Maintaining a blog on your website is critical to its search engine optimization (SEO). That’s just a small piece of a successful content marketing, though. You also need to use guest blogging to get traffic and earn authority in your field.
Effective guest blogging builds trusting relationship between you and your audience, aids in building backlinks, and helps your site move up in the SERPs.
As with other forms of digital marketing, there is a lot involved in guest blogging. Grow your audience through guest blogging, and enjoy all the benefits this marketing tool provides.
Identify Your Goals
Before you create a blog post for another site, you need to identify your goals. Common goals include driving traffic, building a social media following, getting inbound links, and building a large email list. Once you know what you want to accomplish through guest blogging, you will be ready to begin.
There are countless guest blogging possibilities for every site owner. You just need to find them. Perform a search for websites — your neighbors in the niche, have loyal readers, and possess a strong presence in all kinds of social media.
If you find a website that meets these criteria, a guest blogging gig will assist you in reaching your aims. Here are just some ways that’ll help you reveal opportunities for successful guest blogging.
Begin by creating a list of keywords related to your industry. Then, open up Google and get to work.
Begin by searching for “(your keyword) guest post.” Then search for “(your keyword) submit a guest blog post,” “(your keyword) accepting guest posts,” “(your keyword) guest post guidelines,” “(your keyword) guest blogger,” or “(your keyword) become a contributor.”
Your searches will bring back numerous results. Go through the results and look for sites that meet your criteria.
Then, repeat the process on Twitter search. You will find some additional opportunities on the social media network. Vet each one and add those that meet your required parameters to your list of opportunities.
Search for Prolific Guest Bloggers
Every industry has its own set of prolific guest bloggers. You will notice these people posting on the top blogs in your industry. Using your list of industry-related keywords, search “(keyword) guest post by” to find the top bloggers in your niche. Add the websites to your list.
Analyze Competitor Backlinks
There is a good chance your competitors are already guest blogging. Use Open Site Explorer or another backlink tool to search for backlinks. Look through the links and pick out the ones that direct to guest blog posts. Add them to your list as well.
Is there any way to simplify this process of search?
Making the lists of potential bloggers is truly time consuming. We’re constantly looking for services that would do at least a part of this job.
One of the recent findings is Adsy – a guest blogging platform where you can select bloggers from a huge inventory, sort them according to the parameters you find important, and then order blog posts. We particularly enjoy the possibility to order the posts’ creation – very handy if you don’t have enough time to do it yourself.
Your Steps Before You Create a Pitch
Once your list is finished, you need to do some research before making your pitch. It will help you stand out in the crowd of other site owners when you contact the bloggers you’ve chosen.
Get to Know the Site
Many guest bloggers make the mistake of pitching a post before they know much about the site. Once you create your list of potential opportunities, take some time to get to know each website. Read the content so you are familiar with what is important to the site owner.
Make a Name for Yourself
Next, comment on the site’s content and share it on social media. If you post valuable comments, you will begin to stand out to the site’s owner. That can help you when you pitch your guest blog post.
Choose Your Topic
After you spend some time learning about and interacting with websites, you can start to think about the topic you want to cover. The topic you choose is extremely important. You need to find a way to add value to an already valuable website.
Begin by deciding the type of content you want to produce. You can create a piece in response to something that is already on the website, provide additional information on a topic that is important to readers, or write on a topic that has yet to be covered on the site but fits into the niche and is likely to be popular with the audience.
Narrow Down the Topic
After you come up with a general topic idea, go to BuzzSumo to narrow it down. Let’s say you want to write a post about internet marketing for beginners.
You would type that topic into the search box, and then the tool will show you the most popular posts on that topic. You don’t want to copy these article titles verbatim, but they will give you some insight into what is likely to be shared and commented on.
Create Your Pitch
Once you have your topic, you’ll be ready to create your pitch. This is another area where many people make mistakes. They think they can just email a site owner and ask for a guest blogging gig. To be successful, though, you need to follow a certain process.
Check the Guidelines
Most sites that accept guest posts have guidelines for guest posters listed on the website. The guidelines will include the types of posts accepted.
The guidelines also might include information about the pitch. Some site owners want you to submit an email pitch or fill out an online form, while others want you to submit the completed post. If you have to submit a full post, there will also be format guidelines. Follow this information to the letter, or your pitch/post will likely be ignored.
Write the Email
If you have to pitch the post, using the proper format is essential. Use these tips to create a powerful pitch.
Personalize the Introduction
People who own popular websites get lots of emails, and far too many start with “Dear Sir or Madam” or another generic opening. It’s important to find the blog owner’s name and use it to open the email.
You need to let the blog owner know who you are. When you do this, focus on your blogging skills. Some blog owners only open their blogs up to other bloggers, so you need to mention that you maintain your own blog.
Provide the Benefits
You can’t just say that you’re a great blogger. You need to prove it. Explain why the site owner should publish a guest blog from you. Include links to at least two of your best performing posts.
Provide the Pitch
Next, you need to include the pitch. Pitches need to be short and direct and include the post title, along with a brief description. Keep each pitch within two or three sentences or use bullet points for easy reading.
It’s a good idea to pitch at least three blog posts. That way, the site’s owner can determine which post is right for the website.
Create the Post
If your pitch is accepted, you’ll need to deliver on your promise by creating an amazing guest blog post. There are a few things to keep in mind when creating your blog post.
Start with a Killer Title
You submitted prospective titles when pitching your blog post. You can tweak the titles if needed when creating your blog post as long as you maintain the essence of the pitch. Make sure the title uses action words and invokes emotion. It should also outline the benefits to the reader.
If you need help creating a headline, use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. It will help you create a clickable headline.
Educate the Readers
Guest blog posts are not advertisements. They are pieces of content that educate readers. Create a blog post that delivers a great deal of value to the readers.
It’s always a good idea to link to one of the host site’s pages. Look for relevant blog posts and link to them inside of your own guest blogging post.
You should also include source links to back up claims that you make in the post. This will show people that you have done your research.
Add a Call-to-Action (CTA)
Most guest bloggers realize they need to include a CTA, but they fail to do it properly. They use the CTA to try to get visitors to go to their own website or buy their products. Instead, use your CTA to ask people to leave comments. If people comment, the post’s engagement levels will skyrocket.
Check the Formatting
When you complete the guest blog post, go back and check the formatting. Posts should be formatted like other posts on the blog. Some blogs use lots of headers and images, and you should do the same if you want your post to appear on the site. You should also look for quotes, bold text, and other special formatting.
Create Your Bio
Before you even submit your guest blog post, work on creating your bio. It is almost equally important as the post you’ve written because this is how people will know more about you. A well-crafted bio will help you multiply the effect of your guest blogging goals.
Many people create guest blogs to drive traffic to their websites. If that’s your goal, add a link to your bio that sends people to a place where the traffic will be the most beneficial. Many people create custom landing pages for this purpose. The landing pages align with the topic of the blog and give additional promotion to products or services.
Getting backlinks through bio is another popular goal. Think through the anchor text you should have for the backlink and then include it in your bio. This is trusted to be an excellent way to get a high-quality link to your site.
If you plan to build your email list, include a link that directs people to sign up for your list in your bio. You might even want to talk about what your list delivers in our bio.
Similarly, you can use your bio to create a social media following. Instruct people to follow you on Facebook, Twitter, or another social media account and provide a link to it.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to reach all of these goals in your bio. Identify one the most important goal and create your bio to reach it.
What to Do After Your Post Is Live
You might think your work is done after your guest post is live, but that isn’t the case. You need to engage with the audience, promote the content, track your results, and repeat the process.
Engage with the Audience
Your goal is to invite people to engage and interact with your blog post. When they finally do, respond. This helps in two ways. First, it allows you to connect with the new audience you’ve reached through the blog post. Second, it makes blog owners incredibly happy.
They love it when their guest bloggers don’t just spot having got the backlinks, but rather engage with their readers. Do so, and your chances to get posted again will be much higher.
Promote the Post
You can’t count on the blog owner to do all the promotion instead of you. You also need to share and promote the post to ensure it will perform well. Use email marketing and social media to attract more audience to your guest blog posts. This will help you interact with even more people, boosting the engagement levels and traffic.
Track the Results
You will likely create lots of blog posts over the course of your career, and some will perform better than others. Measuring the results is necessary so you can determine which posts perform the best. Then, you will know which topics and websites help you reach your goals.
Google Analytics is an excellent tool for tracking results. The Advanced Segments feature lets you create different segments for your referral traffic. Create segments for each of your guest blog posts and then look at the conversions, top content, demographics, and more. Use that information to create highly effective guest blog posts moving forward.
Repeat the Process
Your guest blogging efforts shouldn’t be a one-time thing, but rather should be repeated. As soon as you post one guest blog, start crafting the next one. The more often you repeat this process, the easier it will be to achieve your goals.
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Guest blogging is easily one of the best content marketing strategies available. It gives you instant access to a new audience and helps you position yourself as an authority in your industry. It’s also an excellent way to connect with important blog owners in your industry.
Take your time when researching guest blogging opportunities, crafting pitches, and creating posts. If you rush the process, you are likely to make a mistake that will derail your campaign. Or, leverage the help of third party platforms, like Adsy the we’ve mentioned earlier.
This way you’ll be able to get remarkable results from your guest blogging and save your time and effort. Move forward carefully, and you’ll reach a huge audience and meet your goals.