Any organization with a website knows a blog is one of the most efficient marketing tools at their disposal.
A blog provides fresh content to a target audience, consistently boosts SEO, establishes authority, and builds community.
When it comes to growing an audience, few strategies come close to the effective power of guest blogging (publishing original content on a blog not owned or managed by you).
If you happen to believe guest blogging is dead, please read this little gem. Always be wary of those who predict the death of something. They likely don’t understand it or just use it wrong.
Before we get into the best practices of how to be an effective guest blogger, a few quick words on why you can’t ignore guest blogging if you want to grow your platform.
Why Guest Blogging Works So Well
Successful blogging centers on community. It’s not enough to write great copy. Plenty of quality content is gathering digital dust because the community is stagnant or non-existent.
Guest blogging increases your reach because it introduces you to new communities. Being featured on a site with an active audience boosts your visibility.
Author and online writing expert, Jeff Goins, grew his own platform more in 6 months of guest blogging than in 6 years of standard writing.
Goins directly attributes guest blogging to helping gain over 10,000 blog subscribers. That’s 10,000 pairs of eyeballs that gave him permission to access their inbox.
The more people who know about you, the greater your potential influence to reach them with your content and move them to action.
Additionally, guest blogging automatically boosts your SEO because the post on the host blog links back to your site. Spread your content on a variety of blogs to create more exposure to search engines like Google.
It all boils down to relationships
Trust is at the core of every relationship. Your boss trusts you to show up and do your work. You trust the barista to make your coffee to order. Your audience trusts you with their attention.
Guest blogging is no different.
If a close friend was visiting town and asked to crash on your couch, you wouldn’t hesitate to help them out. If a stranger walked up to your front door, rang the doorbell, and asked to sleep in your living room, you’d probably call the cops.
Likewise, if you want to guest post on someone else’s blog, get to know them and their audience first. Participate in their community and add value before you ask for a favor.
It’s not that hard, you just have to be intentional.
A bulletproof methodology for guest blogging
With the benefit clear and the why established, it’s important to cover the essential elements of how to successfully guest post.
Where to submit a guest post
- Identify blogs in your niche with good traffic (use a tool like Similar Web). Look for engaged readers (lots of comments) and a host blogger who is active on social media. The goal is to increase your reach.
- KISSmetrics recommends a Google search with variations of “guest post,” “submit a guest post,” etc.
- Follow the readers. What other sites does your audience read and share? What brands do they like that may have a tribe interested in your content? Pay attention to your readers and find out if any of them blog as well.
How to make a bold ask
- Start with community. Remember: relationships come first. Read a few posts, participate in the comments, share some of their links on social media.
- Identify the decision maker. While most of the time you can email the blogger directly, if it’s a multi-author blog (like The Art of Manliness), you’ll need to find out who to ask about guest posting.
- Initiate a conversation. Sweet Fish’s founder James Carbary wanted to write for the Huffington Post. He reached out to Ariana on Twitter, and it worked! He’s now a contributor to one of the most trafficked sites on the internet.
- Be specific. Communicate the value you bring in clear details and focus on the host blogger and their audience. Ultimately the guest post is not about you at all, but the reader. Prioritize the needs of the audience and avoid “I” or “me” language.
- Set the standard. Would you want to submit a guest post to your own blog? Make sure it looks sharp, has fresh content, and is easy to navigate. If someone is sending their readers to you, take care of them.
What to write for a guest post
- Check out the guidelines. Blogs that regularly feature guest posts usually have some kind of submission process that covers formatting, style etc. Follow the rules.
- Do some basic research. Look at what posts and headlines perform best on the host blog (Buzzsumo is great for this). Review what other guest posts are about, what worked, and what didn’t.
- Bring your “A” game. Write a high-quality, original post. No recycled content. Focus on what the readers care about. Put the audience first and add value.
- Make it easy for the host blogger to post. Match the format of the blog (subheads, lists, etc). Submit the post as a text file and HTML. If possible, back link to other posts on the host blog.
Winners finish strong
The worst thing you can do after successfully submitting a guest post is go silent. Don’t let the host do all the work. Continue engaging in the community leading up to and after the publication date for your post.
On the release day, promote and share generously. Make sure to tag the host on Twitter and recommend them to your audience. Leverage your platform to drive people to the guest post and host blog in general.
Rinse and repeat
Establishing a consistent reputation for quality content on your own blog is only half the battle. Guest blogging an essential component to an effective online marketing strategy.
Incorporate guest blogging into your content routine to create long lasting wins.
KC is a writer, dad, coffee addict, and LEGO fan. He hosts the Dad Life Rules podcast, works as a social media consultant, and writes for a Top 30 ranked ministry website (ChurchMag). With an MBA from ASU, KC is a lifelong learner and has enough books to start a library.