One subject we have talked a lot about on this blog is guest posts and how they can be utilized to build authority and build a brand. While, we have repeatedly mentioned guest posts, many of our readers have e-mailed us saying that they wanted a more in-depth post solely on guest posts. Hence, our editorial team got to work creating this short guide on how to effectively go about utilizing the value of guest posts.
The first step to guest posting is selecting the blogs that you want to make a guest post on. The most important characteristic is of choosing a quality blog to make a guest post on is relevance. How closely tied is the content this blog creates to the products and services your company provide? Will a post on this blog be relevant to the readers and will these readers be interested in visiting your corporate page? The next most important factor is size of the blog’s readership. How many people read this blog and will a post here send a good volume of traffic to your website or blog? It is important to select blogs with wide readership for effective guest posts. Off course the larger the blog, the greater the competition and the more difficult it can be to secure guest posting opportunities, but this is an issue that we will discuss later in this post. Another important factor to consider is the authority of the blog. Often time this goes hand in hand with traffic and subscriber (RSS and E-Mail newsletter are both important to look at to see how engaged readers are with the blog), but on some occasions low traffic blogs may have a lot of authority if they are written by a well respected individual or have garnered mainstream media coverage in the past. In this case, it is a good idea to accept these guest posts to build your reputation , even if it won’t lead to lots of direct traffic.
When looking for blogs to pitch too, it can be very helpful to look at lists of top blogs as ranked by independent parties. For example, if you are looking for blogs related to marketing and advertising, taking a look at the AdAge 150 can save hoiurs of research. The AdAge 150 ranks the top 150 (and more) blogs related to advertising and marketing ased on the authority they have, analyzing various factors from social media presences to Alex rank and links in Yahoo!. There are similar independent lists available for blogs related to other subjects.
Writing the Post
After selecting a list of blogs to target, the next most important steps is to get started actually writing the content itself. With writing the content, the most important aspect is research. Though it may be time consuming, for guest posts to be successful, you need to be familiar with the style fo writing readers are used to and the content they are familiar with. A quick browse of a posts from the archives can help guide you in determining what direction needs to be taken with the guest post.
You want to create something which is in the same style as previous content (for example if old posts utilize lots of short paragraphs or visual aids in the forms of graphs, charts, or embedded presentations, you want to do the same). You also want to choose a topic which relates to the content readers are used to and fits nicely into the categories, but is something which hasn’t previously been written on. Do a blog search to see if there are any posts related to the topics you have in mind,
A good way to come up with a post idea is to read through old content and find a post which you think wasn’t fully explored and come up with an extension topic to that post where you comment further on the topic or present a counter argument.
Writing the ByLine
The most important part of the guest post (for you) is the byline. The byline of the post is the two-three sentences you get to talk about you, who you are, and give a link to your online presence. The best way to illustrate this point is through example so take a look at the two bylines below.
Example 1: This post was written by Aditya Mahesh, founder of AMBeat.com, a complete resource for entrepreneurs complete with advice articles, start-up profiles, interviews, news analysis, and more.
Example 2: For more discussion on this topic, look at this post on [Insert Link Here] blog. This post was written by Aditya Mahesh [Link to About Page Here], a seasoned entrepreneur whose latest project can be found here.
The second example is the right way to do it. The byline starts with an extension of the post giving users a reason to click. The link should point to a post on your corporate blog that is related to the subject of the guest post. The byline also includes a bit about who I am, my background, and gives interested users a direct link to a page where they can get more information.
Getting Big Blogs
Getting large blogs to accept your guest posts can be a challenge. After all, chances are you aren’t the only one who wants to write guest posts. Hence, with more competition, the chances of getting a big blogger to respond, much less accept, diminish greatly. However, there are a few tactics to help increase chances of getting accepted,
The first and most important is to have a track record and posts to show. Make sure that you have some quality content on your blog which you can show as sample content. Also, it is a good idea to write a few guest posts for less well known blogs so that when you apply for larger more famous blogs, you have some previous guest posts you can link to.
It is also a smart idea to network with the blogger so you have a personal relationship before you pitch a guest post. Its best to meet the blogger in person so see if he/she is attending any industry conferences or will be in your area anytime soon. If not, introduce yourself online through an e-mail and talk about the industry in general. It is important to build a relationship with bloggers for purposes other than guest posts so the sooner you get started the better. Do not send promotional messages or ask for coverage. Its is important to build a professional relationship before you start calling in favors.
Lastly, when you pitch a blogger, again focus on what makes you different and why you have a unique insight you can share with the readers. Bloggers are constantly looking for new and fresh ideas. Send an outline for a possible post if you have created one.
The process is not over once a post gets published. It is your responsibility to continue to engage with readers through comments. Make an effort to respond to every comment with a personal message. This will encourage those commenting (who have already exhibited interest) to perhaps look further into your and your company. It will also show the blogger that you are a dedicated guest poster and may lead to long term opportunities or at least a repeat guest post, which segways into our last point.
Long Term Opportunities
A guest post is not a one time occurrence. While the first post will draw the most traffic to your site, reputation is the key to build your brand through guest posts. If you only make one post, you will soon be forgotten. It is only through repeated posts across the blogosphere that you can become seen as a true expert in the industry.