Guest blogging is a pretty simple concept. You write a post for another organization’s blog. Maybe they write a post in return, maybe not.
The hardest part of the whole guest blogging process is getting the ball rolling. Often, it’s due to a lack of internal resources or buy-in, but it also may be as simple as not knowing how to get started.
That’s where today’s post comes in. We’ll look at the advantages of guest blogging, some of the drawbacks, and five steps to get your guest blogging program started.
THE BENEFITS OF GUEST BLOGGING
The single biggest advantage of guest blogging is tapping into a new audience. Whether it’s new readers in your target demographic or a brand-new audience entirely, there’s a lot of value in qualified exposure for your content. If you placed your post on the right blog, it can become a lasting driver of referred traffic (and conversions) to your site.
Guest blogging generally comes with some sort of joint social media activity as well. This activity gives access to new social media audiences, which are a great source of organic follower growth for both parties involved.
Credibility is another big advantage of guest blogging. Posting on a well-known partner’s site draws from their positive associations. New readers may give your post a chance simply due to the placement. Likewise, you can capitalize on your blogging credentials by keeping a running list of outlets where your posts have been featured.
Last but not least, guest blogging can be a great source of quality inbound links. Your guest post should contain a link or links (subject to partner guidelines) from the partner’s website. If your chosen partner has a reputable site, these links will carry SEO weight for your site.
THE DOWNSIDES OF GUEST BLOGGING
While guest blogging has a lot of positives, it’s not without challenges. Partners will often request that guests posts are new and haven’t been shared on your blog before. Depending on the partner, you may or may not be permitted to redistribute the post on your site later.
For aspiring guest bloggers, the main challenge is working in the creation of a guest post without disrupting your other content activities. Sites that have a regular blogging schedule will need to cover a post or two while the guest post is written, for example.
The other primary challenge is consistency. Guests posts typically take a significant amount of time to be approved and to run. Moreover, it’s not always clear when — or even if — a post will run on the outset. So, even when regular producing guest posts, it’s unlikely for publishing to share the same consistent rhythm.
5 STEPS TO SUCCESS WITH GUEST BLOGGING
With these risks and benefits in mind, there are steps you can take to be successful with guest blogging. Here’s our set of tips for each step of the process.
1. Select the Right Partner
The ideal guest blogging partner will be a slightly larger, better-known outlet in the same niche. You want a brand with a similar target audience/readership, but not a direct competitor. Ideally, if the partner sells a product, you would want it to be complementary to your own products.
2. Contact Them
It’s essential to reach out to your chosen partner early in the process. This is the time for both companies to get the expectations straight: How long should the post be? What tone should you use? When is the draft due? Who handles images? When will the post run? Many companies have guest blogging guidelines which are invaluable in answering these questions.
3. Writing the Perfect Post
You should start by following any guidelines you’re given to the best of your ability. Of course, not all guidelines are created equal and you’ll probably have some questions that aren’t answered in them. When in doubt, look to other guest posts on the partner’s site and try to mirror them. Obviously, these posts were selected for a reason.
Beyond that, don’t be afraid to go the extra mile. Tie in additional research, draw from personal experiences, and create visual aids. A lot of times, these added touches can be the difference between being approved and being deferred.
4. Edit and Re-Edit
Just as with the writing, it’s worth taking the time to get the editing right. Don’t count on the partner to catch mistakes. Not only does it reflect poorly on the quality of your content, but it adds additional back and forth, which can push a guest blog off the timeline.
Even if your post is free of grammatical errors, be prepared to make revisions. Partners are (rightfully) protective over their blogs, and they’ll want changes to ensure the post fits in. Be sure to comply with reasonable requests and turn things around as soon as possible.
5. The Final Submission
When turning in the final product, be sure to give them all the supplemental materials they asked for, including author headshots, author bios, and website/social media links. As was the case for the writing, adhere strictly to any guidelines for these materials.
Once everything is turned in for review, be diligent. Check in for updates on the post’s progress and ask for dates, but not excessively so.
There you have it. That’s our guide to building your brand through guest blogging. You now have the know-how to get your program up and running!