How To Guest Blog Really Well
In my last post I looked at the benefits of inviting guest blogs on your own blog, and contributing guests posts to other sites. Unfortunately guest blogging has become a bit of a dirty word in some circles. As is often the case when people jump on the bandwagon of a good idea, quality is driven down and everyone suffers. Sloppy, lazily written, link-ridden spam is not what guest posting should be about. Which is why your motivation for getting a guest post published should be driven by your online marketing goals, not just a desire for more backlinks.
Here’s how I approach writing a guest post:
- Research your host’s blog. What do they write about? What would add value to their site? What can you offer that is different, but relevant, to their existing blog content?
- It’s not a sales pitch. Forget about your business services or products, write a piece about your chosen subject without constantly referencing your own business. Readers want interesting, informative, entertaining content that they can engage with. Your host will want the same. By providing this in a seemingly altruistic way you will grow your influence and add value to your business brand.
- Keywords. Optimise your guest post for your host’s keywords; not your own business keywords. This is not about you! Their readership will find the post by searching the relevant keywords for the piece and / or host’s website. You will benefit from being affiliated with the site.
- Write the first paragraph as an introduction to the post (not as an introduction to your business). Include in this intro that the post is a guest post from xxxxxx of xxxxxxx. Don’t overplay your contribution, if your text is sympathetic to your host’s site they are less likely to edit it.
- Include a short biography at the end of the post. For example: “Jane Woodyer is a business blogger who ghost blogs for micro and small businesses. She has won industry awards for her clients, yet never shares the limelight with them!” Keep it short and sweet, and relevant to the host’s blog. Here’s your opportunity to include a link back to your website.
- Insert your own hyperlinks. Don’t go over the top; generally I would include a link to your website from your bio information, and if relevant (and only if it’s really relevant) a link to another area of your site: a blog you’ve written, or a specific product.
- Duplication is a no-no. Always provide original content. Cutting and pasting a previously published post will damage your SEO. How can a search engine decide how to rank two websites with the same content? They can’t, so they don’t.
Choosing the best places for your guest posts
Where are you going to guest post? Consider whether a potential host’s site is advantageous or not. Do you share their ethos and views, is there content on their site that might be detrimental to your business? Is their readership your target audience, what do you have to gain from their readers? Will posting on their website help your professional relationship with the host, is there scope for a reciprocal arrangement? PageRank: does their site have a high PageRank, making your backlinks more beneficial? Here’s a list of potential leads:
- Suppliers and outlets. Look at the businesses you work with: your suppliers, companies you sell your products through, even business services such as your accountant or solicitor.
- Local interest websites. If your business serves a particular area of the country, find local blogs and online publications. The Best Of.. sites are usually interested in guest posts from local businesses.
- Complementary businesses. For example my client Birthworks blogs about antenatal topics, the blog hosts guest posts from businesses offering other antenatal services, and Birthworks contributes content to these businesses too.
- Bloggers. Not to be confused with business bloggers, a blogger is generally an individual (rather than a company) posting articles about a particular area of interest: food, politics, design etc. Some of them are passionate hobbyists, don’t dismiss them they can have a lot of followers; others may work in the field they blog about. Many will be suspicious of a guest post from a business and will need reassurance that the content is not a sales pitch. Some bloggers won’t take any guest posts because they only blog in their own name. Do some research to find out who’s blogging about your area of expertise. A simple search for “Best xxxxx blogs / bloggers” usually comes up trumps.
When you approach another business or blogger offering to submit a guest post for them, it’s worth including a precis of the content you might submit. This will help them see that you’re serious about giving them quality content, instead of spam.
Any questions? Use the comments box below. Happy guest posting!