Creating guest blogging content is an easy way to build niche expertise within your industry. Not only does it help you to get backlinks to sites that have high authority, it allows for other readers within your industry to experience your wisdom. When done correctly, you can get an incredible amount of referral traffic.
When it isn’t done correctly, there is a good chance the materials you’ve submitted for publication aren’t going to get published. That’s why it is important to create a well-rounded strategy that governs how, when, and where you decide to take on some guest blogging. Here are a few of the proven strategies that can help you design and implement a journey that will help you maximize the expertise you bring to your industry.
#1. You Must Create Specific Goals
Before you would start a business, you would create a business plan that covers all of the goals you hope to accomplish with your efforts. The same is true for your guest blogging efforts. You must decide what your goals are going to be so that the content you’re creating can take you a step closer to those goals.
Most people tend to have 3 primary goals that they wish to have happen when it comes to their guest blogging efforts.
- To create more links to their website so that they can build up their domain authority.
- To generate exposure for their brand, product, or idea.
- To position oneself as an authority within their industry through their niche expertise.
If guest blogging content can get placed on the top blogs within an industry, then the amount of traffic that can come your way is astronomical. If it doesn’t reflect the goals that you’re trying to accomplish, then the traffic received isn’t going to be beneficial and you’ve basically just wasted your time.
#2. Separate the Best From the Better Opportunities
There are a number of strategies that can be implemented to help you find a site that accepts guest blogging content. Sometimes a simple Google search is all that is necessary to find a site. A better strategy is to look within a different niche of your industry so that both sites can generate some added traffic from the content you’re going to be creating.
Just make sure that the site you choose isn’t a direct competitor to your own.
That doesn’t mean generic sites that offer guest blogging opportunities are something that should be avoided. It just means that you need to be careful about wasting your time creating content for sites that are relatively weak when it comes to their levels of authority and influence. You should be benefiting from their presence. Far too many sites instead try to benefit from your presence instead.
You can separate the best sites from looking at how other guest blogging opportunities have been published. There should be a link profile that is authoritative, have an engaged audience following the content, and won’t bury your link in the bio area for your authorship information.
There are no set screening rules, so you’ve got to create your own strategies to approach this situation. Then contact the sites that you expect to provide you with the best possible opportunities in accordance to your overall plans.
#3. Step Onto the Elevator Prepared For Anything
Just because you’re offering free content to someone doesn’t mean they have to accept your offer. Far too many guest bloggers expect their content to be accepted because they’ve taken the time to create it in the first place.
Just like the pictures of money on Facebook that say “Share this and you’ll get rich,” life doesn’t work that way. You’ve got to pitch the value of your content so that your content is seen as being better than the countless others who are also pitching their content.
Have you heard of the 30 second elevator pitch? This is your prepared pitch that you can give on a moment’s notice whenever someone asks you what it is that you do. It is what you need to have at the ready when someone asks you why they should accept your guest blogging content.
This pitch is your initial value proposition. Without value, your content will never be published by a high authority site.
So how do you communicate value? Many content creators will list their education, the amount of traffic their site receives, and whatever awards someone has decided to give them. That’s great stuff, but it makes the pitch about themselves instead of it being about the opportunity that is being secured.
What can your guest blogging content provide for the readership of the site that has been targeted? Create your elevator pitch around this value proposition and you’ll be able to place yourself in a competitive position to have your content published.
#4. Know What the Content Expectations Happen To Be
This strategy is often ignored because content creators tend to all say one thing: “My writing style isn’t something that can be changed.” Except that it can. Websites and blogs want to have content that is structurally similar because it meets the expectations of their readership. If you want to have a guest blogging opportunity, then you need to know how the content is structured so your guest blogging opportunity can find success.
There are three key factors that must be examined when looking at the content expectations that a site may have for your guest blogging content.
- What is the experience level of the target audience? Experience levels can be broken down into beginner, intermediate, and experienced. If you’re writing beginner-style content for a site that has engaged experts, then all you’re doing is covering information they already know. Writing expert-level content for beginners won’t be understood at all.
- Know who the core demographic happens to be. Most sites aren’t directed to a mass audience. There is a specific core demographic that is being targeted. Your guest content must be able to be informative and interesting for this demographic to get a chance at publication.
- The actual content of your post must match expectations. If a website is writing “how-to” guides, then that’s what your guest blogging content must be. If the posts are filled with statistics and infographics, guess what you’ll be asked to provide. Some sites like content that is structured in list format. By looking at the previous content that has been published, including prior guest blogging opportunities, you can know how your content must be structured as well.
But this isn’t quite good enough yet to be a complete strategy even though this tends to be where most folks stop. Go the next step on this journey and check out what posts perform the best for the site that you’ve targeted. You can do this by tracking Facebook likes, information from Topsy, saves on Delicious, or even pins on Pinterest. Then structure your content to be similar to a site’s most successful posts to have a good chance at getting published.
#5. Sight Provides Might
People don’t read content at first. They skim it. This is done to see if the content they’re thinking about reading actually has any value to it. If there isn’t value seen in the skimming, then the only thing the reader has lost is about 30 seconds of their time. That’s a lot better than spending 15 minutes reading or viewing content that winds up being worthless.
Your guest blogging content needs to show that it has value to it when readers are skimming through it. There are several strategies that can make this happen [subheadings, bullet points, lists and sub-lists], but ultimately it is the graphics and links that will help your content standout.
You’ve probably heard that a picture is worth a 1,000 words. It’s true.
Guest blogging content that is visually appealing is content that will engage readers and be more likely to be accepted by publishers.
How can you create something that is visually appealing? Your best option is a custom infographic that you can submit with your guest post. Infographics are widely shared, filled with information that is easy to digest, and visually attractive when published. If that’s not something that is possible, then make sure your words are complimented by some of these proven options.
- Customized screenshots that take readers step-by-step through a described process.
- Graphs, charts, and other visual representations of statistics to make difficult information easier to understand.
- Images that are new, not stock or royalty-free, lend more credibility to the value that you’re offering.
As a final step, don’t forget that sight provides might for your target as well. If you provide internal links within your content to other content on their site, then you’re communicating that you care about their success as much as your own. Use relevant anchor text to promote the internal linking as well. “Click here” just doesn’t work these days.
#6. Run and Gun Drives Readers Away
Engagement through guest blogging is a three-step process. The first step is to identify and content that top blogs and sites that you’d like to receive authority links from when you submit content to them. The second step is to make sure you deliver high quality content when asked because authority sites will only publish the best content. That’s how they became authority sites, after all.
The third step is the one that is often ignored. Having a strategy to follow-up on guest blogging content is equally important. Just running some content and then gunning away from it as fast as you can leaves that authority site high and dry. This means you’re the one who needs to be responding to comments and questions that get left on your piece.
It also means you need to be engaging with readers on a social level. You can do this by hosting a Twitter chat about your content, starting a Facebook Q&A, or creating an interactive atmosphere on your preferred platform. LinkedIn and Reddit are just as important as Facebook and Twitter in this regard.
If you’re on a social media channel, make sure that you’re also promoting your guest blogging content. So what if it is on a different site than your own? You’re spreading value with every set of eyes that happens to see your content. More authority means links that have more value. Everybody wins.
#7. Consider Adding Something With Promotional Value
The average guest blogging relationship goes something like this.
“Hey? Can I guest blog for you and get a link in return?”
“Sure. Just follow the rules.”
“Great!” And then 1,500-5,000 words of content are submitted. A few pictures will be uploaded, graphs created, and maybe infographics shared if there is a lot of ambition. Most sites are satisfied with this type of relationship, as are most guest bloggers.
Awesome enough. The only problem is that none of this really makes you stand out that much. Everyone is doing something similar. Everyone creates content that is reasonably engaging or they outsource this work to someone else so that it can be. Eventually the readership within an industry is exposed to a large amount of white noise where virtually no content stands out.
That’s why sometimes it is more important to change the value proposition than it is to create another 1,500 word masterpiece about your chosen subject materials.
How would you do this if you were promoting your own work? Through whitepapers, free PDF downloads, and instructional videos, right? This is something that is almost never done when it comes to guest blogging content. If you’re creating content that is going to serve as a guide or provide specific instructions, sending over these additions will make you look more awesome.
You’ll look awesomer. So what if it isn’t a word? It should be because that’s what you’ll be.
#8. Climb Over Mount Everest
A blog should be able to initiate a conversation. It should create a meaningful debate where readers are able to learn from the differences that make us all unique. If we all agree on the content that is being published, is there really any point to publishing the content in the first place?
Don’t preach to the choir when you’re guest blogging. Take a different route. Discuss something that goes against what most people think is acceptable. Write something that people are going to find controversial.
Being controversial is not the same as being purposely offensive. You’re not trying to turn people away from your content. You do want readers to look at the subject your discussing in a different way.
That’s why sometimes you’ve got to go so far over the top that you climb over Mount Everest. Be different because different stands out. If the value proposition being offered in your guest blogging content is good, then different is always remembered as well. When that happens, you’re going to get more opportunities to write a guest blog.
You’ll also be receiving an incredible amount of traffic on your site, your social media outlets, and other places where people can leave you a comment.
#9. Don’t Drive Down a One-Way Street
Guest blogging is a good thing for everyone. Your site can benefit from it just as other sites can benefit from your content. Sometimes the best strategy is to give a little before trying to get a little when it comes to links, domain authority, or brand awareness. If you’re struggling to get a foot in the door, then consider offering guest blogging opportunities to others first.
Just as other sites are screening out work that you might be submitting, it is important that you do the same thing. Fresh content is good, but fresh content that fits your specific guidelines is even better. You created goals for the guest content you created, so make sure you set goals for others to follow so your site can grow in its authority as well.
What are some guidelines that you should consider implementing for your own site or blog?
- Make sure the subject material fits your needs. If you are running a site about golf and you issue an open guest blogging call with no subject rules, you’ll get content that talks about microwaves, laundry soap, and lawn mowers. Make sure content creators know what they need to be talking about.
- Don’t accept stock images, royalty-free images, or other scraped content. You want a post that is 100% original. If you publish something that has already been published before, you might just find a cease-and-desist letter in your email. Even if the work is in the public domain, you’ll be giving search engines a canonical conundrum that could make your site get dropped in ranking.
- Set grammatical standards. It is not uncommon for content creators to outsource guest blogging to writers who use English as their second content. Others use spinning software and spintax to modify their content so one article can become 1,000 articles with changes to descriptors. Don’t lower your grammatical standards whatsoever because your submissions will only meet the bar of expectations that you set.
As you accept guest posts, you might find that you’ll receive a few offers in return. It’s up to you if you want to accept them. Having mutual links may not always be beneficial. You’ll want a variety of incoming and outgoing links, so a mutual link here or there isn’t a bad thing. If that’s all you’ve got, however, you may be wasting your time in publishing content or creating guest content to be published because you’re canceling out any equity that has been achieved.
#10. Don’t Ignore the Author Bio
Having contextual links is a good thing for your guest blogging content. Embedded within an article, this type of link contains a lot of value for the recipient. Many content creators focus on getting these links and forget about the fact that author bio backlinks provide a supplementary level of equity to whatever authority is received from the guest content.
It’s important to ask for contextual links within your content. Most sites are going to give it to you if you’re giving them content that is in the 2,500 word count range, but you’ve got to ask them for it. While you’re doing that, make sure you ask about links contained within your author bio as well.
A good author bio can actually draw readers to your site, believe it or not. It doesn’t have to be long to be effective either. Consider this one-liner found recently: “I’m a theologian of the odd.” It’s just 5 words, but there is a lot of meaning within those words. It says that the individual rationally studies the strangest concepts that are found within current spiritual studies. It’s interesting, a little different, and has a bit of mystery to it.
There’s a good chance that it could get a click. How would you describe yourself in a relevant way that is equally engaging? Figure that out, get it published inside of your author bio, and you’ll be able to potentially double-down on the links that are headed your way from a successful guest blogging opportunity.
Bonus Outreach Tip. Use the Guestographic Strategy to Get a Guest Post Almost Everytime
If you want to write killer guest blogging content, it is important to go beyond the words to make that happen. You’ve got to compliment your content with various forms of media that create a post that is like eye candy to a site’s engaged readers. When you can create something interesting, communicate a solid value proposition, and then over-deliver by sticking around to speak with the community and answer questions, you will have created a winning combination.
Guest blogging opportunities can be found right now with a simple Google search and that might be a way to establish your reputation. Don’t expect immediate results or feedback, but do give your content the best possible effort you have. When you do, the results may be nothing short of amazing.