A guest-blogging strategy should be part of your content strategy.
Why Is Guest-Blogging Valuable?
Guest blogging builds links back to your website and builds your audience.
Link Building Helps You Rank Well in Search
Guest blogging improves your website’s SEO by building valuable links from authoritative sites that point back to your site – part of what’s called a link-building strategy.
Oy – strategy within strategy within strategy.
(If you’re a nerd like me, you’re probably having flashbacks to Frank Herbert’s description of Fremen eyeballs: blue within blue within blue. We get it; they have blue eyes – and online marketing requires a lot of strategy.)
Anyway, Google views links to your site as proof of your worth and uses those links as a factor when determining page rank in search results.
You want a lot of authoritative sites in your industry linking to you.
You accomplish this by:
- linking to valuable content on your site within your guest posts (make sure you read the guest-blogging guidelines for any restrictions on this) and
- writing a killer Author Bio that appears at the end of your post. Your author bio should link back to your website – and preferably to an email signup page.
Which brings us to our next guest-blogging benefit.
Guest Blogging Builds Your Audience
There’s no quicker (organic) way to grow your audience than by getting in front of someone else’s.
Find authoritative blogs in your industry that have an audience that would be interested in your product or service and ask to post on their site.
This new audience will see you on that authoritative site, consider you an authority and follow the link you provided back to your site.
Which link do you provide?
Grow Your List
Many authors make the mistake of just linking back to their homepage. That’s OK, but the goal for your audience (barring a purchase, which is too early to ask for at this stage) is to join your email list.
Whether you run your own business or you help run someone else’s, you know that your email subscriber list is key.
As commonly heard in online marketing, your list is your money.
Maybe all of your subscribers aren’t customers yet, but they trust your brand enough to let it into their inbox.
How many brands have you let into your inbox? Which ones are they?
Face it; that’s love.
If you aren’t already spending money on a brand you subscribe to, you probably will someday as that beloved brand continues to nurture your relationship.
It’s all very romantic.
The point is: email marketing is powerful.
If you’re not already building an email list, get on that ASAP. There are free services like MailChimp (what I use) and more robust services like Constant Contact for you enterprise-level emailers.
If you are already building an email list – yay!
Either way, you will benefit from creating a guest-blogging strategy.
If you’re not already building an email list, guest blogging will skyrocket your brand popularity and the traffic to your website.
If you are building an email subscriber list, implementing a guest-blogging strategy will accomplish the above AND can double your subscriber number in a short period of time depending on the frequency of your guest posts, the sites you’re posting on and the guest bloggers that you have posting on your site.
In one month of guest blogging, Content Newsroom’s subscriber count has doubled.
But, for this to work, you need to link to a subscription landing page with a fantastic offer set up as an incentive for visitors to subscribe once they get to your site.
How to Set Up a Winning Guest-Blogging Strategy
There are five questions you need to answer when developing a guest-blogging strategy.
Who will guest blog on behalf of your brand?
If you’re a marketer marketing to marketers, you can write the guest posts yourself.
Heck, maybe if you market for a medical company and you’ve been in the biz for a while, you can effectively guest post on those topics.
But make sure you have real subject-matter experts from you team guest posting on your behalf. You won’t trick anyone who really knows the subject with a half-assed blog post – and you know it. 🙂
Are your physicists too busy getting the big bucks doing whatever smart things their paid to do to write a blog post? (CEOs really love using their expensive employees on our menial little marketing tasks.)
Maybe a Q&A is the way to go. Get creative to make it work!
Where will you guest post?
You don’t want put in the time and effort to guest post anywhere. You want to post on authoritative sites that rank well in search and have a large – or targeted if you’re in a smaller industry – audience of their own.
As mentioned earlier, you ultimately want to guest post for sites that have an audience that you want and who will be interested in your product or service.
Decide where to guest post by:
Reaching out to authorities in your industry.
You should already know who the authorities are in your industry – and they probably have blogs. Reach out to request a guest-posting opportunity.
Your post benefits them, too, by helping them out with free, quality content on their site. That’s valuable time saved that they get to use working on something else, and your content will help them build their own subscriber list.
Reaching out to your audience’s other haunts
Wouldn’t it be great if your audience loved you so much that they didn’t spend time anywhere else on the Internet?
Ahh, the fantasies of online marketers.
OK, snapping back to reality (sorry), you can discover where else your audience hangs by examining your buyer personas.
Where does your audience get industry information, news, entertainment, etc.? What related services do they use? For example, if you sell pet products, your audience is probably also interested in services like pet grooming or boarding. Reach out to those companies for guest-blogging opportunities. You can even reach out to competitors. 🙂
OK, so now you have a zillion companies to reach out to. You can help narrow the list by checking out their social follower numbers. Since these companies will share your guest post with followers on their social media sites, those numbers count (Ooo, unintentional pun now intended).
Who will guest post on your website?
A guest-blogging strategy isn’t just you doing all the work. You should have industry experts blogging on your site, as well.
As mentioned earlier, guest contributors to your site will help you build your own subscriber list.
Find well-known experts in the industry with a lot of social media followers or a lot of social media engagement to help build your brand through guest posts on your site.
Securing these high-profile guest authors, known is industry influencers, will impress your readers. They’ll want to subscribe so they don’t miss more posts by this expert and any others you might have posting on your site in the future.
Your audience wants to get close to these experts, and they know that your site will help them do that.
Also, these influencers will share their guest post, hosted on your site, with their social media followers, so you’re still pulling in new readers/soon-to-be-subscribers.
Google also recognizes social media links as a ranking factor, so there’s goodness all around.
How often will you guest post?
You’ll remember that part of your content strategy is your content calendar.
Determine the best days and times to post on which sites based on audience behavior (back to your persona profiles), and enter that into your content calendar.
Your content calendar helps you:
- stick to a consistent schedule
- coordinate the project management of your content
- remember to actually write your guest posts and hound guest contributors
- know when you’re running out of content to get crackin’ on more guest author outreach, and
- visualize all of your content initiatives.
We’re marketers, so we like to just get going on implementation – but don’t leave this out!
As marketers, we also know that our projects are so involved that we need a calendar for everything we do. 🙂
How will you measure success?
You can’t be an online marketer nowadays – or, heck even a traditional market – without metrics to measure your success.
Your blogging platform can tell you (or should tell you) how many referral visitors you get from guest posts.
You should also track the path of subscribers to see which content they were on before they subscribed.
Google Analytics (GA) can do pretty much anything and it’s free. There are a lot of paid services that make analytics easier, like HubSpot and Marketo.
Compare demos, or dive right into GA to get started if you’re not already tracking success.
Also keep an eye on which sites give your content the most social shares, and which guest contributors on your site get the most social shares and attract the most readers.
Bonus Strategy: Quick and Easy Media Outreach Method
OK, guest posting alone hasn’t doubled my subscriber list in one month.
Another factor, which I actually consider an extension of my guest-blogging strategy, is media outreach through a quick, easy and free service called Help A Reporter Out (HARO).
HARO connects reporters with sources in the business world to help out with information for articles that appear on various media outlets.
You get reporter queries through your email and can have your responses published with a link back to your website.
I’ve gotten a lot of traffic and subscribers that way because they find my information helpful and want to learn more about me.
Try it out!
Get Guest Posting and Reap the Subscriber Rewards!
Share your media outreach and guest blogging success stories in the comments below.