Getting the opportunity to guest blog on a website is a home run for anyone looking to promote their own blog, increase traffic and inbound links to their own site, forge new relationships or partnerships or build a reputation as an expert in your industry. If you don’t do it well, however, it can backfire and do quite the opposite of all those things.
Blogging, either on your own site or someone else’s, requires creating content that is perceived as valuable, informative, timely and entertaining. When you’re blogging on someone else’s site, however, the stakes are higher because you might only get one chance to make a good first impression to this new audience, so careful thought and execution are in order.
So let’s take a look at a few tricks of the trade so you can make the most of this golden opportunity:
Look for synergy between your niche and the website so it will make sense to readers for you to post. Ask yourself, “Would my target audience visit this blog?” Pick sites that have some overlap in audience to your own, and be sure you are able to offer something of value to these new readers.
Just pontificating about topics you’re passionate about isn’t going to win you any new fans or provide any promotional advantage from a branding perspective. Do your homework and read copious past blog posts to get a feel for the audience and its concerns, pain points and interests.
Use the Google Keyword Tool to determine how your content will compete in search rankings. If the keyword you’re searching comes up with high competition, you might want to consider some alternative topics, which the keyword tool will offer.
Do your research and find a topic (or keyword) for which the site ranks high to increase the odds of your guest post showing up in search results, reaching a wider audience and sending over more referral traffic. To pull this off, though, you also need to put a fresh spin on the topic that the site hasn’t published before.
This is important. If people like what they read, they will likely want to check you out online, so make sure your social media profiles are complete and accurate. Also be sure to include a link to your website and/or blog in each of your profiles. Be sure your bio includes a link to your Google+authorship, which tells Google to include your face in the search results.
This is a great way to cross-promote your work, but always check with the original site owners to see how long they would like you to wait before doing so. Once you do post it, make sure to include a sentence that refers back to the original site to help search engines understand it’s repurposed content and not duplicate content scraped from robots.
Once you’ve been given a publication date, be sure to allow time to not only share, but engage with the blog’s community. Many sites will require you to respond to every commenter and if you don’t, you might not be invited to contribute again. Sharing your opinions and expertise with this new audience is an excellent way to position yourself as an industry expert.
A high-quality website is always on the lookout for good content and will often want regular contributors. To make a case for you to become a regular, be sure your first post is strong, timely and informative and brings a fresh perspective or new spin on a topic that elicits good feedback from the site’s audience.
Guest blogging is a time-consuming initiative that requires a lot of front-end work and research. Whether your goal is more exposure, a bigger following, credibility, inbound links or networking opportunities—or all of the above—guest blogging, when done right, is a content marketing strategy that can deliver significant long-term benefits.
Photo Credit: Kerryscovets
Barb Schmitz is professional writer with more than 20 years of experience writing for B2B and B2C publications and web sites. She served as an editor on Computer-Aided Engineering magazine for more than 10 years before starting her own PR/freelance writing business in 2000. Her expertise includes interviewing, researching and writing whitepapers, blogs, eBooks, case studies, and feature articles.