Last week we promised to let you in on our #1 link building trick. It’s our personal favourite because it’s brought us countless new leads every day and masses of traffic to our site. This link-building technique is working hard for us, and it can work for you too. And, strangely, it’s kind of an ‘old-school’ idea that doesn’t require technical skills at all…
Why is guest blogging so great for my website?
Guest blogging is when a blog owner invites you to write on their blog for mutual gain.
A well-written guest blog (on the right site) will boost your SEO efforts and push heaps more traffic to your website. Bet you’d like that, huh? We sure do! We believe guest blogging is one of the reasons behind our recent record-breaking sales figures (self-brag alert). And it can be the foundation for your online success too.
So, if you have a passion about your industry (and you can write well) then there’s lots of good reasons to make this your #1 marketing priority.
A little bit about the history of blogging (skip this section if you’re easily bored).
Traditionally, blogging has always been a collaborative affair. From the beginning of the interwebs (just after they invented fire) high quality bloggers would collaborate and cross-pollinate their audiences based on common interests. But that was in the days when blogging was still pretty rare. Nowadays, everyone’s a writer and there’s so much white noise out there it’s harder to get your name in front of the influential bloggers who have big readership numbers… but it’s not impossible.
The problem is that blogging is bloody fantastic for boosting your search engine rankings. It’s only a problem because popular bloggers get LOADS of people asking to write for them and they only have a few writing slots available. The trick, then, is getting them to say yes to YOU.
Now, a word of warning. There’s a lot of good ways and bad ways to become a guest blogger and there are a few things to watch out for too. First, you need to ask yourself, should you be doing it at all?
Reasons to guest blog
- You get known by your peers and industry influencers (become an authority).
- You get exposed to a new audience (more potential customers).
- You can create quality backlinks to your site (more search Google-love).
- You have an opinion (we don’t want to read boring text books, we like a point of view).
- You like to write stuff that helps people (shareable and useful content has legs).
- Your great writing is going to waste on your own low-traffic blog (brilliance must be seen!).
- Leverage off the success of the blog you write for (your visitor numbers could skyrocket).
Reasons to NOT guest blog
- If you’re time poor (quality takes time, and bad writing will always be rejected).
- If you don’t like building relationships (people like to deal with people they know).
- You aren’t very likeable (people like to deal with people they like… but no-one likes a kiss-arse either!).
- You don’t have anything useful to say (quality content is where it’s at).
- You’re not prepared to create UNIQUE content (pro-bloggers are smart, they know how to check!).
- If you don’t keep an eye on the quality of the sites you write for (if they start building bad SEO links, your site’s rankings can be dragged down too – scary but true!).
OK, so you’ve decided you want to give it a go?
How do I choose who to guest blog for?
Good writing takes time, and, as a small business owner, I bet time is the one thing you’re always lacking. Don’t throw that effort away by writing for the wrong blog. Be smart, do your research, and make those words count.
- Research the blogs that talk about your niche (obviously not your direct competitors!) and see if they ever invite other writers to blog for them.
- Review the authority of those sites.
- Do they have lots of posts with regular updates (good) or is it where old blogs go to die (bad)?
- Are there lots of reader comments (good) or are the comments unmoderated and full of spam sales links (bad)?
- Does the blog it look professional (good) or does it look templated and generic (bad)?
- Is the writing good quality (good), or it is written with poorly constructed English (bad)?
- Are the posts all talking about a similar topic (good), or does it talk about everything and anything (bad)?
- Is it obvious who the blog owner is (good), or is it nameless and faceless (bad)?
- Are there good social signals (shareable content via Facebook, etc), or is it just a blog-only site (bad)?
- Are they looking for quality writing (good) or are they just offering links to the highest bidder (bad)?
- Choose your top 3 high quality blog sites you’d like to write for.
- Start to build relationships (without expecting anything in return… yet!).
When it comes to building blogger relationships you need to remember that they aren’t just a faceless gateway to new fans. Bloggers are passionate people, just like you. They want to work with people they trust and like, so you need to build relationships with the guys you want to write for, and here’s how.
How do I get invited to write for my favourite blogger?
- Get involved. Comment on their blogs. The more often your name pops up the better (but make sure you have something worthwhile to say or you’ll be seen as a boring blabbermouth!).
- Make sure you engage with other reader’s comment too. Appear interested and willing to go that extra mile to help your peers out.
- Expand the circle of your engagement. Follow the blog author on Twitter, on Facebook, Google+, wherever they are, you should follow. Believe me, they’ll eventually notice you.
- Watch and make notes of the sorts of posts they write, their specific point of view. Then think about what kinds of stories (posts) they might like to see from you.
- After you’ve been engaging on the site for a while, contact the blog owner and tell them how much you enjoy their blog, say you’ve been following them for a while and ask if they’d consider you as a guest writer. If you get a knock-back (and you probably will at first), just ask that they keep you in mind… and keep commenting and being involved.
- When you come across a blog post that you really like and you think you could add something valuable to the conversation, contact them again and suggest you could write a follow-up on their blog post. Give them a basic outline of what you’re considering and then see what they say… this tactic often works because clearly they already like the topic!
- If you get the green light, write something unique and engaging (never rewrite an old post)… and never miss a deadline. There’s nothing worse than expecting a blog post to arrive to satisfy your readership and your guest blogger is nowhere to be found. You can bet that’ll be the last time you ever get to write for them!
- Make sure you pay attention to their posting guidelines, and if you’re allowed to, add a couple of links in each blog to go back to your site (using researched keyword terms for extra Google juice) but just make sure those keyword links make sense in the sentence, otherwise you’ll be accused of keyword stuffing, and that’s bad news for your future as a guest blogger.
- Write your first blog really well and they might ask you to become a regular contributor. That’s the goal! That’s when you really see the benefit of extra awareness and SEO juice.
In summary my blogging friends…
When guest blogging is done well, you can really smash it and see your traffic levels skyrocket. But if you don’t, it’s not worth the paper (or the computer screen) it’s written on. Like I said before, guest blogging is one of the cornerstones of our success. And it can be the foundation for yours too. So good luck out there future guest-blogger to be!
Want to know how to write great content?
Read ‘Blogging for Success‘ for the basics of good blog writing technique.
And if you’re stuck for writing ideas, give our blog ‘6 Time Saving Tips for Content‘ a go.
Got any extra guest blogging tips we missed? Leave us a comment below…