Note: You may prefer to call your blog articles or resources, which you feel would better describe what the reader gets out of your regular contribution on the internet. In this article I will be using the terminology blogging, but it can be applied to articles or resources.
Guest blogging is writing content which will appear on websites other than your own. With Google’s crack down on illegitimate links it is becoming one of the most stable ways to increase awareness of your site and a good way to publicise your company.
In this article we look at why you should guest blog, what to consider when blogging, and how to get started.
As a small business owner I can understand the frustration when it is suggested that yet another marketing job is added to your already over-filled schedule. Not only is it important that you are regularly maintaining blogs on your website, it is also recommended that you write unique blogs to go on external websites. I guess this all comes down to the conundrum of raising your profile on the internet. There are not any dark arts to promoting yourself online, the same practices that have been adopted for years in the offline world can be applied to the online world very effectively. For example:
If you were a shampoo manufacturer and wanted to sell your products, would you limit its scope to just your shop? Lets imagine your shop is on a island with a population of 100. Obviously, you wouldn’t get enough business if you only sold your products directly from your shop. Instead you might approach some independent smaller chains on the mainland, perhaps even get a meeting with one of the big boy supermarkets. In short you wouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket, you would distribute them.
The same principle applies to guest blogging, if you only limit yourself to your own website then you are limiting your network of influence. For example, the UK average for ‘number of friends/connections’ on the main social networking sites is 168 (source: ofcom.org.uk). Granted you are able to reach your connections/friends, further increasing your influence, but you will eventually reach your peak. By promoting yourself via third parties you are able to effectively tap into their networks and so increase your own. In fact, if you invest the time to research potential influencers in your industry, you are more likely to reach a far larger market.
In short, guest blogging is an essential way to widen the exposure of your expertise, brand, products, or services.
“When businesses give something away for free they often get a lot in return from their fans or customers.”
Google does not tolerate duplicate content or plagiarism. Why? because it doesn’t want you to try and credit other people’s work as your own, and it wants you to be providing useful information to your users and not repetitive content. If it discovers that your content is not unique it will penalise the site that it decides holds the duplicate content. Due to this all your content should be crafted from scratch. Do not even be tempted to start with a blog you have written on your own site and tweak the words.
All information you prepare for the internet should be well-structured, grammatically correct, and engaging. When writing guest blogs you should be doubly thorough. Triple-check your content and even get a third party to read over it and pass on any feedback. Swallow your pride and ensure that your content is well-pruned and giving the best impression of you and of your company as possible.
An attractive guest blogger will consider how their article will fit into the prospective blog. Is the information relevant to the user base? Is your language consistent to the site? If the blog is a highly engaging blog, have you introduced topics for discussion?
Link building is very important, but don’t get too caught up on this. People will be interested in you and your services if you know what you are talking about and provide value to the time they have invested in reading your piece. Link building should be organic. Allow people to link to your site because they found it useful. This is a longer process but will provide a far more stable platform for your site and you won’t risk being penalised by Google’s future updates.
Do not feel you should always link back to your site. It might be more useful to link to another blog article you have written. This is known as ‘tiered link-building’ as it provides a more three-dimensional aspect to your website’s links.
Gone are the days when you should stuff all your links with keywords. Research indicates that Google are looking at the keywords around your links. This isn’t surprising as Google have for a long time acknowledged that they look for many signals within a page to identify its topic.
The hardest part is getting onto websites, not writing the post. Here are a few ideas on improving your success rate.
If you can demonstrate that you have been producing excellent content on your own blog, then other blog owners are more likely to consider you as a viable guest blogger.
Incite feedback as this will increase the value of the blog tremendously. People are more inclined to post to their Facebook wall or tweet if they have engaged in a discussion. Research the site to ensure that there is an active community that engages with the posts and does not simply read them.
Send a personalised email to all the blogs you would like to appear on. It might even be worthwhile picking up the phone and having a chat. Be clear in your intentions and how it would benefit both of you. If it is a large site, do not over exaggerate your influence, be open that this would be a great benefit to you but you feel that you can contribute something useful to their readers.
Don’t be hypocritical. Why would you expect someone to post your blog articles if you do not include any guest bloggers on your own site. Of course if you decide to do this you should read all the guest posts before you put them on your blog to ensure that the content is up to your standard and inline with your blog.
Guest blogging should be a prime part of your marketing strategy. I hope that this article might give you some ideas for getting started. If you would like a hand with any of this, why not contact us using our details below.