There are a number of reasons why you should consider writing guest posts on a regular basis.
It works just as well for both websites: the host website gets free, invaluable, informative content – and you (the guest) get visibility, a nice “SEO backlink” and hopefully – a storm of website traffic.
However, marketers whose goal is to generate traffic, leads and sales often fail at guest blogging. Why? Because not much attention was given to the planning, the writing and the tracking.
So, here are my top tips to master guest blogging. And don’t forget – I’ve allocated some time to answer your questions, so go to the comments section and let’s start a conversation!
Mastering Guest Blogging Secret #1: Planning
Writing a good guest post begins with planning.
It is vital that you understand your goals and what you want to get out of the article. Is there something in particular you want to write about? What audience do you want to reach? What’s your CTA (Call To Action)?
What would define a good guest blog vs a bad one? Traffic? Leads? Prospects? Sales?
See, all this preparation is absolutely necessary to define your strategy. And yes – there is no strategy without a goal and no strategy without KPI (Key Performance Indicators).
For example, I’m writing this blog to raise awareness on my upcoming Dublin Workshop (€10): Identify & Exploit your Top Traffic Generation Strategy on April 13th.
Takeaway: What’s your goal? What will define, in figures, whether you reached your target or not?
Mastering Guest Blogging Secret #2: Researching
Once the strategy planning has been defined, you need to find blogs that have the same target audience as you.
Also, you should only consider blogs where the audience is engaged, where comments get posted on a daily basis and where social media activity is reasonable.
Compile a list of potential hosts for your blog post and decide which ones are best for you. Finally, don’t underestimate their domain authority (use the Moz Toolbar), a sign of whether Google “likes” that blog or not.
Here are a few tricks to find blogs:
- Google “guest blog _keyword_” e.g. “Guest Blog Marketing“
- Google “intitle: submit article“. This will find website pages with title “Submit Article”
- Google “_expert name_ guest blog” e.g. “Rodolfo Melogli guest blog” to see where experts like you usually guest blog
- Use BuzzSumo to find popular authors/blogs and look for their “Write for Us” section
- Use Open Site Explorer to see who links to competitor websites (blogs)
Within the list of influential blogs there was of course Small Business Can (I already use it for posting our events and I love the platform). The domain authority is relevant, contents are perfect (Dublin Entrepreneurs) and social media & comment activity is sufficient. Make sure to use the comment area if you’ve got specific questions about this.
Takeaway: What’s your best bet? Which blog/s will not say “NO” to your invaluable offer?
Mastering Guest Blogging Secret #3: Pitching
You also need to write a killer pitch to the blog author (or maybe not a “killer” – just be “nice” please).
The best websites will get hundreds of requests like yours each day. Make your email personal and clearly say who you are and why they should run your guest blog.
Don’t start with “Dear Sir/Madam”. Be friendly. Say something nice about them, or their website. Congratulate them.
And only then, pitch.
While Small Business Can requires no pitching, I’ve emailed Eventbrite for a guest blog opportunity. Goal, once again, is to raise awareness for my April 13th workshop in town, Identify & Exploit your Top Traffic Generation Strategy. I’ve found the direct responsible for the blog page, found her personal email address (not after Googling for 20 minutes) and sent her a message. Also, I followed here on Twitter and visited her LinkedIn page just to make sure she knows I’m human and I exist.
Takeaway: Are you pitching to a human? Then be human.
Mastering Guest Blogging Secret #4: Writing
Now it’s time to write the post. You need to make it awesome, one that really hits the readers.
Make sure your post follows any guidelines the blog has, and that it is of value to the audience. They won’t bother with something that is obviously a sales pitch. Keep the tone of the article engaging, keep your content original (write for THEIR audience), format your post similar to the posts already on the website and don’t forget to ask readers to comment. This makes them more likely to do so and shows your audience that you value them and their opinions.
Also don’t forget to write a great, personal bio. This is your ONLY chance to really self-promote and generate traffic (don’t bu pushy throughout the article). Keep the bio short and sweet to avoid turning people away.
What do you think of my bio for example? Let me know in the comments section.
Takeaway: Be a writer, non a promoter. Or, write for readers first, and then promote at the end.
Mastering Guest Blogging Secret #5: Tracking
Now that you’ve made the post you need to see how well it works (needless to say that if you’re not using Google Analytics on your website, you should install it right now).
When you look at the results it’s important that you are also accounting for the time and effort that went into it.
And the great thing about tracking is that this is the ONLY way to understand if the strategy was correct or if something didn’t work – so that you can avoid it in the future.
Perhaps you chose the wrong website, or the content wasn’t as good as you thought it was.
Takeaway: in 2016, you can’t afford not to have Google Analytics. Install it, set up automatic email reports to come to your inbox once a week, and review your KPI regularly.
Guest Blogging – Wrapping Up
Guest posting is a wonderful way to generate traffic and increase awareness around your products or services. Or, maybe, around your personal brand.
You have to do it right though, or no one wins.
So do your research, write great content, and then keep track of it so you know what does and doesn’t work.
That way you can do even better next time.
Want to know how this guest blog you’re reading is going to perform? Leave a comment below and I’ll notify you soon 🙂
Hope to see you in person in Dublin on April 13th. Many local entrepreneurs will learn and workshop about their own traffic generation strategy and will make an actionable plan. Remember, it’s only €10 and 2 full hours of networking, tea& coffee, workshop and Q&A are included.
Can you make it too?
Reserve your seat here: http://www.meetup.com/Ecommerce-that-Works-Dublin/events/229485576/