Writing guest posts for others. Why would you do this?
- You can build a mutually beneficial relationship with another blogger by providing useful content for them.
- You will reach a wider audience as you get in front of their visitors.
- They will promote your post to their followers on social media.
- You’ll get a backlink to your site which helps SEO and points visitors in your direction.
- You’ll improve your credibility by appearing on an authority site.
- You could get some much needed PR – writing guests posts on my partner’s site has led to people being approached by a major UK newspaper to feature in an article.
What you need to do to make it work
You can’t just throw yourself out there and contact people without having a sound objective, doing some research and building some trust with those you choose as potential blogging partners.
Who to approach?
You need to choose carefully and think about these criteria:
- They have a similar audience to you.
- Good rankings and reputation. A Google Rank of at least 3. You can use this Google Rank Checker to find this out.
- Don’t discount people you perceive as competitors – better to collaborate than hold them at arm’s length.
- They have a good following on social media channels.
- Higher up the food chain than you are.
How to approach another blogger to offer writing guest posts
You need to build a relationship first. It’s very similar to networking but you may not necessarily meet them in person to start with. Here’s a checklist for what to do.
- Follow them on social media and share their material.
- Get into conversations with them by commenting on what they write.
- When you feel you have developed rapport take the relationship offline with an email or phone call depending on how formal or informal they are.
- Suggest a guest post when you sense that the relationship has developed sufficiently enough and be prepared should they ask you first!
- Be aware of your relative standing – punch slightly above your weight if you’re offering a post.
- When you have done several guest post approach bigger sites. E.g. The Guardian Small Business Network.
How do you make a good impression so you get asked again!
- Make sure you’re clear on the topic you’re writing about and details such as word count and deadline.
- Ask them to send you their guest post guidelines (larger sites may have these published on their blog or website so check before you ask so you don’t look silly – all part of your initial research).
- Make sure it’s of good quality by focusing on:
- Proof reading. Spelling and grammatical errors are not acceptable.
- Editing – once you have completed the post leave it for a day or two. Then come back fresh and review the structure, strengthen your arguments and remove any repetition.
- ‘Kill your darlings’ – the things that sound wonderful to you but may come across as wordy or pretentious to others.
- Consider SEO – whats the best keyword? Use it in the title, the headline and sprinkle it throughout the post.
- Structure – make it easily readable online with headings, bullet points and short sentences. Break up the post with four or five line paragraphs and lists.
- Include a photo, a short bio and a link to your blog or specific post.
- Under-promise and over-deliver – send your copy on time so they don’t have to chase you.
- If you can, send it early. Your efficiency will impress the blog owner. If someone else has let them down or they have a gap they will be grateful to have your post ready to go. Extra brownie points!
- It goes without saying that it’s original and all your own work!
When the post is published
- Thank the person who has shared your guest post on their site.
- Make sure you share it with your followers on all your social media platforms using their Twitter name, linking to the post on Facebook, Google + etc.
- Like, retweet and +1 their mentions of your post. Don’t just favourite tweets – although useful in certain circumstances it isn’t as valuable as a retweet!
- Make sure you are signed up for comments on your post so you know immediately when someone leaves a comment. Always respond. Don’t be disappointed if there are none, as most commenting now takes place on social media.
- Thank everyone who shares your article. You may want to see if they are worth following. If they like what you have written they are likely to engage with you on social media and your blog. This extra follow-up and research may uncover future potential guest post opportunities.
Have you measured your results?
This is important and something many bloggers miss out on. How do you prove your post is successful and your material is a good fit for the other blogger’s audience?
If they are savvy they’ll be checking on how many hits and shares your post got and make their own mind up. However, it’s better to go back after a couple of weeks armed with some statistics of your own such as:
- Number of people who visited your site via the post on their blog.
- How many shares such as retweets, Likes and Google +1’s you got.
- Enquiries you got based on the post you wrote.
- Did the leads turn into business?
If you don’t want to give exact figures you can use percentages. E.g. ‘When you published my guest post my visits went up by 100%’!
Writing guest posts sounds like hard work!
I agree and will only do guest posts when I’ve qualified the opportunity. If you hit the right spot you will be surprised at the results you can get. It’s a great feeling to see a spike in your traffic and know it’s due to action you’ve taken.
Plus it’s all part of a long term strategy to increase visibility and credibility, and ultimately get a return on investment of your time and energy.
What’s been your experience of writing guest posts for others and what advice would you give to other bloggers who are just starting?