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How To Publish a Successful Guest Blog

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If you’re looking for more avenues to expand your reach and grow awareness of your brand online, while continuing to build a deep library of quality content, guest blogging may be for you. Guest posts on well-read blogs are often highly visible, and can be a great way to increase the number of links to your site.

Think about it using a simple analogy. All of the various platforms that you use to promote your brand are like a megaphone for your content. Sometimes your words can be incredible, but if your megaphone isn’t quite big enough no one’s going to hear them. Through guest blogging you can borrow someone’s megaphone for a little while, and sometimes that’s exactly what your brand needs to be heard.

megaphone

Someone needs a bigger megaphone.

Due to the recent increase in popularity of guest blogging as a way to increase brand awareness, many popular blogs and blogging sites have become inundated with requests. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t approach blog owners about guest blogging possibilities, but the increased competitiveness in the field does require a more developed game plan than ever before. This requires an investment of time and energy that some content creators are simply unwilling to make.

Understandably, most prospective guest bloggers start with a fairly lengthy list of concerns and questions about the process. Some of the more common are:

  1. It takes too long to write and research a guest post, and it doesn’t even go up on my site. I have too much to do!
  2. How am I going to find the right blog that meshes with my core demographic?
  3. I don’t know how to reach out to the owners of blogs, or communicate with them in a way that’s likely to result in them posting my material.
  4. What are some of the major pitfalls guest bloggers fall into?

Let’s see if we can help with some of these common issues.

1. Why Would I Want to Guest Blog?

More often than not, the primary concern of the potential guest blogger boils down to a simple consideration: time. The time required to research the piece, write it, and reach out to blogs. Then the chance that the piece won’t be published, and confusion over the value of spending all that time on something that doesn’t even go on your main site!

 

guestblogger

I’m putting all this effort in, just for a little link?

Let’s address the last concern first, as it gets directly to the value of guest blogging. As I said earlier, guest blogging lets you borrow someone else’s megaphone. Their megaphone may be larger than yours, or it may simply reach out to a different audience. But either way it gives you a way to amplify your reach and accelerate the process of adoption.

Inbound marketing is fundamentally an operation built on momentum. Each piece that you produce has an effect similar to a snowball rolling down a hill; over time the snowball picks up steam and grows larger. Typically we all start with relatively small snowballs, and it takes time for those snowballs to grow in size. By guest blogging, we accelerate that process and jump over the intermediate step of building an audience straight to the point where our words have real impact.

The benefits of guest blogging are numerous. Guest posts link back to your website, exposing you to that large audience. They also improve your search engine optimization and can move you up in Google. A consideration that many people don’t make is that they also often connect you with the social media audience of the blog in question, as many sites cross post their blog posts to their social media accounts. In return, the blog owner gets some high-quality, free content.

guestbloginfographic

Guest blogging amplifies your reach!

If you’re still concerned about the potential time investment, there are a number of steps you can take to limit your expenditure. First of all, reach out to prospective blogs before actually writing the guest blog in question. Pitch them on the idea of the piece rather than sending a fully fleshed out copy. This also allows the blog owner to have more input on the blog’s direction and composition, which invests them in the creative process and increases the likelihood of producing something they’ll really love.

If you still feel that you just don’t have the time, consider hiring a good copywriter! Freelancers can produce very high-quality work.

2. Who Do I Approach?

Once you’ve decided to go after guest blogging opportunities, the next step is identifying which sites to approach. Let’s start with a simple fact: if you’re going to propose a guest blog you need to offer value. If you don’t have a deep track record as a guest blogger it’s critical to replace quantity with quality. Understand your market, and have a unique perspective!

In general, you want to target sites that have the following characteristics:

  • They have enough readers to be of value to you.
  • Their readership overlaps with the core demographics you’re interested in.
  • There’s at least some likelihood that they’ll accept a piece from you.

If you have a deep understanding of your industry, there are likely already some places that you’re thinking of. If not, then consider looking at directories like Technorati or Alltop that aggregate many posts from blogs that fit what you may be looking for. BloggerLinkUp and MyBlogGuest are sites that cater specifically to those looking for guest posting opportunities.

There’s a balance to be struck between blogs that are large enough to make an impact on your visibility, and blogs that will be interested in accepting guest posts. If you’re highly qualified, cross posting to or creating original content for a site like The Huffington Post or Forbes is of course a great way to gain visibility, but these “top of the food chain” sites may or may not be interested in receiving outside submissions, and are often bombarded by guest blogging requests.

Shoot for reaching out to blogs that have enough readership to be meaningful, but are just a little bit more under the radar.

3. How Do I Communicate With The Blog Owner?

After you’ve identified a number of prospective blogs it’s time to approach those blog owners and see if there’s an opportunity. If the blogs already have an established process for taking guest submissions there will be a step-by-step guide laid out for you. Follow it closely and you’ll be well on your way.

Things are a bit more complex if there’s just a contact email with no additional suggestions for submissions. Here are some guidelines to follow when communicating with a blog owner:

  • Do Your Homework: Before reaching out to a blog, make sure that you thoroughly research them and the kind of content that they post. See if they accept guest posts, and that their core topics overlap with what you’re interested in writing about. Read through their blog, and gain a clear understanding of the quality and content expectations they’ll likely have of you.
  • Deliver Value: Put your best foot forward, and really outline how you can help the blog owner. Are you an expert in a particular field? Do you believe that a subset of the blog’s readership is currently underserved? If requested, provide them with a few examples of work that you’ve done in the past that demonstrates the high quality you can deliver. If needed, use a website content writer to create interesting and engaging content to present.
  • Be Personable: No one wants to receive a generic, corporate form letter. Approach them with a casual, direct email. Know who they are. Relate to them on a human level, and speak to their needs and possible concerns with working with guest bloggers. Don’t make it seem like a business proposition.
  • Promote Their Content: The best way to get noticed by a prospective blog? Promote their content yourself, and do so in a manner where they might see it. If you do this consistently they’ll likely start to notice and remember your name. This makes approaching them much easier when the time comes.

4. What Should I Avoid?

When you’re composing your guest post, there are a number of pitfalls to be aware of and avoid. As guest blogging has become more popular, Google and other search engines have become increasingly sensitive to attempts to game search engine rankings through stuffing backlinks into guest blog posts. Google cracks down on spam, and guest posts can be viewed in this way if you don’t take care to put an emphasis on quality over quantity.

Bloggers that attempt mass guest posting as a way to direct links back to their site may be cracked down on by Google. There are a number of ways to avoid this, and to take real advantage of your guest blogging opportunity:

  • Focus on Quality: When it comes to guest blogging and the SEO benefits that come from it, quality really does beat out quantity. For generating traffic, a single high-quality, targeted blog has the same effect as 10 smaller blogs distributed without significant thought. Don’t overuse guest blogging, focus on providing a high-quality product whenever you do blog.
  • Speak to The Blog’s Needs: Understand that the blog is taking a risk when they commission a piece from you, and are relying on you to produce quality content that their audience will appreciate. Because of this, blog owners will only accept relevant, personalized, high-quality content. If you deliver a great product you’ll increase the chances of being asked back!
  • Avoid “All Guest” Blogs: When researching blogs, you may find some that have a disproportionate amount of content from guests. While they may appear to be great places to pitch to, these blogs are often highly monitored by Google and may result in more penalties than benefits. Many of them are actually just disguised link-stuffing operations, and should be avoided.

Guest blogging is a great way to rapidly increase your brand’s reach while continuing to produce a deep library of quality content. If you’ve produced high-impact material in the past, but don’t yet have a broad following that can properly appreciate it, consider guest blogging as a way to accelerate the process and quickly reach a wide audience. Chime in below to share your guest blogging tips and concerns!

 

About Kaitlynn Russo

Kaitlynn is the Marketing Automation Manager at Ebyline, a platform that connects companies with freelancers to create exclusive, high-quality content. Find her on Twitter. Ebyline Freelancer.

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