Guest blogging is one of the best ways to grow your site. It puts you in front of new audiences, helps your SEO, and builds you up as an authority. Guest blogging has been huge for me in terms of helping me build up my name in the digital marketing world, and networking. I’ve been able to land some pretty sweet guest blog spots on sites like SEMrush, Under 30 CEO, and Social Media Today just to name a few.
But in order to get the most out of guest blogging, and capitalize on the opportunity you’re being given, you want to make sure you’re going about it the right way. I’ve written about finding guest bloggers before, but today, we’re going to look at it from the other perspective. Here are my 5 golden rules to being an awesome guest blogger.
1. Research The Site You’re Guest Blogging On
Someone has just given you the opportunity to present your content to their audience. The very least you could do is take some time to research their site, see what type of content they’ve put out before, and get an overall feel for what type of content performs best. Not only will it help you come up with good ideas for what to write about, but it also makes it easier to land guest blogging spots.
When you pitch people your idea to guest blog on their site, you’ll have a lot more success if you show that you’re familiar with their site. You can reference specific posts that you found particularly helpful, or certain topics that you think you could expand on with a guest post.
It only takes about 10 minutes to get a good overview of a blog. If you can’t spare 10 minutes to read through a blog that you want to guest post on, then you’re probably the type of person Matt Cutts isn’t feeling.
Think of it like this. You’re job hunting and your friend tells you they can set up an interview for you with a CEO that he knows. Your friend is vouching for you with the CEO, and giving you a great opportunity. Now are you just going to go into the interview blind? Or are you going to take some time to research the company before the interview?
2. Create A Special Opt-In or Gift
If you really want to go the extra mile and be an AWESOME guest blogger, create some type of special short guide, report, or gift specifically for the host site’s audience. This is primarily for when you guest blog on sites that get a good amount of traffic, or have a fairly active audience. These sites can push a lot of referral traffic to you, so you want to make sure you’re capturing as much of those new readers as possible, or there’s a good chance they’ll never return to your site again.
Hopefully you’ll have plenty of notice before your guest post is going to be published, so in the mean time, you can start working on putting together a gift.
I used this strategy when I found out that SlideShare wanted to re-publish my post about how to create awesome SlideShare presentations on their blog. I knew that after the post was published, I’d be getting some new visitors, so I created a short guide on building authority, and setup email opt-in forms with the Subscribe Pro plugin (get the plugin for 50% off with the coupon code “Dominique”). One of the forms was a pop-up that shows up right when people visit the site, because I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity. How effective was it? It boosted my email list by 2400%!
3. Write In Your Own Voice
If you haven’t done much guest blogging before, it can be really tempting to try to write how you “think” a post should sound, or write in a similar voice as other content on the site you’re guest blogging on. IGNORE THAT FEELING!
Part of the beauty of guest blogging is that you get to introduce yourself to a completely new crowd. So you want to be genuine and inject your personality into your post to make people connect with you. That’s how you get people to actually click over to your site and see the content that you’re creating.
When someone reads your guest blog and feels your enthusiasm, excitement, and passion, they resonate with that and crave more. It happens all the time, and it’s how I’ve stumbled across a ton of blogs that I’d never heard of before. I read a guest post, dig the writer’s style, and I click thru to their site to see what else they have.
Long story short, be yourself when you’re guest blogging. Write exactly the same way you would on your site.
4. Stay In Touch
This is actually one of the biggest mistakes I made when I first started guest blogging. I would do a guest post, then move onto the next one and fall out of contact with the site I wrote on. This is a GIGANTIC, HUGE, EXTREME, CATACLYSMIC, ULTIMATE, STARS FALLING FROM THE SKY, CODE RED, TWINKIES COMING OFF THE SHELF MISTAKE! (hopefully the all caps showed you how serious I am about this one!)
The reason why losing touch with the people whose sites you guest blog on is a big no-no, is because it’s all about networking. Once you’ve guest blogged on someone’s site, you’ve established some level of connection. You’re no longer just a stranger to them. You’ve exchanged value with them and partnered up on something. You have your foot in the door. That’s HUGE!
Think about it. Darren Rowse from ProBlogger probably gets people emailing him asking for things dozens or hundreds of times a day. Rockstar blogger that he is, he doesn’t have time to work with everyone. But for people that have guest blogged on ProBlogger before, they have a closer relationship than the average Joe who just reads the blog from time to time. They’re much more likely to have him share a piece of their content, or work with him on a venture than a stranger. But it all comes from maintaining those relationships.
The first guest blogger I had on this site, Priyanka who wrote an AMAZING post on creating headlines, followed up with me afterwards just sending out a quick email thanking me for the opportunity and offering to do another post in the future. It only takes a few minutes to write up an email, but it can make a huge impact on being remembered later on. You should also make sure you’re interacting with them on social media and sharing their content. Or send out an occasional email just to say hey.
Avoid coming off like an opportunist though, and always ask if there’s anything you can do for them. Whether it’s tweeting about a new product they’re launching, or letting them guest post on your site. Just keep the relationship alive.
5. Write An Awesome Post
Above all else, the key to capitalizing on guest blogging, and being an awesome guest blogger, is to write an AWESOME post.
Not only will the host site appreciate the effort you put in, but you’ll get a lot more interest in your own site if your guest post is amazing.
I’ve made it no secret that I don’t really care about word count when it comes to blogging, but this is one exception. You want your guest posts to be as in depth as humanly possible. Ultimate guides work VERY well for guest posting. Remember, we’re talking about going above and beyond here. I didn’t title this post “5 rules for being an awesome guest blogger” just for click bait.
In the words of Eminem, “you only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow”. Unless you’re an established blogger, guest posts will be your first introduction to a lot of new people. You want to amaze them with each piece of content you create. You want your post to be freaking epic. The type of stuff that gets mentioned in “best posts of the year” roundups. I did this with a post on Hack College about productivity and it gave me a lot of credibility as a blogger.
When you’re thinking of writing a guest post, stray away from “easy”. For instance, a guest post on “5 Tips To Get More Twitter Followers” is easy. But, “The Ultimate Guide To Going From 0 To 10,000 Twitter Followers” is an entirely different story. That’s the type of article I would do for a guest post on Pro Blogger or Social Media Examiner.
Here are some of the best types of epic posts to do for guest blogs:
- Definitive guides
- Case studies
- Ultimate resource lists
- Interview roundups (asking a bunch of industry leaders a question like this)
One of the biggest reasons people avoid doing these types of epic posts on other people’s sites is because they want to save the top tier content for their own sites. And they think that publishing such great content on another site is going to boost that site’s traffic instead of their own. Well that’s true.
But here’s how you should think about it. If you land a guest post on a huge site like Copyblogger or Search Engine Journal, and you get them a swarm of new traffic from your epic post, they’re going to want you to keep contributing, which builds your name and authority up even more. Think long term when it comes to guest blogging.
Start Making Awesome Guest Posts
Those are my golden rules for being an awesome guest blogger. The next step is making it happen. Take everything here, and put it into practice. Treat every guest posting opportunity as a potential game changer for you. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. I’d much rather have 5 epic guest posts on high traffic sites than 20 average, generic guest posts on mediocre sites.
Stop settling for mediocre with blogging, content marketing, and digital marketing in general. That crap doesn’t cut it anymore. The people who see real success online are the ones who focus on operating at the highest level. Don’t just be an average guest blogger. Be a freaking awesome guest blogger that rocks every site you post on.