Hey, welcome to my article. Be my guest! (Pun intended)
Basically, guest blogging is like knocking at someone’s beautiful door, asking (nicely) to get in, and they have to accept, reject or negotiate upon the proposal.
The question, though, remains. What will be the impact of accepting your offer to contribute a certain guest post on their website? Will it be beneficial or damaging? Will it feel like home or like a total stranger?
But, guest blogging has been a mainstream tool in marketing, right!? Why?
For a bunch of reasons, like driving traffic to your blog, empowering your brand authority and personality, generating new leads.
Guest blogging, though, can be highly beneficial, but also very damaging. It’s all a matter of perspective, balancing quantity-quality and your final goal.
So, let’s take it step-by-step and talk about guest blogging and how it should be in 2020.
Basic Terms of Guest Blogging
Guest Blogging: a marketing technique of creating authentic, original and up-to-date pieces of content for a variety of issues for third-party publishers.
Inbound Marketing Strategy: a set of techniques and tools combined to efficiently deliver solutions, opportunities, and growth for your business.
Backlink: A hyperlink that connects the hosting website to the web resource that the initial information is found. It can be compared to citations.
Dofollow/Nofollow: The difference is that no-follow links have a no-follow tag, meaning that the ranking algorithm takes into consideration only the do-follow links to determine the rank of the domain.
Email Marketing: the act of sending out messages -personal or group basis- with the purpose of increasing consideration, conversion, and loyalty. The main technique of guest bloggers to reach out to potential opportunities is following email marketing best practices.
Email Template: Much like the newsletter emails we receive, an email template is a pre-formatter, prepared email, which serves as the “foundation”, the basis of your communication with third-parties.
Pros And Cons Of Guest Blogging
As every marketing technique, writing articles to be contributed to other blogs has its benefits.
1.Increase Your Traffic
As competition has increased rapidly over the last years, increasing your inbound traffic is one of your main concerns. By guest blogging, you achieve that, as providing authentic, original pieces to other websites, exposes you to their audience.
Naturally, people will start searching for you and getting in touch with you, check more of your articles and posts in your blog. This will bring traffic to your site.
2. Improve Your Authority
Whether you are a new blogger or an experienced one, creating blogs dedicated to specific parts of your market, helps you build on your authority.
As your personal or business brand starts appearing increasingly in related websites, people will start trusting you.
This trust will connect your brand with the subject matter and you will be the first to come to their mind when searching related information and pieces.
3. Enhance Your Writing Performance
As Zig Ziglar said, “repetition is the mother of all learning”. When we start writing guest posts and articles, we feel like writing on certain topics is too demanding.
But after a while, writing blogs, even for subject matters that might not be totally related to your niche market, will become easier and simpler.
Writing, like any other skill, can be improved and cultivated. The more you indulge in guest blogging, the more able you will be to write quality, up-to-date and detailed blogs more efficiently.
4. Expand Your Network and Social Media Presence
Networking and being present in social media is probably one of the most important aspects of guest blogging.
Each guest post you contribute to a website is a new opportunity to expand your social network. More professionals will get to know you, see your top-quality work and get used to your presence in the market.
You should take advantage of these opportunities and connect with people in your social media, especially LinkedIn.
But, nothing has only a bright side; guest blogging has its downfalls as well!
1.Different Target Audience
Even if writing for a website, which is totally related and compatible with your expertise, the audience of each company is different.
For example, you might be used to creating content for small business owners and startups, while needing to create a piece of content for a tech startup primarily focused on multinational companies.
So, before you start writing, research the blog you are contributing to and spend some quality time doing that.
Defining their audience and their needs is a must if you wish your post to be published, appreciated and promoted.
2. High-Risk Investment
The whole process of finding related blogs, contacting them with your offer, being accepted to contribute and writing a piece of content takes a lot of your time and energy.
You have to be careful about your vetting process, as such on the principles you have to contact someone and contribute a blog.
If you do not do that right, there is a high chance that you might write a post, send it over, and never see it published.
3. Long-Term Results
Guest blogging, if done right, is a beneficial technique, but it’s not recommended for short-term traffic and results.
To improve your credibility, authority, and traffic on a permanent basis, you’ll need to do guest blogging regularly.
The main obstacle with that is that you need to maintain your own blog at the same time, so make sure that you won’t lose sight of your own work.
Step-By-Step Guidelines For Guest Blogging
As you can realize, guest blogging is not that easy and it is not something that we should focus only on its bright side. You need to go through specific steps to consider yourself as a successful guest blogger.
1.Decide A General Topic
You need to decide the general subject matter that you wish to write for. Not something too general, such as “marketing”, but something more specific, like “social media marketing”.
To decide on which topic you want to write about, you can visit Google Trends and check how the different ideas you have are ranking in related searches.
After deciding your specific topic, you can start researching specific keywords that relate to your topic. Create a list with a bunch of keywords that are of interest and score relatively well.
There are many tools to help you with that, like Soovle, Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, Wordtracker. But it’s up to you to use the one that is more helpful to you.
2. Research Related Websites
This is probably the most time-consuming process since it takes a lot of manual work.
Besides the websites and blogs that you already know and trust, you should research on finding other related websites and opportunities to contribute your content.
Guest blogging opportunities can be found through different techniques. Keep in mind that you should focus on cases with high domain authority, top-quality existing articles, and high engagement.
It’s better to pursue an opportunity that has high engagement with less audience, rather than a high audience with less engagement.
3. Create A Contact Sheet
So, now that you have research-related websites and blogs with your chosen topic, you should create a contact sheet.
A contact sheet is pretty much your number one tool for being an efficient guest blogger.
You can have different tabs for each subject matter that you may write about and in each tab include only the related opportunities.
In each sheet, you can add all the opportunities you have found, their URL, their contact points, their email addresses, their niche market, a link of their guest post guidelines, other details and contact status.
The most difficult part is to find a valid email address. There are many ways to find an email address on the Internet.
What I suggest is to manually search for the email in the beginning on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or any other social medium account the opportunity might have.
Connect with them on different social media just in case you need it in the future.
Then, use tools, like Hunter, that provide you a good chance of finding an email address.
If not, you can get in touch through social media, but do not be too creepy or too much.
Be as honest as you can, while maintaining a friendly conversation.
4. Prepare Your Email Templates
Your next step is to create an email template for getting in touch with the opportunities you have decided to pursue.
This email template should be quite generic, but always giving a personal note and feeling like home. Don’t rush too much!
No one will be happy or excited to accept a guest post from someone, who just sends out cold emails to everyone.
Your email template should help you to personalize each email you are going to send.
Make it personal, by including their name, your motivation, which article in their blog made you contact them, include other posts you have already written for and feel proud about.
Also, make a shortlist with two-three suggested topics that you want to write about in their blog.
And, in the end, include a clear CTA (call to action), stating what you expect them to do. For example, ask a question about their opinion on recent changes of Google SEO Guidelines.
Pro Tip: To help you with keeping track and record of your communication, there are few free email marketing services that you can always rely on!
5. Communicate And Negotiate
You have prepared your email templates and you are ready to contact your opportunities. Don’t be too bossy, strict and typical.
You don’t want to go “door2door salesman” to them, but you want to be the young child selling cookies in the neighbor.
Even if they reply a bit hesitant, you can always reply back and negotiate a bit. But do not be all over them.
Especially if they have very strictly rejected your proposal, you can just reply with a typical “thank you and apologize” email and move on.
6. Follow Guidelines
So there will be some opportunities that have accepted your offer.
If they don’t have a page with guidelines on their website, or they don’t provide you guidelines, then guess what. No, you won’t improvise!
Ask them kindly if they have any general guidelines, anything specific that they do not accept as a website.
Usually, guest posts are around 1000 words, original, are not allowed to republished and reused, need backlinks to external authorities, should be grammar and syntax-correct, and offer some value to the reader.
But, just in case, you can check the rest of the posts in the blog that has accepted your offer. And you can understand, more or less, what they are looking for.
Most importantly, after submitting your post, you should still be at their disposal for any changes they might ask for. Do not ghost them!
7. Share Content
After your post has been accepted, the person you communicated with will inform you about its publishing date and everything.
Set your email reminders, wait for it, and be sure that you’ll promote it in your social media network.
If you use a newsletter to inform your audience, you can include it in there as well.
It will boost your post, improve their rankings and they will feel that your post deserves some sharing as well.
After a while, just send a follow-up email to them to thank them for accepting your post. You can ask them how the article went if it brought traffic to their blog.
Just be kind, true and maintain a friendly relationship with them. You’ll never know what the future holds.
You have done everything, you remained human, your posts have been accepted!
As time passes, you’ll start receiving the gifts of your hard work, charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent.
Be out there, start asking for what your blogging career should be like, and 2020 will be a very positive year for you.
Do you have something else in mind? What would you do differently? Has something else worked for you better?
Till the next time you’ll be my guest…
MESH is a digital marketing agency that has pioneered Account-Based Marketing via our proprietary Outcome Driven Marketing (ODM) methodology. We keep our focus on tightly integrating (or MESHing) lead generation, inbound, and outbound methodologies. We help you understand the hidden levers that impact your customers’ buying decision process, develop the right marketing strategy for your unique business case, and effectively execute and measure all aspects of your Account-Based Marketing program.