Guest blogging is awesome. It can do wonders for your search engine optimization, establish your credibility as a thought leader and an expert, and expose you to newer, bigger audiences.
All bloggers need good content to appeal to their readers. Guest blogs are a way of adding value to the host websites and building your credibility over time. It is a great way to build relationships with other bloggers.
Bloggers can be tremendously influential since they make up a large percentage of conversations on the web. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter often share and tweets blogs till they go viral.
As exciting as it is to have your written word read, appreciated and shared, getting your guest posts accepted and published is another matter altogether. We have compiled a list of things you should definitely avoid to increase your chances of guest blogging success:
Having a plan is essential for everything, including guest blogging. Start by defining your goals for guest blogging and then incorporate those goals in your strategy. For example, you may be trying to improve your search engine ranking in response to specific keywords. In that case you need to concentrate on creating content that allows you to use those keywords repeatedly in a subtle and strategic manner. Preferably, those keywords should allow an insertion of an inbound link as well.
Once you have identified which keywords you plan to concentrate on, locate blogs that cater to the market the keywords belong to and already rank the topic. If the purpose of your guest blogging is to find a new audience that relates to your line of business, then you want to explore those blogs that cater to readers different from your own but of the same niche.
Another aspect of importance of strategy is to write posts that not only benefit your own business, but also be an asset to the host blog. Guest blogging enhances your authority since it helps your potential audience associate you with high-quality information. When you write in the interests of your host’s blog, the benefits accrue back to you, too.
Your strategy should not be rush to the big-name publishers in your field; it is probable that you won’t be published straight away and lose morale and become disheartened in the process. Start by writing for sites that are a step above yours with a slightly bigger audience and continue your upward journey by working up sites that have a wider readership.
You are a great writer, you must be one which is why you are willing to make a career out of it. But writing a good blog is just one part of the equation. The other part is to market it well so that others will be willing to publish it.
The more popular the blog, the busier the blog managers. Their time is best spent focusing on perfecting content from their own writers rather than investing time in evaluating a one-off blog that lands in their inbox by a complete stranger. Why should they go through your blog when they already have other internal blogs and articles by people they know on their plate?
This question can be answered in two ways. Firstly, it is best that you fall in the category of people they know or have a reference from someone they know. Blog managers generally pay more attention to pitches that are introduced through mutual connections. Don’t be shy, go through your contacts, Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, tap on your ex-roommate’s girlfriend’s brother if you have to, but leverage the power of your personal network whenever you can.
Secondly, if all else fails, approach blog managers directly. The first big no-no is to address the blog manager as “blog manager” rather than using the actual name. Personalized messages have a higher chance of being read whereas generic sounding emails tend to end up in trash.
In your email, highlight why you are knowledgeable about your chosen field. For example, you may already have a successful blog or an expansive social reach. Include stats, if you have any, and attach links to a couple of your articles as samples. Not all bloggers will have the time or desire to go through your samples but those who do might evaluate your pitch more seriously.
Rules may be meant to be broken when you are a rebellious teenager in high school but when it comes to being successful in the world of guest blogging, following instructions to the letter is essential to being published.
Blog managers already have better things to do than spend time on guest bloggers, editing and perfecting their posts. So if you want your post to make it to the finish line, make sure your contributions are as nearly flawless as you can make them.
Identify appropriate email addresses, check the website’s contact page, do a Google site search and find out information about how to submit guest blogs. If your topic suggestions are approved, make sure their guidelines are followed. And if they have not provided a clear set of instructions, carefully examine guest posts by other authors to gauge what the appropriate length is, the preferred structure, number of inbound links allowed, etc., as a guide. Directly ask them for their guidelines as well.
The tone and style of your guest blog should be aligned with that of the host site. Are conversational posts preferred or do the published blogs have a formal writing style? Is humor present at all times or is it a mix of serious and funny articles? Is foul language a norm or are the blogs strictly expletive free? Checking questions like these will ensure that your contribution does not stick out like a sore thumb since it has a higher chance of being rejected if so.
So you have published an article on problogger.com or copyblogger.com. Or maybe you have gotten published on the biggest blog website of your niche audience and you are super pleased with yourself. This is the time to work the hardest, not pat yourself on the back and rest on your laurels.
Guest blogging on popular websites gives you momentum, which if you lose out on, could cost you thousands of visitors on your own blog. Your first guest post acceptance is a big deal to you, but you have to capitalize on it and keep submitting more blogs till you become a fixture and overtime you may be invited to be a regular contributor.
One way to start a stream of blogs is to create follow-up content. Not all aspects of a topic can be covered in a single post. Depending on the feedback you get, you could spin off another article that answers some of the questions that your initial post may have raised. This would also increase your engagement with readers and generate further momentum.
Of course, not all accepted blog post create momentum that can significantly increase your readership. But the more you write, the more people will see your name, the more credibility and trust you will win and the wider your reach will become. In the long term, this may benefit you more than the number of hits on your website.
Earlier, we said to not stick out like a sore thumb by ignoring guidelines or the tone of the host site. However, we don’t advice to blend in either. In fact, one of the things you should aim to avoid as a guest blogger is to blend in.
Think of it as a party. When you walk in, everyone is dressed to the tens. You don’t want to stand out by being dressed in your pajamas or a clown costume. No, what you want is to be talk of the party, the one that everyone gravitates towards. That is how your blog should be on the host website, amidst posts by other guest bloggers.
One of the purposes of your guest blogging is to convince the blog’s readers to subscribe to your own blog. Just getting featured on a blog is not enough because blogs that accept guest posts generally do so from several bloggers. Readers are not going to sign up for email updates from every single one of those guest bloggers, only those who stand out the most.
Yes, standing out among other similar high quality articles is not easy. Invest time not only in your articles but also spend time reading articles of your competition, seeing what makes them tick and how you can style your content better. Adding your unique insight, images and supporting data is one way to make your content stand out. You could also include videos, gifs or downloadable content like a how-to guide or a checklist.
You have a luxury of working when you want to when you are a freelance blogger, but this is both a blessing and a curse. Often, when there is no boss driving you, when the only accountability is the number of moths in your wallet, you work when you feel like it and hence end up guest posting infrequently.
The concept of branding is not limited to dish washing liquids, you are a brand too. The more people will see your name, the more exposure you will have, the more credibility you will build, the more likely they will trust you, and the more likely they will “buy” from you, aka frequent your blog often.
To build up that kind of following, you need to guest post on your target blogs more than just once. After all, it is not one ad of the bar soap that prompts you pick it up when you are shopping at the grocery store, it is the repetitions of the advertisements that nudges you to purchase it. Similarly, people will not subscribe to your blog or start reading it straight away, you will need to provide frequent high quality content to build up a following.
Some of the bigger blogger names in the industry posted frequently to get to where they are today. For example, in 9 months Leo Widrich, co-founder of Buffer, wrote 150 guest posts, which hardly generated traffic in the start but gradually gained momentum. Buffer got their first 100k customers from guest posting.
The best way to blog regularly is to set a goal for a specified time period, for example 2 blog posts a week and put it in your schedule. Publish those blogs regularly on sites that have a strong audience.
It goes without saying that your content should be high-quality, but what does a high-quality post comprise of exactly? Well written post that flows smoothly with immaculate grammar are all essential attributes but it does not end there. The substance of your article should be backed by facts, figures, data, charts and/or numbers from reliable sources.
Your opinions alone do not matter if you are not a thought leader in your industry or are not speaking from years of experience in the field. To improve your credibility and establish yourself as the thought leader, show that you know your field by basing analysis on strong data sets.
Other than content, you need to pay attention to your links. If you are guest posting only to place backlinks or make some bucks through affiliate links, you will not be able to grow your audience or build credibility. Host websites can generally tell whether your posts provide value to their readers or if you are only trying to make sales.
Yes, a lot of sites are fine with this type of linking but the popular ones value their relationship with their audience and would not accept articles whose sole purpose seems to sell particular goods or services. Every website has its own set of rules with some not restricting the number of links allowed while others not allowing any. Make sure you adhere to the guidelines of your host website and be ethical about the credibility of your data sets, claims, and value addition for readers.
Guest blogging can be as easy and simple as having a plan in mind and a strategy in place. As long as you are good at milking your contacts, appear personable through the written word on the screen, follow guidelines and post high quality content regularly, there is no reason why you cannot build a strong fan following of your own.
Moosa Hemani stands out for many reasons, but one is simply for his exceptional desire to contribute to the SEO community through his writing and participation in social media. You would be hard pressed to find a highly-visible SEO site that he has not contributed to in way. He is also a truly nice guy, which always impresses me. There’s no ego, but there is confidence. I’d be honoured to have the chance to work with Moosa.