Now that I’ve told you how and why to guest blog and have given you a tool for finding great places to do it, I’d like to talk a little bit about how to become highly effective at it. These are some tips for really making the most of your guest blogging efforts.
1. Strive to Become a Regular
One guest post might get you a trickle of traffic. Multiple guest posts on the same blog could very well bring you a flood.
It’s going to take time for you to gain a following on someone else’s blog. You do this by becoming a regular face and voice.
This means that you need to plan on multiple guest posts. On ClickNewz.com, guest blogger Bruce Hoag, suggested planning an entire guest post series around a specific industry topic.
This isn’t a bad idea. Not only does it give you multiple reasons to come back, but it’s just good blogging. Series posts go over really well, and of course having to scroll through multiple “Part 1,” “Part 2,” “Part 3,” etc. posts gives people plenty of reasons to keep right on reading.
Once you’ve built the relationship a bit you might also plan a “sound off” between you and the blog owner. These are posts where both of you take two sides of the same issue and spend multiple posts debating that issue back and forth.
Let’s take plumbers.
I know I pick on plumbers a lot, but you guys are good sports and you can take it.
You might arrange a debate with a host blogger about tankless hot water heaters. You might notice, for example, that your host rags on them a lot even though you really, really advocate them to your customers.
A quick email exchange between you and the host could set up a friendly debate that consists of four posts: one post where each of you lays out your case and one point where each of you rebuts each others arguments.
This gives a little friendly controversy to the blog, sparks discussion, and brings in more traffic because hey – everyone likes to see a little bit of a rumble between some established experts. It’s also a great way to help readers see an issue from every side.
Content like this also allows you to build guest blogging content that you just wouldn’t use on your own site, which keeps you from feeling as though you are missing out by posting it on someone else’s blog.
2. Set up Your Own Guest Blogging Guidelines
Once you’re a part of the community you could be benefiting from your own guest bloggers, which helps you get some additional content into your site. It also means drawing more people over to where you are, since followers might come for the guest rather than for you.
This is okay. Once they get to your site they’ll find plenty to love.
Post your guidelines prominently on your site. The keywords “write for us” and “become a guest blogger” seem to be search terms that a lot of writers use, so you might want to use them.
You also might want to contact the bloggers who you’ve been working with to let them know that you’re now accepting guest posts. They need a free way to get traffic and back links for their sites too, after all.
3. Always, Always Follow Other People’s Guidelines
This should go without saying but it often doesn’t. Other people’s submission guidelines aren’t just suggestions.
They are hard and fast rules for how people want you to guest post for them. If that blogger tells you to send the entire article in the body of an email, that is what you do.
If he tells you to send it as a Google Doc, that is what you do. If he tells you to pitch the idea first and get permission to proceed, then do that.
You will not make any friends if you fail to do this. Indeed, you will get yourself labeled as a spammer instead.
The spammer label is really, really hard to shake. You don’t want it.
Watch your spelling and your grammar too. Nobody wants to read unintelligible content. I’ve found the blogging community is pretty forgiving of the occasional typo, but that doesn’t mean you should make a habit out of it.
It also doesn’t hurt to provide the host with a little bit of information about you when you send the post. Even a link back to your own website helps, since it lets the host check out who you are and what you stand for.
4. It’s Okay to Start Small
While getting published on a blog that has 10,000 readers a day would certainly represent a coup for your business you need to recognize that it’s harder to get published there. You will need a larger web presence and a great deal of credibility before those blogs give you the time of day.
But that’s okay, because getting published on a blog with 500 readers a day is pretty awesome too, and they’re often much more receptive and friendly. You’ll usually get a quicker answer on your guest posts, too.
You can work your way up to the bigger sites over time.
5. Be a Good Promoter
Make sure you provide additional traffic to the host blog by doing everything you can to promote your guest post. Make sure that you’re using social media to drive traffic to the blog. In addition, you should provide some links to the guest post from your own blog.
If you have an email list, send a shout-out there as well. That way the host really feels like he’s winning by offering you a portion of his web real estate.
6. Be a Good Participator
Make sure you subscribe to the comments on all of your guest posts so that you know what people have to say about it. Then, make sure you answer people who address you directly or who raise good points.
This is just good etiquette. Some hosts even demand this of their guest bloggers!
Besides, not commenting on your own posts makes you look unresponsive and reduces the number of people who are going to want to become your regular readers. Just make sure you see the comments on your email and answer them at the same time.
Today’s Action Items:
- Think of a series of posts you could write for a blog.
- Concentrate on approaching smaller blogs first.
- Create a guest blogging opportunities page on your own blog.