Guest blogging–where you write content on someone else’s blog in return for a link back to yours and recognition of your expertise in the subject matter or when you accept content from guest bloggers on your blog–has changed over the years.
In the early days of blogging, guest blogging was not only accepted but welcomed. Today, there is a worry that you’re ‘giving your content away’ and the blog your post appears on will be penalized for not having ‘original’ content. Or, worse, the blog you’re guest posting on will take advantage of your great writing somehow.
These issues came to the forefront because of a few unethical bloggers, not because the act of guest blogging was bad. In reality, it’s still an effective and worthwhile way to build your audience and create a foundation for your expertise.
If you’re working online today, planning for your business, building your list is one of the most valuable things you can do. Growing it via guest blogging is both easy and appropriate.
There are numerous blog posts about this topic, including one we shared earlier this week from a guest blogger who demonstrated this well.
For this blog, I want our influencers to understand the purpose of guest blogging, the focus needed to make your guest post successful, and the decisions you need to make to choose the right blogs to guest post on.
The Purpose of Guest Blogging
- To build your audience. Posting good content on someone else’s blog puts you and your work in front of a new audience. Note: The blog you guest post on MUST be respectable, Google friendly, and relevant to the topic of your own blog.
- To demonstrate expertise in your industry. Sharing and educating your market is a tried and true way to demonstrate knowledge and expertise. The content written must pass scrutiny by other experts, also. Write the best content you can and make sure you test your citations.
- To educate and build a strong brand around your own content. In this case, we can use BlogPaws as an example. Posting on our site as a guest blogger shows the world that you’re a serious writer – we want to show the world how we work with other bloggers, especially those building strong brands in the topics we choose to cover.
How to Be a Successful Guest Blogger
- First, build your own blog into a good resource for content about your topic or industry. You will not find good guest blogging opportunities if your own blog does not have superior content. This means the writing is free of typos and grammatical errors. It is not hard to edit your posts. Take the time to do so. This also means you have an audience. No, it does not have to be a large audience. However, the readers who come to your blog should be engaged. Comments on posts count.
- Second, consider blogs that accept guest posting (most that do have a set of guidelines – these may not be apparent on the homepage, do a good search for them) and offer to guest post on your blog. I’m not suggesting you insist on both options, but they are nice if you can arrange it. Kissmetrics.com has a great post on guest blogging. Read it. It will help direct you.
- Build social sharing into your content. Within your tactics for success, use social media as your call to action. Invite people to both join your social channels and the channels of the blog you are guest posting on. In other words, share the wealth.
Choosing Good Guest Blogs
- A “good guest blog” isn’t one who wrote a post or two about your chosen topic last year. It isn’t one that has four Facebook likes, 20 Twitter Followers, and two pins on Pinterest. This all seems like common sense, but if you’re using guest blogging to build your list and further your goals, understanding the power of a blog you’re hoping to guest post on, is imperative. Sometimes you’ll find a blog that is up and coming, and doesn’t have a wealth of information or social shares, but it’s so fabulous, you know it’s going to rock the net over time. Being a guest on that blog, at the beginning of its rise to fame, is worth it. The point here is not to choose any blog, but to be selective.
- In your search for the right blogs to guest post on, include those that pay along with those that don’t. We’ve discussed this before so I won’t rehash that conversation here, because I want to impress upon you that paid is not always worth it, and free can bring more results than you know. ***Confession Alert*** I PREFER TO BE PAID. There, I said it. I prefer to write for blogs that pay me. It might be $25, it might be more. But, the payment recognizes my expertise. Yes, I write for free, also. I make my determination using the goals I’ve set for the year and the purpose of my blog. It’s your choice to write for free or to get paid. I know bloggers that say, “It’s $250 or nothing.” And they’re worth the money. But, their inability to be flexible might hurt them and blogs that would love to work with them.
- Just as freelance writers read the magazines they pitch, and study the ads, the editorial focus, and the themes, to be a successful guest blogger you must do the same. Read, follow and engage with the blogs you’d like to guest post on. Show the blogger that you’re serious about adding content to her blog. Take time to learn about the blog, the blogger, and the audience who reads the blog. Smartblogger.com has a superb post on how not to do it, well worth your time.
This post could go on and on. I could add another three items to each sub-topic above. We could have a whole series of posts on proper guest blogging and pitching. If this is something you’d like more information on, share in the comments. If you’re successfully guest blogging now, share in the comments. If you still believe guest blogging is a bad thing, share that in the comments.
Meanwhile, if you haven’t already registered for the conference, at the early bird rate, I suggest you hop over and do it now. This price will not last much longer!
Yvonne DiVita is a Co-Founder of BlogPaws. She is dedicated to storytelling and the human-animal bond. When not working on BlogPaws, she writes at Scratchings and Sniffings and The Lipsticking Society. You may contact her at Yvonne@blogpaws.com.
Cat and computer image: Miramiska/Shutterstock.com