During my first few months of blogging one of the most effective methods of promotion was writing guest posts for other blogs. I put a lot of effort into getting exposure and links be writing for a number of different blogs and slowly building my own audience.
While I never had any huge spikes in subscriber growth from writing a guest post, I was able to make a lot of great contacts, build my reputation and get a number of quality links by making the rounds to different blogs.
From my experience I believe that guest posting is one of the best things any new blogger can do. At first, getting visitors to your new blog can be difficult, but if you want to you can go out and proactively get your work in front of targeted readers by writing for other blogs.
Now that my blogs are more established I don’t write guest posts anymore, but that hasn’t changed my opinion of how effective they can be for someone who is looking to get their blog off the ground.
If you’re looking to build your readership and your reputation in the niche, here are my ten tips.
1 – Target the Right Blogs
The first, and probably the most critical step, is to find the right blogs for your guest posts. When looking at possibilities there are a few things you should consider. First, the size of the blog is a factor. Obviously, the larger the audience the more exposure you’ll get. However, I don’t recommend just finding the biggest blog in your niche and submitting a guest post right away.
When I started promoting my blog through guest posts I decided to start small and work my way up. As a new blogger I didn’t have the confidence in my abilities at that point, so working my way up helped me to feel more comfortable while I was working to build my own audience.
Even more important than the size of the other blog, the audience is a key consideration. Writing a great guest post for a large blog may help you to get plenty of exposure, but that exposure isn’t targeted at the right audience it really won’t have much of an impact. Try to find blogs that have an audience that matches up very well with your own. This will help to maximize your chances of converting readers of your guest post into subscribers of your own blog.
2 – Brainstorm Post Ideas
The guest post is intended to promote yourself and your work, so it should be as good as possible. A guest post that is little more than a rehash of content that can be found anywhere will have little impact in attracting attention to your own blog. Make sure that you give plenty of attention to the post topic and set aside the time to run through several ideas to find the best one.
You’ll want to find a topic that is relevant to both the blog it will be published on and to your own blog. If people click through to your blog they’ll probably expect to find similar content, and if they don’t, it’s unlikely that they’ll stick around or subscribe. Also, consider your specific areas of expertise. What can you write about that will make readers realize that you’re someone worth following?
3 – Pitch the Blogger on Your Idea
One you have the right blog picked out and you’ve identified a post topic that you think would be appropriate you’ll need to do what you can to see that it gets published. Obviously, the blog owner or editor will have to decide that your post is worthy of being published in order for you to get the exposure that you’re after.
My preferred method of handling this situation is to have a specific idea in mind to run by the blog owner to see if they think it would have a chance to be published. If they show interest in the post then I’ll write it and send it to them, and if they don’t I’ll either come up with another idea or try to use that post idea somewhere else.
Some bloggers prefer to write the entire post and set it to the blog owner on the first contact, but personally I find this to be more aggressive than necessary. If the blog owner has no interest in guest posts of any kind, at least you won’t bother them by sending a full post (plus possibly images). If you approach them before writing the post they may have some feedback on the idea that could help you to create a post that is more likely to be published.
In my opinion it’s a better use of your time to get the green light before writing the full post. Also, when I have people contact me about guest posts on my own blog I prefer to have them ask me about it first before sending the full post, so I assume most other blog owners feel the same way.
4 – Write the Best Quality Content You Can
This is pretty obvious, but it needs to be mentioned. The quality of your post will have a huge impact on the results of your effort as a guest blogger. Rather than speeding through the writing process to get more guest posts done, take your time and do your best work. It will help to give your post the best chances of being published and will give a better presentation of yourself to readers. Just like guest posts can have a big impact in terms of positive exposure, a poorly-written guest post can give a bad first impression that will be difficult to overcome.
5 – Write and Interesting and Enticing Bio
As a guest blogger (in almost every case) you’ll be allowed to write a brief bio (a few sentences) about yourself with a link back to your own blog. This paragraph should tell just enough about yourself to make people want to check out your blog, and it should help them to see why you’re worth their time. Writing bios is always something I struggled with, but I’ve seen the impacts of different approaches here. Simply stating your name and your blog’s name with a link is generally not enough to get the best results. Put some thought into what you want people to quickly know about you that will pique their curiosity. Consider also linking to a profile at a social networking site, such as Twitter, so people can connect with you there if they want to.
6 – Have Great Content Waiting on Your Front Page
When people click through from your guest post, they’ll form an opinion of your blog in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. Most guest bloggers don’t think of this in advance, but it’s an important factor to consider. If you know when your guest post will be published, be sure that you have something of high quality on your front page for when they arrive. It’s also a good idea to make the post relevant to the visitors that will be arriving.
I had very good results one time with a guest post on ProBlogger when I had a post here on Traffikd that was written specifically to interest the same audience as the guest post. Some guest bloggers publish a welcome post on their own blog to make those visitors who click through feel appreciated and at home. I did this once or twice, but I decided I don’t like this approach. First, it takes up valuable space and time of the readers. If they’re only going to spend a minute on your blog you need to make a good impression, and that’s more likely to happen with a quality post than with a welcome message.
Also, in my opinion it makes the blog seem small and less significant than the blog where you guest posted. There’s no big blog that will write a welcome message to visitors coming from a small blog, so I think it downplays the significance of your blog unintentionally. Your approach is up to you, that’s just my opinion.
7 – Make Sure Your Subscription Options Are Highly Visible
Chances are, one of your biggest goals in writing guest posts is to build your own subscriber base. In order for this to happen you’ll need to make it as easy as possible for visitors to subscribe. When they arrive at your blog they obviously have some interest in what you have to say or they wouldn’t have clicked through, so they will be more likely to subscribe than the average visitor. If your subscription options aren’t clear and/or prominent you could be losing subscribers.
8 – Follow Up with Comments on the Guest Post
After your post has been published, make sure that you go back to the post to respond to comments and answer questions. Taking the time to follow up can go a long way in building rapport and starting to develop a relationship with the readers.
9 – Promote Your Post with Social Media
The more exposure your post gets, the more exposure you get. By voting or submitting the post to social media you can help to increase the number of people that see your work. In addition, the blog owner will be interested in how well-received your post is, so getting more people to the site through social media will help your chances of getting another guest post, if that’s something that interests you. You may want to consider using your network to get some votes, or share the link with your Twitter followers and friends.
10 – Get Around
Writing a guest post for the same blog multiple times is good for getting your name in front of the same people over and over again, but generally you’ll get better results by spreading it out a bit. This doesn’t mean you should only write one guest post for every blog that you write for, but don’t put all of your effort into reaching the same audience each time. Every time you write for a new blog you’ll be able to reach a new audience and get more exposure. Make an effort to get around to several different blogs in your niche.
What’s Your Experience?
Have you written guest posts for other blogs? If so, what was your experience and what advise do you have? If not, what are you waiting for?
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