Guest posts have become a standard part of the content marketing mix and it’s easy to see why. Marketers and specialists have knowledge and insights to share on one hand, while blog managers and publishers need fresh and engaging content on a regular basis on the other.
Guest posts are a perfect marriage of convenience that benefits both sides. Actually, there’s a third party that benefits even more — readers of a blog, who get a welcome dose of variety while being exposed to voices they might not otherwise hear on their own. It’s the ultimate win-win-win situation!
In this post, we’re going to focus on what you can do as a blogger looking to expand beyond your own corner of the internet and connect with new audiences as a guest writer. It’s a great way to attract new followers, build relationships with other platforms and generally establish yourself as someone worth listening to in your field.
Guest blogging also serves to reinforce your image among those who already follow your regular posts since being welcome as a new voice must be a sign that other forums think that you’re worth listening to, right?
There’s no doubt that knocking on a few new doors should be on your list of things to do if you’re serious about turning your blog into a credible and frequently-visited source of information in your field but let’s back up and start with the basics of how to go about it. As with so many other things, going through a checklist of the essentials can put the foundation in place for an easier and more successful ride to the top.
So before you start thinking about all the big and impressive online sites where you want to see your name next to the title of an amazing blog post, take a few minutes to consider the following steps you can take that will help to make it all happen.
Finding the right place
A good place to start is identifying the forums where you would be a good fit. Being sure of this is the foundation of the pitch you’ll make to the blog owners, something we’ll get to in a minute.
When looking for a potential partner for submitting a guest blog post, start with the obvious step of identifying the most well-known blogs in your field. What are the trusted names that come to mind for people who want to know more about your specialization? What are the blogs you read yourself when looking for ideas, inspiration of knowledge? Which blogs have a reputation that would give you instant credibility just by appearing on them?
Also, think about where your audience is. Who are the people that would most likely respond to what you have to say and where do they go to read online? What are the brands that they admire? Being sure that you’re a good match for the existing audience of the blog where you want to guess post—in terms of content, style and expertise—is something you’ll come back to when it’s time to pitch your idea (again, in a minute!).
You can also use familiar search tools to identify possible guest posting opportunities in places that might not easily come to mind. Use Google or Twitter search functionalities to find forums in your field with “guest post by” or dedicated pages detailing the guidelines for such posts on their pages. The internet is a big place—you know never know what you’ll find.
Lastly, make sure you get a feel for how well the blog where you want to appear is promoted and supported. There’s no use in doing all the work only to appear on a page with virtual cobwebs all over the place, where the only visitors are the ones who were looking for something else. Check the blog’s or the brand’s social media pages to see what they do to drive traffic and what kind of engagement they get.
Time for the pitch (finally)
When you’ve identified where you want to guest post, you have to persuade the gatekeepers that they should let you in. When making your pitch, be careful to address some specific points if you want to get the green light. Remember that, unless you’re a famous superstar in your field, you need to convince the blogs owners of what they will get out of it. After all, it’s their blog and they’ve done a lot of work to get it to where it is today. They probably get lots of inquiries about guest posts so why should they choose you? How are you going to make them look good? What’s in it for them?
In your pitch, be clear about who you want to talk to and what readers will take away from it.
And so on. Don’t let anyone think that you haven’t already carefully planned the blog, giving it a structure and a goal. It’s also important to review what kind of content they already have on the blog—no one will be impressed by your idea to talk about A, B and C if they published an amazing, in-depth and well-received post on A, B and C just a month ago.
Wrap up your pitch with a description of the subject you know best, yourself. Even if they like they idea of your guest post, the blog owners will want to know the answer to a simple question—why you?
What are you bringing to the table in terms of your background, experience, presentation, etc.?
Are you bringing a large audience with you that might get interested in their blog?
Are you going to drive traffic to their site?
How are you optimizing your blog in terms of SEO or key words that match both what you want to talk about and the general purpose of the blog where you want to post?
In short, you need to sell your idea, yourself and the value of letting you onto their turf.
A few odds and ends to remember
Follow these tips to make your mission of guest blogging a success, and hopefully get an invitation to return.
- Make sure the formatting of your blog is consistent with the forum where you want to post. This applies to length, graphics, overall appearance, etc. They may or may not have a formal strategy for keeping everything looking more or less the same but, if they do, it’s best to color inside those lines.
- Posting as a guest is not supposed to be an opportunity for promoting your own blog or site. Don’t mention how you wrote about something or interviewed someone and link to it. In fact, it’s likely that the blog owners won’t even let you do it anyway. Stick to the subject at hand, make your post interesting and valuable to readers and the rest will take care of itself. If you impress them enough, readers will find you on their own without any links.
- Speaking of links, if you really want to impress the blog owners, link to other materials on their site or blog. This not only shows that you’ve done your research, but that you’ve focused on delivering for them and making them look good.
- Ask for comments. There’s nothing wrong with finishing up by asking readers for feedback. Most blogs have some kind of comment mechanism (using Facebook, Disqus, etc.), so make it clear that you want to hear from them.
So there you have it. Time to get busy thinking about the what, where and why of your next guest blog post. Oh, and don’t forget to leave a comment below!