Guest posting has certainly gained popularity mainly because it has a ton of benefits for webmasters. From an SEO standpoint, posting content on other websites helps you gains backlinks, thus giving you more search engine juice.
It’s also a huge boon from a marketing perspective because it gives you the opportunity to connect with your peers and your audience. Aside from getting to “borrow” the readers of another website, guest posting gives you the opportunity to form solid relationships with other webmasters and thought leaders.
When submitting guest posts, it’s important to remember that quality and relevance are crucial, and like many other online strategies it will only do wonders for your site if you do it right. Below are a few tips on how you can do just that:
Be selective. Think quality + relevance all the way – Not all backlinks are created equal so when scouting for websites to write for, always aim for the top tier sites in your niche. Find the cream of the crop blogs in your industry—the ones with the highest number of subscribers, social fans, and comments—and only contact those. It may not be easy to get your foot in the door with these blogs, but if you really want to see results, they are the only ones worth writing for.
Only approach websites that are relevant to your target readers. Think about your audience and go for the blogs that THEY would check out, not necessarily the ones that you would visit.
Get organized – If you’re only submitting guest posts to a couple of websites then you probably won’t need a sophisticated system to manage pitches and articles. However, if you’re having a full-blown guest post campaign that involves numerous websites, then do yourself a favor and get organized right from the start.
Create a spreadsheet that details the websites that you submitted to, the date of submission, the article that you pitched, and publication date. This will allow you stay on top of things and ensure that you don’t contact blogs twice or pitch the same topic more than once. Knowing when posts will go live is crucial as well; mark your calendar so you know when you need to share and promote your articles.
Be a regular reader first – Being a regular visitor dramatically increases the chances of getting a response. You should be posting insightful comments and sharing the site’s articles long before contacting them about submitting your own. Doing so lets the owners know that you exist and they’ll be more likely to respond to your guest post pitch or inquiry.
Another good reason why you need to be reader first is that it allows you get acquainted with what the blog is all about. It enables you to really get to know the site’s readers and familiarize yourself with its voice, thus allowing you to write your pitch or post more effectively.
Follow instructions – Already have an idea on what to write? Good. Before you compose your pitch though, be sure to read (and re-read) the site’s guest posting policy. Different sites have different rules when it comes to guest posts. Some blogger prefer that you send them an outline first, while others want the entire article good to go. There are websites that have a special form for submissions, while some prefer to get pitches via email.
Keep an eye on these little details as they can make or break your chances of getting a response. Take note of special instructions (ex: specific subject lines, email formatting, etc.) and follow them to the letter. Some bloggers won’t even respond to people that do not follow instructions, so pay attention.
Don’t send out canned pitches – Site owners can see right through canned pitches so don’t bother sending them. Put an effort to each proposal that you send out. Make sure that they’re unique. This shouldn’t be that difficult if you’ve been a regular reader of the blog (if not, then go back to item #1).
Also remember that when you’re pitching an article to another site, your message should be about THEM and THEIR readers. Avoid being too self-absorbed with your emails and instead tell them why your post will benefit their site. How will your article provide value to their readers? If you’re able to articulate the answer to that question effectively then you stand a good chance of getting a positive response.
Provide value – Unarguably THE most important aspect of writing guest posts, the amount of value that you can offer in your article will determine whether it will be a hit or miss.
Make it a point to be insanely useful or insightful in your article. Offer advice that readers can actually put into action. Strive to find something new to write about and give tips that can’t be found anywhere else. If you are providing advice that’s been written about before, then come to it from a different perspective or from an angle that’s unique to your target audience.
If you aren’t giving advice then offer valuable knowledge instead. Share some useful, thought-provoking commentaries that will raise awareness and give readers something to think about. Make your readers realize something so that they can take action. After all, just because you aren’t giving away actionable tips doesn’t mean you can prod readers into doing something.
Participate in the comments – Your guest posting gig doesn’t end with your article getting published. Part of the whole process involves generating engagement and discussion. This can be done by actively participating in the comments.
Once your post is live, be sure to check in after about 24 hours and respond to the comments. Answer questions, offer clarifications and thank people for taking the time to read and respond. If you’re dealing with criticism, then try to address them in the most amicable way possible. (However if you come across hostile trolls or profanity, then the best response would be to just ignore them.)
Evaluate – After the post has been published, take the time to evaluate the results of your post. Were you able to drive a lot of traffic back to your site? Were you able to capture leads? How much weight did the site’s links carry? These are the questions that you need to ask yourself in order to determine an article’s success.
If everything went as planned and you like the results, then it would be best to build your relationship with that particular blog for future guest posting opportunities. Didn’t get the results you desired? Then try to pinpoint the reason why the post wasn’t successful. Perhaps the blog’s readers aren’t really the audience that you’re targeting. Or maybe the topic that you wrote about isn’t engaging enough. In any case, use the data and insights you gathered to improve your guest post pitching and writing strategies in the future.
Image credit: © boroboro – Fotolia.com
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