Blogging is one of the oldest – and most popular — forms of social media marketing, but guest blogging is something that a lot of businesses still shy away from. The reality is that if you have established a corporate blog, Facebook page or Twitter account, guest blogging is a logical next step in your search engine optimization and online marketing path.
Guest blogging simply means writing a blog post to be published on a blog that is not your own. Even niche industries have at least a handful of blogs dedicated to some aspect of the field, so it should be relatively straightforward to find a suitable outlet for your blog post. As a guest blogger, there are a number of advantages to be enjoyed, not least of which is a link back to your own website. For the blog hosting the post, there is the benefit of fresh new content to help push forward SEO efforts.
Of course, for guest blogging to be a successful and sustained online marketing activity there needs to be a strategic plan in place and a determined course of action set. Simply sending blog posts to any and all blogs you find will be counterproductive and could end with your brand being associated with spam. To get the most out of guest blogging follow these simple steps…
1. Do your research
Pick your guest blog destination with care. Just as you would assess a site for relevance, quality and frequency of update when carrying out a manual link building campaign, the same rules apply to guest blogging. The best blogs are ones that you are already familiar with or the blogs of people you know, but you can also look at blog rolls and search online for suitable blogs related to your industry. Create a shortlist of at least two or three to approach initially rather than putting all of your eggs in one basket. Make sure that the blog is updated frequently as this will help give your inbound links a certain cachet, and read through recent postings and reader comments before submitting a guest blog request to check you are comfortable with the tone and topic of updates.
2. Making your approach
There are a couple of ways to make an approach to the blogger you wish to guest blog for. The first is to think of a topic and then write a post, sending the resultant piece to the blog of your choice on spec. The advantage of this approach is that you can immediately pique the interest of the blogger and give them something they can use immediately, increasing your chances of being published. The downside is that you will have to decide on your own topic with no guidance from the blogger as to what they may be looking for or even if they would like to use a guest blogger on their page.
The second way is to make contact with the blogger first by sending an email or making a call, asking if they have a need for a guest blogger. The upside is that you can discuss topics and be sure your post fits the blogs requirements and desires. The downside is that it can be hard to make yourself stand out using this method of introduction, particularly if the blog you are approaching is a popular one. If you do take this path, be sure to have samples of previous blogging to hand along with a couple of suggestions for your guest blog topic.
3. Personal branding
Writing a guest blog post is a great chance to build credibility and authority and if you are blogging on a well known or high traffic blog, a real opportunity to start to establish yourself as a leader in your field. Spending time developing a really interesting blog topic and then researching your facts and opinions is key – in such a vast arena, standing out from the crowd is difficult, but a well-informed piece will help set your guest blog apart. If you have a controversial or unique take on a subject, don’t be afraid to let your feelings color your blog post, although you must of course be careful to remain professional and be a positive brand advocate for your business. Even if you feel strongly about a particular opinion, presenting a case for the other side as part of the post can also be a great hook and will again underline your credentials and knowledge of the subject.
4. Links and Traffic
Getting a link back is likely to be a main impetus for guest blogging, so double-check before submitting the post that you can specify the anchor text and that your link will be a followed one. If possible, a short biography preceding the link works best as it gives a little more space for background information and can convince the reader to click through after reading the post. If you can include a link in the body of the text as well then do so, but check with the blog owner first and don’t be offended if the answer is no.
Regardless of the number of links you can harvest from your guest blog post, take comfort in the fact that you are also likely to benefit from an amount of high-quality traffic. If you have picked your guest blog publisher with care, the traffic you receive will be interested, engaged and potentially a new client for your business.