Do you write guest blogs for other bloggers? If you don’t then you’re missing a trick!
Guest blogging is a tool in your content marketing arsenal so often overlooked yet so powerful in helping you build your audience, your brand reputation and your credibility.
What are the benefits of guest blogging?
To be perfectly honest, there are so many benefits of guest blogging, but some stand out more than others. Here are 7 of my favourites.
Guest blogging helps you:
- Get instant exposure to a targeted audience who will help you grow your business
- Get quality traffic to your website
- Build your online influence and credibility as an expert in your industry
- Generate leads for your business
- Grow your social media following
- Build brand awareness
- Link building and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – this will make you easy to find online.
If these benefits can’t persuade you to start thinking about guest blogging opportunities for your business then I’m not sure what will!
If you’re convinced and ready to start looking for guest blogging opportunities them STOP. Let’s not run before you can walk. First thing’s first …. you need to create a guest blogging strategy and I’ve written this blog to help you do just that.
Here are 8 easy steps to become a successful guest blogger.
#1: Know your goals
What do you want to achieve by guest blogging? Write it down.
Do you want to be seen as an expert in your industry as a whole or for a specific niche? Maybe you want to grow your audience in a certain sector by 1,000 on Instagram? OR, you might be looking for email subscribers and want to reach a target of 5,000.
Whatever your goals, make sure they’re Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound (SMART) and the right fit for you in growing your business.
Need some examples of SMART goals? Here you go
“I want to attract 1,000 new followers on Instagram from the UK cosmetics industry in the next six months”
“I want to reach 5,000 email subscribers in 3 months. That’s a gain of 1,625. I’ll do this by publishing 12 posts on my blog and 12 guest blogs”
These are smart – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound.
ACTION: Write down 3 to 5 SMART goals for your guest blogging campaign.
#2: Have a really good understanding of your audience(s)
I can’t emphasise enough how important this is. Your aim is to publish guest blogs that reaches your key target audiences and to do this you need to be very aware of what blogs they actually read.
More than that, you need to have a real understanding of who your audiences actually are what they actually want to read about. Ask yourself these questions:
- Who are your audiences? Think wider than prospective customers to influencers, bloggers journalists etc
- What do they want to learn from you?
- How can you create guest blogs that solves a problem for them?
- What can you write that makes them head over to your website to learn more about you?
Your guest blogs should be written in a way that inspires action, educates the readers and positions you as an expert. Knowing your audiences – their likes, dislikes and challenges – and creating blogs that caters to their needs will help you do this.
ACTION: Create a spreadsheet and list your audiences. Create columns noting down their likes, dislikes, challenges, opportunities and the blogs they’re likely to read and the editors of those blogs.
#3: Build relationships with key influencers
This is really valuable in terms of building brand awareness. Influencers will not only have a positive impact the success of your blog, they can also make you successful fast by offering you a guest spot (as a one off or on a regular basis) on their blogs or blogs of other key industry players they know. This will hugely add to your credibility.
BUT, it’s not all about what you can take from influencers though. Influencers are good people to know on many levels – you can learn from one another, promote each other’s products or services and work together to grow each other’s businesses.
In other words, you can prove to be just as helpful to them as them to you, but at this stage you should start identifying influencers who are like-minded and open to establishing a relationship with you of mutual benefit.
ACTION: Research influencers in your target industries, follow them on social media and start engaging with their content – share, like, comment, Retweet etc. Start getting involved in conversations with them online so you can start establishing a relationship.
#4: Look for guest blogging opportunities
This is the fun part. Now you’re clear on your goals, your audiences and you’ve identified key influencers you’d like to get to know, now is the time to start searching for guest blogging opportunities.
So where do you start? With Google of course. All you need to do is some searches similar to this:
“Keyword + guest post”
“Keyword + guest blog”
“Keyword + submit a post”
Using any or all of these search terms replacing ‘keyword’ with your target industry / sector should bring back some good results for you to follow up.
This will mainly entail you going through the blogs to check if you fit with them and their audience and they’re actually looking for guest posts from someone in your field. Often they have a “contact us”, “write for us”, “contribute” etc web page that invites you pitch to guest post.
Another thing you can do is leverage Twitter. You can share your keyword searches but there are also some hashtags you can monitor where users actively share blogging opportunities, asking for responses. These hashtags are:
This can be very hit or miss, but sometimes it does pay off. My advice to you is to keep an eye on this hashtag in case anything comes up.
ACTION: Get searching – use Google, Twitter hashtags, check out websites of key influencers and post in any Facebook groups you’re involved in that are relevant. You never know what opportunities might be there for you.
#5: Write a good author bio
A good author bio can really a difference between you securing a guest post and not. That’s why you need to create a bio that makes you standout. It needs to share your character, expertise and make you an appealing prospect to those bloggers you’re pitching to!
Here are some tips on how to create a good author bio:
- Create a hook – what’s yours? It needs to be something that is instantly appealing to bloggers and their readers, something that makes you unique and inspires action.
- Share some facts – what have you achieved? Are there any facts you can share about your industry not will help you demonstrate your knowledge?
- Mention your credentials – it sounds very formal, but influencers and bloggers will want to know more about you and your experience.
- Share your content – what epics blogs have you written (on your blog or as a guest blogger). Share links to these so your reader can instantly see some examples of your work.
- Share your personality – don’t be boring. Give the reader an indication of your writing style, tone of voice etc. Your bio needs to have a personal touch that makes you more human.
- Have a call to action – this is important!! Don’t finish your bio without giving the reader an action to take. It could be a link to a specific landing page or download, your email or phone number – whatever it is, make sure it’s something you can track so you can measure actions vs conversions.
The important thing is to keep your bio as short as you possibly can. Keep it simple and get to the point.
ACTION: Write your author bio in preparation for pitching to your target bloggers.
#6: Have some amazing guest blog post ideas
As part of the guest blogging process you should have a bank full of ideas of topics that you can share with bloggers as part of your guest blog pitch.
It’s so so (yes a double so) important that you pitch the right ideas to the right bloggers, otherwise all of your hard work to date will be for nothing.
The first thing to consider is that this isn’t about you – it’s about the readers of the guest blog. With this in mind, don’t pitch blog ideas that you’re passionate about sharing your views on but aren’t relevant to the blog’s readers. Trust me, this won’t work.
This is why you need to know the audiences, so you can pitch and create the right content for them. So, what you need to do to get inspired is read the blog – find out the most read posts and see what you can create that is similar, follows on or works well alongside it. That will help you when pitching.
ACTION: Do your research before you reach out to bloggers and make a list of potential ideas you can pitch.
#7: Create your pitch outline
Reaching out is usually the hardest thing for a lot of people. Why? Because it’s the most daunting, but it doesn’t need to be that way.
I find the best way to feel positive about pitching is to be as prepared as possible. To be a successful guest blogger, I’d suggest you create a pitch outline that you use, tweak, reuse and change to personalise it for the blog you’re targeting.
The first thing to remember is that popular blogs, like the ones you’ll be targeting, will receive a lot of emails every day. So much so that it’s hard to keep up with them. So how can you make sure you stand out? You need to:
- Write a compelling subject line in the email to get that open
- Personalise your pitch
- Be specific and short – write a maximum of 250 words
- Offer blog topics
- Leave a call to action
ACTION: Create your outline ahead of sending your first email and leave it a few days before you actually press send. This will give you time to look at it a few times and make some changes to get it the way you want it.
#8: Promote your guest blog post once it’s published
Once the publish button has been pressed, it’s up to you to spread your guest blog far and wide. This means getting those share buttons ready and creating a series of posts and tweets to share at different times via different channels.
Here are some ways you can promote your guest blog post:
- Send it to your mailing list
- Share a series of posts on Facebook and post in the relevant groups
- Create a series of tweets for Twitter, mentioning all of the relevant parties, using the right hashtags and work the link into any Twitter chats or #hours.
- Comment on influential blogs with your link
- Share on LinkedIn as a post
- Create a pin for Pinterest
- Share with key influencer who might be interested in sharing it with their audiences
Obviously I’m not suggesting you use all of these channels as you won’t be active on them all and neither will your audience! These ideas are purely there to get you thinking about where you can promote your guest blog post. Promote your blog where your target audiences are most active so you can get their attention and build your credibility gradually.
ACTION: Create your guest blog post promotional schedule and share it with the blogger who has published it for you. This will help you create a good relationship with them.
Final thoughts …
To become a successful blogger you need three things – a plan, patience and persistence.
The main thing to keep in mind is that you won’t see instant results. Content marketing as a whole is a process that evolves over time to give you the results you want – whether that’s building a solid reputation in your field as the go-to expert, turning followers into paying customers or building your audience.
You just need to keep at it and tweak things along the way if they’re not working.
Do you want to learn how to build influence and become to go-to expert in your industry? Check out my membership site Headliners: The PR & Digital Marketing Academy to learn more.
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