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How to Get 100+ Subscribers from EACH and EVERY ONE of Your Guest Posts

Get subscribers from guest posts

This post was updated by Lexi Rodrigo on February 20, 2018.

Many marketing experts urge you to use guest blogging as a way to grow your email list (Danny and I included).

But it can be just a huge waste of time if you don’t get results-especially if writing each post takes you more than a couple of hours.

A few months ago, I surveyed my list about how many subscribers they expect to get from each guest post they write. And 46% said, “less than 25,” which might be nice when you’re just starting out, but it’s hardly enough to justify the time it takes.

However, you can get very good results with guest blogging if you get it right. Getting 100+ subscribers on average per post is achievable for most people.

But just “writing great posts” doesn’t cut it. There’s more to effective guest blogging than that.

Subscribers from guest posts 01

Writing To Your Own Blog Is A Waste Of Time

…until you have at least hundreds, preferably thousands, of people on your list.

'Writing to your own blog is a waste of time until you have your own audience.' @peter_sandeen Click To Tweet

Before that, posts on your site have no chance of building your list as quickly as guest posts because too few people ever read them.

Exceptions always exist, but if writing a blog makes sense for your business, guest blogging is almost always going to create better results than writing for your existing audience when it’s still small.

Altogether, there are several things you need to get right to get exceptional results with guest blogging, but here are the three aspects you should focus on first.

Guest Posting Success Stories

1. Write For The Right Sites

Yes, this seems obvious. You have to get your posts to sites where your target audience is likely to read them.

Yet, one of the most common questions about guest blogging people ask is, “How do I find the right sites to write for?”

You can get good ideas from a list of guest blogging sites, but still, you’re left with several options. And in the end, only writing for them will tell you which sites are worth writing for.

But there are a few things you can look at first:

  1. Email list size gives you the best indication of popularity-or lack of it. You should generally aim to write for sites with at least 10,000 subscribers, but there are exceptions to this rule. And often you can’t find a site’s list size anywhere anyway, so you can’t rely on it.
  2. The number of comments and social shares posts usually gives you an idea of how many people read the site. If both numbers are low, it generally means the readers aren’t engaged or there’s only a few of them. Either way, it’s usually not worth it to write for them.
  3. How well their audience matches the one you want to attract. For example, if you target health enthusiasts, you shouldn’t write for a site about weight loss; you’ll find few enthusiasts there. Don’t just look at all sites in your general industry. Rather look at the readers’ interests and experience.

If all indicators look positive, you can almost certainly get good results, but only trying will tell you for sure; I’ve been surprised a couple of times by smaller than expected results from big sites.

Subscribers from guest posts 02

2. Pick A Grabbing Topic

Topic selection is the most important aspect of successful guest blogging after picking the right sites. The difference can be that you get 35 or 440 new subscribers (not a typo).

'Topic selection is the most important aspect of successful guest blogging' @peter_sandeenClick To Tweet

One way to find a great topic is to look at the “most popular posts” lists many sites have in their sidebars.

But you’re not limited to those topics. In fact, you’re almost guaranteed to get the best results with something that’s not on those lists-yet.

The key is to consider what is the most pressing problem the site’s readers have and/or what goal they’re most driven to achieve. Then write a post that clearly helps them with that.

Alternatively (or additionally), you can go with something provocative/controversial. For example, “Avoid the mistake that even Copyblogger, ThinkTraffic, and Derek Halpern are making”  is the most successful guest post I’ve written here in Mirasee (resulted in 440+ new subscribers). That said, controversy fails more often than it succeeds, so consider if you’re sure you know how to make it work.

As long as you help with an imminent problem or an important goal you’re going to get results.

3. Offer Something More

A great post-a true masterpiece-will flop miserably in terms of list growth if you don’t get this part right.

And far more than 50% of guest authors forget this key aspect completely.

This step is what most guest bloggers get wrong and keeps them from getting results. Click To Tweet

The usual way to direct readers to your list is to have a link in your byline to a free ebook etc. people get when they join your list. That’s good.

But if that offer has nothing to do with the topic of the post, very few readers will be interested enough to download it.

To some extent, this means you have to stick to writing about topics that closely relate to an opt-in incentive you already have. But that’s not the whole truth.

It’s enough to tie in the topic of your post to the free offer you have; the topic doesn’t have to be identical.

For example, if you write a guest post about portrait photography and your opt-in incentive is an ebook about lighting, you could mention (within the post) how important lighting is to portraits. When the readers then notice the mention of the ebook, it makes sense for them to get it; they’re in the mindset for learning more about lighting.

Without that connection, you can write countless guest posts and still have few people-if anyone-join your list.

Subscribers from guest posts 03

Build Your List Without Losing Time

The most common frustration people seem to have with anything related to online marketing is how slow it can be to build an audience.

And sure, it’s going to take forever if you write for an empty room, that is, your site before you have a significant number of readers. But you could build your list by hundreds if not thousands of subscribers in the next weeks and months-not years.

So, next time you think about writing a blog post, consider if you should write a guest post instead.

If you want even better results from every guest post you write, download this free “7 Key Steps to Guest Blogging Success”  ebook (takes 10 minutes to read).

It shows you in more detail how to find the right sites to write for, how to pick the best topics, and how to get your posts accepted to big sites.

You’ll also learn how to drive more readers to your email list and how to build a lasting relationship with the site owners you write for.

And if you have any questions or thoughts to share, leave a comment below.

Get Started With Guest Blogging

Use this handy guide to get started with guest blogging!

About Peter Sandeen

Peter Sandeen dreams of sailing with his wife and dogs on the Finnish coast-unless he's helping someone build a clear marketing message and strategy that creates sales consistently. Download the quick 5-step exercise that shows what ideas are most likely to make people want to buy your products and services.

52 thoughts on “How to Get 100+ Subscribers from EACH and EVERY ONE of Your Guest Posts

  1. hi Peter

    I wonder if your resource box on FirePole brings 100+ leads from this guest post alone

    Personally, I’ve submitted more than 50 guest posts, on small and large sites (relevant audiences)

    Unless your resource box is targeted to your guest post title, you’ll get little to no subscribers. That was my experience… I’m sure you and other readers may have experienced different results

    So I look forward to hearing from everybody who had major success with guest posts, attracting leads…

    • Hey John,

      I usually get a little under 100 from guest posts at Firepole Marketing. But when some of them go much higher, the average is well over the 100/post.

      Don’t know how this one will do until it’s been up for a couple of days…


  2. Peter,

    Really great stuff here dude. You’ve gotten so good, I got half way through this article and was like, “Peter wrote this.” I then scrolled down and sure enough it was you.

    This is a glaring weakness for me. I don’t guest post nearly enough.

    Thanks for another great kick in the rear end.


      • Not sure if you have a voice?
        You sounded downright professional and so convincing. Big up my friend.
        Like you were the pied piper I’ve just got to follow those links and get those juicy guest posting guides.
        I hope they work for fiction writers looking to expand their readership by blogging about topics related to their stories or rather, “The world around the story”

        • Hey Douglas,

          🙂 Maybe that’s my voice then?

          If you know the kind of people you’re writing for (fiction), you can write to sites that they’re likely to read. The process is the same as in other cases, though takes a bit more work to implement because the connection between what you’re selling (books) aren’t quite as clearly connected to the topics you write guest posts about.


  3. Some freelancing job sites such as Pro Blogger Job Board now frequently have sites that are hiring people just to do guest posts for them. A year or two ago it seemed to be just plain article writers and bloggers.
    One question:
    One thing I have noticed is that many sites have guest post submission criteria while others do not. Yet the ones that do not still have guest posts.
    Is it essential to contact sites you may be interested in submitting to in order to know their criteria?

    • Hey Matt,

      Yeah, many sites that accept guest posts don’t have guidelines (publicly). I wouldn’t ask for the guidelines separately because you can guess pretty much what they are, and if you stick to the cautious side (no links to your site and a few links to other pages on their site), you should be fine 🙂

      But read their posts a bit more carefully as that can give you a better idea of what they want.


  4. Incredible timing! I launched my blog lady week and have been deliberating today whether to focus on writing a blog for my own site or someone else’s. You’ve just solved the dilemma for me! Thank you!

  5. I guest post quite often and get paid for it. I am extremely grateful for the traffic but I haven’t converted many to subscribers at all. Maybe I need to consider a better incentive although my ‘5 Lies That Are Ruining Your Life’ ecourse seemed like a great way to pique people’s interest. The rest of my articles are all over the place concerning topics. I’ll keep trying!

    • I think it’s easier to convert visitors to subscribers when you have something valuable to offer.
      Maybe make a survey and ask people what’s on their minds and provide that so they subscribe for it?
      Also a landing page is great for converting subscribers EASILY though I’m yet to put up a proper one.
      Keep trying, it’s all a learning process. Don’t forget to have fun!

    • Hey,

      If you’re not sure what your target audience wants, Douglas’ idea to put up a survey to find out is a great one. And also, if you don’t lead people straight to a landing page, you’re much less likely to get them to subscribe.

      Let me know if you have any questions I can help with 🙂


      • I do have a question. How do you direct traffic to a landing page? Do you mean have the landing page as the static page and have them click over to the blog? Most of my traffic comes from articles people share so even if I had a landing page they wouldn’t see it on first visit.

        • Hey Te-Erika,

          I meant that when you write a guest post, use a link in the byline that goes directly to a landing page.

          If people come to your blog pages, you can try to direct them to the landing pages with links and by mentioning the offer in your posts.

          Did I answer what you meant? 🙂


  6. Great insight Peter!

    Just wanted to know if you reciprocate writing guest posts with other blogs and have them write on yours? I have approached some blogs about writing guest posts and some have asked in return to write on my blog.

    The problem is they have the audience but the writing or content on their blog is not the best. Which means I will get sub-par or poorly written content on my blog if they write for me.

    How do you go about this especially if the blog you want to reach has a good sized audience?

    • Hey Sam!
      Well I’m not Peter but here’s a solution that might make sense for you. If their content isn’t up to par, analysis it and see what you think it’s missing and tell them to add or tweak it up and don’t forget to say the change will be more responsive for you audience. After all, it’s YOUR audience they’re targeting so you know them better. And you’re doing this for the better of them and your own wellbeing. Plus your followers keep getting great content. Everybody wins 🙂

    • Hey Samuel,

      That comes up sometimes, but very rarely for me. And I get off quite easily because I just tell them that I’m not currently publishing any guest posts…

      But yeah… that’s a difficult situation if you can’t just tell them that you don’t accept guest posts. One option would be to tell them that you edit guest posts, so they have to accept that you might edit their post too. That at least gives you a chance to improve their post.

      Another solution, though not as nice, is to first get your post published, and when they submit their post for you, you start “the usual” improvement process you want every guest post to go through; you tell them what they could change to improve the writing and help them edit it. If at the end you just don’t think the post is up to par, you have to apologize that you can’t publish it because “[insert specific reasons why the post isn’t up to par].” Or at the end, use the previous idea (edit the post enough to make it good).

      Does that help at all?

      And what Douglas already suggested is also very valid.


    • Hey Kathy,

      There are indicators like social share counts, comments, and yes, Alexa rank.

      Alexa ranks work fairly well when you compare sites that are very similar. But you can’t compare cross-industry with any confidence that the result is true (that’s because of the way they track the links and traffic).

      You can also look at their social media accounts. Though note that it works only if they clearly put a lot of effort into their social media presence. If they don’t even try to grow a Twitter following, the lack of it doesn’t tell you much 😉


  7. Thank you for the kick in the pants Peter! I was just getting ready to write a post for my own blog, knowing full well I should be writing guest posts to build my list. “Build Your List Without Losing Time” is exactly what I needed to hear. I need to stop procrastinating and start guest blogging. Thanks for the great tips!

  8. Point 3 is very critical and often forgotten. It’s amusing how we miss the “Why” (or “Why didn’t I?”) aspect of us signing up to a guest blogger’s offer at the end of an article.

    I’ve read quite a number on guest posts (not only on FPM) but I’ve only signed up to a small handful of them (I’m on your list, Peter hehe) and it’s often because of Point 3.

    I see an interesting post on getting traffic, for example, but the resource box will often say something like: “XYZ blogs at domain dot com, grab the free report on how to optimize your ppc campaign in 10 easy steps here [link]”.

    The disconnect between the topic and the resource box turns the latter into a STOP SIGN for the reader.

    That’s an interesting topic to write about, how to make sure your resource box get read…

    P.S.I wonder how many sites allow you to change your resource box?

    • Hey David,

      Thanks 🙂

      And yeah, it’s critical. An unrelated offer just doesn’t make any sense.

      Do you mean how many sites allow you to change the resource box after the post was published? Or how many allow for a different one for each guest post you write?

      If former, not many. You need a really good relationship to be in a position to ask them to go through old posts… I wouldn’t do it.

      If latter, almost every one 😉 Just include the byline to the end of the post, and I haven’t yet seen any sites that wouldn’t allow for different ones for different posts (though one is kind of on the edge of that).

      Let me know if I missed what you meant 🙂


  9. Peter,

    What do you think of offering something truly unique for a particular audience? For instance, if you are promoting your same free e-book on each of your guest posts, why not giving something specific for a that audience only?

    Like, if you have a cooking blog, so on a blog #1, you give your e-book + a checklist to follow, on a cooking blog #2, you give your e-book + an infographic and so on …

    Sure, it takes more work but then again, shouldn’t we offer as much value for our readers as possible?


    • Moi Timo,

      Sorry, I didn’t click the “reply” button with my reply to your comment, so you didn’t get a notification of it. So, check the comments to see it 😉


  10. Moi Timo,

    Good idea. I’ve seen people occasionally make a “unique” offer for an audience. The issue to some extent is how complicated it makes things. That said, it could improve conversion rates…

    I guess I’ll have to test it and write a (guest) post about it 😀


  11. Hello,

    Nice Post! Actually I’m new here and i really enjoyed reading the post about increasing the subscribers via guest posts, thats sounds like a unique idea.


  12. Hi Peter
    A superb post and, as has been mentioned, a very important tactic regarding the resource box. I think you ommitted another equally important tactic, in fact it’s one you are demonstrating so well . It’s engagement.

    You’ve taken time to answer all the comments which shows to everyone that you value the relationship and have an interest in each person who responds to the original blog post.

    I often feel that writers who do not answer comments loose some of the goodwill they have created and potentially reduce the effectiveness of thier writing.

    As they say in Helsinki Kiitos paljon Peter

    • Hey Paul,

      Thanks 🙂

      And yeah, that’s important. It’s unfortunate how few blogs make it easy to get notifications of new comments. I’d never have the time to check back to older posts if it wasn’t automatic.

      Let me know if you have any questions I can help with 🙂

      Terveisin (kind of like “All the best” in Finnish),

  13. Hi Peter,

    Those are definitely some amazing statistics from submitting guest posts. I have been dragging my feet on using this method.

    I find myself writing for my blog. However, what you say definitely makes won’t do you any good unless you already have a lot of followers.

    I can see that using this method has definitely helped your blog grow. I need to get busy and start looking into guest posting. Thanks for this share and have a great day.

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  17. Hi Peter,

    Amazing article. You have come up with such a simple but effective solution to the problem of getting subscribers. All the three steps you have written about are flowing from one to the next logically.

    Also, the tip about connecting a freebie to the topic of the article is a great one. It all makes solid sense. Whatever the count of subscribers, there just cannot be a more effective way to do it.

    Thanks for sharing these valuable tips with us. Every beginner blogger should read it.

    Best Regards,


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