The blogger was a Canadian woman who worked in marketing and was also a yoga fan. She’d written a few posts on yoga and one post on yoga marketing, but she had prime position, likely because she already ranked strongly for the single term “marketing”.
I wrote her a short introductory email and asked if I could write a post for her blog. She’d never hosted a guest blogger before but was willing to give it a try. I asked her about her audience and what they were interested in and submitted my very first guest post, which included a short bio with the term ‘yoga marketing’ linking back to my site. With that one link, I went from nowhere to the first page of Google for the search term “yoga marketing” and have held the first, second or third position ever since.
What’s the netiquette to guest blogging? I’m so glad you asked.
Deciding which blogs to approach
In an ideal scenario, you want to choose a blog that:
- Ranks well for your targeted search terms
- Relates to the problems or issues that your business solves
- Is talking to an audience related to your ideal client
- Has quality content that you’d be proud to align your business with
- Has significant-sized social media followings.
Which Google searches are relevant to your business?
Every single search on Google is someone seeking a solution to a problem. Most people, in my experience working with clients to optimise their websites, think far too literally about this. Searchers might not be naming the solution to their problems because they’re not yet sure what solutions exist. They simply have a query and they’re seeking answers.
So where does your website fit in? When researching relevant search terms, what sites rank? Which of these sites accepts guest writers?
Where are your ideal clients?
The media you consume is likely to be different from the media that your ideal clients consume. Their favourite websites, print and broadcast media are where you want to be. Don’t assume that your clients necessarily watch what you watch and read what you read. Ask them.
Scoping out the blog
After you’ve identified a number of blogs you want to pitch to, in an ideal world you would then:
- Read the blog over several weeks
- Comment on posts
- Take note of blog comments – could these comments inspire a blog post of your own?
- Follow the blog owner on social media
- Try to engage with the blog owner through social media
- Don’t do anything silly. Be cool.
There’s nothing wrong with showing respect and admiration for a blog owner or writer who’s likely slaved over their craft. We all like receiving positive feedback on something we’ve sent off into the interwebs. But don’t act creepy. Be cool.
Pitching your guest blog post
Bigger websites will likely have an online form to fill in. Otherwise, send your targeted blog a short email briefly introducing yourself and launching straight into the idea/s you have for a guest blog post.
Demonstrate that you’re familiar with their blog and pitch an idea (or a few) that will likely appeal to their audience. Don’t be presumptuous; be succinct and courteous. It’s highly unlikely that a blog will take on a guest blog post that is wildly different from their typical posts in a different topic area.
Occasionally you’ll see conversations on social media requesting guest blog posts and it may be appropriate to pitch there. But otherwise, always send pitches via email.
Writing your guest blog post
What do you want to be known for? When your reputation precedes you, what do you want people to say? Now, more than ever, you want to be memorable. Ideally, you want to create such a strong impression that people devour your bio at the bottom and click through to your site.
If you’re keen to grow your email list, think about writing about the topic of your free email opt-in gift. Relating your topic to your free opt-in gift makes it easy to link to this directly in your bio and far more likely readers will actually opt-in.
Remember, nobody gains a reputation for being agreeable.
Writing your guest post bio
Your bio is massively important. Cynics might suggest that it’s the reason for the whole guest blog post in the first place. Ask your host how many words you have for your bio and how many links (you may only get one). Now think about the blog post reader getting to your bio and wanting to know more about you. Keep it smart, memorable, and funny if possible. And for the love of all things holy! Don’t read other people’s bios and try to copy their format – you’ll sound just like everyone else.
No doubt you’ve not got oodles of spare time for guest posting. So start at the top – approach the larger blogs before you approach the littler guys. Be a good guest – promote your own blog post through your social media channels and always name or tag the blog so that they can see you. Respond to comments for as long as people comment. It shows courtesy and respect for the blog readers and the blog owner.
Doing your own PR
Before I began working in online marketing some seven years ago, I worked in PR. In fact, PR was how I first got into the online arena, through writing and publishing a large client website. Since the rise and rise of the internet, the public relations industry is under serious threat from people with the creativity, nouns, and persistence to do their own PR through social media, blogging and targeted networking. The PR industry is still reeling from the impact and the savvy agencies are offering social media marketing as an integrated, vital component of what they do. Ten years ago, the world’s largest PR agencies would have given their hen’s teeth for the (frequently free) technology that we have access to today. Don’t squander this opportunity with self-doubt and loathing. Pitch today.
Guest blogging action plan
- What problems are your prospects and ideal clients struggling with? What solutions are they seeking? Write a list.
- Review the list you’ve written and go deeper than this – Google all possibilities and see what comes up. How popular are these searches? How fierce is the competition in rankings for these search terms?
- Which blogs are ranking for these search terms? Write a short list of blogs to approach. Reorder with biggest at the top.
- Pitch! Keep it short. Be courteous. Stand in the shoes of the blog owner, wanting to please his/her audience.
- Write your guest post and bio. You might want to send 3-5 headline suggestions.
- After your guest post is published, share it far and wide. Keep monitoring the comments and responding – these comments could be great fodder for inspiring your next guest blog post.
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