Blogging isn’t a stroll in the park.
It’s tough work, requiring you to update your content regularly, spending time researching, formatting, and writing posts each week. But it doesn’t end there.
You also have to promote your blog if you want to build traffic and create your brand name—the holy grail of blogging.
One way to do that is via guest blogging. It occurs when you pen an article that appears on another website.
It can be invaluable because it gets you in front of a new audience and establishes you as an expert in your field. It also results in link backs to your own Website or blog, which means more traffic and thus business.
Sound easy? It’s not as simple as emailing a post to your favorite industry website and seeing it minutes later. Not only do you have to pinpoint the websites you want your work to appear on but you have to build a relationship to get them on board.
How You Can Succeed at Guest Blogging, Too
Have An Active Blog
If you want your articles and research to appear on other websites, you better make sure you have a well-established blog with relevant content that is updated regularly.
On that blog, you can even highlight the fact that you're willing to guest blog for others. Without a blog, the websites you're targeting won’t be able to see that you're an expert in your field, nor will they have an easy way to get in contact with you if they want to work with you.
Stay Relevant on Social Media
A blog is the first step toward guest post success, but together with that is being active and relevant on social media. Sure, countless people may vow to delete their social media accounts as data scandals become the norm, but they won't, which means that you need to be social, too.
And not only on Facebook but wherever your audience hangs out.
Providing relevant content and commentary geared toward your profession is the goal. Companies thinking about working with you will do a Google and social media search. If they find nothing, they will move on to the next prospective guest blogger. But if they find robust social media pages, with insight and thought-provoking ideas, they will definitely be more receptive to your contribution.
Offer Your Work Everywhere
Companies need to maintain blogs and Web pages that have fresh content. Translation: they need guest bloggers as much as guest bloggers need them. As a result, there are a lot of opportunities on the Internet to share your content for free. That demand has even spawned a crop of Internet-based communities that hook bloggers up with companies looking for posts.
A Google search can also be an effective and easy way to find blogging opportunities. Think about keywords the websites would use when looking for guest bloggers and incorporate them into your search. Some keywords to include: write for us, become a contributor, and guest blogging.
Make it Relevant
Guest blogging is popular, which means websites get regularly inundated with pitches and articles. Many are irrelevant or are poorly written.
If you are guilty of this, it can kill the relationship between you and the website's editors before it even had a chance to take off. It also provides an opportunity to stand out by making your article pitch relevant to the website you’re targeting.
You wouldn’t pitch a story on green initiatives to an oil company, just like you wouldn’t offer a blog article on banning guns to the National Rifle Association.
Do your homework, taking time to understand the business model of the website, its target audience and the type of content it runs on the site.
Armed with your knowledge you’ll be able to pitch relevant ideas that haven’t been done before.
The credit card review website already received untold numbers of pitches on the best credit cards for travel. But it may not be aware of one that pays down student debt. The better and more targeted your pitches, the greater likelihood you’ll be chosen.
Guest blogging is only half of it. As you establish yourself as an expert, you’ll need help with your content creation and will seek out guest posts of your own.
There are risks associated with this that need to be neutralized. You have to consider the prospect of overly promotional posts that turn off readers, poor quality stories that brandish your reputation, and controversial brands and individuals that bring unwanted attention.
Still, want to forge on? There are some tips that can help you succeed.
Some Must-Haves for Guest Blogs
Craft a Guest Post Policy
The best way to get quality contributions is to establish a guest post policy for your blog. This provides transparency from the outset of your negotiations with a potential guest blogger and can eliminate conflict and misunderstanding.
Some things you might want to have in your policy include:
- Clear expectations on topic, length, style, and quality. You know the standards that you set for your own blog posts. Insist on maintaining them for guest bloggers, too.
- Image policy. Do you want guest bloggers to provide their own images? If so, your policy should state this. In addition, your policy should also instruct your guest blogger to give you proof that your blog can freely use the photograph in a post. This can take the form of a Creative Commons license, a copyright license, proof that the photo is in the public domain, or a release from the image creator.
- Promotion agreement. Consider asking guest bloggers to commit to promotional activities such as posting a link to their blog post on their own blogs and promoting the post via their social media accounts.
- Disclosure of your right to pull, or not publish, the post. Explain in your policy that the submission of a guest post doesn't mean that you'll actually publish it and that you reserve the right to remove it from your blog at any time and for any reason.
Research Guest Bloggers
Before deciding to work with a guest blogger, do some basic due diligence on the blogger and his or her blog. Here are some things to look at:
- Writing skills. Read this blogger's posts critically. Can he or she write well? Is his or her writing thoughtful, engaging, and factual?
- Social media profiles. What kind of following does the blogger have on social media? Does he or she get a lot of comments on posts? While there is nothing wrong with working with a new blogger, or one with a low profile, guest bloggers who have a large influence are more likely to be able to attract new readers to your blog.
Set a Deadline
Set a deadline by which you expect to receive the guest post-draft. If you don't, the guest post may never be written, or you may end up receiving it at a time when the tone and theme of your blog have gone in another direction.
Review Guest Posts Carefully
Proofread guest posts and don't hesitate to return a draft if you feel that it can be improved. Include in your reviewing to-dos the checking of links to make sure they're formatted correctly and that they don't lead to sites that have objectionable content.
Promote Guest Posts
Once someone has submitted a guest post and you've accepted it, be sure to promote it via your social media accounts. By supporting the post, you show the guest blogger that you value his or her work. This can lead to a strong, long-term relationship in which you both contribute to each other's blogs.
Landing guest blogging gigs can benefit you in a slew of ways. Just as accepting guest posts can be a winning strategy. The key to success is creating and accepting high-quality content that will resonate with readers and keep them coming back for more.
Guest posts help you grow your network of professionals and impassioned individuals who share your passion. It helps create a sense of collaboration that might make your blogging experience less isolating while simultaneously growing your followers and spreading your blog's name to new people’s feeds.
Dina Greaves is a creative and copywriter who regularly contributes guest posts to many websites. She’s mastered the art of pitching and finding paid writing work.