Let us begin by understanding what a guest blog is; the literal definition of a guest post is posting on someone else’s blog as a guest. Guest posting helps establish a relationship with the blogger who is hosting your post and provides additional exposure by engaging their audience. On the other hand, well-known bloggers are interested in publishing high-quality content on their blogs, which can generate new readers and share with their current readers. According to several popular bloggers like Jon Morrow and Neil Patel, guest posting is the ultimate inbound marketing strategy. Guest posting offers two major prongs of benefits which include driving traffic to your website and increasing your revenue. Like all other content marketing approaches, guest posts cannot act as a switch that can be flipped to get instant results. They work in a slow but efficient manner and bore sweet fruits over some time.
Benefits Of Guest Blogging
A few years back, there had been a lot of hype about the decline of guest blogging as an SEO strategy because of Matt Cutt’s statements regarding the inefficacy of such articles. But it turns out that guest posting isn’t as dead as was presumed and those remarks were just warning signs to prevent the abuse of this strategy. To date, guest posting can be milked to obtain advantages such as a spike in the referral traffic, growing email or subscribers list, link building, and SEO, relationship and lead generation, and brand building. Google does have some strict stances against using guest blogging for SEO but they can be avoided tactfully by neglecting spammy practices. If you are a beginner looking out to venture into the world of guest posting, follow the step-by-step guide to obtain a perspective of the process.
Step 1: Determine Your Intent And Find Relevant Guest Blogging Opportunities
Before you set about launching this kind of a guest posting campaign, it is very important to pen down the intent of your campaign and the goals you aim to achieve through this practice. One of the most popular and coherent strategies to figure out your immediate, as well as long term goals, is implementing the S.M.A.R.T technique. Herein you can jot the very Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-oriented outcomes to be ex[ected from this exercise. This will create the right mindset and ensure that you are focused to drive your energy into creating a post that contributes to these goals.
Once you have your goals prioritized start looking for relevant websites that accept Guest blogs and outside contributors. There are two main ways to go about this process, first prospect the web i.e. search with Google, social media, look for resource lists, etc, or using websites that connect publishers and bloggers. Some tips to make the former route easier is to search for a list of top blogs in your niche using resources like BuzzSumo and Alltop that filter the top blogs in your industry or according to the required keywords. Another helpful technique is to enter strings like “industry keyword”+“submit a post” in the search engine that redirects you to appropriate guest blogging opportunities. Also, surfing through social media with similar strings keeps you updated on the latest industry trends and publications. These can help you list out a few prospective websites and bloggers that might be suitable for you. Go ahead and filter them further by analyzing the traffic and quality of the content on the listed outcomes. This will further refine your data and help you shortlist the blogs you can target. If you feel the need, start building a rapport with the bog owner before you send a pitch to increase the chances of getting published.
Step 2: Prepare A Solid Pitch
The next stepping stone on the ladder of guest blogging is to propose the idea of your guest blog to the shortlisted. This step is essential and should be exercised carefully because editors and blog owners get tons of emails every day. If we talk statistically, a blogger receives approximately 150 to 200 emails per day associated with guest blogging. They might open each one of them but there is a faint chance that all receive replies or manage to grab their attention. Therefore, crafting an attention-seeking email to pitch your idea is of utmost importance. Some pointers to keep in mind while applying are to keep the email short and specific so the reader can skim through it and identify the nature or purpose of contact. It also helps to personalize the address with a small remark about their recent blogs or such small talk. Do not forget to account for your credibility by sharing some of your successful work.
Step 3: Compose An Exceptional Article
Once your pitch is accepted you should start working on the actual content to be forwarded. Collect the guidelines regarding length, formatting, and style from the editor or owner of the blog and comply with the same when you put your digital pen to paper. Prepare an outline with the help of intense background research and fact-checking. Many writers often overlook this planning process and end up with a haphazard piece of content that lacks any flow or coherence. An outline also helps you to keep a check on whether you have covered all the aspects that you need to talk about and maintains a proper bone structure.
Next, start expanding the outline gradually and get in the groove of writing. This comes naturally the more you do it and becomes easier with practice. Maximize the productive sessions and do not keep a filter on your first draft. The raw thoughts give authenticity to your work and can be refined while editing later. Compose relevant headlines or working titles and keep back up options in case the source demands. Also, use copyright-free or original pictures for every 350 words that you pen down. The pictures can also be relevant graphs or data that help the reader visualize your statements and thought processes. After the first draft is done, skim through it meticulously and keep revising and refining until you are satisfied with the final composition.
Step 4: Set Up Your Landing Pages And Perform On-Page Optimization
On-page optimization factors should not be overlooked as ignoring these SEO factors can affect your results. Do not stuff too many keywords in the title tag and try to keep it as natural as possible and around 60 characters so they appear full on SERPs. Add a Heading 1 (H1) and Image Alt tags on every article as they tend to rank better. Next, be strategic about the link placement and anchor text of the backlinks in the article. Links are placed in the body of the article, with proper context and such that it supports the article. The anchor texts are the words that are hyperlinked and can be of various types such as branded, keyword-rich, a URL, or some white noise. These provide clues to the search engines as well as users as to what the page is about and have a large impact on the rating. To be safe from the wrath of Google keep the keyword-rich links less than 20% of all links and avoid the notion that your link acquisitions are manipulative. Certain other factors that help boost SEO are meta descriptions of the articles, page-load time, and mobile-friendliness of the website. But as a guest contributor, these are most likely out of your control.
Step 5: Finally, Submit The Article After A Thorough Check
When you are done optimizing your content, recheck if you are adhering to all the guidelines and haven’t made any errors in your content marketing . If you have quoted someone’s work or used pictured make sure that you add proper citations. These factors add to the quality of your content and lead to lesser follow-ups and edits that are required after the submissions. Once you have sent your material, patiently wait for their review and if they ask for certain changes, edit according to their requirements without compromising the quality of your content. As and when you get into the practice of guest blogging, the process becomes less cumbersome and you get through it comfortably.
The best way to come up with new ideas is surfing the social media platforms and keeping yourself updated about the matters of your industry. Create an idea file and jot down some interesting topics whenever inspiration strikes.
Once published, share the post on our social media profiles. Keep a list of close contact in your professional circle and encourage them to share it further. Share it in social groups with people of similar interests and include them in your mailing list.
You can check the performance through on and off-page engagement like blog comments and social media shares as well as check its success through brand mentions and Google analytics for relevant traffic.