Guest posting is a big deal for online branding purposes. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional blogger yourself, or simply an expert in one capacity or another looking to promote your brand. Guest posting still gets the job done, just like it did when things really started to soar online a little over a decade ago.
When you do a guest post on a popular blog, any backlinks you receive in the content can give you an immediate SEO boost and also increase your social media exposure.
The main trouble most people have is making sure they’re getting the particulars on how to approach and pitch themselves to bloggers down pat.
1. Look for blogs relevant to your purpose.
Reaching out to each and every blogger on the Internet isn’t just a complete waste of time, it makes you downright annoying.
Word will soon get out that some “Guest Post Beggar” is wild on the loose and doesn’t have a clue what they’re doing and soon everyone will start ignoring you! I’m kidding, of course, but you won’t get many responses if your expertise doesn’t match up with their readership at all.
Popular bloggers are busy and have more than likely learned the art of scanning and otherwise dealing with emails quickly — long before you ever contacted them.
2. Research your target in advance.
Go through their about page, read a whole bunch of posts, haunt them on social media, do whatever it takes to get to know them better.
The most popular way to go about this, I think, is to add them on your most active social channels, then comment on posts you find to be interesting. Ask them (polite) questions publicly too — they’re building a brand too, and are more likely to reply to public comments asking a question or that offer feedback relevant to their brand.
Build a relationship where they sort of know you and where you’ve gathered enough information to formulate the right pitch requesting a guest posting opportunity.
3. Offer value to fellow bloggers and/or their readers.
I’ve heard of a number of different ways to entice a fellow blogger into handing out a guest posting opportunity. Anything offering them or their readers value is a sure winner every time.
The most popular way is to have a great portfolio you can link them to easily. If you know how to write interesting and engaging material, you’ll have them lining up slot after slot for you in no time. Who doesn’t want engaging content they didn’t pay a dime in blood, sweat, or money for?
If you have a service to offer, such as web design or consulting, offer to do a prize giveaway (like free services) for their readers who comment on your post or share the content on social. Such offers would obviously hold a lot of value to readers coming to the bloggers site in search of help, and give you yet another opportunity to market your services.
If you can, offer them a valuable backlink as well. This will work to entice most bloggers out there; unless you’re contacting a major publication like Forbes, Entrepreneur, or the like.
However, be wary of trading links in exchange for guest posting opps. Particularly with strangers, as many will just rel=”no follow” the link the minute they think you’re not looking. Not always, but I’ve found this happens a lot with less-than-honest bloggers. They want that free content you’re offering, but for whatever reason (maybe a good one, maybe not), they decide they don’t want to give you any of their valuable link juice.
4. Be nice, but be real.
If your normal way to get to know people is to just be your swearing-like-a-drunken-sailor-self, scratch that idea right off! Still, you do have to approach most professional bloggers with your “public face.” This includes adhering to proper grammatical standards and leaving the LOLs and IMHOs — etc., out of your communications. At least until you get to know them better.
Most important to keeping things real is to make sure you don’t have some silly template with “Hello, insert name here” and “Thank you so much insert name here” all over the place — that you use for everybody. That will get you about as much success as trying to mail everyone in the phone book an offer to finance a brand new Ferrari F12berlinetta!
How long does it really take to write a quick and relevant email that doesn’t come off as completely disingenuous? Not long, actually. Nobody’s going to read a big long multi-paragraph email either.
Here’s some great advice from Adam Thompson given to Quora readers:
I can tell you how NOT to reach out to a blogger:
I have been reading your blog (url here) for a long time and it is so amazing. You have some really great content on iphones, phones, computers.
I am a professional blogger and would like to write for your blog….
Totally phoney compliments, user is obviously lying (it looks like they used a bot to autofill keywords, and they may have never even visited the blog), no examples of their writing, nothing on their expertise, etc.
I get these regularly and almost always delete them.
Be personal, genuine, and unique. I am much more likely to read something such as:
I just read your post on 16 tips to find a job online. I can say from experience that some of those strategies really work well, especially if the job seeker has a good resume to work with.
I am a professional resume writer, and I would be interested in giving away one of my platinum resume service to your readers. You could use it as a contest prize to boost readership, social shares, etc. All I would ask in return is that you mention my name and link to my website in the contest details.
Does that sound like something you and your readers would be interested in?
It’s personal, it’s obvious they actually read my blog, and they are offering something of value for me and my readers.
5. Pick up the phone, if possible.
This should be a given. If they actually offer a phone number on their website, or in their public social profiles, it would stand to reason they don’t mind — even prefer — to talk over the phone versus emails. In fact, if you can find their phone number anywhere online or off, it’s worth a shot giving them a call.
You will have to break the ice, but remember that you’re offering them free content — a commodity that few bloggers would turn down unless you don’t know what you’re talking about or if you have a bad reputation.
A simple “Hi, I’m so-and-so and I blog about Widgets. I saw your blog and think your readers can benefit from my expertise on XYZ topic. Would that be something you would consider?” is all it takes to break the initial ice and figure out if they’re interested in your offer.
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