When I work with clients on website development projects, or when we create a sales page for a course, I’m often asked, “What’s the best way to promote this project?”
Sometimes the best answer involves advertising, such as Facebook ads. Sometimes you’ll do best with teleseminars and webinars. For creating a long-term online presence, one method that’s worked for many business owners is guest blogging.
You’ll find a lot of buzz about guest blogging, along with a lot of mis-information. I’ve had lots of surprises on my own guest blogging journey.
What is guest blogging?
“Guest blogging” means that you write an article – i.e., a blog post – for someone else’s blog. As the guest blogger, you get exposure to a new audience. If you’ve chosen well, you’re gaining entry into a community that’s already established. It’s like being invited to address a lunch meeting of a professional association, but without the face-to-face component.
How does the host benefit?
Your host blogger gets, first and foremost, good content for the blog. Even more important, you as the author help the blog gain publicity with a new audience.
So why use guest blogging rather than, say, Facebook ads?
Unlike advertising and social media, guest blogging allows you to build relationships. You’re more likely to attract targeted traffic from an audience where your name is known. And, as with speaking gigs, you get to establish your expertise by the way you present your topic.
Some businesses rely a great deal on the “you” factor. If you coach clients or create courses, you’ll need to present evidence that you’re an expert – a personable, approachable expert. Guest posting allows you to demonstrate your style as well as your knowledge.
Guest blogging also helps you grow your list. When you publish a guest post, you can include a link back to your own blog. Ideally, you send traffic to a landing page to get subscribers.
And, of course, guest blogging is completely free — it’s just a matter of putting in your time.
What are the success factors that make this strategy work?
Ah, there’s the rub.
Many marketers emphasize the importance of getting your first guest post published. You send a query (also known as a “pitch”) to a blogger who runs a blog that has more influence than yours with your market. In fact, some articles and courses aim to help you get your first guest post published.
But that’s just the beginning. Your success will be influenced by steps you take before and after you write your guest post.
(1) Hopefully, when your audience reads your guest post, they’ll want to know more. That’s your opportunity to introduce your lead magnet: something that’s offered “free,” which means you have to sign up to get it. So you need a lead magnet that’s congruent with not only your business, but also the topic of your specific guest post.
(2) Anybody can get a guest post on a blog, somewhere. But you’ll be wasting valuable time when you write for blogs with audiences that are small or those that don’t engage with the blog. You’ll also need blogs that attract your ideal audience. Posting to a popular blog that doesn’t reach your audience is a waste of time.
What I’ve found is that blog post opportunities aren’t always out in the open. The best ones won’t be seeking authors on lists of “Blogs seeking guest authors.” They won’t be posting on sites that promise to match guest authors with blog hosts.
And when you publish on a popular blog, you’ll draw a lot of comments … from readers eager to impress the host, since they want to send guest posts, too! This happens a great deal on blogs targeted to bloggers, and also on blogs with “famous” marketers who brand on strong personalities.
(3) The best blogs expect you to pitch a topic. Ideally, they’ve seen your name before you pitch. And they expect you to understand the rules of the game, including (but not limited to) awareness of their needs, a topic that fits their blog, and a willingness to be flexible and work with the editors. It’s not unlike pitching an article to a magazine.
(4) Once your article appears, you can maximize the value of your guest post. Promote your post through social media and your own list. It’s perfect for social media because you’re not selling.
(5) The best part: it gets easier. After you’ve got a few good posts out there, each pitch gets becomes more likely to land. You have more credibility. You might even get an offer out of the blue to write for a really good blog… and you never know where that will lead you.
“Where can we learn more?”
While you’ll find many ways to learn the ins and outs of guest posting, I created a very affordable course based on my own experiences. I’ve been very lucky with guest blogging – getting articles accepted, subscribers, and even some clients directly from guest blogging.
This course will help you decide if guest blogging is something you’d like to add to your marketing repertoire. And if you do decide to go for it, you’ll have a step-by-step guide…covering all the surprises I experienced and more.
Just click here to learn more about guest blogging.