Welcome to Guest Blogging 101
The benefits of guest blogging are long established and undeniable. After all, guest-writing for someone else's blog is a surefire way to introduce your brand to a new audience, earn quality backlinks and establish yourself as an industry thought leader.
Because of these benefits, businesses of all sizes should consider guest blogging as an important part of their content strategy.
Yet a potential problem exists with guest blogging. And that is that you have to make sure yours is an amazing piece of content which will stand out from the efforts of others trying to guest-blog in the same space. Want to gain the upper hand? Use the following tips.
1. Build your online presence beforehand.
Let’s say that you have a more than a decade of experience in your specific industry. But, you don’t have any sort of online presence to validate your expertise. Do you think that the owner or editor of an established blog is going to accept you as a guest writer?
Start building your own content by writing regularly on your own blog; WordPress is one of the best places to get started. You'll be giving people a chance to see examples of your work so they can be sure that you’re a good fit for their website. Additionally, getting published gives you a chance to perfect your writing skills and build your own unique voice.
Besides contributing to your own blog, also maintain a social media presence. You don’t necessarily have to be an expert at every social channel, but being active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ proves that you’re an actual person. Remember, the website owner wants to make sure that you’re legit. Your social media profiles should include an image of yourself, important information like your expertise and relevant posts and the number of shares related to your niche.
Another impact of having a strong social media presence is that along the way, you’ll be able to network with authority figures in your industry, which could open still more doors for future guest-writing opportunities.
2. Find relevant guest-blogging opportunities.
In 2014, Google began to crack down on guest blogging. Or course, things weren't quite that black and white. What blogger Matt Cutts, head of Google's webspam team, said was that the company was going to penalize spammy websites using guest blogging as a way to build links, since that move violated Google’s quality guidelines.
While there were some repercussions, guest blogging didn't die, as Cutts had proclaimed. But the lesson here was that you should only target credible websites that accept guest writers. Neil Patel has described how you can find the best places to guest blog, by:
Creating a list of influential people in your niche and looking for sites that are reputable. You can reach out to those individuals to see if they accept guest writers.
Searching for sites in your industry that accept guest writers. Just Google the keywords related to your industry, and phrases like “submission guidelines,” in quotation marks. Make sure to vet the site early on.
Identifying the sites that you want to write for, before making your pitch. Before sending that pitch, though, do your research and make sure that you’re getting in touch with the right person. Have a strong subject line, and keep your text short and direct.
3. Have a desired outcome in mind.
Ramsay Taplin states this perfectly on Copyblogger, saying that the writer's job is to funnel people toward a specific outcome and not just his or her homepage. “Sending people back to random posts or a home page is just a waste of time,” Taplin points out.
For example, if you want to gain new email subscribers, your funnel would first offer to give something away, such as an ebook. You would next create a landing page or ad for the ebook and then follow guest posts related to that giveaway.
4. Keep your audience in mind.
When you have a question, you probably search Google until you find an article or two that provides the answers you’re looking for. That’s actually why most people click on an article. They want to become familiar with a certain topic -- which means that they’re newbies.
When composing your article, keep that in mind. Make the article digestible, easy to understand for readers and free of industry jargon that they may not be familiar with.
5. Write content that will remain relevant.
A well-written article has the ability to remain relevant for years after first being published. In contrast to producing an article that is time-sensitive, such as a recap of the previous year, start out with a topic that has legs. The industry term here is "evergreen content." This type of content, according to Wordstream, includes:
Instructional “how-to” tutorials
6. Stick around.
Even after your article has been accepted and published, your work is not done. If the article has comments, go in and respond. That's one of the best ways to build a connection with the readers of the hosting site, as well as build a relationship with your new audience. Also, don’t forget to promote the article on your social channels and thank the site owner for the opportunity.
Finally, think about similar articles you can create that can link to the website site you've just written for. There’s a good chance that the site's owners will show you some love for giving their site a shoutout.