While guest blog posting might be touted as an effective marketing strategy for growing brand awareness, driving referral traffic to your website, and building quality backlinks, I think your time and resources could be better spent elsewhere. Anyone who’s ever written quality digital content, whether that’s the copy to post to your business’s social profiles or a new blog post for your website, will tell you it’s an incredibly time-consuming process. It almost seems counterintuitive to then offer to publish your insightful copy on someone else’s website.
Because there are polarized opinions about guest blog posting for SEO, SE Ranking recently reached out to leading SEO experts, including yours truly, to find out what they think about guest posting as a viable marketing strategy. Here are some practical tips about guest writing, some pitfalls to be wary of, and my two cents on the subject.
1. Understand Your Business Objectives
Before you start searching for guest writing opportunities, you should consider two things:
- Why do you want to become a guest blogger?
- What resources do you have to help tackle this task?
If you’re thinking about looking for guest blog posting opportunities solely for the backlinks, this is definitely not a quick solution. It’s also not advisable because it goes directly against Google’s guidelines. Think of guest blogging as a way to develop the relationship you have with your target audience rather than a way to acquire more backlinks for your site.
To achieve the best results, you have to find the right platforms to share your content on. This is where considering your resources is very important because this can be an incredibly time-consuming process. If you don’t have resources available to dedicate to finding quality guest blog posting opportunities, this may not be the best avenue for you to pursue.
2. Find Guest Blog Posting Opportunities
There are a few ways you can go about finding guest blog posting opportunities for your business:
- Perform a Google search. This may seem obvious, but bloggers typically search on Google to find guest blogging opportunities. Look through the results for the following phrases: “write for us”, “submit an article”, and “guest post”.
- See what your competitors are doing. If you’re having trouble finding guest blog posting opportunities, you can check out your competitors’ backlinks via a backlink tool, such as Backlink Checker.
- Join guest blogging communities. Many guest blogging communities have dedicated Facebook groups that you can join where you can check for new posts from websites looking for guest bloggers. You can also create a post of your own describing the type of websites you’re looking to write for as well as your writing experience.
- Reach out to your network of partners and customers. This goes back to the saying “it’s all about who you know, not what you know.” If you have partners, followers, or customers who are in your same niche, ask if you can submit a guest blog to be posted to their website.
3. Cull Through Your List to Find for the Best Opportunities
As mentioned above, finding quality guest blogging is key for getting the highest ROI for your guest blog posting efforts. Once you have your wishlist of websites you’d like to submit to, make sure they’re worth your while. Here’s a checklist of things to consider:
- Make sure the site has been around for at least one year.
- Check to see if the site is regularly being updated with new content.
- Make sure the site is credible.
- Does the company have social profile(s)? Are they relatively active on them?
- Is the site relevant to your niche?
4. Develop Content Ideas to Include in Your Pitch
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of websites you want to pursue for guest blog posting opportunities, you’ll need to develop content ideas to include in your pitch to each site. Try to include at least three content topic ideas in your pitches, such as current trends for your niche or original content ideas you’ve developed on your own.
5. Crafting Your Pitch Email
This is where you need to get really creative to ensure your pitch email stands out from the other guest blog posting offers they receive. Be sure to:
- Introduce yourself.
- Mention some blog articles on their site that you appreciate and would like to emulate, or that you have some topics that you think would interest their target audience.
- Make your pitches personalized whenever possible.
- Find the right person to contact. There’s nothing worse than spending time crafting the perfect pitch email only to send it to the wrong person. Search for Content Managers, Content Lead, and Marketing Managers.
6. Writing Your Guest Post
Once you’ve secured your guest blog posting spot, you need to write your blog content. Do not skimp on the quality of your blog post. This is the time to go all out. Be sure to study any branding guidelines you may have received prior to writing your content. If the company didn’t supply any guidelines, review a couple of the blog posts on their site to get an idea of:
- The company’s writing style and voice.
- Whether they use American or British spelling.
- The average length of each blog post.
- The number of images they use for each blog post.
7. To Do’s After Your Guest Post is Published
Once your blog post has been published, be sure to share the link to your personal social media channels. Not only will the company appreciate the additional exposure, but it can also help further cement your relationship with the brand and lead to a beneficial long-term partnership. When your post has been up for a few days, go back and analyze the results of your guest blog posting efforts, including:
- If any backlink you added has helped to boost your site’s search engine result page (SERP) ranking and if any keywords you used in the post are now ranking higher.
- Check the Google Analytics Referral report to see how much traffic the backlink has generated.
- Count the number of comments and social shares the blog post generated to get an idea of any increase in brand awareness.
Focus on Getting Media Coverage for Your Business Rather than a Guest Blog Posting Spot
Rather than finding guest blogging opportunities (which as you can see from the list above is no easy task), I think a better time of your time and resources is to focus on generating PR opportunities for your business. Because Google requires all links to guest posts, including bylines, to be nofollow, I believe guest blogging for SEO is too risky now. Here’s what I had to say:
- “Instead of looking for guest blogging opportunities, I suggest that brands seek opportunities to get media coverage. Getting a news story written up about your product or service, or getting yourself quoted in an article on a news site [such as this SE Ranking blog post], can result in high-quality inbound links that aren’t at risk of being considered guest blogging links. HARO is a great site for finding such opportunities.”
Looking for PR opportunities increases brand awareness for your business, drives traffic to your website, and gets you the coveted high-quality backlinks Google rewards. While this might not be something you’ll be able to do constantly — after all, you’ll need something newsworthy, like a new product update or launch or an upcoming event, to be featured as a top story — however, when you do have something newsworthy to share, I think the benefits of doing so outweigh the risk that comes along with guest blog posting now.
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