Your brand needs exposure.
From social media advertising to influencer outreach, your team is trying everything to gain attention from new audiences. Plus, marketing campaigns can be very expensive.
Guest blogging is one technique often underused by small businesses. Done correctly, it can drive traffic to your site, engage relevant consumers, and generate brand awareness.
Meredith Stahler, inbound marketing specialist with Sensible Marketing, states, “Guest blogging is a great way to enhance your business’s reputation as a thought leader. Getting guest posts published on top sites in your niche can secure backlinks from influential and authoritative websites.”
Let’s explore how your brand can engage consumers with guest blogging.
What Is Guest Blogging?
Blogging enables brands to talk directly to their customers. Guest blogging amplifies that communication by sharing your content with other audiences.
Research shows that “94% of people who share posts do so because they think it might be helpful to others.”
The golden rule of guest blogging is to add unmatched value to the readers. You want people interested in what you have to offer.
Here are a few benefits of guest blogging:
- Building relationships with non-competing brands;
- Expanding your reach to potential customers; and
- Establishing your brand as a thought leader in a specific niche.
“When you can establish yourself as an expert in any field, others will trust you more and be more willing to pay for products or services that you offer. If nothing else they will be more willing to link to other content that you have created,” says Adam White, founder of Guest Post Tracker,
As the guest blogger, your team is responsible for going above and beyond the publisher’s expectations. Those high standards include following editorial guidelines and adhering to deadlines.
Here’s an example of Hubspot’s guest post standards:
Moreover, consider guest blogging as an ongoing partnership with editors. Aim to serve the blog’s needs first. You want to ensure that your blog post resonates with the readers.
Guest blogging is a privilege, not right. So, create content worth consuming. And you’ll grab the attention of the publisher.
Best Practices to Learn From
Every small business is different. However, valuable lessons are learned no matter the industry or product.
Gather your team to discuss what works well for your company. Here are five best practices to follow:
One size doesn’t fit all in guest posting. Every blog is different.
Some blogs cover niche topics. Other publishers only accept submissions from influencers. And editors may limit word count or the types of posts.
When you’re asking to play on someone else’s field, you must follow their rules. And it all starts with doing your research.
Most blogs post their guest blogging guidelines on their websites. On the other hand, you may need to contact the content marketing manager directly.
But before you read their rules, actually read their blog. Observe what topics they discuss.
See who contributes on a regular basis. And figure out what type of readers engage with the blog.
Pro Tip: Read the comments on the blog.
Also, use Google Alerts to find blogs matching your interests. You may discover some new publishers.
Do your research before contacting anyone. It will help you focus on bringing the most value to the right audience.
So, your team is ready to pitch editors. For some small business teams, this step is the most difficult.
Why? Because we forget to offer value.
Normally, we just send an email telling the publisher what we want. We ramble about why they need us and act as if the editors have no other options.
Well, it’s time to do things differently. Show proof of how your content is valuable.
There are several ways to establish credibility. Try the following:
- Provide links to your existing content;
- Note how people visited your posts;
- Screenshot the total social media shares of an example post; or
- Mention trustworthy publishers you’ve worked with in the past.
The outreach email should be short and straightforward. State who you are and if anyone referred you.
Display how you can bring immediate value. Then, ask how your team can serve the editor’s readers.
After the editor approves your topic idea, your job is to begin writing. Be mindful of the publisher’s standards.
Writing is subjective when it comes to conveying particular viewpoints. But the objective principle is to avoid misspellings and grammar errors.
Those mistakes diminish the value of your post. It also burdens the editor to make time-consuming corrections.
As for the substance of the post, make sure you stay on topic, organize your thoughts with subheadings, and add relevant images.
“Write about what you already know, and if necessary, do additional research to gather more information, examples, and data to back up your points, providing proper attribution when incorporating external sources,” states Rachel Sprung, customer demand manager at HubSpot.
For inspiration, read the publisher’s previous posts to capture the writing style and tone.
Pro Tip: Reference the publisher’s links in your guest post.
Every blog post you create won’t be perfect. And that’s okay.
But the editor will expect you to make the necessary changes to meet their publishing rules. Don’t take it personally. They want to ensure the readers enjoy your work and that it’s well-received.
This isn’t the time to debate with the editor. Remember, he is doing you a favor. You want to be published on his blog.
Instead of dreading the revision process, expect it. Prepare your team for additional edits to the blog post.
If you have questions or want clarification, ask the editor. You want to know exactly how to improve the content.
When you make the editor’s job easier, she will be more inclined to work with your team in the future.
Congrats! Your post has been approved.
That’s it, right? Nope.
Now, it’s time to promote the blog post. Talk with the editor to determine the publication date. Then, start planning a mini-promotion strategy for the content.
Your team can send emails to everyone mentioned in the post. Share the content on all your social media networks. And submit the post to online community forums.
Sujan Patel, co-founder of Web Profits, agrees:
“If your audience is more business-minded in nature, you’ll want to make LinkedIn Groups a drop off point for your content pieces. The network hosts thousands of different groups, making it pretty much impossible that you won’t find one there that suits your interests or industry.”
Add value to an ongoing group conversation. Consider answering questions on Quora with your content as a possible solution.
If your small business knows industry influencers, ask specific leaders to share your content. They may even include it in an upcoming email newsletter.
Promotion centers around getting people sharing and talking about your post. So, develop a plan before publication.
Be A Guest
Guest blogging is an effective way to expand your marketing efforts. It offers your brand the chance to reach more potential customers.
Conduct extensive research before contacting brands. Pitch with an editor’s mindset. And remember to promote your guest post.
Grow your audience. Start guest blogging.
Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Originally from Louisiana, Shayla champions access to remote work opportunities. Connect with her on Twitter at @shaylaprice.