Guest blogging is one of the best ways to increase traffic, generate leads, and build brand awareness. From a business perspective, well-chosen guest blogging opportunities can result in a massive amount of positive impact on a site.
Guest blogging gets you noticed by the people who need to notice you. As a brand, guest blogging opportunities allow your company to get their name out there, while at the same time allowing the readers to then experience your content production skills firsthand. When you do guest blogging right, you’ll start to realize the massive return this form of organic content can afford.
3 Ways to Determine Your Guest Content Goals
Before you embark upon the twists and turns of the guest blogging road, you’re going to need to determine what you want to get out of your guest blogging opportunities. Just like every other structured marketing campaign, you need to have an end-game in mind to properly utilize your guesting posts. Ideally, as a guest blogger, you will be seeking to do one or more of the following:
- Position yourself as a go-to person in the industry. Guest blogging allows you to share your experience and knowledge, which helps others perceive you as an expert.
- Gain exposure for your brand, products, or services. This also helps to generate backlinks that help your SEO campaign immensely.
- Drawing an audience. When done correctly, guest blogging can help you gain new readers that can become sales for your site.
For these goals to come to fruition, you need to have a unique mix of skills and execution. Just having an idea isn’t enough to get the most out of your guest posting. You need to become an expert in your field, reading every bit of information you can get your hands on. Once you’ve done that, you need to develop a real and actionable plan for gaining the attention you deserve from your guest blogging efforts.
How to Figure Out What’s a Good Guest Blogging Opportunity and What Isn’t
Most of the major players in the content creation field are open to the idea of having a guest blogger on their site. The tough part can sometimes be being chosen from the crowd. After all, experienced guest bloggers are more likely to get first preference than inexperienced bloggers.
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get your foot in the door, though. After all – everyone starts somewhere!
When you’re just starting out, you may have to settle for less prestigious guest blogging opportunities. Although these aren’t as glamorous or far-reaching as the larger blogs, they are no less important in your quest to build a name as a well-known blogger.
That said, it’s well worth your time and energy to learn to differentiate good guest blogging opportunities from bad ones. Here’s how:
What Good Blogging Opportunities Look Like
Good guest blogging opportunities are those that give you a decent amount of coverage for your time investment. Remember, your guest blog should be as well researched (or better!) than your personal or in-house blogging efforts.
For professional guest blogging situations you are going to need to pitch your topic to the owner of the blog to see if it meshes with what they’re trying to achieve. Generally, you and the host can sit down and discuss what they expect and what you can deliver. From there, you may be able to develop a working topic and title before you get writing.
Keep in mind that some guest blogging options will offer less support than others, and this is largely a function of traffic. The most in-demand guest blogging platforms get thousands of submissions each month, and it’s impossible to keep up with them all manually.
That said, these platforms tend to use electronic forms and a team of editors and content managers to get guest blogs up on their sites. This shouldn’t rule a guest blogging platform out for you. Instead, pay attention to things like the professionalism of the staff, the Alexa Rank of the site, and the expedience with which staffers get back to you.
What Bad Guest Blogging Opportunities Look Like
To put it simply: bad guest blogging opportunities are those that don’t give you a lot of coverage or that abuse your work without giving you enough in return. Beware of sites that make it excessively easy to guest blog for them, since they’re among the worst offenders.
While you shouldn’t have to jump through flaming hoops to get your post featured, you should expect there to be a review and quality assurance process. If this doesn’t exist, it’s a likely bet that, not only will your guest post not count for much, but that it will quickly be lost in the sea of low-quality blogs out there.
Keep this in mind: If all you have to do is sign up and post then it’s probably not a very high-quality opportunity. Avoiding these sites is important since they don’t help you attain your guest blogging goals. These are usually the sites that take anything you give to them as a blog post without an actual discussion with the owner or content manager. Again: if you don’t have to talk to a real person or team, it’s probably not a good idea to guest post for them.
Guest Blogging Doesn’t Mean the End of Direct Content Production
Just because you’re getting into guest blogging doesn’t mean that you can stop producing your own original content. If anything, it’s an encouragement to continue with your own direct content. When you finally start to earn customers from a guest blog, you’ll still need to show them that you can back that content up with your own work. That’s why maintaining your own blog and content creation efforts is so important throughout.
Setting up an internal content production schedule helps you to balance your private posting with whatever guest opportunities arise. Guest blogging allows you to create relationships with the audience of the host blog and this can translate into growing your own audience. When you look at it like that, it’s clear that both approaches are essential, and that you can’t afford to compromise either.
In fact, having great content on your own blog is essential to being accepted to a guest blogging platform. Just like you work to boost your credit score before you apply for a mortgage, you need to build up your own body of content before you apply for a guest blogging platform.
That said, spend several months before you start guest blogging publishing your own high-quality content. This way, any publisher who checks your blog for reference will find that you’re a skilled, successful writer with a lot to offer.
How to Start Guest Blogging: 7 Tips
So, now that you know how important guest blogging is, let’s talk about how to do it. Here are seven tips:
1. Start Small
Unless you’ve already got a very well established brand platform, you can’t expect to pitch Neil Patel and get featured. Start small. Platforms like Business.com are fantastic guest blogging opportunities that don’t require you to be an internet superstar to get featured.
While some people see this modest start as a frustration, since things aren’t moving as fast as they’d like, it’s the natural course of things. Start small and build your way up as you progress. Not only does this allow you to build your skills, but it also helps you build your brand as a reputable guest blogger.
2. Find Some Guest Blogging Platforms
The next step is to find a guest blogging platform. If you don’t already have a few possibilities in mind, you’ll need to start with a few simple internet searches. To start, type a simple query into Google: “[your niche] guest blog.” You can also substitute things like “write for us,” “contribute content,” or “get featured.”
This simple search should offer some results. As an alternative, you can look at sites that your competitors or friends are blogging for, and apply there.
3. Pitch Your Guest Post
Once you’ve found a guest platform you want to contribute to, you’ll need to “pitch” your post idea. When you go to guest blog, the first thing you’ll need to do is develop a plan for what you’ll write about. There’s not a reputable guest blog out there that will accept a post without a pitch topic, so it’s well worth spending time on this process.
When you start the pitching process, here are some things you’ll want to consider:
- What sort of problems has the blog owner not tackled yet? Can I cover this?
- What sort of content is this blog known for? What encourages its readers to read and share posts?
- What will be relevant to their readers?
Remember, when you pitch a blog post, you want to write about something that’s within your area of expertise, but also something that is relevant to the blog’s audience. If you write to an audience outside that one, you’re risking your pitch being turned down or your post not being as helpful and informative as it could.
If you incorporate this sort of thinking into your pitch for a topic, you should not have many problems getting featured. Always keep in mind that reading the blog you want to contribute to is the single best way to help you determine a good topic for pitching to the owner.
4. Write Your Post
Once your pitch is accepted and you’ve got the all-clear to start writing, you’ll want to keep one thing in mind throughout: quality. Remember, your purpose here is to appeal to the blog owner’s audience. This isn’t about you. This isn’t about your company, and it’s not about how great your product is. This is incredibly important. If your blog comes off as salesy or self-congratulatory in nature, you’ll place yourself at real risk of being pulled from the platform. Why, you ask? Site owners don’t want to populate their platforms with useless information, and that’s exactly what self-pitching content is.
Instead, seek to be helpful and relevant to the audience in question. Put yourself in their shoes and develop a plan for answering their questions and seeing to their needs. The more you can cater to their desires, the more successful your guest post will be, and the more likely the platform owner will be to feature more of your posts in the future.
Take your time on the writing process. If you rush, your post won’t come out as well as it could have, which is death for a guest blog. Leave yourself plenty of time to edit your post and read it for accuracy and relevance.
5. Be Prepared to Edit as Needed
If you’re writing for an industry magazine or something similar, there’s a decent chance that your pitch post will come back to you with edits. Be prepared for this. While it doesn’t mean that your pitch was garbage, it does mean that you’ll need to add to it to make it fit the organization’s goals.
If you do get a response email from an editor or site owner, and they want some edits, complete these as quickly as possible. Site owners don’t have time to sit around and wait for you, and they want to get content up on their site as quickly as possible. The faster you can complete these edits, the more likely it is you will be that person.
6. Write Your Guest Post Bio
Next, you’ll want to write your guest post bio. Generally, guest posting platforms have some rules for these. These may include character limits and restrictions on the types and number of links you can include.
No matter what the restrictions are (or aren’t), your guest post bio should be short, professional, and to-the-point. Highlight your largest authority metrics and include a link to your website or social media platform of choice (assuming your guest blog platform allows it) so people can find out more about you.
7. Respond To Commenters
Now comes the fun part: responding to your readers. If you’ve written an engaging and exciting guest post, people will respond with comments, input, and questions. As the author, it’s your job to engage with these commenters. Keep in mind that you always want to be professional and avoid pitching yourself or your company in these posts.
The more helpful and relevant you can be to these commenters, the more you’ll help the site owner out (After all – who doesn’t want friendly, relevant, informative people posting on their site?) and the easier it will be to gain future guest posting opportunities.
The Case for Guest Blogging
At the end of the day, guest blogging is one of the best ways to get your name out there and to generate leads and traffic from external blogs. While the path to a successful guest blogging placement can be long, and there are a lot of dead ends, every legitimate opportunity you get is one more step on the road to success.
By defining your goals early and working hard to achieve them, it’s easy to use guest blogging as a method to build your online reputation and broaden your readership. To ensure your guest blogging efforts are as productive as possible, always ask yourself if a guest posting opportunity is helping you achieve your goals.
If it’s not, you’re better off moving on and finding one that will. This helps you to separate good guest posting opportunities from bad ones, and will ensure that your efforts are always going to the most productive platforms out there.
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