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How To Build Your Email List Through Smart Guest Blogging

Guest Blogging To Build Your Email List

When it comes to growing your blog, one of the most effective and reliable methods is to utilize your opt-in list.

Your list is a valuable source of targeted readers.

  • They are people who have willingly put their trust in you.
  • They already like what you have to say.

Growing your list should be a top priority, but how do you go about doing that when you’re squarely focused on guest posting on other people’s blogs?

Today I’ll show you how you can carry on guest posting and build your list at the same time.

Which blogs should you approach?

Before we get into the details of list building, it’s important to look at the type of blogs you should be approaching, and where to look for them.

You want to build your influence – to position yourself as an expert in your niche, so it makes sense to approach those blogs that already have weight and influence in your chosen area of expertise.

Sure, you could guest post on blogs that are at the same level of growth as yours, but you won’t see the results you’re after.

Remember, influential blogs already have an established following that you can tap into. This is vital when building your list.

Head over to a site like Alltop and browse topics that are related to the type of content you publish. Browse the blogs in each of the topics and pick out the ones with a substantial following and influence.


Thoroughly check out their blog (chances are you already read it so are familiar with it) and then find out what their guest posting procedure is. Most blogs have a dedicated page with details about guest posting. If you can’t find that info however, a quick, polite email inquiring will get you what you need.

For specifics on how to craft an awesome pitch, checkout Adam’s post on blogger outreach tips.

Coming up with knock-out content ideas

Once you’ve landed a guest posting opportunity, the next thing you’ll need to tackle is coming up with content that will knock the socks off your audience. Chances are you’ll be given an idea from the owner of your chosen blog.

If not, consider these things:

  • You’re not only writing to the blog’s audience, you’re writing to your potential future audience. What do they want to read about?
  • Your aim is to get people to sign up to your list, so your content needs to be actionable and valuable to get people to click!

So for now, forget your niche.

Grab a sheet of paper and start brainstorming, Look for ways your own audience and the audience of your chosen blog can over-lap.

Guest Posting Topic IdeasIt might be that you have to open your mind to branching out from your area of expertise.

But that’s not a bad thing!

It gives you scope to reach a wider audience, providing you’re writing to them on topics they want to hear about. So do your research and give them the value they want.

Utilizing your author bio for list building

You’ve landed your guest posting opportunity, you’ve come up with a knock-out topic that you know the readers are going to love. Now, it’s time to get people signing up to your list and it’s going to involve your author bio or byline.

In nearly all guest blogging cases, you’ll get a byline at the end of your post that will link out to a destination of your choosing – usually your own blog. Where most bloggers make a huge mistake is by using that valuable backlink to link to their blog homepage.

Don’t make this mistake! You want to build your list, which is much more valuable in the long-run than gaining a few extra visitors to your homepage.

Instead, choose to link your bio to a landing page that has a sign-up form for your email list. Invite people to sign-up before they even reach your own content with a direct call to action.

They’re coming straight from your guest post, to a proposition. Chances are they did enjoy reading your post since they clicked through, so they’re doubly likely to sign up to your mailing list when instantly faced with it.

LeadPages is an especially useful tool for this step in your plan. They allow you to create easy, effective, no-nonsense landing pages that seamlessly integrate with your mailing list provider. In fact, Adam used LeadPages when he guest posted on my blog:

About the author: Adam Connell is the Founder of Blogging Wizard, a blog focused on helping bloggers to increase their traffic and email subscribers. If you want to blog smarter and not harder, download his free guide and learn how you can leverage the influencers of others to boost your traffic and authority.

Alternatively, many blog themes have built-in landing page templates you can utilize for this purpose. Adam also has a list of landing page plugins you can check out.

Comments are your friends!

Blog Comments

Last of all, don’t abandon your guest post once it’s been published. You want to nurture relationships with your readers and show them that you value the fact they’ve taken the time to read and comment.

Check back in on your post a couple times per day to respond to comments and feedback.

Not only does this take some pressure away from the host blogger, it shows your audience that you’re invested in them. You care about them and what they have to say. In turn, it will make them much more likely to check you out and ultimately, sign up to your list.


There are multiple ways you can build your list through guest posting. All it takes is a little planning to get the results you want.

Let’s recap on what we’ve covered in this post:

  • Know where to look for influential blogs – sites like Alltop are great to start with
  • Find the overlap when picking your topic – cater to both yours and your host blog’s audience
  • Link to a landing page with your opt-in in your bio, instead of your homepage
  • Comment, connect, converse – show your audience that you value their input

Now it’s over to you

What methods do you use when approaching guest posting? What pointers would you add, to help people considering building their mailing list this way?

Let me know in the comments!

About Sue Anne Dunlevie

Sue Anne Dunlevie runs Successful, where she helps beginning bloggers grow their lifestyle-friendly businesses.  As a free bonus, she has written a checklist on the “51 Ways To Launch (Or Relaunch) Your Hot Blog”.

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  • Great points you have outlined here. I’m writing an ebook on similar topic and I have to say, I agree…. not linking back to an opt in page on your site is the number one flop. I have followed prominent guest bloggers to their sites only to be greeted by crickets.

    Needless to say that guest posting opportunity was all for nothing.

    I checked your one to see if you practise what you preach, and you most definitely walk the talk.

    Great post.

    • Sue Anne Dunlevie

      Thanks, Nokthula (what a beautiful name!),

      I’ve heard and seen the crickets on other blogs also. One way to change that is to have a “Welcome Gate” or splash page. It captures email address and the reader can skip it and go right to the site. My welcome gate gets about an 18% conversion right now and I’m A/B testing a new headline.

      Thanks for checking up on me – gotta do what I teach, right?

      • Thanks for the compliment Sue. 18%? That’s incredible. I will be sure to check this out myself.

    • Great to see you here, Nokthula 🙂

      I really like Sue’s approach with this – welcome gates are a great way to make this work and let existing visitors through directly to the blog.

      Thanks for the comment!

      • Sue Anne Dunlevie

        I love your new home page, Adam, which is a “Welcome Gate” also!


        • Thanks Sue! I’ve got it set to a home page at the moment, definitely need to test it as a welcome gate though!


      • Most definitely, Adam . I like the name Welcome Gates.

  • FrancesCaballo

    I love the idea of including in my bio a link to a landing page for an email signup. I hadn’t thought of that before! Thanks.

    • Sue Anne Dunlevie

      It really works, Frances. Thanks for stopping by and commenting today!

  • Hi Sue Anne,

    Building my list has not been much of a priority until recently. Having a new blog (4 months old) and putting energy into building it and the audience has been an amazing experience. I’ve added for those that want an update of when each article is written they can go my email or RSS has been a game changer. I admit, I’m surprised by the number that sign up for it as well as the high number of open rates.

    It’s not at all what I expected…

    Alltop, why didn’t I think of that one sooner? What a great idea to find those who serve the same audience I do but in a different way.

    I have been doing some research to look for business bloggers as well as business journalists that blog.

    Hum… just goes to show you that reading great sites with experienced writers such as yourself pays off big!!!!!

    I really appreciate your post and the ideas!!!!

    Hope you’re off to a great week.

    ~ Don Purdum

    • Sue Anne Dunlevie

      Don, you would never know you have a newish blog! You are everywhere.

      Like Danny Iny says, you are Freddy Krueger (every time I look at a blog, you have a comment there!)

      Alltop is great – especially since they included my blog several weeks ago 🙂

      Have a great week!

      • LOL… thank you! It’s four months old and growing. I’m loving the experience and the friendships!

        The only way to really build your following is to engage, engage, and engage some more with real influencers and people. Right? So, it’s been a lot of fun getting to know a lot of people online and engaging with them.

        I got accepted into Alltop two months ago with the email confirmation. Not sure if I’m supposed to do anything else? Guess I better do some research and find out…

        ~ Don

        • Sue Anne Dunlevie

          No, you don’t have to do anything after getting accepted to Alltop. Congrats! They do send a badge you can use on your site, if you want.


          • Okay, cool. I wasn’t aware of that. I haven’t gotten any traffic from them but you never know what could happen in the future. Right?

  • Ashley Faulkes

    Very in depth tips there `Sue Anne, I am sure many a blogger will appreciate this one! Looking forward to reading more from you on your blog or other guest posts here. Adam always gets the good ones to guest post :>

    • Great to see you here, my friend. I do get the good ones don’t I 😉 Hope all is going well for you!

    • Sue Anne Dunlevie

      That’s so kind, Ashley! I’m so glad you came over to see me today.


  • Hi Sue Anne,

    So great to see you on Adam’s blog. Comments are gold both on your blog and on any guest post you place. I pop in a few times after the post goes live every day or 2, for about 4 days after the publish date. At that point I’ll have responded to most folks, to build bonds, and to solidify friendships.

    That’s what guest blogging is about.

    People drive our blogs, and if you over deliver, people will find you through guest posting opportunities. Over do it, in a good way. Post super in-depth posts, sharing your best work, and you’ll make the bond you want to make with fellow bloggers and their audiences.

    I landed a handful of guesties last month, while here in Fiji, and I must say that forming those bonds through comments helped me expand my presence pronto.

    Thanks Sue Anne and Adam.

    Tweeting soon.


    • Ryan, I really like your approach where you check back on your guest posts every few days to check for responses.

      That’s a great way to go, especially because email notifications aren’t always too reliable.

      Great to hear you landed some more guest posts – your opportunities will only continue to grow!

      Talk soon,

    • Sue Anne Dunlevie

      You have been all over the blogosphere lately, Ryan! Thanks for popping in and commenting today.


  • Hi Sue Anne,

    I can surely say I dropped the ball with linking to a landing page after my guest post.

    I have not used the Alltop method before. I do my share of reading and have gained my list of influential blogs just from making my rounds.

    I have to say that your section on ‘Coming Up With Knock-Out Content Ideas’ is on point for sure. I see so much spun content around the web. It is important that we go the extra mile and create something new or put a refreshing spin on a common topic.

    Thanks for this Sue Anne and Adam. Ya’ll have a great rest of the week!

    • Sue Anne Dunlevie

      Hi, Steven,

      Thanks for coming by Adam’s blog today.

      Yes, Alltop is a great method and one I use all the time. I also use “BuzzSumo” – a free service where you can put in a topic or competitor’s URL and find out what posts are doing the best.

      Try them out – I think you’ll like BuzzSumo!

  • Sue Anne,

    I really need to be better about seeking out those great guest posting opportunities because I’ve met some great people that way in the past. I have to say, though, I haven’t gotten quite the results I had hoped for, even after being featured on some pretty big name blogs. That’s why I’m not entirely sure that seeking out the “big fish” is always the way to go. I’ve gotten more regular, engaged readers from the posts I’ve done on smaller blogs.

    But maybe that’s just me. =)

    Talk to you soon, I’m sure!

    • Sue Anne Dunlevie

      Here’s the key, Brittany – the size of the blog doesn’t matter as much. Look for blogs who get engagement – an average of 20 comments a post. THAN you’ll get the traffic!

      Don’t tell anyone else our secret 🙂

      • Hi Sue and Adam,

        Thanks for sharing the secret here. Wonderful post indeed. Even, I experienced the same thing. I was submitted a guest post in high PR blog but, it doesn’t profitable for me. I didn’t care about the user interaction that time.

        After submitting a guest post to other blog which had good users interaction and comments, I got lot of traffic. Even, blog commenting can also increase traffic.

        Thanks Adam for sharing about and other such things to increase traffic and mailing list.

        Have a great day!

        • Hi Nisha,

          Great to hear you switched your focus to user interaction. Your experience is more proof of how we all need to keep the focus on user interaction.

          Thanks for checking out Sue’s post!

    • Great to see you here, Brittany 🙂

      I’ve experienced the same thing, Brittany. Sue’s point about going for the blog’s with the most engaged audience really works.

      Another thing I’ve noticed is that there are high authority blogs out there that get a huge amount of traffic, but when you divide it all up on a per post basis, the actual number of average visits per post is really low.

      But, sometimes seeking out the big fish can serve a purpose because the fact that you’ve been featured on that blog can be used to convey social proof. And occasionally when you contribute the right post at the right time the results can be much better.

      There have been times when I’ve contributed to a popular blog and they’ve referred hardly any visits but that post has opened doors to opportunities on other blogs.


  • Nice post Sue. Right to the point with great tips.

    It’s interesting how all the noise from the SEO community about guest blogging being bad has killed a lot of the activity. Of course, that’s great news for all the serious bloggers because there is now less competition ( or should I say noise) from other bloggers all clambering to guest post.

    Another tip for finding good blogs for your audience is to go onto Facebook and do a search for pages liked by people who like my page. You can then check out those pages and see if they have a blog. Then see if they accept guest posts.

    It’s not the quickest way to find guest blog opportunities but you can find a very good fits for your audience that way.

    Expect to see this post shared soon on my Facebook page.
    Thanks again

    • Sue Anne Dunlevie

      Hi, Mike,

      I agree – the Matt Cutts of Google and SEO people have scared away the “bad” guest posters. Which makes it better for us “good” guest posters.

      I like your idea of searching for great blogs on Facebook. Like I told Brittany, BuzzSumo is free and is also a great way to see even a topic that will do well for you.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • Hi Sue,

    E-mail list building is very important for every bloggers if they want to drive some more traffic to their blog.

    Like you said comments are the friends because more we get engaged with our readers more the trust we can build.

    Knowing about the niche of the blog at which bloggers are going to write guest post is important because they should target the audience which can resemble their blog niche too.

    Thanks for great tips.

    Hope you are doing fine this week.:)


    • Sue Anne Dunlevie

      Hi, Ravi,

      So nice to catch you in the comments here on Adam’s blog!

      Trust building is so important for bloggers. Without trust, not only do you not get as many readers and subscribers, it’s much harder to do blogger outreach.

      Hope all is well and enjoy the rest of your week.

  • Hi Sue,

    Really simple but valuable tips… Thanks for sharing…

    I have not tried this Guest blogging thing effective or I did NOT have a proper plan in place for this…

    Thanks for opening my eyes and motivation… 🙂


    • Sue Anne Dunlevie

      Hi, Karmaker,

      Thanks for commenting here and on my blog, too!

      I’m so glad you are taking away actionable steps from this post.

      Let me know if I can help!

      Happy guest posting,

  • Hi Sue Anne,

    Great post on Adam’s blog here. You know, I just recently started guest blogging and I do the things that you mentioned. I really think that alot of people miss the boat when they just link to their blog and not a specific landing page or something. That’s really your opportunity to shine and you have to link to something that those readers would want to have and sign up for.

    Excellent points here, Sue Anne. And lastly, you HAVE to reply to the comments on the post that you wrote. It’s just foolish if you don’t and I’ve see someone do that before. They wrote a guest post but they never replied to any comments left by anyone.

    Made no sense.

    Thanks Adam for having Sue Anne on here. Hope you both have an awesome day.

    – Andrew

    • Sue Anne Dunlevie

      Hi, Andrew,

      Thanks for reading the post! Guest blogging is a big boon to traffic, getting links and most importantly, getting on the radar of popular bloggers.

      Thanks and happy blogging,

    • Sue Anne Dunlevie

      Hi, Andrew,

      Thanks for stopping here to comment, as well as on Successful Blogging!

      Replying to comments is key, Andrew. It’s polite, it’s responsible and it is another chance to get your core message out there.

      Have a great weekend!

  • Great guest post Adam, and congratulations Sue.

    You did a fantastic job!

    Honestly Sue, the only site I’ve guest posted on is yours. 🙂 And I didn’t prepare as much as I should have, but the experience was invaluable.

    However, I’d did pick up some great tips to add to your excellent advice in a guest blogging course I was recently studying.

    Tip #1 – When you’ve found a blog to target, use a free tool called Quick Sprout by Neil Patel to discover the most popular micro-topics on the entire site.

    With this tool you can see the top 10 ‘most popular’ posts, determined by social media shares. That way you’ll know EXACTLY what topic(s) interest readers the most.

    Tip #2 – Next up, read the comments section of the top 10 posts on your target blog (yup, everyone of them!). You can find golden nuggets in the feedback from the blogs readers.
    Doing so will help you identify their problems, pains and desires – then gear your content around their specific needs.

    I have noticed that you are focusing a lot of guest posts lately Sue, and from what I can see you’re getting great results from your efforts. Keep up the good work!

    Wishing you both an awesome day!

    • Thanks Kerry. Loved your tip about finding the most popular posts and looking through comments to find questions/challenges.

      Thanks for sharing that with us, Kerry. It’s an awesome way to make sure content hits the spot!

    • Sue Anne Dunlevie

      Hi, Kerry,

      Thanks for coming over to comment here on Adam’s blog!

      Thanks also for the tip on Quick Sprout. I’ll go check it out right now.

      I totally agree that you find pearls in the comments on popular blogs.

      I’m enjoying guest posting, Kerry. I’m making some great friends with the colleagues that have me guest post and who I have do reverse guest posts (posting on my blog)!

  • Really wonderful tips here Sue 🙂 Guest blogging is a great strategy for building traffic, relationships, authority and also to establish your brand! It is no joke. I am a proof of it! I was able to grow my blog to the level it is today purely because of guest blogging!

    With guest blogging, the focus should be to deliver awesome content and to deliver value. Plus gaining connections. Building true relationships that last longer.

    And the rest will follow – links, subscriptions, opps, what not!

    When preparing to write a guest post, it is a must that we give our best shot. And the content should be tailored to best suit the audience of the host blog!

    Yes, picking up the right blog to guest post is also a crucial thing!

    Thanks for sharing these nice tips Sue 🙂

    • Sue Anne Dunlevie

      Thanks, Jane, for coming over to comment!

      I agree with you – awesome content and value are the first reasons to guest post. And building a relationship with the owner of the blog and his/her readers.

      And you are correct – everything else follows that!

  • best post sue.guest blogging is really best way to boost traffic.linking back to landing page is also wise act.thank you.

    • Sue Anne Dunlevie

      Hi, Venkatesh,

      Linking back is huge – you’ll see a big difference in sign-ups.

      Thanks for commenting!

  • R Kidambi Badri

    Your suggestion to use author bio page to get email leads than getting them landed directly on the post page is unique. It is a brilliant idea.

    • Sue Anne Dunlevie

      Thanks, Kidambi, I appreciate that!


  • Cate

    I’ve been reading a lot about this recently and it is interesting to see common threads as well as different ideas.

    • Sue Anne Dunlevie

      Thanks for coming by to read and to comment, Cate!


  • Hi, Sue Anne
    Thank for Sharing this post. Now Day,Guest blogging is Best way to Generate more Traffics from blog.

    • Sue Anne Dunlevie

      You are so right, Nishant! Thanks for coming over to comment.


  • Sue Anne Dunlevie

    Thanks, Zarayna. I appreciate the comment!


  • Sue Anne Dunlevie

    Thanks, Musafa! It’s a double win.