Despite Matt Cutts’ efforts to strike fear in guest bloggers (and subsequent attempt to clarify), guest blogging remains a powerful strategy for expanding your digital footprint.
Of course, I’m not talking about sketchy guest blogging where affiliate links dominate the copy. I’m talking about serious content you write for respectable publishers in your niche.
Guest blogging is a winning strategy that will help increase your exposure, build your brand, and help new people discover your expertise. And there’s more good news: There’s currently a very healthy appetite for quality guest blogs.
“86% of surveyed editors are planning to increase the amount of contributed content on their sites.”
~ From The State of Contributed Content: Your Guide to Getting Published Online, by Influence & Co.
Why Guest Blog?
Cutts admitted the validity of guest blogging, throwing bloggers (not spammers, mind you) a begrudging bone about why they guest blog in the first place. But if a nod from Cutts doesn’t convince you, let’s take a look at the benefits of guest blogging.
1. You reach a new audience.
In his guide on building a personal brand , Neil Patel (QuickSprout, KISSmetrics, Crazy Egg) talks about building your brand through guest blogging. Patel says it allows you to piggyback on someone else’s platform — with their permission.
You also ride on the trust the blog has established. Your content reaches new eyeballs and you can win loyal new readers.
Outreach leads to relationships and relationships lead to opportunities. Guest blogging opens doors to new readers, new business partners, and new brand platforms.
2. It’s easy to get started.
“Guest blogging has seen significant growth over the past few years, partly due to changes in SEO, and partly causing them, too. The trend of sharing original articles on other relevant websites is likely to continue, because it’s a solid, cost-effective way to market with content.”
Source: The Ultimate Guest Blogger’s Guide for 2013 (a guest blog) by Mike Sobol, Search Engine Journal
Stew on that. The only cost associated with guest blogging is time. You invest your time in building relationships and creating great content for publication.
This makes guest blogging incredibly flexible. You can get started now, with little complexity, and tailor what, how, and where you guest blog to fit your specific marketing goals. More newsletter subscribers? Brand awareness? Building a reputation for knowing stuff? Yes, yes, and yes.
3. You can get immediate results.
Guest blogging gives you an opportunity to connect with new readers immediately. You’ll earn social media followers. You can engage with readers in the comments section of the blog.
Above all, publishing your ideas via popular blogs can funnel organic and SEO traffic back to your site — targeted traffic looking for more of your content. You’ll increase your overall brand authority and influence.
How to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities
Top publishers aren’t going to line up at your digital door when you announce you’re available to guest blog. You have to find good opportunities to guest blog.
1. Target blogs that fit your plan.
“Your first task is to decide what your goal for guest blogging is.”
~ Kristi Hines, professional blogger
Before beginning your quest to find guest blogging opportunities, establish your objectives. With a clear goal in mind, make the effort to pick the most relevant blogs with the best possible value.
Not all blogs are worth your time. Popular guest blogger Andy Crestodina suggests you be “deliberate about targeting blogs that have high domain authority or high credibility themselves.”
In other words, aim high. Blogs with a good pedigree are likely to get greater exposure via search and help boost your reputation.
2. Use networking communities.
A great way to accelerate your mastery of guest blogging is to learn from bloggers who know the turf.
I’ve found it’s always valuable to tap into LinkedIn Groups to ask questions and collect tips from your peers. A quick “groups” search on LinkedIn revealed a group called “The Guest Blogger,” which is a large sub-group (3,000+ members) of “The Blog Zone — A Community for Bloggers.” With just a quick scan of recent popular threads I found a discussion about where to source images for posts, a thread about WordPress plugins, another about meeting deadlines, and many members calling for submissions — some paid — in a great variety of niches.
You should also check out online forums and communities dedicated to helping guest bloggers help each other or find publishing opportunities. In his article, “4 Ways to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities,” on Social Media Examiner (which is a community of sorts in its own right), Dan Virgillito offers resources including:
- MyBlogGuest – a website created to unite bloggers, journalists, and content creators in any niche to publish high-quality articles.(MyBlogGuest also runs an active and free Google+ community.)
- Guestr – a free membership site that gives guest bloggers opportunities to identify relevant sites and evaluate them, and pitch the sites’ owners.
- Blogger LinkUp – this free site is a guest blog marketplace for “posts wanted” as well as “posts available.” Members managed their activity from a personalized dashboard.
3. Search for quality blogs.
While you can use custom search operators and Google Alerts to target specific URLs (e.g. url: write-for-us), you’re better off with a niche-targeting approach. Patel offers up some incredibly useful advice on how to search and find blogs to write for.
Patel suggests using one of your niche keywords (which you should know) and adding phrases such as “submission guidelines” or “submit your post.”
Either method will turn up some dogs, but as Patel points out, vetting each blog is part of the process. Scrap the dogs and keep the gold.
4. Participate in conversations to get noticed.
Jon Morrow, a guest blogging expert, suggests the comments section of a blog post on a top-rated blog is an excellent way to get noticed by the host publisher.
Make a point to read the blogs you’ve targeted regularly and participate in the comments section. Add value to the conversation, engage with people positively, and demonstrate you know your stuff.
One comment might not do it. Be consistent about it. Establish yourself as an expert. Prove you’re not a one-hit-wonder spammer. You’ll get asked to guest blog before long. If this doesn’t prove true, your name will be recognized when you apply.
Ready to Go?
If you’re convinced guest blogging is a respectable way to expand your reach and get results quickly, begin identifying the best opportunities in your field today and outlining your strategy.
Need help creating an effective guest blogging strategy?
Digital Current’s team has over a decade of experience making digital marketing campaigns perform at their best. We can help you develop a winning guest blogging strategy that builds the authority, links and social signals needed to rank your website at the top.