I recently wrote my first guest post in a long time for Jon Loomer. Guest blogging can be a valuable part of your content marketing strategy but it’s only really going to be of value if you put the time in to craft a really good blog post.
I don’t write many guest posts, I find it takes me three or four times longer to write a post for someone else than it does for myself. On my own blog, like today, I can blurt out whatever is in my head and publish it. I do of course always try and create quality posts but at least if I miss the mark it will sit amongst some of my better work on my blog. When I guest post I have one opportunity to sell my expertise and I’m always very aware that I should make the most of that opportunity. I only have one chance so I better get it right. No pressure then!
While the experience is still in my head I thought I’d share my philosophy for guest blogging, and accepting guest blogs.
The Benefits Of Guest Blogging
I’m at the stage now where my blog is getting significant traffic but no matter how many followers I have on Twitter or Likes I have on Facebook, no matter how well my SEO is optimised I will only reach a limited group of people. By guest blogging I have the opportunity to reach people who may not have otherwise found me. The result should be that I can grow my profile and connect with new and interesting people.
Inbound Links – SEO
I always feel a bit worried when I talk about SEO, it’s not my area of expertise at all but qualified inbound links to a website still seem to be one of the most important considerations on Google. A good inbound link is an endorsement for your site. By guest blogging I’m getting far more value than I would if I just got a mention in a blog roll. (SEO experts feel free to correct me in the comments).
Traffic To Blog
If you write a good guest post for a high profile website you will get traffic to your own blog from it. There will be an initial rush and then a sustained drip of traffic afterwards. This is another reason that I feel the pressure when I’m writing a guest post, the better the post the more likely someone is to check you out as a result of it.
Preparing For A Guest Post
As soon as I agree to write a guest post I start jotting down ideas for topics. I always have a list of blog ideas saved in Evernote so I shuffle through these looking for the best ones. I will sometimes choose the blog post I’ve been avoiding for a while, the one I know will be great but will require quite a bit of work to get it up to scratch.
Before I start working on the post any further I check the blog tha I’m going to be posting for and make sure the topic hasn’t been covered before.
Once I have chosen my topic I start brainstorming it. Each time I have an idea that will add to it I jot it down or add it to my Evernote note. Once the key points are in place I’ll start researching examples to demonstrate them.
Next I look for good images to accompany my points, these could be examples, stock photos, or my own images.
Once it’s written I sit on it for a while, go back to it and edit and review it at least twice.
Finally I get someone to proof read it. I don’t do this for my own blog anymore, I read it through myself but it would be a big job to get someone to proof four posts a week. You may notice the odd spelling, grammar or typing error creep in as a result. When I’m blogging for someone else I want my work to be perfect so I get at least one friend to read it through for errors.
Asking For Guest Posts
Guest blogging is a two way street, getting others to write for you has very similar benefits as guest blogging for others.
- It raises your profile and helps you reach new people as the guest blogger shares their work tagging you on Twitter, Facebook or G+
- You will get qualified inbound links if the guest blogger shares it from their own website or blog – like I would in my ‘Social 7 Roundup’
- You will increase traffic to your website as the guest blogger shares the link with their online friends and followers.
How To Ask
I get multiple requests to guest post for people and it’s rare that I accept. There are times when I will always say yes.
- When the request comes from a personal friend or business partner
- When the request comes from a blogger I admire
If you are approaching someone to blog for you and they don’t fit in to the above categories here’s some other things that might encourage a yes
- Make your request personal – Don’t cut and paste or mail merge your email. Take a bit of time to explore the work of the blogger that you are approaching, highlight why you are asking them specifically and maybe refer to something they have said or done that has influenced your decision.
- Build the relationship first – It’s a lot easier to approach someone if you have built a relationship with them in advance. Get to know the blogger before you ask. Maybe chat to them on Twitter or leave conversational comments on their blog and Facebook page. This means when you do get in touch they will be aware of who you are and more likely to respond.
- Be as detailed as possible about what you would like written – The more specific you can be about what you would like someone to write, the easier it is for them to write for you. If you don’t want to be too prescriptive you could open a conversation with them or help them brainstorm ideas.
- Give deadlines – It was great blogging for Jon Loomer as he gave me a date well in advance. This gave me plenty of time to brainstorm and prepare. He got in touch a few times before the deadline to see how I was doing. Again this was great, there was no way I was going to miss that date.
- Think of including a guest post submission policy on your blog or website – If you want to encourage more guest blog posts it may be worth telling people what you want from them. By writing about it on your site you are letting bloggers know you are open to their ideas, it also gives you something to link people to when you get requests.
Accepting blog posts doesn’t always save you time. As you can tell from above it takes work, maybe almost as much work as writing a post yourself. Some posts will perform better than others but if you get it right it can benefit both you and your site.
Some of my guest blog posts
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