Running a popular blog for small businesses means that it is part of my job to find reputable guest bloggers, but how do we find guest bloggers who are really experts in their field. and can contribute useful, actionable content? How do we weed out the real influencers from the self-marketed “experts”?
I’ve divided my process into 4 steps. I hope it helps you to find experts contributors or to offer your own expert blogging services to others.
The First Step: Finding experts in your field
We use a host of excellent tools to help us find experts to guest blog for us.
One of our favourite tools for finding experts is Mention. Mention helps you find mentions of your brand or other keywords across the web and social media. We use it to find WiseStamp users who are experts in their field, either for one of our professional resources, or for our blog.
For our blog we specifically look for experts and influencers in the field of marketing and branding, including SEO experts, blogging experts, design experts, etc. One of the best ways to find them is through a tool called BuzzSumo. If somebody has written a post that shows up as with the most shares for a certain keyword then we know they are the type of expert we want contributing to our blog.
Topsy is a great free tool which you can use to search for certain keywords or phrases on Twitter. Topsy not only tells you who is using the keyword, but how many times they have been retweeted, and if the sentiment of their post is positive or negative.
If you are looking for influencers who are also brand evangelists then Topsy could be an essential tool for you. If you are looking to guest blog, it could also be a great way to find relevant blogs in your field to contribute to.
The Second Step – Making sure they are really experts
Now you’ve got your list of potential experts, how do you make sure they are experts in their field, and not just people using a fancy title to get your attention? Here’s what we look for:
- High traffic to their website or blog. We like to use Similar Web to get an idea of how much traffic guest posters get to their content. High traffic sites mean that the potential contributors know how to write quality content, and how to successfully build an audience.
- Genuinely interactive on social media. Marketing experts usually gather a large following on their social media site of choice, be it Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook. We look for a level of interaction as much as the number of followers. Real experts don’t just spew out promotional links, they really interact, and provide value to their followers.
- Guest posts in other reputable sites. Guest posters who can show you links to other reputable sites are ideal because it shows that their contributions are highly valued.
- Relevant blog posts on their own site, with lots of social shares. We look for guest posters who’ve already covered topics that will interest our users, so we look for similar posts on their own blogs, ideally with lots of social shares or comments, so we can see that the post was socially valuable.
The Third Step – Perfecting your outreach
Once we’ve identified experts that we would like to contribute to our blog, we decide how to reach out to them. Our two usual ways of reaching out are:
- via Twitter
- via Email
The big advantage of reaching out via Twitter is that they usually see the message right away, and your outreach message is kept short and to the point. Once we get a positive response we try to move the correspondence over to email.
Here’s an example of a typical outreach email that I send:
Any outreach emails you send, either to find guest contributors or to offer your blogging services should include the following factors:
- Who you are– either in the intro or including the information in your email signature
- Why you are reaching out– keep it short and sweet
- What’s in it for them– why you are a good site for them to get exposure, why you are a quality writer for their site.
The Fourth Step – Continuing the relationship
Once an expert has contributed to a blog, we like to keep our relationship with them. We continue to promote their posts on our social sites, and via newsletters, and we recommend them to our followers as experts in their field.
Looking to get more contributions in the future? Ask your previous contributors for recommendations. The blogging world is very small, and the best bloggers are well-connected to others in their field.
Are you looking for expert contributors for your site? Are you looking for a place to contribute your expert content? Feel free to get in touch.