Left and right, entrepreneurs and businesses are using blogs to help build their businesses. From transparency blogs, which follow a journey, to straight up authority resources, people still like to read, and content marketers who can give them something nice to look at and valuable to read will have no problem expanding their reach with a blog.
While there are a number of ways to start gaining initial traction and readership, few are more effective – provided you’re willing to put in the time – than a genuine guest post. Guest posting doesn’t have the SEO and backlink umph that it used to, but it certainly is still highly effective as a means of leveraging an already established audience or readership to help grow your own.
Unfortunately, the way that many people go about guest posting is, well, just plain awful. They reach out with cold emails, beg, plead, or send half-baked ideas to editors and bloggers that have way too much on their minds to entertain the thought of babysitting someone who isn’t willing to put in the effort. Let’s learn how to overcome that.
Guest posting is about leverage
Leverage is a two-way street, and when you’re guest posting, you have to understand that you need to be able to offer another blog owner enough value that they are willing to give you their readership. Essentially, they’re risking their audience and credibility by letting someone else pen something for them, so they need to be convinced it’s worth their while.
This generally comes down to two factors:
Can you write as well and generate as good of a post as their readership is used to, and
Is your own audience, who you will be promoting your guest post to, large enough to help garner the blog owner some new owners.
The first is qualitative, and something that some people will just be naturally better at, and to develop with practice will take lots of time and study. The second is much more easily measurable and readily apparent: if you pitch a blog post to someone who gets 10,000 daily readers, and your social media followings are hovering in the 100-200 range, they probably aren’t going to see how putting the time in to partner with you is worthwhile for them, as there isn’t a large potential to gain new readers.
Instead, work on a stepping ladder type approach, in which you work with those who are just a small notch or two above you. If you get an average of 20 shares or so on each of your posts when you write it, look for blogs in the 50-100 per post range, this is a level of engagement that is above your own and is growing, but it’s not excessive and doesn’t indicate someone who is going to ignore you completely.
As you progress with this technique, you will be able to reach out to larger and larger bloggers each time, and before long you yourself just might be one of the big guys.
Recently, content marketing has been all the rage. It isn’t that it’s only now that content marketing is starting to be effective, but more so that larger, more traditional media and advertising powerhouses are finally starting to take the trend seriously.
Content marketing also has major crossover with “relationship marketing,” which is what we’re going to get into today. Specifically, those who have worked with content marketing have also found value in maintaining a blog or similar platform to regularly share content with and grow their audiences through.
Guest blogging is the act of posting on someone else’s blog, largely in the hopes of getting some attention and exposure for your own web property. The problem, however, lies in how to reframe that goal in a way that it becomes mutually beneficial.
If it’s your first time trying to land a guest blogging gig, you need to understand that these relationships are all about leverage: What can you offer someone else? What are you getting in return? In order for your offer to write a piece for another blog (even if it’s really good) to be tempting, you need to make sure you frame it in the right way. Here are a few steps you can take to massively boost your chances of successfully integrating guest blogging into your content marketing strategy.
Identify blogs in your weight class or just above it. Look for blogs in your market than have similar audiences and are getting some social engagement and shares on their posts, but who are not yet massive.
Make contact in a helpful way. Do not just blurt out that you want a guest post and try and pitch cold via email. Instead, leave insight comments over a few days and interact with the blog owner on twitter or another social platform. Share their content to show you like it.
Make a careful pitch by asking permission via one of these platforms to reach out via email. Once you have the greenlight, send an email with your idea, and highlight why it would be well-received by their audience and what you will do to help share the piece and grow their blog.
Write something truly amazing. If you get the honor of having a guest post pitch accepted, do it justice and get invited back by really creating something special. Whatever time you put into researching and creating your own posts, double it. Go above and beyond and make an infographic or embedded slideshare to help out – that kind of thing.
Promote like your life depends on it in order to get the blog you’re working with the biggest return possible and show that partnering up with you was worthwhile.
Simple, yep. Easy? Well, you’ll be putting in some work, but it’s nearly always worth your time.
One of the best ways to learn anything in the internet marketing world is to get out there and take action. There is absolutely no substitute for finding out what works for your exact business model and personality than by experimenting and tweaking what you focus on based upon your results.
Having said that, the second best way to learn has to be from other companies and individuals who have been through the phase you’re at already, and have been kind enough to package their own lessons into easily consumed content for you.
Often, this comes in the form of a blog, where you can regularly get updated on whatever the topic that person or company has expertise in. For entrepreneurs, here are 4 that are especially awesome and go out of their way to deliver constant value to readers.
1. The Groove Blog
Honestly, this is one of the best transparency blogs around for entrepreneurs. Run by Groove CEO Alex Turnbull, the blog follows this customer support startup every step of the way as they journey to $500k per month in recurring revenue.
As you can imagine, there are a lot of insights to be learned from a company well on their way to hitting those ambitious numbers. The nice thing is that they share a lot of things that didn’t work as well, and provide the data to back up anything they say or recommend.
2. The Daily Egg
Crazy Egg is a product all about data, so it’s not surprising that the research that goes into posts on the Daily Egg (CE’s blog) are packed with awesome research. Plus, they have a great track record of securing some awesome guest posters, which help to flesh out the blog as an authority on a wider range of subjects.
As if all of that weren’t enough, the blog is one of Neil Patel’s projects. If you don’t know Neil, he’s one of the most prolific writers and content marketers around, and just about everything he touches is gold.
3. Swift Branding
A new player on the scene, Swift Branding is run by George Karboulonis over in Greece, and it’s got a good thing going for it right now. The blog does a great job of committing to providing as any useful resources, freebies, and guides for IM’ers as possible.
While some of the content is more general or entry level, there are some real gems as well, and George seems to have a knack for getting people to share their interesting stories with him in the form of revealing case studies.
Finally, Copyblogger. Copyblogger has been around for a long time, and even has a now-rebranded media branch you can find at rainmaker.fm
While CB’s original focus was, no surprises here, copywriting, the team have really branched out over the last few years and broadened their topic reach without any falloff in quality.
Creating new content is critical to the success of your web pages, but let’s face it: It’s also a pain in the butt.
It often seems like you’ve already said everything you want to say about your blog or website’s subject matter. Yet if you don’t provide a constant stream of fresh, engaging content, you risk alienating your regular visitors and you could stop attracting new fans.
‘Refresh’ Your Pages with Engaging Content
Here’s some easy ways to keep your blog or website engaging and interesting to new fans and loyal return visitors:
– Engaging Content Is Critical – This is something you hear a lot, but what does it really mean? Engaging content can mean any number of things, such as a lively debate about a controversial subject relating to your niche to reviews of the latest news. It could mean stories from your own real life or somebody else’s that are relevant to your subject matter.
Developing engaging content is something that should come organically to you. If you are the author of a popular blog or website, you probably already are constantly on the lookout for articles, images and other content you think your readers might find interesting. But you don’t always have to give your readers long blocks of text. In fact, it’s probably better if you don’t.
Infographics are one of the hottest types of engaging content being used online right now. These are images that present information both textually and with engaging graphics. The purpose of infographics is to make your content easier to be absorbed by your visitors.
Videos are another great type of engaging content, especially if you don’t usually post videos of yourself. If your readers have following your blog for a long time and then suddenly, BOOM!, there’s a video of you in your own home or office, it can be like: Mind. Blown.
– Put Your Visitors First – The most successful sites make their readers the blog or website owners’ top priority. This pays off because when visitors feel valued, they are much more likely to come back another time.
Did you ever read a blog or website and think, “Boy, this person is such a know-it-all?” How did that make you feel? Now compare that to a blog or website where the author is actively responding to visitors’ questions, sharing stories about interactions with fans, and inviting visitors to share their stories or tips as they are relevant to the blog’s subject matter. Big difference. Much more inviting.
– Mix It Up A Little –If you’ve been using the same theme since the first day of your blog or website, or always use the default layout, it may be comfortable for you but it can be a real turnoff for your visitors. People like it when you shake things up every once in a while.
Think about the way Google will change their home search page for special holidays or just for fun. You can do the same thing with your blog or website to make it more engaging for your visitors. At the very least, change your theme to reflect the season, such as having a snowy background in winter, a sunny one in summer, and so on.
Okay, these techniques of enhancing the users’ experience when they arrive on your pages may take a little time or effort on your part. But they will pay off royally when you build your subscriber list and start attracting hundreds of new visitors every day. See for yourself!