host is happy to have you come around and guest blog again.

Post by Jennifer Brown Banks

Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, pro blogger and creative consultant. Her work has appeared at award-winning sites such as: ProBlogger, Daily Blog Tips, Technorati, and Search Engine Journal. She was recently chosen as one of the “60 Best Minds in the Blogosphere.”

Join the Discussion. Click Here to Leave a Comment.

  1. Awesome post. I am all about efficiency in blogging, and landing a guest post on a high traffic blog seems like the model for efficiency. I know that many people tout guest posting as the ultimate way to build traffic and generate subscribers to their blog, and I completely agree with them. So many gems in this article to comment on. Thank you very much for writing it!

    • STRONGside,

      Thanks so much for weighing in and starting the discussion off. There are indeed many methods to building traffic/generating subscribers to one’s blog. Guest posting for me is one of my favorites. In my opinion, it’s one of the most efficient ways to get more bang out of your blogging efforts!

  2. I never thought about guest posting, but I probably should try it.

  3. Rebecca Kiel says:

    Another great post, Jennifer! Your tips are informative, practical and interesting. I have to say I never considered guest posting for bigger blogs. Well, I am now.

  4. Fabulous Jennifer! It’s a great idea. One area I’ve been lax in – guest posts. Will work on some today.

    Enjoy and thank you!


  5. While I do agree that guest posting on top blogs is beneficial, there is something else to think about. Blind hero worship in hopes of getting “noticed” by the big dogs/popular kids is a double-edged sword. Put too much effort into getting those guys to notice you – it’ll drain efforts you could put into building your own top dog-worthy blog. I’ve seen talented bloggers muddy their own voice in an attempt to gel better with some big dog blogger they were hoping to court.

    I see guest posting on top blogs the same as news interviews. Sure, getting a spot on Good Morning America or the Today show might bring a HUGE boost in business. However, there are thousands of business owners who’ve never managed to land even a local news blurb, yet still seem to keep their heads above water.

    As yet, I’ve never found a “big dog” blog that fits with my niche market. Trying to find a guest post on homesteading that would fit on ProBlogger would just be silly. Trying to find a writing topic that fits wouldn’t be as hard, but the blogosphere is littered with those already.

    Don’t get me wrong…I whole-heartily agree with the benefits of landing a guest post spot on a big blog. I just don’t think it’s the end-all, be-all of successful blogging. I cringe when I see so many posts about it, because it does tend to send the message to new bloggers that it’s the ONLY way to be successful. Or worse yet, that your blog isn’t “worthy” until you land a guest post on a blog with a big name.

    I also look at it from another perspective…do those guys return the favor? Do they give back to the folks who have elevated them to blog superstardom? Sure, they don’t “need” to anymore, but “need” and “should” are two different horses, if you know what I mean. They get free content out of all of these guest posts…what do they give back? Free ebooks? Free seminars? An invitation to their affiliate program? Oh, be still my racing heart – I’m real excited about that. Not. How bout just a simple comment on your guest poster’s blog offering a “thanks man – love your blog too”? Not too many of them do that anymore.

    Just something to think about before spending a great deal of time courting the big dogs.

    • Hey Sandi, good comment and interesting thoughts in here. I’d like to address one point, though:

      I also look at it from another perspective…do those guys return the favor? Do they give back to the folks who have elevated them to blog superstardom? Sure, they don’t “need” to anymore, but “need” and “should” are two different horses, if you know what I mean. They get free content out of all of these guest posts…what do they give back? Free ebooks? Free seminars? An invitation to their affiliate program? Oh, be still my racing heart – I’m real excited about that. Not. How bout just a simple comment on your guest poster’s blog offering a “thanks man – love your blog too”? Not too many of them do that anymore.

      As a “big dog” who accepts guest posts, I feel I do return the favor of good content in many ways.

      First, by sharing my platform and thousands of readers, giving the author of the post a chance to reach a new audience and plenty of potential clients. If one guest post lands an author a 10k gig or 5 new clients or 37 product sales from new visitors.. well, I think I’ve given back plenty, no?

      Also, guest posting costs me money. It costs, on average, $50 to $100 PER POST. Editing, picture searching time, stock photo costs, time to format in HTML and publish to the blog, interlinking, a last proof-read, newsletter provider distribution costs… no guest poster has EVER offered me a penny to cover those costs. I absorb them freely and don’t speak of them.

      Some blogs even PAY guest posters on top of that. They pay out of pocket in cost of goods AND they pay the blogger for the content. Pretty generous, no?

      There are other paybacks. Bragging rights. A high-PR link back to someone’s site. Attention from readers. A chance to talk to commentators. Social media fame as the post gets shared and read by even more people. And usually, if the post does well, a right to come back and do it all over again.

      So while I appreciate your perspective on guest posting, perhaps I’ve managed to provide you with a new one that helps you understand a little more of the returns the big dogs offer.

      • PS: I just realized that sometimes tone doesn’t come across in text and that my comment might sound a little too pointed – that tends to happen when I lay out points.

        Please imagine me smiling, sipping coffee and generally in a happy place. :)

      • No worries, James. I try to view text communications as happy by default. 😉

        But…I do have a different view on the cost of guest posters point. Aside from paying for guest posts, the cost of putting a post together is a business expense. One you would pay whether you wrote the post yourself or used a guest blogger. In my opinion, that’s a cost of doing business. It has nothing to do with giving back to a guest.

        Now paid guest posts – those are another matter all together. In my opinion, those actually turn out to be a bigger win for the guest blogger than the host. The guest gets money AND recognition – way more than the big dog gets out of the deal. However…the host gets more benefit than most people think.

        My big issue is the mindset that little guys should overly focus on getting the big dogs to notice them – to the point of giving away some of their best work for free, losing sight of their own audience, or thinking that the big dogs are doing them SUCH a big favor by having them. That’s only one side of the equation. There’s a lot of talk about the traffic guest posters get from landing a gig on a big blog. Seldom does anyone mention the added audience the big dog gets too. When I have guest posters, they share, retweet, and otherwise promote their post – which means more traffic, new readers, etc. for my blog.

    • Sandi,

      Wow…I appreciate your very thoughtful and detailed response.
      Here’s mine:
      I don’t have “Hero Worship”.
      Okay, maybe with Keanu Reeves. And God. But, that’s it. :-)

      Because, if we’re being honest here, “big shot” or not, we all put our pants on the same.

      Like most relationships, personal or professional, folks often operate from their own personal agendas.
      Blogging is no different. I choose to blog at top sites, because way before blogging came on the scene, I had a pretty successful professional writing career, and recognized the importance of “building a platform” for potential book sales and hooking an agent.
      Blogging helps in that effort.

      You’re right; many “top dogs” don’t give back in ways that they should. But that’s their issue, not mine. :-) Thanks for adding to the mix!

      Best wishes.

      • lol. I can understand hero worship when it comes to Keanu. Yummy! 😉

        I hope it didn’t come across that I was implying you have hero worship issues. I just see a lot of these kinds of posts – and when I first started, it seemed like everyone was saying that was the measure of success for a blogger. Which, as you know, it’s not – just like landing an agent or a publishing contract isn’t quite the measure of success unpublished writers think.

        My heart breaks when I see good, talented writers getting wrapped up in going after big bloggers – to their own detriment. All things in moderation and all that jazz.

        Thanks for the thought-provoking conversation – it’s just what I needed this morning. It’s given me a great idea for a post! Woot!

        • Sandi,

          Yep, I agree. Balance is important. Going after big bloggers to one’s own detriment is not the way to go. And then there’s the issue of “social proof.” But, I haven’t had my morning coffee yet. :-) Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

        • I certainly agree with that, Sandi – wanting a “star” placement is a cool goal… but if it’s at the detriment of everything else a business needs and there’s no growth happening, then there’s not much point in guest posting, right?

          Because what happens when you’ve neglected your business and the big day’s come and gone? Nada. Life goes back to what it was before.

  6. Does anyone else see the irony of this post being here via the big dogs of Men With Pens? 😉 Made me smile, lots. Because of course you’re right, guest posts on any blog are an honour but on a bigger blog with it’s sizeable audience, the benefits can be great.

    The thing I found though is that it’s important to follow up any guest post with consistent action. Replying to comments on the actual guest post of course, but more than that. There is a danger in thinking that guest posting for a big blog will be your magic bullet. As Sandi alluded to, there’s more to life than guest posting and if you don’t back up guest posting with your own awesome stuff, if guest posting is all you rely on, I fear disappointment.

  7. “Be you-nique” – love that! Great post Jennifer.

  8. Great post! Guest posting is a great way to bring in new readers, but instead of focusing only in your niche, move outside of it to draw in those that may otherwise not know blogs like yours exist.

  9. Thanks for this reminder of what I NEED to be doing as opposed to should be doing. Writing guest blog posts will become a priority effective immediately.

  10. Great article! This is certainly giving me some food for thought. I have been blogging about two years and have never done a guest post. My question is my blogging subject is on a very tiny niche (roller skating) and there’s so little out there on the subject. How would I go about finding good blogs to request guest postings?

    • Hi Sara,

      Try doing a Google search on your topic for blogs in your niche. Don’t stop there—you can use skating as a metaphor or parallel to compare successful blogging to and post to “regular” blogging sites. Hope this help.

  11. Marcie,

    Sounds like a good game plan! Carpe diem! Thanks for stopping by.

  12. Hi Jennifer,
    I recently joined a few ‘guest blog’ sites in an effort to spread the news of my blog (http://hideaheart.wordpress.com) and Hide A Heart brand farther afield as a way to ‘advertise’ without a budget. For about a year I provided 3 articles/mo. for a fast growing handmade products blog in exchange for a free mini store hosting which was a great way to gain exposure for a ‘homey-preneur’ boutique biz. Plus HAH has the social media stuff rolling too. The R.O.I. of my effort to date seems reasonable for a 1.5 yr. old biz but I must say I am working like a woman with hair on fire to keep up! Your point is well taken re: “PR ranking of 6 or above”….I think I have a little ‘re-evaluating’ to consider. Thanks so much for the tips and article!

  13. Great points, Jennifer. If I am in a niche that doesn’t have many “big dogs” that fit the bill, do you recommend going outside of my niche to hunt the big dogs?

  14. MCatherine,

    Thanks for sharing this. I appreciate the feedback.

  15. There is no reason that we should avoid talking about blogging or White papers, Newspapers. They are all important specially when it comes to interact people’s mind. But ,as you said, as writers or journalists, we are nobody until we have our place in archives. I mean until our stories becomes a references to other people.

    Thanks for opening this discussion over here on people with pens. It is very interesting to read all of you here. It makes me ore younger though I do like my age.

    Ntarugera Francois

    250 788500199

  16. Great post, Jennifer! I appreciate the savvy tips and encouragement. Just bookmarked this; it will come in handy.

  17. Hmmm… Part of me wants to respond to this post in “defensive-mode” because I’m sick and tired of people kissing Problogger ass.

    HOWEVER. Any time I’ve posted somewhere big (like here) or gotten links back from places like Copyblogger, my traffic and subscriber base goes up. This post deserves listening to because this shit is true. It works.

    Anytime I’ve interviewed a major blogger and I ask when they first noticed a big spike in their readership it’s ALWAYS been because someone huge in their field has mentioned/featured/ them. So anytime someone gets defensive on ME when I recommend they start guest posting on big sites, I avoid describing it as kissing ass, but instead explain it like a testimonial. Having a guest post on a big site is social proof. It shows new readers you’re worth listening to. And that’s what I love about your post, Jennifer. You explain WHY instead of just telling us all we need to start licking the shoes of Darren Rowse.

    I also love the format of this post. It’s clear, easy to understand and doesn’t treat your readers like idiots. Nicely done 😉

    • For the record, thank you to Darren, because I sure don’t want anyone licking MY shoes. Ew.

    • Marian,

      Why don’t you tell us how you “really” feel? lol
      So glad you took the time to weigh in today; you made me laugh and nod in agreement.

      The proof is in the pudding. Guest posting at top sites works.

      Again, for me, it’s a matter of strategy and “working smarter, not harder.”

      Some folks see it as being used, whereby the “big dogs” get more out of the deal.
      Well, in the words of soul singer Bill Withers, (if that’s the case), “Keep on usin’ me until you use me up”. :-) Thanks for your candor.

    • Marian,

      I might also add, (having had the opp to appear at ProBlogger and another one of his sites), that Darren Rowse and his content manager, Georgina, are really cool and kind to work with. :-)

  18. I’m inspired to start guest posting on big boys blog. But sometimes, it’s almost impossible to get them to approve your work, but with the you laid it out, success is guaranteed. Thank you for sharing!

    • Michael,

      Stay the course. I’ll tell you, with just about every post I’ve had at the “top sites,” it has required multiple attempts before ultimate acceptance. It’s not easy. That’s where confidence and perseverance can make all the difference. Glad I could help. :-)

  19. Great Advice Jennifer. When it comes to blog commenting. It’s best to take your time and respect your readers. They make you who you are. Never got too COCKY or boisterous. Where you feel that you DON’T need them. That would be foolish. Appreciate all you get, respect them and continue to drop greatness every day of the week.

  20. Thank you, Jennifer, for these practical, strategic tips. As with anything I read written by you, I walk away having learned something new or being prompted to look at my next steps in a light I hadn’t considered before.

    I appreciate your encouragement and positivity!

  21. If you’re going to write about swagger, it wouldn’t hurt to acknowledge that Buble was merely covering a song made popular by Dean Martin, and written by some guy (or guys) whose name Deano likely never cared to know.

  22. Hi Jennifer,

    You have said it perfectly! To be honest, I am personally new to blogging and yeah it’s been really tough getting that voice especially when my niche is way different from what is commonly seen and heard in blogosphere. I’m referring to my personal blog which I basically think more of as a diary. (That’s so embarrassing to say here in MWP *chuckles*)

    James, Sandi, Marian and you have been really exchanging exciting points out there. Well it’s more than exciting, it’s enlightening, stimulating and insightful nonetheless! Thank you so much for that. :)

    I’ve learned a lot. Well that’s basically what I’ve really been doing lately. Anyway, looking forward for more posts from you.


    • Floricel,

      I appreciate your time and feedback. Keep learning–good Blogging is always ” a work in progress.” I look forward to the potential of additional posts as well. Enjoy your day.

  23. Yvette Burtley says:

    Thanks for the excellent article, Jennifer! I’ve been writing for some time, and would like to have my work noticed by clients while the Internet is still young. I don’t yet have a website or a blog I’m contributing to, but would like to soon. What do you advise aspiring writers/bloggers like me do to get noticed by “the big dogs”? Do you always have to be invited into professionally ranked blog sites to be a guest blogger? Or can you contact the site owners directly to blog on their sites?

    • You’re welcome, Yvette. Yep, you’ll need to be contributing somewhere, somehow. :-)
      Do you need to wait to be invited to be a guest blogger at “professionally ranked sites”?

      I wouldn’t. To me that would be the equivalent of waiting for your muse before you write. :-)

      Thanks for your thoughts. Wishing you much luck along the way.

  24. Thanks for the tips. Blogging at a well-known site will really help increase the comments and suggestions. I just hope my topics would be interesting to get more hits. LOL

    • Wesley,

      Thanks for your thoughts. I hope your topics go over well, too. :-) From a strategic standpoint, make sure your topic hasn’t been covered already, by checking the archives. Also, concentrate on your areas of strength. ‘Break a leg’! :-)

  25. Those who can…do. :-)

    Thanks for adding to my “15 minutes of fame”.

    Wishing you well in your blogging endeavors, Sandi.

  26. Those who can…do. :-)

    Thanks for adding to my “15 minutes of fame.”

    Wishing you well in your blogging endeavors, Sandi.


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