Have you recently started a new blog? Promoted it through various channels? Have you been stuck to your screen waiting for your stats to rise? But the traffic leaves you waiting?
We have all been there…
Instead of readers that come in flocks, you feel like watching a scene of a bad western movie:
Sure, sprinkling your content all over the internet—above all social media—is a great way to drive traffic to your blog. Also creating videos and infographics, commenting on high-level blogs in your industry as well as writing killer blog posts with high quality content can work well.
But what if it doesn’t? And what if you are only starting and you don’t have an audience yet on social media to share it with?
No need to despair!
The magic cure that
- builds your audience,
- increases traffic to your blog,
- boosts your reputation and
- establishes you as an expert in your industry
has a name—it’s called guest post.
According to Boost Blog Traffic’s research, guest blogging is one of only four traffic techniques that also works for beginners. Beginners meaning companies with less than 1000 subscribers.
WHAT’S ALL THE FUSS ABOUT?
Guest blogging involves the creation of killer blog posts in order to publish them for free on blogs other than yours. Yes, you read that right: for free.
In the bio section of your post, you include your author and company information, which results in a greater reach and brand awareness.
WHAT’S IN THERE FOR YOU?
Even though you don’t actually get paid for your guest posts, they have a great deal to offer. Let the length of the list of benefits speak for itself:
- 1. gives you more authority
- 2. boosts your recognition
- 3. makes you reach a wider audience
- 4. not only increases your traffic but gets you targeted traffic to your website
- 5. increases your brand awareness
- 6. positions you as an industry expert
- 7. makes others benefit from your expertise
- 8. gives you the opportunity to let your brand have multiple voices (include the whole team)
- 9. helps you to make relationships with other bloggers
- 10. increases the possibility of more future guest post opportunities
- 11. gets you more email subscriptions
If that sounds too good to be true for you, have a look at this post from the Social Media Examiner on examples for big brands that benefit from guest blogging and learn how they do it: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/8-brands-that-benefit-from-guest-blogging/. I’m sure it’ll convince you.
So far, so good. Now, where do we start? Let me break it down for you and guide you through the whole guest blogging process step by step.
Step 1: FIND YOUR BLOG POST A HOME
Guest post opportunities unfortunately don’t just come knocking at your door. It takes effort to lodge your post on another expert’s blogs. So, let’s go and prey on those blogs your target audience lingers.
Industry relevant content
As here implied already, you should look for blogs that publish content relevant to your industry, since their readers are most probably interested in what you have to offer.
Also make sure their readership engages with their content. The more posts shared or commented on, the better and higher the chances you are going to derive a great benefit from it.
Furthermore, in order to make sure that the blog owner is going to spread your post in the digital world, look up her profiles on social media and find out whether she is actively participating.
Follow successful guest bloggers
Another hot tip on how to find an awesome place to post, is to look where the known guest bloggers in your industry post their content. You can easily find that out by using Google Search. Type in “guest posts by…” and make sure you add your keyword. And voilà: Meet the guest bloggers you want to follow.
You can also use Open Site Explorer, a tool that helps you to analyze the backlinks of other bloggers or your competitors so you can track down the blogs they have written for.
Scour social media
As we all know, the blog isn’t the only environment where the posts live. They also get pinned and shared on social media. That’s why you should also include social networks in your search for blogs to write guest posts for. Twitter makes things really easy by providing a search bar.
Just put in your keyword and “guest post” and you’ll be shown the tweets about guest posts in your industry. Follow them all the way to the blogs to see which ones are admitting guest posts.
Engagement monitoring and analytics platforms
Of course you wouldn’t want to post your content on blogs that don’t get any traffic, since the whole point of guest blogging is to increase the traffic to your own blog. Technorati, PostRank and Alltop help you with figuring out whether certain blogs receive traffic or not.
Step 2: PREP TO PITCH A POST
Some of the following tips pick up on the preparation steps that Neil Patel mentions in his post on guest blogging.
Have your own blog
Before expecting to get accepted for a guest post, you have to have your own place where you cultivate your content. Obviously it should not be just some content, but it should be killer content. On how to set up a killer blog, read our post Blog like a boss.
If you happen to have no blog, now is the time to get one. Set up your own WordPress site and get going.
Make yourself familiar with your target blog
Get to know its content and audience and find out if they fit your goals. What topics do they talk about? What content performs best (get some recommendations from Kristi Hines on handy tools that help you finding out in no time here)? Is their audience mainly businesses or customers? Is it a lay or an expert audience?
All of these questions are going to help you deciding whether or not you’ve found the right blog to pitch your guest post to. They also assist you in drawing up an adequate pitch, since the answers enable you to adapt your proposal in line with the blog’s style.
Tailor content to industry
Are you planning a guest post proposal on ecotourism? Create content about ecotourism on your own website. If you don’t have any sample posts on the topic your target blog talks about, you’re putting a spoke in your own wheel.
Know the content of your target blog well in order to pitch great content ideas. That is also an important clue: Don’t just write any piece of content and then see where you can find a slot for it. Propose 3 or 4 original and convincing ideas, wait for the blog owner’s response and then go ahead and write your killer guest post.
Write your name on it
Even if you run a blog for a brand or company, don’t publish any post without your name on it. First of all, you should win some of the laurels too and secondly, if you make yourself known in the blogger community of your industry, your company is going to benefit too. Things like guest posts are a lot easier if you have contacts (like almost everything in life).
This one is going to help you creating connections in your industry. When writing your own content, link to the sites of the big boys in your niche. Thereby you start making yourself known and felt and won’t be a complete stranger when pitching your guest post.
Your social media presence is of the essence. Create a profile on the most significant networks and make it easy for the blog owner to find out the key facts about you and your background. A high number of engaged followers is a big plus too when it comes to accepting guest posts.
Like, comment, share
Creating links might just not be enough to actually make yourself known. Before asking the blog owner directly to accept your guest post, make sure you follow them on social media, comment on their blog posts for at least 1 week, take part and fuel discussions while providing evidence of your writing skills and expertise in the field.
Also sharing their content is going to give you an edge. Don’t forget to add @username on Twitter and tag the blog owner on Facebook. Besides, this technique puts you on the map and raises awareness of your brand.
Step 3: GO IN FOR THE KILL—THE PITCH
Now that you are all set, go ahead and jump at the chance.
Read and stick to guidelines
A lot of sites that accept guest posts announce guest post guidelines. Find them, read them and stick to them. Some sites might want you to pitch the entire post. How do they want you to send the final post over? Do they want you to publish it in WordPress yourself? Which format do they demand?
Make sure you are clear about the answers to these questions and adapt your pitch as well as your post to them.
Mail it and nail it:
- Emails addressed to “the team” or “whom it may concern” or “the blog owner” will in most cases get kicked out of the inbox right away. Take the time to look up the name of the blog owner, personalize your email and make a good first impression in order to even have a shot at being a guest blogger.
- Introduce yourself and provide links or a portfolio to sample posts you have written and published on other sites. If you haven’t guest blogged yet, include links to your own blog or your company’s blog.
- Also mention that you have been following and enjoying their blog for the last couple of weeks. This should be given proof of by your commenting and sharing on social media.
- Remit Sethi includes an example of how a well written proposal email looks like. Check it out here.
Step 4: CREATE KILLER CONTENT
A lot of people ask whether they should post their best content on their own blogs or use it for guest posts. This is a question you can’t dismiss out of hand. It always depends on the blog you are submitting your post to, its quality and audience.
Try to stay in the line of the quality of its other posts. Not only quality is a benchmark you should stick to, but also the length, format and style of the other pieces of content that appear on the blog.
Content is king, don’t crown yourself
The objective of your post is to provide valuable information about topics relevant to your industry and above all to the audience of your target blog. So don’t make it about yourself. The only link that should take the readers to your site should be found in the bio section.
As always: The exception proves the rule. If you want to link to a story that illustrates an example, one can turn a blind eye.
Internal links and CTA
While you should avoid links to your own site, internal links to other posts of your target blog are always welcome. It shows that you really made yourself familiar with the blog, it provides benefit for the blog owner and thereby might increase your chances for future guest posts.
Even though you should spare links to your , don’t forget to include them in the bio section at the end of your post. This is the door to success of the guest posting technique. Open it! This is your moment of self-promotion.
If you are not sure about how and what to write in your bio, check out the articles other guest bloggers wrote and look for their bio. Here is a good example:
Step 5: FOLLOW-UP
Having published your guest post, doesn’t mean you can laze around now. First of all, you want to get it in front of your followers on social media.
Open a dialogue
As with your posts on your own blog, get back to your readers and respond to their comments.
Have you tried guest blogging already? How did it turn out for you? Do you have any other recommendations you want to share with us? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.