By Holly Reisem Hanna
Last night (like most nights) I was awakened by my three year old daughter, who wanted me to rearrange her covers and tell her about the princesses that she was supposed to dream of. After getting her all tucked in and settled, I myself could not go back to sleep. So like most nights when I get insomnia I started thinking about my goals and plans for the future.
After some time pondering, I came to the conclusion that one of my new strategies for growth would be to increase the number of guest posts that I submit. Even though I don’t have a lot of extra time in my schedule, I do have enough time to contribute one new piece, to one new blog each month.
One reason I came to this decision is because I saw it working for other bloggers out there, in fact I've even seen a whole e-book dedicated to just this subject. So, here’s how guest blogging can work for you and some considerations to take into account before you make the leap.
1. How guest blogging boosts your business
- Exposure: Since the majority of blogs allow guest bloggers to include a short bio and link back to their site, you’re able to introduce yourself to a totally new audience. And since most bloggers are heavily involved in social media, your article tends to reach an even larger audience. Just remember you’ll want to stay within your niche; a post about fashion isn’t going to do well on a blog about fishing and hunting.
- Increase Traffic: You may not know very much about SEO, but the more quality inbound links that you have to your site, the higher Google will rank your blog in their algorithm. What this means for you is more organic (free) traffic from the search engines. And don’t forget about the readers who will click through to your site because they liked your article.
- Expert Status: When writing a guest post you will want to write about a topic that you know inside and out. Sharing what you know best, makes for a strong post that will easily attract new readers to your blog. Also the more places that you’re seen the more you will be recognized for your expertise.
- Builds Relationships: By submitting guest posts, you’re able to interact with other bloggers on a more intimate level, which in turn builds your network or pack (as Michael Martine calls it). As humans we naturally want to help our friends and in the blogging world this equates to more introductions, links, tweets and comments.
2. Considerations for guest blogging
- Blog Rank and Authority: When considering which blogs to submit guest posts to, you’ll want to do your homework. What is their Alexa Rating… How many subscribers do they have… What is their social media footprint… What does their audience look like… By answering these questions you can get the most bang for your buck.
- Quality: If you’re going to submit an article for consideration, make sure that it has added value for the readers. You will also want to ensure that you have followed all of the guidelines for submission (proper length, suitable topic, correct spelling and grammar). You should also refrain from using affiliate links within the post as well as staying away from blatant self promotion.
- Do You Know the Author: Many times popular bloggers won’t even consider publishing your guest post because they prefer to work with individuals that they know. One way to start building a relationship is to start reading their blog and leaving thoughtful comments. You can also interact with them on the various social networks, or shoot them an email just letting them know how much you enjoy their blog. After you’ve been around for a while, you can pitch them about a topic or theme that you would like to write about.
- Time: How much time do you have to dedicate to guest posting? I know for myself that I can only take on one extra article a month. If I were to take on more, the quality of my writing would suffer and I don't want to be associated with bad or mediocre content – this is my reputation on the line. Perhaps you can only contribute one new article every three months – that's okay, it the quality of the content that matters.
3. Places to guest blog
- Your Favorite Blogs: Submitting guest posts to your favorite blogs is a great place to start, because you’re already familiar with the audience, author and topics.
- HARO: For those of you who are not familiar with HARO, it stands for Help a Reporter Out. Here journalist, writers and bloggers can submit media queries and individuals looking to become sources can reply. This is a fast and easy way to learn about new blogs in your niche and to submit answers where your expertise will best be utilized. HARO is free to join and can yield some fantastic results.
- Google Search: When in doubt use Google to search for blogs that relate to your niche. Dig deep, read various posts and when you find some that you love, see if they offer guest blogging opportunities. Often times this sort of information will be displayed on the about, contact or FAQ page.
Like other online marketing strategies, building up influence through guest blogging can take time, not to mention a consistent effort. But if you decide to do the legwork you will reap the benefits of cultivating new relationships, becoming a better writer and boosting your business through a slow and steady effort.
Do you guest blog? How has it helped to your business?