Is it Time to Launch a Guest Blogging Campaign?
These days, the content creation demands on your time can feel overwhelming. Not only are you supposed to have a company blog that’s updated regularly, you’re also expected to fill several social channels with engaging content while also deploying podcasts, videos and other types of content.
Adding guest blogging to the mix might sound like the straw that’ll break the content camel’s back, but stick with us for a minute. It could make all the difference between content that goes unread on your site and a campaign that finally reaches the wider, engaged audience you’ve been aiming for.
Take the example of Silvio Porcellana, as profiled by the Ahrefs blog. Porcellana is the CEO and founder of the tool Mob.is.it, which facilitates mobile website development. As a young company, Mob.is.it needed search traffic. Through guest posting, Porcellana was able to increase organic traffic to his site by 20 percent.
If you’d like to enjoy this and other authority-boosting benefits, read on for more information about launching a guest blogging campaign.
What is Guest Blogging?
Let’s start off with a brief explanation of what guest blogging (also known as “guest posting”) is.
According to BigCommerce:
“Guest Blogging is a content marketing and SEO technique where someone writes and publishes a blog post on a third party website or blog to promote their personal/corporate brand.”
Essentially, rather than write articles and publish them to your own blog, you write articles and publish them on other people’s sites. You aren’t usually paid for these contributions (though there are sites that pay for guest articles). Instead, you benefit from increased exposure, improved brand perception and better SEO.
Why Guest Blog?
Breaking down the benefits summarized above, there are three primary benefits to launching a guest blogging campaign:
Suppose you’re a new blogger with a young website. As you’ve probably discovered, building an audience from scratch is time-consuming and labor-intensive. The digital landscape is crowded, competitive and noisy; finding your way in can feel like an uphill battle.
Now, think about the established players in your industry. Imagine if – rather than adding subscribers one-by-one – you could put yourself in front of their audience. Imagine how much time you could save reaching a large, engaged audience, rather than building a piecemeal audience base.
That’s what guest posting does for you. When you contribute an article to an established website, you place yourself in front of the site’s readers. If they like what you have to say, they’ll follow you back to your site for future content.
Improved Brand Perception
In addition to growing your audience and traffic, guest posting on reputable websites implies a tacit endorsement of your brand by the site’s owner. If you’re a new brand struggling to get off the ground, connecting your company with established influencers has the potential to boost your own standing within your community.
Though guest posting strictly for SEO purposes got a bad rap for being a manipulative link-building strategy in years past, contributing high value guest articles to reputable sites still offers a significant benefit from a search perspective. That’s thanks to the backlink(s) you’re able to include in your article or bio.
In lieu of payment, the standard convention for guest posting is that the site hosting your article will allow you to place a link back to your website in either the body content of your post or in a bio that’s published below it.
Different sites have different requirements regarding the number of links you can include and their placement. In any case, boosting the number of backlinks your website receives – especially from reputable websites within your industry – has the power to improve your organic search rankings.
Jeff Goins of the Goins Writer blog shares the following on the SEO impact of guest blogging:
“According to my friend, Mike the Search Engine Guru, when it comes to SEO, guest posting on other sites is five times as valuable as creating new content on your own site.”
Goins concedes that this estimation may not be precisely true, but even if it’s only half as effective as Mike states, guest blogging is still likely to perform better than your own hosted content when it comes to SEO.
Is Guest Blogging Right for You?
Given the benefits above, there are very few companies that won’t benefit from a guest blogging campaign.
That said, it’s worth noting that, although running a guest posting campaign is a great way to boostrap your initial branding, it still requires some investment on your part. You’ll need to:
- Find websites in your industry that accept guest contributions
- Connect with their owners to submit your articles appropriately
- Create the content you’ll publish
- Promote your finished articles and respond to comments (as needed)
If you aren’t able to fulfill these requirements, hold off on launching a guest blogging campaign until you have more available resources. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you’ve overcommitted and are forced to let potential partners down by not delivering your articles.
But if the benefits described above sound like a worthwhile tradeoff for this investment, let’s get started!
How to Get Started with Guest Blogging
Ready to get started with guest blogging? Using the requirements described above as a framework, let’s break down the process together.
Find websites in your industry that accept guest contributions
Not all websites accept guest articles. To find those that do, give the following strategies a try:
- Google variations on the keyword phrase “[your industry] guest blog”
- Search your favorite industry websites for pages with titles like “Write for Us”
- Search your competitors names to see if they’ve guest posted on other websites
- Look through compilation lists that share roundups of sites that accept guest articles
If all else fails, you can always ask directly. Reach out to the owner of the site you’d like to contribute to using contact information found there. Emphasize the benefits of guest posting for both parties, and ask if they’d be interested in an exchange.
Connect with their owners to submit your articles appropriately
Try to identify at least 10-20 different websites in your industry. As you begin pitching different publications, you may find that some offer unfavorable terms or that others are backlogged for months.
Look through each of these sites for established guest author guidelines. Some websites require you to pitch topics to an editor for approval; others prefer to see outlines or completed drafts.
If you aren’t able to find published editorial guidelines, you’ll need to reach out directly for more information. Follow the instructions you’re given exactly. Remember, the publisher is doing you a favor by considering your content for their website.
TIP: If you have 1-2 “dream” websites where you’d like to be published, submit first to the other publications on your list. This will help you build a portfolio that will impress your top prospects, while also helping you to work out your guest post jitters!
Create the content you’ll publish
This should go without saying, but if you’ve been given the go-ahead to submit a guest article (or if you’re planning to pitch a publication that requires the submission of full drafts), you’ll want to bring your A-game.
Outline your thoughts before drafting your content. Do your research and look for opportunities to share your own original insight. Check your spelling and proofread carefully. Consider asking a friend or family member to read through your draft for clarity.
Despite your best efforts, your publisher may still ask for revisions to suit the needs of their site. Do them cheerfully and in a timely fashion. If you’re successful, you may be invited back for future guest contributions.
Promote your finished articles and respond to comments (as needed)
Your job as a guest author isn’t over once your article is published. Out of respect for your publisher, it’s common courtesy to:
- Share the article on your social channels
- Email it to your list
- Share the publisher’s social updates promoting your post
- Respond to comments on the publisher’s social channels
- Respond to comments on the original blog
Your publisher is doing you a favor by putting your brand in front of their audience. Pulling your promotional wieght is a great way to say thank you.
Going Forward with Guest Posting
As you start to take more and more guest articles live, you may find it helpful to manage your activities with spreadsheets.
For example, you might create a sheet that tracks which sites you’ve reached out to and when:
Or you might create one that tracks the performance of your guest articles, helping you to determine where you should invest your future efforts:
Use documents like these to keep your campaigns on track, ensuring that you’re continually enjoying the benefits of guest posting.
Do you use guest posting as a promotional strategy? If so, share any other tips you’ve learned by leaving us a comment below: