BUILD YOUR BRAND WITH GUEST BLOGGING
Fantastic Guest Blog Here From Ann Smarty
The concept of spending time and effort to write for someone else for free may seem weird:
Many bloggers don’t like the idea of not being paid for such an effort.
Guest writing is a crucial tool for any kind of professional online activity.
Some of the ways it can be used are:
- Gaining traffic to your own website, whether a blog or a company site.
- Sharing content with a wider audience.
- Finding a new reader pool to dip into.
- Branding yourself as an expert in your field, by solidifying your authority.
- Publishing samples around the web to get you consulting or freelancing work later on.
- Possibly gaining attention from major media sources by piggy-backing on a more popular site.
- Building relationships with important industry contacts.
- Spreading your wings and showing your chops in a new niche.
- Trading posts with other bloggers/writers to diversify your own blog content for free.
As you can see, the applications of this technique are pretty broad, and there are many benefits.
How To Get Started
The process can actually be broken down into steps.
Step One - Isolate Your Niche
You know those dozen things you know a lot about? Don’t go jumping into them all at once. You should be isolating the niche that you want to focus on, and become an authority there, first. So select a category that you most want to be known for. Then break that down into the various elements that are related to that category.
For example, say you want to be known as a marketing guru. Your primary category would be Marketing, and your subcategories could be SEO, content marketing, visual marketing, social marketing, traditional marketing, etc. It gives you a large number of topics to cover, while keeping you concentrated on one area.
Step Two - Find Opportunities
Now that you know what you want to write about, you need to find the places to write for. Start with the most obvious, which are blogs you already read and enjoy.
Find out if they accept writers (there should be a page dedicated to this information or you see your other contacts writing there). If so, look at all of their requirements and make sure you understand them before putting them on your To Contact list.
If you have friends already contributing there, make sure to ask for an introduction instead of rushing to use the contact form. A personal recommendation works better in 99% of times. Linkedin is another great place to find common contacts at a publication you are eager to contribute to:
Step Three - Pitch Your Idea
Pitching your idea is easy. You just write them an email explaining who you are, what you want to write for them, what makes you an authority on that subject and so qualified to do so. But there are a couple of guidelines to follow when pitching a guest post.
- Make sure you have read their specifications, in case they have any steps to follow in pitching to them. 2. Don’t try too hard to stand out. An eye catching subject line might seem like a good idea, but usually comes off as annoying. Just be yourself: Personal touch usually wins. 3. Stay succinct. Blog owners get a ton of requests for guest posts. They skim messages, so just present it as succinctly as possible. Use short paragraphs, first introducing yourself and your experience, and then explaining your pitch idea. 4. Be as personal as you can. Never. bulk.email. You won’t handle contributing to dozens of places anyway, so why spread your effort thin? Pick just a few places you really see yourself contributing at and do your best to make it clear you have a focus and you are serious about that. If you use cookie cutter templates, they will know.
Step Four - Write The Post and Byline
Congratulations! You have got a yes and are now looking to write your first article. This part is pretty self explanatory. Keep the quality high make sure to follow their specifications to the letter. No blog owner wants to waste the time reediting a post to match their guidelines. Most won’t publish a post that doesn’t follow their formatting.
Always try to include one of their other posts: This effort is always appreciated. It shows you read their blog, flatters them, and also gives them added incentive to accept the final article.
Make sure to include some images: This will save the editor’s time and make the article harder to reject. Here are some great tools to easily create awesome visuals.
Tip: Using custom and / or self-created visual content for each of your articles seems like another time-consuming effort but you can always re-use those images for content re-packaging or even sell those images if you are looking to further monetize this effort.
Your byline should be simple, giving a quick explanation of who you are, a link to your site, and some contact information, such as your primary email address. Never go more than a couple of sentences. Don’t self-promote: Your content is supposed to show you are an expert, not your byline.
Step Five - Share Around and Monitor Results
Once it is published, do your best to spread the word: share it on social media, comment, schedule for updates to go live in a few days or so. The rule of thumb is:
- Post your own comment to than the editors for publishing
- Share it on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn tagging the publication as well as the actual editor who you were working with (if possible)
- Schedule a few more updates to share on Facebook pages and Twitter throughout the week
- Track the tweets mentioning the article, thank for shares and connect to those who promote your article
Your effort to promote your article guarantees that your editors will be happy to have you contribute again!
How Much Free Content Will I Be Able to Provide?
This depends on your goals and on how much time you can dedicate. Generally, your ultimate goal is to arrange 3-5 columns at high-profile blogs to contribute monthly to. Plus, relocate some time to explore new opportunities (1-2 new blogs every month).