Firstly, for those who don't know, the above image isn't 100% accurate but it's reality at least 90% of the time. However, instead of worrying about the one-time payment a company may give you for a single submission, think about the traffic that visits the site every day. This is a group of people that may want to be on your mailing list, become a social media friend, or better, become a paying customer.
Why Do It if There's No Pay?
People who should consider using guest posting are using this as a promotional effort for a product or service. Another strategy may be to establish themselves as an expert on a subject. Whatever the reason, it should not be used as a way to begin a writing or blogging career. It's easier to own (or upgrade to) your own domain where you earn from advertising and other marketing tools.
Guest posting can also be used as a part of a B2B strategy, where a company blogger or contributor works with those who sell similar services or complementary products. For example, a caterer who also specializes in food photography may want to write a post on simple camera tricks when shooting food pics. This person may submit their post to sites (like Yahoo) that target general audiences but also novice shutterbug blogs, culinary student sites, or anywhere else that's not targeted to veteran caterers or photographers.
What's the Right Way to Do This?
Some people submit posts or other text content once a month, quarterly, or as opportunities arise. The good thing is that every week, many people are creating successful blogs and websites that cater to a specific niche. When people don't have to go searching through numerous categories and pages to get what they came for, they tend to be more loyal than visitors who stop by randomly.
As far as Google Page Rankings go, I couldn't find current information in regard to which pages rank the highest or lowest in terms of search engine visibility. Diversifying content has always worked for me, as I may alternate between high-traffic sites with those that aren't as well known but have other endearing qualities. Easy navigation or nice visuals (that load quickly) are sometimes enough to grow an audience faster than normal.
Just typing 'guest posting opportunities' in any search engine should yield current results. Truthfully speaking, I wouldn't go with any source that's more than a couple of years old. Also, don't be surprised if the site owner asks you to join their mailing list.
Two sites that have helped me are Bloggers Passion (which still uses the Alexa ranking system) and the Influencer Networks list from Miss Millennia Magazine. While the latter is mostly targeted at women, it has a nice layout and is loaded with content that ranges from blogging to life matters for young adults to starting a small business. This site also accepts guest posts on a number of topics.
While both resources (in addition to any you may find on your own) have a lot of opportunities, the best way to navigate is to narrow your selections down to no more than three categories. The reason why is that visiting the site and reading the content before submitting your work is the best way to build a relationship. Some online publications, like The Onion, may have their own special brand of humor or way of speaking to their audience that separates them from the crowd. It's also a good idea to print the submission guidelines so that no details are overlooked.
What Some Experts Don't Recommend
- Paying for guest posts - if your resources allow it, it's best to hire a freelance writer with proven credentials
- Swapping guest posts - I'd say do this very sparingly, as you don't want to align your brand with too many entities at the starting gate. Also, make sure they allow you to add your site and/or social media links to the byline or footer of the post.
- Making it too well-known that you will write guest posts for free - some people start offering free posts on a trial basis. However, if you get a lot of inquiries about doing free guest posts or you find no changes in traffic after 3 to 6 months, it's time to come up with a new promotional strategy.