A blog can be a valuable commodity in business. It can also cement your reputation as a writer. But, if your visitor statistics don’t reflect the consistent effort and attention you’ve paid to your blog, there’s a good chance you’re simply not connecting with the people that matter.
Becoming the kind of guest blogger that people revere takes more than a little effort on your part, and it starts with identifying the right kind of sites to solicit. Here are five easy steps that will guide you to guest blogging success.
1. Research Blogs of Authority in Your Niche
Too many start-ups enter guest blogging commitments with high expectations, often under the misconception that simply getting content out there is enough. If you’re serious about reaping the benefits of guest blogging, you need to understand that relevance is integral to gaining the right kind of traffic – which means researching blogs that tackle similar subjects to your own. Wordtracker’s Ann Smarty advises considering blogs you are already familiar with. “You already know their style and can probably imagine what appeals to their readers” she explains. If you aren’t already following blogs in your niche, now is the time to start!
2. Evaluate Page-Rank and Popularity
I’d never considered researching post popularity until I was invited to guest for a friend’s marketing blog. Having amassed over five years’ worth of content and a cult following to boot, there was relatively little she hadn’t covered during her blogging career. I felt compelled to dig around for ideas that would assist me in coming up with something fresh and unique, so I delved into past posts for inspiration. Researching blogs can help you glean information about the kind of posts readers most respond to, and make an informed decision about whether the site can really boost your own traffic. There are various methods you can use to evaluate a site’s credentials and the popularity of posts, including:
- Page-Rank: You can view the PR (Page Rank) of websites in Chrome using the PageRank tool under browser settings, or via the SEOQuake add-on in Firefox. Those with a PR of 4 or above are generally considered to be performing well.
- Archived Posts: It seems like a no-brainer, yet many guest bloggers overlook the most obvious indicators of blog performance – the posts!
- Website Analysis: There are many different tools you implement to evaluate a site, however, if you’re simply interested in the quality of links and keywords, SEO Workers’ handy SEO Analysis Tool (available as an add-on in Firefox) is free and simple to use.
3. Learn How To Pitch Effectively
Working on the assumption you have already built some kind of rapport with the blog owner, your next step is to convince them you can bring something unique to their site. Drawing upon your knowledge of the blog’s target audience, style and tone, you can choose to pitch:
- Pre-packaged posts: Something you’ve already written and consider relevant.
- An open package: Unique concepts or ideas inspired by one or more published posts.
You may have noticed I referred to posts in the collective sense. The reason? Pitching more than one idea gives you an edge. It demonstrates that you have taken time to research the blog and understand its intent. Age of Marketing entrepreneur Aman Basanti emphasises this in 4 Tips For Pitching Guest Posts Like A Pro, in which he discusses his own experience of pitching ideas to ProBlogger. “The post I thought would be best for ProBlogger was rejected, as was the one I thought would be second best” he admits.” The one I least expected to be published was accepted. Had I not pitched three post ideas at once, I would never have known”.
Converting blog owners with a new idea/concept is much like marketing a product or service, minus the hard sell. Other than proving your qualities as a writer with links to relevant samples, your main emphasis should be upon the uniqueness of your idea. Maximize the chances of your proposal being successful with:
- Proof you understand the blog and its readers.
- Multiple post ideas.
- Brief outlines for each post idea.
- At least decent contact with the blog owners (remember you’re dealing with a human not a robot)
4. Make Guest Blogging A Long-term Priority
Much like marketing, the benefits of a guest blogging campaign are only realized in long-term if you can maintain a consistent approach. A single guest post can drive qualified traffic, and may even lead to an increase in the number of subscribers, but for your readership to grow, you need to make guest blogging a fundamental part of your social networking strategy. That being said, you should never bite off more than you can chew. If you can only manage one guest post per week, make this a long-term priority and stick to it!
5. Be Prepared To Commit
Your duties as a guest blogger will rarely end after writing and submitting an article, meaning that you’ll likely be called upon to respond to all comments received once posted. This can be a long-term commitment, especially if your blog of choice happens to promote archived content and generate traffic via SEO. If you’re struggling to find time to devote to your own readers, this responsibility could actually damage your blog’s reputation. Conversely, if you can commit without too many restrictions on your time, you may be rewarded with a regular slot!
If you followed these simple steps your evolution should now be complete and you should reach a new level as a blogger. Now all you have to do is: write, write, write. Oh! And of course don’t forget to write some more. :-)