Hey everyone, thanks for joining me for today's edition of the "Why Most Bloggers Fail series". I promise I'll be getting to today's tip, but first I've got some exciting news! Today, I'm announcing the first ever winner of the...

CNA Finance Personal Finance MVP Award!

The CNA Finance PF MVP award is going to be a mostly audience choice award. However, I decided that I would personally pick who gets the first one. When I got to thinking about who to give the award to, great bloggers like DC, Will, Laurie, Grayson, Jeremy, and more came to mind. However, I could only give the award to one of them; as I'll never be choosing another winner again. So although all of them deserve it, I had to choose. The blogger I chose is incredibly new, yet has already created a community, put his personality into his blog, and shared some amazing out of the box ideas. That blogger is Will Lipovsky of First Quarter Finance. After all, I've never met anyone else that could convince me that procrastination, to an extent, is a good thing. So, congratulations Will and thanks for all the great reading you've provided me and the PF community! The nominations for next week are at the bottom of this post. Please place your vote in the comments!

Guest Post Mania - It's Time For Today's Lesson

When I first started blogging, I did it for all the wrong reasons. I was blogging for profits, not community. I was doing things to fool the search engines because I wanted more traffic. Most of those things revolved around links. One of the biggest controversies in the online marketing world today is the effectiveness of guest posting, and for that matter how ethical it really is. Personally, I believe with all my might that guest posting can be a great thing. However, like most other great ways to build a community around your blog, there is a good way and a bad way to do it.

How SEOs Are Telling Us We Should Do Guest Posts

In the mind of the average SEO (search engine optimizer), guest posting is simply a strategy to get links. Ultimately, those links should help you rank higher in search engines. With that said, I've read quite a few SEO articles that say guest posting should go like this...
  1. Create A Template - Guest posting starts with outreach. So, to get the most out of guest posting, you create a template that offers a guest post in a very general way. This template should make the blog owner think you have a real interest in their blog, while allowing you to send out tons more outreach emails...because they're not personalized.
  2. Create A List - Keeping in mind SEO factors like PageRank, MozRank and more, you should create a list of websites that have much better stats than yours. The list should include names, email address, domain names, SEO factors, and more.
  3. Send Out As Many Outreach Emails As You Can - Now, start sending outreach emails. Simply open your email client, copy and paste email addresses, templates, and names into your emails, and hit the send button. Make sure to do it as much as you can.
  4. Write - When you get responses, start writing as much as you can a day, the topic isn't a huge concern, neither is the length or quality...just write, write, write. Oh yea, and make sure you insert a link with the right anchor text to the right page.
  5. Repeat the process.

My Beef With This Kind Of Guest Posting

Before I get into my beef with this strategy, I want to let you know that I fell victim to the articles telling us to do this. I spent hours on this strategy only to get penalized in the end. Now, here's the beef I've got with the mass guest post strategy in bullet points!
  • The Email Template - First off, over time I learned that sending template emails, especially before you know the blogger, can kill your chances of ever having a fulfilling relationship with the bloggers you send them to. In this industry, and any other industry I can think of, people appreciate genuine personalized messages. Every thing else either gets trashed or marked as spam in most cases.
  • Mass Emails - Over time, I learned that there's another name for this...it's called SPAM any time you send mass template emails to people who didn't ask for them you are spamming them. This can give you the spammer name among the community...if you're doing this STOP BEFORE YOU RUIN YOUR NAME!
  • Post Writing - To keep up with this strategy, you've got to write quite a bit. So much in fact that it would be absolutely impossible to come up with a unique topic every time, impossible to add value to every post you write, and in my eyes more importantly, writing posts in a rush makes it impossible to bring value to the audience that's reading the post. The audience you should care about, even if they're not your own.
  • Links - A big part to this is building the right links with the right anchor text to the right pages, and blah, blah, blah, blah. Doing this creates an unnatural looking link profile, I know because I've been penalized for it!

What A Good Guest Post Strategy Consists Of

No matter how much I hate the SEO idea of guest posting; when it comes to community building, I can't argue the effectiveness. And, I'm not opposed to it in any way. With that said, here's what I view as a quality guest post strategy... Step #1: Figure Out Where You Want To Post - Don't worry about SEO stats. Instead, think about how much you enjoy the blog. Are there comments? Has that blog owner created a community around his or her brand? If so, that's one that you want on your list. It doesn't have to be a long list, 10 or 15 blogs should do just fine. Step #2: Visit The Blogs Regularly - Every day or two, make sure to go read a post or two on the blogs on your list. When you're done reading, take the time to comment and share the posts socially. This is for a couple of reasons...
  • Understand What The Audience Is Looking For - Each quality blog builds it's own unique community, it's own audience. That audience responds well to the type of posts on that blog, which in most cases will be different than the type of content you write. So, by reading the blog, you get a feel for what the audience wants to see, and how you should plan your guest post.
  • Let The Blog Owner Know You Exist - If you create a relationship with the blog owner in comments, they are far more likely to accept a guest post from you than if you don't. As a matter of fact, if you don't comment regularly here, I won't let you guest post on CNA! Like most other bloggers that own quality blogs, I need to get to know you, and your views before I let you take a stab at entertaining my audience. Comments allow the blogger to get to know you.
Step #3: Think Of A Quality Topic - After about a month of creating a relationship with the blogger, start digging around their website to see what article topics they do, and more importantly, what article topics they don't have. After all, I wouldn't want to accept a guest post that simply states what I've already said in the past. It's time for you to come up with a compelling topic that will be completely unique to that blog. Step #4: Outreach - No, don't create a template, instead, write a personal email that looks something like this... Hey (Blogger Name),
As I'm sure you've noticed, I've really enjoyed reading your blog and being part of the community in the comments. I really like how you (compliment them on something they do that's unique). Anyway, I know you're busy so I'll make this quick... I was digging through your blog and noticed that you didn't have any posts about (the topic you plan to write about). I'd like to write a guest post for you on the topic. I assure you that I will take time to make sure it's a quality, unique post that fits in with the style of your blog. Would you be open to something like that? Kindest regards, Your blogging friend!
Trust me, when I get emails like that instead of the template outreach emails, I know the person took their time and is willing to produce quality. Step #5: Write A Quality Article - This is not one of those articles you should be writing at 12:30 half buzzed after a few martinis! No, you want to take your time to research the topic and write quality. Make sure you link to 2 or 3 quality resources like CNN Money or Forbes or even another authority blog. When it comes to linking to yourself, pay absolutely no mind to SEO. Instead of worrying about SEO, write the post first. Then find natural anchor text in the post and link to a quality resource that's relevant to that anchor. I'm not talking about linking to an affiliate product review either; nope, link to a quality resource! Step #6: Repeat the process.

Final Thoughts

When it comes down to it, this process takes much less work and produces much better results than the blackhat SEO way of guest posting. In the end, it may take much more time to build one link, but in this process, links honestly aren't your focus. Your focus here is creating lasting relationships with awesome bloggers, and to build a bigger community for yourself by introducing yourself in a positive way in another community. After all, links are cool, but communities give you links and much, much more!

This Week's CNA Finance MVP Nominees!

From now on, the "Great Posts Around The Blogosphere" section on "Why Most Bloggers Fail" posts will be replaced with the week's MVP nominees. Don't worry, the great posts section will still be there on all other posts. How To Place Your Vote All you need to do is leave a comment below. Somewhere in the comment, let me know who you'd like to nominate as this weeks MVP! Want to vote anonymously? Send an email to CNAFinanceHelp@gmail.com! The Nominees DC From Young Adult Money - If you've followed my "Why Most Bloggers Fail" series, you've heard of DC. He runs an awesome blog called Young Adult Money! Laurie From The Frugal Farmer - I consider Laurie to be one of my mentors in blogging. Although she's never told me how to blog, or build an audience personally, I've learned so much just from watching her and reading her blog! Debs From Debt Debs - I'm actually a relatively new follower of Debt Debs. To be honest, I didn't even know the blog existed 6 months ago. Nonetheless, I'm glad I found it, debs is an awesome blogger that deserves recognition!  
Hey everyone, I'm Joshua Rodriguez. I'm the founder of CNA Finance as well as several other sites. If you'd like to connect with me, follow me on or Twitter! I'd love to see ya there. Also, if you're looking for top quality content for your blog, news outlet, or any other website for that matter, please reach out to me at Info@CNAFin.com! Legal Disclaimer - CNA Finance is NOT an investment advisor. All investment decisions should be well thought out and made with the help of a an investment advisor. For our full legal disclaimer, please scroll to the bottom right of this page.


  1. Oh wow! Thank you for the nomination, Josh! To be put in that nomination list with Laurie and David, two blogs I frequent and enjoy is really humbling.

    Congratulations to Will! I’m loving his posts! Well deserved!! 😀

  2. I remember when I first started my blog, I got all these requests for guest blogging and I still do, and I agree with you that the form email template is just not appealing to me. And since blogging and making money from it is not a focus on mine, I never got around to guest posts, but I commend others who do and do it well. I think a great guest poster is someone who adds value (with strong content) right back to the blog you are writing on, and you really should understand the blog “personality” and how you can add to it. As far as nominations for next week, I don’t mean to be Switzerland, but I LOVE all three of these bloggers and you can’t go wrong with any of them getting an MVP, so I vote for all three. 🙂 Have an awesome weekend!!

    • Hey, new rule…you can’t vote for all three! I always have a response to template emails that I’d imagine they don’t quite like, but that’s really annoying! and I couldn’t agree more about strong content. You definitely need that to build a great guest post. Have fun on your trip!

  3. Great tips on guest posting. I never like receiving a template email either or a request for a guest post from someone I’ve never heard of.

    Wow, You have made it really hard for me choose among these great bloggers. I enjoy all of them for different reasons. I’ll base my vote on who I discovered first and that would be DC at Young Adult Money.

  4. Great nominees and great tips! Really enjoy this series. And I’m happy to hear that building community rather than trying to play tricks is better. I don’t know how to play tricks and don’t have much of an understanding of SEO anyway, so building a community/following organically is much better for me.

    • And that’s why your blog rocks so hard Andrew! Don’t even worry about SEO, it’s not worth it! I really appreciate your support too!

  5. Thank you again for the award, Josh! I’m honored to be recognized.

    As for the rest of the post, I laugh a lot when random people email me wanting to guest post. If someone sends me a generic email, I’ll check their IP address. I don’t appreciate them telling me how spectacular and insightful my blog is when they have only viewed my ‘Contact/Hire Me’ page!

    Man, I love your anti-blackhat posts. So refreshing.

    I’m going to have to think hard about who my vote is going to for week 2. It’s such a difficult decision! I’ll email you.

    • Hey Will, trust me, it’s well deserved. I’ve done the same IP lookups before, it’s kind of funny. I’m glad you like the series, ohh and got your email, your vote has been counted!

  6. It’s so hard to vote. I don’t know Debt Debs well enough yet but I’m sure she’s freaking awesome.

    I’m gonna have to give my vote to Laurie. After one of my more personal posts on my blog she reached out to me through email and shared her story with me. And it was an enormous help!!

  7. Indeed, guest posting must come naturally, and it should be done on blogs that you enjoy reading and find useful. Chances are that if you find them useful, everybody else does 🙂 Automating everything and turning everything into a business is not always the best approach!

    As for your nominees, I would choose Laurie, because I love reading her articles and she’s been an inspiration for me with her journey to a debt-free life.

    • Hey C. Thanks for swinging by. I’m glad that you only guest post on blogs you enjoy and provide value. Also thanks for your vote, I’ll see ya soon!

  8. Lately, I’ve been rethinking my blog and what kind of content I want to offer. There are a few guest posts on there that just don’t relate to me and my readers. I do think guest posting, when done right, can be great!

    As for my vote: I gotta vote for DC!

    • Hey Lisa, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I really like your blog. If you don’t think the guest posts are good for your audience, I think it may be best to delete them and redirect the URL’s to something relevant until you can replace them. Also, thanks for your vote!

  9. I completely agree with your method of guest posting. I only allow guest posts from fellow bloggers that I actually know and have interacted with, too. So many people have misconceptions about it – thinking that they can slap something together, get their name out there, and reserve their best content for their own blog. Nope! You want to put your all into guest posting, otherwise it doesn’t have a big pay off. After all, you’re trying to do the other blog owner a favor by offering the post to begin with. If it’s sloppy, that reflects badly on you. Plus it’s always good to write something that resonates with the audience of that blog.

    As for my vote, I have to go with Debs, as I also think she deserves some recognition. Congrats to Will!

    • Hey Em, thanks for having my back with views on guest posting. Debs is awesome, your vote is in! Thanks for swinging by, see ya soon!

  10. God forbid you should add any sort of value with your article … these types of “guest posters” looking for a free ride, grinds my gears so much!

  11. With you on the template point. People need to take the time to really engage with bloggers before approaching them, and when they do it should be personal. oh, and I vote for Laurie.

  12. I never, ever ask to guest post for a site unless I’ve formed some kind of connection with the owner through mutual social media sharing or commenting. Once I get to the point of sending an email proposing a guest post, it would actually feel out of place to send them a email template! Also, one thing that has happened to me is that I think it’s awesome when the requestor actually sends a guest post with the proposal….sort of like “Hey, would you be open for a guest post, and by the way, HERE is the one I was thinking of using, what do you think?” Seems to shorten the whole process. 🙂

  13. Thanks so much for the mention, Josh, and I am loving this series on blogging tips. Even after a year and a half, I feel there is so much I need to learn about this blogging thing. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. 🙂

  14. I’ve just begun to guest post for other bloggers and have found I really enjoy it. My process has been similar to what you suggest, reaching out to bloggers I’ve already established a relationship with. And I find it enjoyable coming up with a post that I know fits their topics/writing style/audience needs. I think bloggers value the personalized touch more than the basic template, SEO post designed to drive some page hits.

  15. Enjoyed reading this post and it’s quite timely for me. After two years of blogging, it’s time I start guest posting and I found this very helpful. I’m always nervous about the quality of post/content I provide and its the main reason I’ve never guest posted before. I also prefer to already have a personal connection to the blogger I’m reaching out to…and I vote for Debt Debs.

  16. Love all these bloggers, so it’s not an easy choice. That being said, I think Deb is still trying to establish herself since she’s a little bit newer on the block and it would be nice to have an award to back that up.

    (Sorry Laurie and DC, I still love you both) 🙂

  17. Back when I first started, I was getting all of these requests for people to guest post. I knew something was off when people offered to pay me, and it was all just to get backlinks. I’ve gotten pretty good at saying “No” to the spammers. Plus it’s great to see what other bloggers have written for guest posts, and how they go about it. Again, great series man.

  18. What a great read! I’m still pretty new to blogging and haven’t branched out into guest posting just yet, but it’s something I hope to do a bit in the future. Right now, being consistent with my own blog is enough of a challenge. Thanks for this series!

    As for my vote- tough call but I’ll have to go with DC.

Leave a Reply