How To Put Together A Successful Guest Blogging Strategy
With guest blogging, all you’re doing is posting on a blog you don’t own or publish. Sounds simple enough, right?
The reality is, you’ll ultimately be more pleased with the eventual payoff for your guest blogging efforts if you have a strategy in place to magnify your message to a receptive audience.
Regardless of how guest blog posting fits into your overall digital engagement plans, the steps highlighted below can provide a solid foundation for your guest blogging endeavors.
Determine Guest Posting Goals
Start by determining what you want to accomplish with guest blogging. Your goals with guest blog posting don’t necessarily have to match what you have in mind for your blog.
But you should still have a specific purpose in mind before you go any further. Keeping this in mind will help you determine how to structure your posts. Possible guest blog posting goals include:
- Getting more backlinks to help with your SEO efforts
- Improving brand awareness
- Increasing social media or website engagement
- Boosting authority within your niche or industry
- Increasing traffic and/or leads
Your goals will also point you in the right direction when it comes to finding blogs to post on. If your primary goal, for example, is to become more of an authority in your industry, then niche blogs with a smaller, more focused audience would be best to reach your goals.
Find Possible Guest Blogging Opportunities
Once you’ve determined your goals with guest blogging, it’s time to start looking for blogs fitting those goals. You can always start with random searching for blogs matching your niche, industry, business, products, or services.
However, if you’re still not sure just who your intended audience is for your guest blog posts, use a buyer persona template. This template will help you create a semi-fictionalized version of who would likely be interested in your guest blog content.
Another way to find guest blogging possibilities is to use a backlink checker tool to evaluate your competitors’ sites or blogs. Once you find out what sites are linking back to your competitors, further explore to see if there are some blogs linked to those sites you can add to your list.
Evaluate Blog Viability and Quality
Now that you have a list of blogs that are a good match for your goals with guest blogging, the next step is to determine if they are viable options.
Start this part of the process by checking to see if the blogs you have in mind accept guest posts. If they do, find out what the guest post guidelines are before you submit anything. You don’t want to get your foot stepped on before it can get in the door.
Pay attention to other indicators of blog quality, too. This list includes such things as:
- Number of visitors or subscribers
- How SEO-friendly the blog is – e.g., a combination of text/images, readability, placement of related links, etc.
- How your target blogs promote original and guest posts
- Online visibility*
*Use SEO assessment tools to determine how visible your target blogs are online to get an idea of how well you’ll be able to reach your intended audience and amplify your message.
Come Up with Guest Blog Post Topics
Put some thought into the topics for your guest blog posts. On a related note, look at each of your target blogs to see what’s already been covered and what hasn’t been addressed yet. This increases your odds of having your guest posts accepted.
Put Together a Guest Blog Pitch
You’ll have to do more than submit a guest post and hope the publisher uses it, especially if the blogs in your niche are popular. Get the attention of the publisher by putting together a guest blog pitch, a process that typically involves:
- Seeking out proper contact info rather than going to the general contact page (to make your pitch more personal)
- Creating an attention-getting subject line for your pitch
- Customizing your pitches to each publisher instead of copying and pasting one general pitch
- Highlighting some of the benefits you can offer a publisher and their audience
- Including links to existing posts you’ve already written and published (as evidence of what can be expected from you)
Write Awesome, Publish-Worthy Guest Posts
Take the time to make sure your guest posts are “publish-worthy.” In other words, focus on the finer points when it comes to important details, such as spelling, grammar, and how your guest posts are structured.
Before submitting your posts, also double-check to see if what you’re presenting is in line with how the other posts are set up on the blog – even if the setup is different than what you normally do on your blog.
Further make your guest blog posts publish-worthy by remembering to:
- Not be overly promotional
- Look for other posts on the publisher’s blog you might be able to link to
- Write a brief bio to introduce yourself to the existing blog’s audience
Your work isn’t done once you submit your guest post. Another equally important part of the guest blogging process is following up on your posts. This is beneficial since it helps sustain relationships with publishers.
As for what “follow up” for guest blog content entails, it typically includes:
- Responding to comments
- Promoting your guests’ posts on your blog or social accounts
- Including links to your guest posts on your website or in other original content you’re presenting online to further amplify visibility
Lastly, keep track of how your guest blog posts are performing. Create another list of KPIs relevant to your goals. Typically, the metrics to keep an eye on include:
- How much referral traffic your guest posts are generating
- Number of new visitors to your site from your posts
- How many comments your guest blog content is generating
- Number of related mentions, leads, or links
If you are blogging and guest blogging, don’t get into the habit of saving your better content for your blog. Also, keep in mind that if your guest posts are subpar, you could jeopardize relationships and potentially do more harm than good for your own business or brand. Being consistent with content quality is ultimately good for everyone involved with your guest blogging efforts.