In part 1 of this 2-part series, I gave you seven reasons that guest blogging can improve your blogging ROI. So, now that you’re convinced of its merits, how do you get started with your own guest blogging campaign?
Here are 8 steps to take to ensure your guest blogging success:
1. Define your goals
Before you start anything, decide what outcome you’re hoping to achieve through guest blogging. For example, do you have a particular service offering or campaign that you’d like to increase visibility of through your posts? It’s likely that your goals may include:
- gaining authority and credibility
- increasing awareness around your name or brand
- boosting traffic to your website
- becoming associated with respected names or businesses
- generating links to your website.
Whether you’re writing for other blogs, or you’re including guest submissions on your own website, it’s important to remember that you should only ever choose posts that are the right fit for you. There are many companies out there who use guest blogging simply as a way to build links, but the content quality is poor and will only reflect badly on you if you’re posting articles with little value to the audience.
2. Know your audience
You’ll also need to define the audience that you want to target, so you can be more strategic in your outreach to other bloggers. Do some research to understand where your target readers are engaging with content online, as well as who some of the biggest influencers are in this space. I suggest using BuzzSumo to help you quickly identify well-performing content in particular subject niches.
Make sure that the audience is also the right fit for helping you achieve your goals outlined above. Consider how engaged they are with existing content and whether the blog owner (or writer if they are contributing to your blog) is active on social media and will promote the post with their own networks.
3. Collate your opportunities
Create a spreadsheet of all the targets you’d like to approach. You could have one tab for inbound guest posts - that is writers that you’d like to approach to contribute to your own blog - as well as outbound - so sites that you’d like to submit a guest contribution to. You may also want to include:
- domain authority (this gives you an idea of how the website performs in search engine rankings - Moz Toolbar is a handy tool to use for this)
- social media accounts and following
- key blog topics to focus on
- particular style or submission guidelines
4. Establish relationships
On many occasions, if you’re approaching an influencer who is likely bombarded with guest blogging requests, it is beneficial to establish a connection before you hit them with a direct approach.
Start engaging with comments and feedback on their articles, share their posts with your own networks, and interact with influencers through social media so you’re already under their radar when you contact them with your pitch.
5. Prepare your pitch
Many websites will have some information on how to submit your guest post; check out these guidelines first to ensure you’re satisfying all their requirements. For example, they might ask you to contact them with three suggested topic ideas, or they may want you to submit a draft straight away, or they may want to see some examples of other writing.
- Keep your email pitch succinct and straight to the point.
- Always personalise your email and try to find out the name of the blog owner or curator so you can address them.
- Introduce yourself and briefly outline your blogging credentials.
- Explain why you think your article (or your blog if you’re requesting an inbound post) is a good fit and presents mutually beneficial opportunities.
- Include examples or suggested topic ideas.
- Add your call to action - what next steps would you like them to take now?
6. Craft your post
Your guest blog post should never be a direct sales pitch. Focus on providing value to the audience with clear take-aways for the reader. Some other things to remember:
- Make sure that the content you write is completely original.
- Include links to sources and also to relevant links on your own website.
- Stick to the word count and formatting guidelines provided.
- Include a call to action for comments at the end.
- Write a short bio to be included with the article - this is usually the only place you can include a self-promotion link.
- Provide your social media handles so these can be used to link to you through social promotion.
7. Measure results
You want to ensure that going to all this effort is bringing the right rewards, so it’s important to measure your results. Use Google Analytics to keep an eye on traffic and take on feedback you receive from the site owner in regards to content. Review reader engagement - was this the right audience for you? Did you offer readers a clear takeaway? Use these insights to refine your approach to outreach.
8. Work both ways
Remember that guest blogging can be a two-way street, so you’ll often have writers who will happily offer a reciprocal arrangement - you write a post for their blog, and they’ll return the favor with a guest post for you too.
Again, ensure the content is the right fit for your website and your audience; make sure it delivers value and aligns with your marketing goals. It helps to create a document of guest blogger guidelines to make it easy for contributors to follow your style and format. If you’re open to posts, include information on your website about the kind of content you’re willing to accept, and the best way for writers to submit their post.
There are so many great benefits to making guest blogging a part of your online marketing strategy. Have you had success with guest blogging? Share your experience in the comments below!