15 Dec 2015

How to be a Killer Guest Blogger

Guest bloggers and writers are a common phenomenon. It’s a great way to establish yourself as an authority in your industry, network but most of all, it’s a rich source of SEO currency – the backlink.

Or is it?

As the art of guest blogging becomes more refined, Google webmasters released this video:

If you want to use guest blogging as a way to increase your backlinks then you have to have a killer blogging strategy, that includes some great social media management, or it may work against you.

Kissmetrics wrote a piece on how you can build authority in your industry through blogging. If you’re a fan of Social Media Examiner, you might have read about major brands that have benefited from guest blogging. It would be highly erroneous to assume that because they can do it, you can too. These kind of companies employ professional marketing writers to produce engaging content, but with a strategy you can use ‘guest blogging’ to your advantage and reap the benefits of backlinks.

The first thing you must do in constructing a killer guest blogging strategy is:

DETERMINE YOUR GOAL

Why do you want to be a guest blogger? Do you want to:

  • Increase your industry credibility
  • Increase the traffic to your website
  • Create backlinks
  • Increase your revenue stream

These are the most common reasons to start a guest blogging portfolio, but before you start rubbing your hands and counting all the money that will come in for all the blogs you’ll be writing – I hate to break it to yah’ but you don’t get paid.

If increasing your revenue stream is the most important factor in your decision to guest blogging, concentrate on your own blog and social media management. You may be writing three or four guest posts a week, which takes up a lot of time, but the only currency you will get back is backlinks. As valuable as they are, you will have to build them up over a period of time, make them work with your other online marketing strategies then convert your incoming leads into sales to make them bring in a strong stream of revenue. You can achieve that quicker by leveraging your own online marketing. When your revenue stream is stable, then look at guest blogging to expand your reach.

Guest blogging is a great way to increase your industry credibility if you can get a place in a well-respected online publication. Many websites have blogs, really all should have blogs, but not all websites are equal in quality. Just because a website has a blog, doesn’t mean you should be on it. Look at the quality of a website, who their audience is and their brand ethics. You want to ally yourself to someone who has similar or higher brand standards to yourself or you are bringing your brand down to the level of that site and some customers may never forgive you for it.

If you are guest blogging to increase your credibility in the industry, make sure you pick a subject that informs and educates, and never use guest blogging to advertise your product or company. Self-praise is no praise at all, and to cap it all – no one will want you on their site. They want to educate their readers and a blog does just that. The rest of the site will sell to them.

Your writing must be focussed on what you know that others don’t or you won’t make your goal of becoming an authority in your industry. Be bold, be informative, but most of all be easy to read! Don’t dazzle people with words and complicated diagrams. Present it in a way most people in grade 10 will understand and you’ll be pitching just right.

Increasing the traffic to your website is a good reason to guest blog. You do this by writing content that is totally engaging, then ending it with a biography that lists your achievements and has a link back to your website. If you want to reference an article that you have written in the body of text, link it to the webpage, that’s a great way to do it too, just make sure you don’t write the content to fit hundreds of your links in. It won’t be engaging and it will be unlikely to get published.

If your goal is to increase your credibility or increase traffic to your blog, then choose websites that have a good sized audience that is engaged with lots of idea sharing. Writing content takes a while so you want to be sure that you are putting it in front of the right demographic.

Backlinks have more credibility from sites that have a strong root domain authority so again you need to make sure that you are posting your information on the right sites. It will take a little time to find the right sites, but with a little searching you’ll find them.

Finding a Blog to Guest Blog On

Many websites actively invite guest posts as regular blog posting gives you a higher SEO ranking and that means they have space to fill. Finding them is not hard but you have to be organized as if you approach twenty five companies with a pitch and they all accept you – you’ll have to write twenty five separate, non-crossover, cannot be mistaken for each other blogs that are not at all similar or it will be marked as duplicate content by Google and that will defeat the object.

Think about niches within your industry and what you can write about. Create a few pitches for those ideas and make them engaging and interesting. The pitches only need to be two or three lines long and contain something that that particular website will want you to write on. Search the site and look for areas they are weak on and the style they write in. Doing this little bit of research will give you a greater chance of success.

Write down keywords for your niche industry then Google  that keyword plus ‘guest post’, ‘keyword submit guest post’ or something like it. This will bring you up options for you to consider. Look for contact details, either on the website or via social media, and send your pitch to them. If you have any connections on LinkedIn to any of the companies you are considering reaching out to them via an inmail will also be a good way to go and will increase your chance of success. Ask any other contacts you have on LinkedIn that may be able to help, the worst thing they can say is ‘no’.

Piggybacking

You can piggyback your guest post off the success of any prolific industry bloggers that you may be aware of. Read the blogs in your industry and watch for that same names coming up again and again. For marketing there are prolific bloggers such as Gregory Ciotti, Danny InyLeo WidrichNeil PatelMarcus Sheridan, and others, so if you search their names and ‘guest posting’ it will bring up the blogs they have written for –which is a lead for you! If they have accepted guest blog posts from these people before the likelihood is that they still are.

You can also use this approach to look up the guest blogs your competitors are posting on and piggybacking off those. All you need is to use their name, or company name plus ‘guest post’ or ‘submitted by’ and you will come up with high quality leads.

Use Your Network

 If a blog is looking for guest posters they will often announce it on social media, usually Twitter. Join as many as you have on your hit list and check it often. Use the search function to see who has advertised for guest bloggers or who have written posts like 500 places to syndicate content and this one by Brian Keith May with 100 sites to submit guest posts. They have done all the work for you and all you need to do is send the pitch.

If you don’t see immediate success, keep trying. Guest blogging can be a rich source or marketing material and opens up a two way street for you to get out in the industry and for people to blog for you.