One of the most common concerns amongst people building a guest posting strategy is that they continually have to come up with new ideas. Otherwise, their thinking goes, they will be seen as unoriginal or be accused of stealing others’ ideas.

This misconception is common. There are almost no truly original ideas. The good news is that even if other people have written plenty about a particular topic, you can still write about it again. You must not directly copy others’ ideas or words without proper attribution – this is called plagiarism.

Instead, approach existing ideas from a new perspective, explore them through a different lens, or update them to reflect current realities.

But getting approval from a respected brand is a bit tough. You need to fix the following thing to get to a Yes.

  1. Reach out from the right email address (not Gmail, but domain associated account).
  2. Reach to the right people.
  3. Craft a solid cold email.
  4. Craft a solid email signature (here’s how to change an email signature in Gmail if you need more information on that.)
  5. Send emails at the right time.

Find keyword gaps

Once you’ve identified your target website, you should find topics within the site’s niche that it has not covered. Here are two simple ways to do this, using free and easily accessible tools.

The first method uses a simple Google search. Type in the URL of your target website, followed by a colon and the keyword you’d like to check. For example:

5 simple strategies to help you come up with a killer guest post idea

If your keyword appears in the first few search results, it is a topic that your target site has previously covered. Move on to the next keyword.

This is not to say that you should never write about a keyword on a site that has already used it. There are circumstances in which you can. Generally, though, you should focus on keyword gaps. Doing so will give your guest post pitch a better chance of approval.

The second method of identifying keyword gaps uses the Keywords Everywhere plugin. This free tool gives you the most common related keywords, based on popular search terms. For example, using the search string hubspot.com: keyword will bring up the following KE results:

5 simple strategies to help you come up with a killer guest post idea

Based on the top related keywords and searches, you can build a list of alternative keywords. This list should inspire plenty of topic ideas for your guest posts. There are other keyword research techniques available as well.

Find validated ideas

Social media is one of the best places to find trending topics for your niche. Following relevant accounts and hashtags will provide you with a good source of ideas.

Using the Zest app will help you cut through the noise on social media, getting straight to content that matters for you. Zest uses a combination of AI and user input to bring you articles relevant to the topics you follow.

5 simple strategies to help you come up with a killer guest post idea

When you register for the app, you can specify the number of topics you are interested in, how many content suggestions you want to receive per day, and on what day of the week you want to start receiving recommendations. The content is rated by an AI algorithm and validated by human users, and you can also suggest articles yourself.

If a lot of people are reading and recommending an article on Zest, this indicates that it is an excellent topic to explore. Taking your cue from Zest-suggested content will help you come up with ideas for guest posts that people are likely to read and share on social media.

Search the news for topics the website covers

A simple and effective way to come up with guest post ideas related to your target website is to search Google News for topics the site has covered. This search will show you recent content and news related to your subject matter.

For example, here’s what I got when I searched “content marketing”:

5 simple strategies to help you come up with a killer guest post idea

You can then use the content you find as a jumping-off point for potential guest post ideas. A significant advantage of this method is that your ideas will link directly to what’s happening in your industry right now. Being topical and timely helps to drive engagement.

Find the most popular topics in your niche

A useful measure of a topic’s viability as a guest post is social media engagement. Using a tool such as BuzzSumo, which aggregates engagement data, you can find out how many shares, likes, and clicks relevant articles have garnered.

Let’s imagine you want to write about digital marketing. Searching for the phrase on BuzzSumo will give the following results:

5 simple strategies to help you come up with a killer guest post idea

While BuzzSumo breaks the engagement figures down according to the platform, the key metric you should be looking at is “total engagement.” Writing an article connected to high-ranking topic areas means that your guest post is more likely to do well on social media.

Do competitor analysis

A powerful way for marketers to explore what works is to look at what their competitors are doing. Competitor analysis in this context involves looking at your competitors’ websites to discover which articles are ranked highly, and which topics they are covering. This is generally a good SEO practice that’ll be helpful in many stages after.

You can use the Ahrefs Site Explorer feature to do this. Go to “Top Pages,” and use the “prefix” mode:

5 simple strategies to help you come up with a killer guest post idea

Source: Ahrefs

The top results are the pages with the most traffic. However, you don’t have to – and shouldn’t – try to compete with all of them. Instead, focus on the pages with fewer backlinks. Those with the lowest referring domain (RD) values will be easier to rank for.

Performing competitor analysis has two benefits: first, it gives you an insight into the topics your competitors are writing about and which ones are doing well. You can use these as inspiration for your ideas. Second, it identifies gaps – that is, relevant subjects that your competitors have not covered. You can then come up with post ideas that fill these gaps.

Strategizing your guest posting campaigns

Guest posting is proven to be an effective way of directing traffic to your website and establishing your industry credibility. It helps your site to rank higher in search results, and it gets your name and brand in front of more potential clients. A guest posting strategy belongs in every good digital marketing plan.

However, to be successful, you must be strategic. One of the most critical elements of guest posting is ensuring that your content is relevant to your niche and your audience.

The strategies in this article should have given you some ideas about where to look for inspiration. At this stage, write down every single potential guest post idea that comes into your head. Even if you don’t use them all right now, you might well use them later.

These suggestions are, of course, far from the only sources of ideas. Every good writer knows that inspiration is everywhere! Keep your eyes open for it, and you will be surprised at how often great article ideas strike you. Come up with relevant and exciting ideas that your target audience will engage with, and you’re halfway to winning the guest posting game.

Now it’s time to put these ideas into action.

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